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Connecticut State Police Patch STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2008

Troopers from troops f, i, h & w
Receive Service Awards

State Police Troopers from the Central District (Troops F, I, H & W) received awards for service during a ceremony May 12, at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy in Meriden.

Twice a year, the Connecticut State Police honors troopers who demonstrate bravery and outstanding service in the line of duty.  The ceremony also honors civilian men and women, as well as those serving in local and federal law enforcement agencies or as first responders.  Award winners received medals and certificates from Department of Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III and State Police Colonel Thomas Davoren.

Awards were presented in four categories:

The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to any person who renders service with a high degree of alertness, perseverance and superior judgment in the performance of a difficult task resulting in the protection of life, recovery of property, the prevention of – or solving of – a major crime or the apprehension of an armed or dangerous person. 

The Lifesaving Award is presented to any person who saves a human life or makes a valiant attempt to save a life.

The Outstanding Service Award is given to any person who successfully performs an extreme, complex or difficult investigation. The person also may demonstrate exceptional skill or ingenuity in the apprehension of a wanted person, provide outstanding service to the public and or continuously achieves excellence in performance of duties over an extended period of time.

The Unit Citation is awarded to members of a department, a command or group who combine their resources to achieve success in an investigation or event. The citation recognizes exceptional collective efforts.

   Troop F in Westbrook, Troop I in Bethany, Troop H in Hartford and Troop W in Windsor Locks, all located in Central Connecticut, each had representatives at the awards.

Trooper First Class Jeffrey Couto, Trooper First Class Paul Gunn and Sergeant James Gilman On July 20, 2007, at approximately 8:15 p.m., Trooper Couto, Trooper Gunn and Sgt. Gilman responded to a 911 report of a male with a gun at a Deep River residence. The caller stated that shots were fired at the residence.

The suspect had threatened to blow everything up and to kill two people standing on the front porch. He located his girlfriend inside and brought her outside. The armed man was enraged about a recent breakup and fired a round into the tire of a vehicle, while his girlfriend fled into the woods. The suspect then fled down the driveway in his vehicle as the Troopers arrived.

The Troopers quickly took cover with weapons drawn. The suspect initially hesitated, then stopped his vehicle. He was ordered from the vehicle and arrested. A subsequent search revealed a loaded pistol in the suspect’s pocket and a second loaded pistol in the vehicle. All victims escaped without injury.

Troopers Couto & Gunn and Sgt. Gilman each earned a medal for Meritorious Service.

Trooper First Class Kevin Slonski, Trooper First Class Derek Allen, Trooper First Class Gary Inglis and Deep River Officer Richard Smith  On July 27, 2007, at approximately 9 p.m., Officer Richard Smith of the Deep River Resident Trooper’s Office was dispatched by Troop F to a residence for a report of a suicidal man. A man known by Troopers as being extremely violent was brandishing a razor and threatening to harm himself if police were called. Troopers Allen, Slonski and Inglis also responded.

The suspect fled on foot to a nearby elementary school. Troopers Allen and Inglis and Officer Smith located the suspect on school property. He was visibly agitated and brandishing a knife in each hand.  He yelled that he would kill them and then himself if they came too close. Trooper Slonski arrived and made his way to the scene while the others – with weapons drawn – tried to convince the suspect to drop the knife.

Trooper Slonski drew his assigned Taser and continued his approach. The suspect ignored warnings to drop the knives and continued to threaten everyone. The suspect made a sudden move at which time Trooper Slonski fired his Taser, striking the suspect in the chest. The suspect fell to the ground and was apprehended. He was found to be in possession of four knives.

Troopers Slonski, Allen and Inglis, along with Officer Smith, earned awards for Meritorious Service in this incident.

Sergeant Robert Grega  On Sept. 19, 2007, at 6:30 p.m., Troop H was contacted by the Massachusetts State Police reporting that they were in pursuit of an armed felon on I-91 South crossing into Connecticut. The suspect was involved in a domestic assault in Springfield and attempted to kill his ex-wife. Believed to be armed with a handgun, the suspect assaulted two officers and fled with an unknown woman in his vehicle. He engaged Massachusetts authorities in a high-speed pursuit as he attempted to flee south to his Connecticut home. 

Sgt. Grega, along with other Connecticut State Troopers, took tactical positions to intercept the felony vehicle. Sgt. Grega observed the suspect vehicle on I-91 and attempted to stop it. The vehicle failed to stop and a high-speed pursuit ensued, with the suspect exiting the highway. Sgt. Grega intentionally rammed his cruiser into the suspect vehicle as it exited the highway.

The operator tried to escape and Sgt. Grega again rammed his cruiser into the suspect vehicle, this time disabling it and holding the suspect at gunpoint until assistance arrived. This dangerous, armed felon was taken into custody and later extradited back to Massachusetts to answer numerous charges, including attempted murder. 

Sgt. Grega earned an Meritorious Service Award for his efforts.

Trooper First Class Scott O’Donnell, Trooper First Class Bryan Martini, Old Lyme Officer Edward Vasko, Marine Corps First Lt. Alison Downton  On Sept. 2, 2007, at 12:44 p.m., Troop F personnel responded to a residence in Old Lyme for a medical emergency.  Trooper O’Donnell, Trooper Martini and Officer Vasko found First Lieutenant Alison Downton of the US Marine Corps providing assistance to a gentleman who was suffering from cardiac arrest.

First Lt Downton had the victim on his side to clear his airway and had started CPR.  Trooper O’Donnell then returned the victim to his back and began rescue breathing using a pocket mask.  During that time, the victim vomited, requiring that his airway be cleared and the mask be cleaned.  At that point, no pulse was detected, CPR was continued and a portable defibrillator was retrieved.  Officer Vasko operated the defibrillator and delivered a cardiac shock.

These individuals continued their efforts until ambulance personnel arrived.  The valiant efforts made by these individuals ensured that the victim had the opportunity to receive the more advanced care that his condition required. 

All involved in this incident earned awards for Lifesaving.

Trooper First Class Randall Conway, Trooper First Class Kevin Conway On Dec. 20, 2007, at about midnight, Trooper Randall Conway was patrolling the baggage claim area of Terminal A at Bradley International Airport when he was alerted to a medical emergency involving a male victim who had just collapsed.  Trooper Randall Conway found that the victim was not breathing and did not have a pulse.

Trooper Randall Conway, who was joined by Trooper Kevin Conway, began CPR. With the help of an automated defibrillator, the Troopers administered electric shocks to the man.  Members of the Bradley Fire Department’s Medical Team relieved the Troopers and assumed medical care.  The male victim was transported to a local hospital, where he was expected to make a full recovery. 

According to Bradley Fire Department officials, an analysis of the defibrillator’s internal components revealed that the victim was in ventricular fibrillation and that the actions of the Troopers most certainly prevented an untimely death.
            Trooper Kevin Conway and Trooper Randall Conway earned Lifesaving Awards.

Trooper First Class Chick Bistany, Trooper First Class Brian McGran, Clerk Linda Roque  On April 18, 2007, Troop H received a frantic 911 call from a female who only spoke Spanish. The caller was yelling for help, but the nature of the emergency was unknown due to the language barrier. The on-duty dispatcher called Troop H Office Clerk Linda Roque, who is fluent in Spanish, to assist with the call. 

Roque learned that the caller’s father was unconscious in the family car in the left lane of I-91 North in Hartford. The caller believed her father was having a heart attack.  A radio broadcast resulted in several Troopers responding to the scene.

Trooper McGran and Trooper Bistany removed the unconscious man from his vehicle and placed him on the roadway, where they determined he was not breathing and had no pulse. The Troopers immediately began performing CPR. They worked until an ambulance crew arrived on scene and transported the victim to an area hospital.

The Emergency Room physician reported that without the rapid response and immediate medical intervention performed by these Troopers, the victim would not have survived.

Troopers Bistany and  McGran of Troop H received a Lifesaving Award and Ms. Roque earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.

Lieutenant William Podgorski  On Sept. 15, 2006, at 7:31 a.m., Lt. Podgorski was on general patrol when he came upon a single vehicle accident on Route 72 in New Britain. A female motorist failed to negotiate a curve and lost control, striking the center median barrier.  The impact resulted in the flex beam rail penetrating the driver’s doors and severing the young operator’s leg.

Lt. Podgorski recognized the severity of the injury and the immediate need to stop the extensive bleeding. He obtained a bungee cord from his vehicle, returned to the victim and applied the bungee cord as a tourniquet, drastically slowing her blood loss. 

New Britain EMS arrived and transported the injured motorist to the hospital. On-scene paramedics, as well as Emergency Room physicians, stated that without the quick thinking of Lt. Podgorski, the young motorist would have perished as a result of her severe injury and blood loss.

Lt. Podgorski earned a Lifesaving Award for this incident.

Trooper First Class John Tollis, Trooper First Class Scott Menard On August 29, 2007, Trooper Tollis and Trooper Menard were assigned to a highway construction project on I- 91 Northbound near Exit 33 in Hartford.  At approximately 1:15 a.m., Trooper Menard reported that a driver was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes in the area of exits 34 & 35.  This location was in front of Trooper Tollis and his position in the roadway.
            Troopers Tollis and Menard were able to stop the vehicle. When the operator exited his vehicle, he attempted to have the Troopers shoot him by threatening the use of a gun.  The operator kept one hand behind his back and refused to show his hands.
            The operator continued to approach Trooper Menard in a threatening manner.  He retreated down the highway giving verbal commands. Trooper Tollis was then in a position to observe that the man did not have a weapon.  He tackled the suspect and, with the assistance of Trooper Menard, secured him for evaluation. 
            Troopers Tollis and Menard earned awards for Outstanding Service.

Trooper Mark Farotti, Troop F, Westbrook, Middletown Police Department 
On Nov. 18, 2007, at approximately 6:45 a.m., Troop F received several reports of activated commercial burglar alarms at several businesses along Route 17 in Durham.  Troopers determined that several businesses had been burglarized and that two male suspects in a white pick-up truck were involved.

Troop F personnel saturated the area. Trooper Mark Farotti found the two suspects in the process of committing another commercial burglary at a restaurant in Middletown. The suspects sped away in the truck, crashed the vehicle and fled on foot. State Troopers and K-9s along with Middletown Police Officers quickly set up a perimeter of the area to capture the fleeing suspects.
            After extensive search efforts by all involved, the two suspects were found hiding in a wooded area and were taken into custody.  Their truck contained evidence from several commercial burglaries committed that morning. This incident also led to several other commercial burglaries being solved in other towns. Central District Major Crime personnel assisted in processing the multiple investigations.  The men were found to be suspects in several other past burglaries that took place throughout the Troop F area.

Trooper Farotti received an Outstanding Service Award, Troop F personnel and officers from the Middletown Police Department received Unit Citation Awards.

Trooper First Class Jeffrey Keegan   On Sept. 23, 2007, Trooper Keegan, while off-duty in Farmington, observed Farmington Police Officer Brian Killiany involved in a struggle with a man who had been reported to be acting in a suspicious manner.

Trooper Keegan observed that Officer Killiany had deployed his Taser in an attempt to control the subject, who was refusing all police commands. Observing that the Taser appeared to have no effect and the male subject was threatening to hurt the officer, Trooper Keegan – without hesitation – immediately offered assistance to Officer Killiany.

A violent struggle ensued while trying to place the man under arrest.  Farmington Police Officer Sean Fitz arrived to assist and, as the struggle continued, the man attempted to remove Officer Fitz’s handgun and repeated threats to harm the officers.  Trooper Keegan prevented the man from obtaining the handgun as the man continued to struggle until the arrival of additional Farmington Police Officers, who proved vital to subduing the man.

Trooper Keegan earned an award for Outstanding Service.

Trooper First Class John Tollis   On August 18, 2006, at 3:50 a.m., West Hartford Police were called to an active domestic dispute in their town. A man had forced his way into the home of his ex-girlfriend and was holding her against her will. The suspect was well known to officers due to an extensive felony arrest record, which included numerous assaults against the police.

As West Hartford Officers arrived, a perimeter was established and contact was made with the suspect. A confrontation with the suspect and officers ensued. Police used their Tasers, which had no effect on the violent suspect, who retreated to his home and threatened to shoot the officers.

As the standoff continued, other law enforcement agencies were called to assist, including the Connecticut State Police. Trooper Tollis and his K-9, Diesel, responded. The standoff lasted more than two hours and during this time, under the protection of cover, Trooper Tollis engaged the hostile suspect in conversation through an open window.  Utilizing outstanding communication skills, Trooper Tollis developed a positive rapport with the suspect and convinced him to climb out the window and surrender peacefully.

Trooper Tollis earned an award for Outstanding Service in this incident.

Sergeant Christopher McCarthy, Troop I, New Haven Police Dept.  On Oct. 31, 2007, at 3:04 p.m., Judicial Marshals at New Haven Superior Court reported an inmate escaped from the courthouse by purporting himself to be another inmate.  The escapee, a convicted felon, had pending felony charges. He was considered a danger to the public and to the police.  

Sgt. Kevin Stratton and Trooper First Class Brent Aiken coordinated efforts at the courthouse to locate the escapee.  Many Troopers developed information and tracked down leads throughout the evening and into the night, including Sgt. Michael Davis, Sgt. William Kelly, Trooper First Class Jose Rosado, Trooper First Class John O’Connor, Det. Christopher Consorte, Det. Eric Peck, Det. Matthew Lacluyze, Det. Patrick Torneo, Det. Francis Budwitz, Jr., Trooper First Class Joseph Morelli and New Haven Det. Robert Criscuolo.

Sgt. Christopher McCarthy of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force was at court due to an ongoing narcotics investigation involving the inmate.  As a result of his knowledge of the inmate, Sgt. McCarthy provided vital information on his violent history, as well as any areas he was known to frequent. 

After eight hours of intensive searching, efforts to locate the escapee were called off, with plans to resume the search in the morning.  Sgt. McCarthy took it upon himself to check motels in the Branford area.  He located the escapee’s vehicle and contacted Sgt. Stratton, who responded to the scene, along with Troop I and G Troopers and Branford Police Officers.  A perimeter was set up and at approximately 4:20 a.m., the State Police Tactical Unit made entry into the occupied hotel room and took the escapee and his girlfriend into custody.

Sgt. McCarthy received an award for Outstanding Service, all others received a Unit Citation Award.
 

Master Sergeant Kevin Mingo, Trooper First Class Edward Benecchi, Trooper First Class Jeffrey Dubuc, Trooper Jonathan Naples, Trooper Albert Gorski, Troop I Personnel, Canine Unit On Sept. 2, 2007, at 11:30 a.m., New Haven Police reported to Troop I that the Dept. of Corrections reported that an inmate escaped from custody while being treated at the hospital. A convicted felon, the inmate escaped from his restraints. He had direct ties to the city, was incarcerated for assault and considered an imminent danger to the public.

Sgt. Mark Grasso assembled Troopers from Troops I and G and the Canine Unit.  Trooper First Class Robert Johnson, Jr., Trooper First Class Brent Aiken, Trooper First Class John O’Connor with K-9 Toby, Trooper First Class Trooper First Class Brian Faughnan with K-9 Buford and Trooper Philip Gawronski worked throughout the day to develop information and track down leads. Surveillance was maintained on the inmate’s former residence, a second floor apartment. 

At 7:42 p.m., M/Sgt. Mingo, Trooper Dubuc, Trooper Benecchi and his K-9 Sarik, Trooper Naples and Trooper Gorski went to the apartment.  M/Sgt. Mingo and Trooper Dubuc spoke with the inmate’s mother and girlfriend, who said they were unsure of the inmate’s whereabouts.

Trooper Gorski spotted the suspect exiting the second floor and jumping onto the roof. Trooper Dubuc ran to the third floor apartment, exited onto the roof through a back window and trained his Taser on the suspect. The suspect refused all commands and jumped off the roof. While jumping to the ground, Trooper Dubuc hit the suspect with the Taser and he was taken into custody after being tackled by M/Sgt. Mingo and Trooper Naples.

M/Sgt. Mingo, Trooper Benecchi, Trooper Dubuc, Trooper Naples and Trooper Gorski earned awards for Outstanding Service, all others earned the Unit Citation Award.

Trooper First Class Gary Perry   On Nov. 22, 2007, at 12:32 a.m., Troop F received a 911 call about a burglary occurring at a deli in Middlefield. Trooper First Class Gary Perry responded and observed a suspect vehicle operating erratically and attempting to flee from the scene.

After a short pursuit, the vehicle traveled off the roadway, coming to a final rest in the backyard of a residence.  The three occupants of the vehicle fled on foot into a wooded area.  A perimeter was set up with the assistance of Middletown Police and Troop I personnel and a K-9 track ultimately resulted in the apprehension of the three suspects.

It was later determined that the motor vehicle used in the crime had been stolen earlier in the night in Cromwell and the occupants were suspects in an attempted commercial burglary in Berlin.  One of the suspects was also a suspect in a Cromwell sexual assault.

Trooper Perry earned an award for Outstanding Service.


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