|STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2010
State Police Troopers from Troop C in Tolland, Troop D in Danielson, Troop E in Montville and Troop K in Colchester received awards for service during a ceremony January 15 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 men and women serving in local and federal law enforcement agencies, those serving as first responders and civilians. 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:
Ø The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to those who render 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.
Ø The Lifesaving Award is presented to those who save a human life or make a valiant attempt to save a life.
Ø The Outstanding Service Award is given to those who successfully perform an extreme, complex or difficult investigation. The person(s) also may demonstrate exceptional skill or ingenuity in the apprehension of a wanted person, provide outstanding service to the public and or continuously achieve excellence in performance of duties over an extended period of time.
Ø 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.
Awards were presented to:
Trooper First Class Mark Juhola On December 16, 2008, Brooklyn Resident Trooper First Class Mark Juhola was dispatched to a disturbance that was no longer in progress. Trooper Juhola quickly developed a rapport with the complainant and began compiling unrelated information relative to the possible sale of stolen firearms in the Brooklyn area.
Trooper Juhola followed up on the information and discovered that the guns in question may have been stolen from a burglary in Coventry, Rhode Island. An investigation spanned more than two months and required Trooper Juhola to dedicate numerous hours of his own time, coordinate various resources within the State Police and with out-of-state police agencies, and conduct dozens of interviews to locate and recover multiple items of stolen property.
Trooper Juhola recovered six stolen firearms found in the possession of a high school student and $14,430 in stolen property. He solved nine burglaries within the towns of Brooklyn, Pomfret and Plainfield as well as in three Rhode Island towns. During this same time, Trooper Juhola remained active with his regular patrol duties and with providing security at town meetings during an extremely contentious zoning issue. He also worked out budgetary issues with town government and provided the various types of services demanded of a Resident Trooper in a busy town.
Trooper Juhola earned a Meritorious Service Award for his actions.
Trooper First Class Matthew Garcia During 2008, the Mansfield community was plagued with numerous residential burglaries by someone targeting off-campus UConn student housing. Through a diligent investigation by the Mansfield Resident Trooper’s Office and the Major Crime Squad, a prime suspect was identified.
On December 23, 2008, Trooper First Class Matthew Garcia stopped a vehicle driven by the prime suspect. The suspect was arrested for burglary, motor vehicle violations and narcotics charges. Located in the vehicle were several items from a recent burglary.
During August of 2009, the suspect was arrested on the last active arrest warrant stemming from his spree of burglaries in Mansfield. This investigation resulted in the recovery of $5,200 in stolen property and solved five residential burglaries.
The efforts of Trooper Garcia resulted in a significant decrease in the burglaries affecting the town of Mansfield. He earned an Outstanding Service Award.
Detective Michael Hoague & Detective Scott Crevier, Troop C, Troop L, the Eastern District Major Crime Squad, the Hartford Initiative, the Fugitive Task Force, members of the Hartford and Madison Police Depts., U.S. Marshal Service, the State’s Attorney’s Office, the Forensic Lab and the Dept. of Probation.
On Dec. 12, 2008, Troop C Troopers and Town of Ellington Constables responded to a robbery at a jewelry store in Ellington. The first Troopers to arrive discovered three males bound and gagged within their vehicle. The men were robbed of personal belongings, as well as jewelry items that they had just purchased, as they exited the store.
Det. Hoague and Det. Crevier, were called to the scene for processing. In the months that followed, these detectives discovered that the robbery was committed by a group of Hartford-area organized violent criminals who were involved in crimes throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts. The detectives linked these criminals to cases in other jurisdictions, obtained warrants and arrested three individuals for this case and four for other crimes associated with the case. Of the three arrested for the robbery, two had violent criminal histories that included convictions for robberies, burglaries and homicide.
Dets. Hoague and Crevier worked countless hours linking the Ellington robbery to an entire criminal enterprise that included other robberies, credit card fraud, identity theft, welfare fraud, narcotics, computer crimes, auto theft, kidnapping and larceny. The work coordinated by these two detectives is associated with the solving of as many as 100 crimes in Connecticut and Massachusetts. They could not have solved these crimes without the support and professional assistance from those named above.
Dets. Hoague and Crevier earned Outstanding Service Awards, all others earned a Unit Citation Award.
Sergeant Todd Stevens, Trooper First Class Heath Ericson, Trooper First Class David Lavoie and Trooper First Class Randy Silvestri From April 1, 2008, to June 1, 2009, Sgt. Stevens, TFC Ericson, TFC Lavoie and TFC Silvestri were members of the Quality of Life Task Force at Troop D.
The Task Force is a community policing unit committed to proactively identifying and aggressively combating problematic trends in criminal activity. Task Force members regularly meet with neighborhood residents, business owners and citizens to solve ongoing police issues perceived by the public as most affecting their quality of life.
These four Troopers were challenged by their superiors to combat crime by applying both traditional and innovative solutions to such issues as illegal narcotics activity, burglary, larceny and firearms trafficking. The Troopers initiated or assisted in multiple high-profile investigations, utilizing confidential informants and coordinating resources between citizens, uniform patrol, Resident Troopers, the Statewide Narcotics Task Force, the Statewide Firearms Trafficking Task Force and the Eastern District Major Crime Squad.
Their tireless efforts during this 14-month period yielded 54 controlled narcotics purchases, 61 narcotics arrests, more than $34,000 in seized drug monies, nine recovered stolen or illegal firearms, the solving of nine burglaries in a multi-state area, the recovery of more than $16,000 in stolen property as well as two stolen cars, the service of 41 search warrants and the seizure of many narcotics, including nearly three kilos of cocaine and 19 pounds of marijuana.
These four Troopers earned an Outstanding Service Award.
Sergeant Christopher High, Trooper Lori Foster, Trooper Kalen Brown, Trooper First Class Brian Kilcomons, Trooper Bryan Fahey, Trooper First Class Gary Butters, Trooper First Class James Collins, Trooper Greg Hunter, New London Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Henry E. Kydd, New London Fire Dept. Lt. Joseph Stanley, New London Fire Dept. Firefighter Kaim Rosado, New London Fire Dept. Firefighter Todd Johnson
On December 12, 2009, at 7:04 a.m., Troopers responded to a report of a despondent male on the Gold Star Bridge in New London, hanging over the side of the bridge directly over the Thames River. Troopers learned that the man had scaled the safety fence and was suicidal.
Troopers spent the next 90 minutes in strong wind and frigid temperatures negotiating with the despondent man. While negotiating with him, the New London Fire Department responded to the scene and assumed strategic security positions. As it became apparent that the man was unlikely to submit to custody, Troopers distracted him and seized an opportunity to grab hold of him, at which time he attempted to fling himself off the bridge.
Troopers and firefighters held the man, struggling to secure him. A New London Firefighter climbed over the bridge fencing and provided additional security. After 20 minutes, the New London Fire Department and Troopers were able to cut several layers of bridge fencing and bring the individual off the rail of the bridge to awaiting medical personnel.
The actions of the Troopers and firefighters were extraordinary. They physically struggled with a suicidal man 150 feet above the water on the ledge of a bridge in frigid temperatures for more than 20 minutes, determined to save his life. The actions in this incident were a team effort, which required the direct actions and assistance of all of the personnel on the bridge that morning.
All involved earned awards for Lifesaving.
Eastern District Major Crime Squad, Hartford Police Department On Sept. 21, 2009, a bank on Route 32 in Montville was robbed by a woman who told bank personnel that she was armed with a bomb. Detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad at Troop E identified a suspect and assembled sufficient evidence to secure an arrest warrant for the woman.
Despite the efforts of detectives, the suspect eluded capture and committed five more bank robberies in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Detectives aggressively pursued leads and identified potential locations for the suspect in order to prevent further robberies and to avoid any potential violence on the part of the suspect.
Detectives believed that the woman was recruiting others to join her and indications revealed that she was becoming more desperate and might resort to violence. Understanding that her brazen robberies would not stop until she was captured, Detectives learned that the suspect might be in Hartford preparing for another robbery.
Detectives worked with officers from the Hartford Police Dept. in an intense joint effort to locate the suspect. Their collective investigative efforts, coupled with astute undercover surveillance techniques, established the woman’s location. The detectives converged on an area in Hartford where they took her into custody without further incident. At the time, the suspect was in possession of a note and directions to another bank. She admitted that she was en route to commit another robbery. In addition, she confessed to committing the six bank robberies and implicated several accomplices in these acts.
All involved earned a Unit Citation Award.
Connecticut State Police, MGM Grand Hotel Security Office, Dick’s Sporting Goods Manager On May 5, 2009, MGM Grand employee Shawn Waterman found a discarded rifle box in the trash at an entrance of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Det. Patrick Mulcahy contacted the firearms company, reported the serial number from the box, and learned that the weapon in question was distributed to a national sporting goods store.
Sgt. Neal Wholey went to the local outlet of the store and spoke with the store manager, Eric Holliday, who provided the identity of the purchaser, a man from Georgia. MGM Security Supervisor Darien Keen coordinated efforts with Surveillance Officer Bonnie Tellett to track the subject. They located the individual at a concierge desk in the Casino. Dets. Mulcahy, Scott Edwards and George Leitkowski found the suspect, who admitted that the weapon was in his hotel room. A consent search of the room revealed the shotgun stowed under the bed. The barrel had been sawed off and the man was arrested.
The man admitted his intent to commit suicide with the shotgun. He was transported to a local hospital for an emergency police committal. All involved in saving this man’s life earned a Unit Citation Award.
Troop K, Colchester On April 10, 2009, at 2:49 a.m., Troop K received a 911 call from a distraught female reporting that her boyfriend was armed with a long gun and had pointed the rifle at her. The caller had been assaulted by the man, who also challenged to harm any responding police, and then left the scene in his vehicle.
Trooper Daniel DeJesus and Trooper First Class Joseph Colella quickly located the suspect vehicle. The suspect fled into a wooded area in a park, forcing the Troopers to establish a perimeter.
Trooper Joshua McElroy and Trooper First Class Paul Arigno and his K9, Flip, also responded to the scene, confining the violator to an area in a forest preserve. As Sergeant Kevin Ryan responded, Troopers maintained the perimeter. Trooper Colella addressed the violator through the PA unit in his cruiser and talked the violator out of the woods, where he was taken into custody. Troopers searched the park, ultimately recovering two rifles and ammunition that the violator had hidden.
All Troopers involved earned a Unit Citation Award.
Mr. Corey Filewich On February 14, 2009, Troop K was notified by KX Emergency Communications that six-year-old Corey Filewich had contacted his grandmother because his mother was unresponsive at the family home. KX was able to contact Corey and he provided information to them as to the location of the family home as well as his mother’s medical condition.
Corey provided care for his three-year-old brother and brought in the family dogs so that medical personnel could safely enter the home. During this entire episode, Corey remained calm.
Medical personnel transported his mother to a local hospital for treatment of her medical condition. The responding medical personnel stated that the mother was in need of immediate medical attention and Corey’s rapid response was crucial.
Corey Filewich displayed quick thinking and awareness during a medical emergency involving his mother in their home. His actions saved his mother’s life. He earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Mr. Jason Pollard On Sunday, December 7, 2008, at 7:00 a.m. Jason Pollard was operating a Connecticut Transit Bus on Interstate 84 eastbound near exit 67 in Vernon when he came upon a distraught female on the highway. This female had exited a vehicle and was fleeing a man who had assaulted her in Rocky Hill.
Pollard picked the woman up while driving his bus and continued eastbound away from the suspect. The suspect chased the bus with his car, passed the bus, and made a U-turn on I-84. The suspect traveled west in the eastbound lanes and attempted to ram the bus head-on. An evasive maneuver by Pollard resulted in a glancing collision at which point the suspect vehicle skidded off the highway. Pollard was in contact with Troop C while driving eastbound and waiting to be intercepted by a State Police cruiser.
The suspect then stole a car from another driver who had stopped to help him after the collision with the bus. The suspect again turned around on I-84 and again attempted to collide head-on with Pollard’s bus. This time he collided into the rear wheels of a tractor trailer that was traveling behind the bus.
Pollard drove the victim to safety at exit 69 where they met Troopers from Troop C. The suspect was arrested at the spot where he struck the tractor trailer. Throughout this incident, Pollard remained poised, in control and in constant contact with the Troop C dispatcher.
The quick thinking and awareness of Jason Pollard were key to helping a citizen in distress. He earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.