|STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2010
State Police Troopers from
TroopS A, B, G, L
Receive Service Awards
State Police Troopers from Troop A in Southbury, Troop B in North Canaan, Troop G in Bridgeport and Troop L in Litchfield 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:
Sergeant Roger Beaupre, Trooper First Class Christopher Snow, Trooper First Class Corey Sutherland, Trooper Matthew Stephens, Trooper First Class David LaBoy, Trooper First Class Michael DeMaio, Trooper First Class Joe Smigel On June 2, 2009, Bristol Police reported an armed robbery of a bank and provided a description of a suspect vehicle that fled the scene. The vehicle – a stolen van – was seen traveling on Route 6 into Farmington. A Bristol Police Officer engaged the vehicle in pursuit and moments later a Farmington Police Officer joined in.
The suspect vehicle suddenly stopped in the roadway and the occupants began to fire upon the officers. Again, the suspects fled the scene and were pursued into a residential neighborhood, where they fled the van.
Troopers from Troop H and the Traffic Services Unit, as well as several off-duty Troopers, responded to the area. Troopers and officers worked together to secure the perimeter while placing numerous businesses and schools in lockdown. Sergeant Roger Beaupre assigned responding Troopers to perimeter posts to prevent the escape of the assailants. Trooper First Class Michael DeMaio and Trooper First Class Joe Smigel worked with a Farmington K-9 Team to conduct a dog track from the stolen van into the wooded mountainside. Trooper First Class Christopher Snow and Trooper Matthew Stephens, along with off- duty Trooper First Class David LaBoy, were deployed to a tactical position on a road located on top of the mountain.
On that same road, one of the suspects encountered a woman in her garden, placed his handgun to her head and forced her into her home. Troopers Snow and LaBoy observed the suspect dragging the woman into her home and ran to intervene as the other Troopers & K9 Team approached. Farmington Officers and Troopers forced their way into the home and confronted the suspect at gun point. After a brief standoff, realizing he was out numbered and overwhelmed, the suspect surrendered his weapon and was taken into custody.
These Troopers demonstrated tactical skill, professionalism, teamwork, bravery and restraint while tracking and confronting this armed assailant. All Troopers involved were awarded a medal for Meritorious Service.
Sergeant Daniel Samosky On April 18, 2009, a resident of Oxford learned that he had an outstanding arrest warrant held by Troop I. The man became extremely agitated and irate.
A witness observed the man barricade himself in his garage and arm himself with a propane tank and arc welder, along with numerous weapons. The man also yelled loudly that he would kill any police officers who tried to arrest him. This witness worried about families in the neighborhood and called 911.
Several Troopers – both on-duty and off-duty – responded to the address, including Oxford Resident Trooper Sergeant Daniel Semosky. He found the man sitting on a chair in his driveway behind a barricade with a compound bow and arrow close to his side. The man was holding the arc welder in one hand and had a nail gun propped up against a compressed propane gas tank. Sgt. Semosky initiated a dialogue with the man, left the safety of cover, and inched forward at great personal risk to himself.
Sgt. Semosky continued the dialogue until he came within ten feet of the man, knowing that at any time, the man could ignite the gas propane tank with the arc welder – killing or injuring anyone in the immediate vicinity.
At one point, the man informed Sgt. Semosky not to turn off the power to the house because he would drive a nail from a concrete nail gun into the top of the pressurized propane tank, causing an explosion.
The stand-off continued for two hours. Sgt. Semosky was able to defuse a very volatile situation by disarming the barricaded resident and taking him into custody. His quick actions prevented a large explosion and probable injuries. Sergeant Samosky earned an award for Meritorious Service.
Trooper First Class David Edwards, Sergeant Wesley Clark, Connecticut State Police, Dept. of Correction, Drug Enforcement Administration, Greenwich Police Dept., Norwalk Police Dept. Stamford Police Dept., Stratford Police Dept., State's Attorney's Office
On May 25, 2009, a Bridgeport man was sentenced to 18 years in prison. This sentencing was a result of a five-year, extremely demanding investigation which began with a March 2004 burglary in the town of Southbury, in which $90,000 in cash and jewelry was taken.
Through numerous search warrants and arduous interviews, investigators learned that the suspect was the ringleader of a criminal organization responsible for burglaries, larcenies and the distribution and sale of narcotics throughout Fairfield and New Haven Counties. A wiretap was completed, leading to the suspect’s arrest consisting of nine arrest warrants and totaling 80 felony counts – as well as additional misdemeanor counts – for charges related to narcotics sales, a medical script/pharmacy scheme, larcenies/burglaries, financial crimes and harassment.
Tweve co-conspirators were identified and many were convicted in separate proceedings culminating in sentences ranging between 10 and 20 years. Several of the co-conspirators also had violent criminal histories including homicide, manslaughter and weapons-related violations.
At the time of his arrest, the main suspect was free on three separate bonds stemming from multiple arrests. One of these arrests was for the burglary of a home in Bridgeport owned by a husband and wife who were victims of a homicide when their Fairfield jewelry store was robbed.
The successful conclusion of this investigation was based on excellent police work involving interviews and confessions from hardened criminals, exhausting surveillances, numerous controlled buys of narcotics, superb handling of informants and properly gathered and documented physical evidence. Most importantly, commendable teamwork was forged between the Western District Major Crime Squad, the Statewide Organized Crime Interdiction Task Force, the Northwest Statewide Narcotics Task Force, the State Police Gangs Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice, Chief State’s Attorney’s and Bridgeport State’s Attorney’s Offices.
Troopers Edwards and Clark earned Meritorious Service Awards; all others earned a Unit Citation Award.
Trooper First Class Anthony Smart On May 31, 2009, at 3:24 p.m., Trooper First Class Anthony Smart was on patrol on Interstate 95. As he was exiting the highway, a motorist was approaching his vehicle from behind and flashing his car’s high beams at him. Trooper Smart pulled over to talk with the driver, who informed him that someone was choking in a vehicle on the southbound side of the highway.
Trooper Smart responded and located a parked minivan. The rear door was open and a father was holding a five-year-old boy in his arms. The child had a seatbelt wrapped around his neck and the father had a finger between the childs neck and the seatbelt. Trooper Smart noted that the child appeared limp, as if he was ready to lose consciousness. The Trooper used his seatbelt cutter to cut the seatbelt and immediately the child became alert.
It was later determined that the child was sleeping and had become entangled in the seatbelt. The child suffered bruising to his neck. The father later said that he was unable to call for help because he had to keep his finger between the seatbelt and his son’s neck.
The attentiveness and quick reaction of Trooper First Class Anthony Smart saved the boy’s life and earned him a Lifesaving Award.
Trooper First Class Bernard O’Donnell On August 2, 2009, Trooper First Class Bernard O’Donnell came upon a traffic accident on Interstate 84 Eastbound, near Exit 17 in Middlebury. One of the vehicles involved in the crash was on fire and that the elderly driver of the vehicle was still seated inside. Trooper O’Donnell moved quickly and pulled the elderly driver from the burning vehicle.
The actions of Trooper First Class Bernard O’Donnell were at great personal risk to his own safety and were instrumental in saving the life of another human being. He earned a Lifesaving Award.
Trooper Kenneth Ventresca, Sergeant James Kline On August 27, 2009, at approximately 6:24 p.m., Troop G received a 911 call reporting that civilians were performing CPR on a woman in the Interstate 95 Northbound Milford rest area. Trooper Ventresca was dispatched. Sgt. Kline was off-duty, but he was in the area and responded as well.
Trooper Ventresca and Sgt. Kline found the victim, a 72-year-old woman, in full cardiac arrest. They began CPR and revived the victim. EMS Personnel arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital in stable condition.
Trooper Ventresca and Sgt. Kline are commended for their quick response, which undoubtedly saved the victim’s life and earned them a Lifesaving Award.
Trooper First Class Michael Roach On September 6, 2009, at approximately 2:37 a.m., Trooper Roach was dispatched to a one-car motor vehicle accident on Interstate 84 Westbound, near exit 21 in Waterbury. The crash was in the left lane of the highway, around a sharp curve.
Upon arrival, Trooper Roach observed a female in the vehicle hanging upside down, pinned to the passenger side floor boards. The woman was having difficulty breathing, so Trooper Roach climbed into the vehicle and established an airway for the woman. Trooper Roach was able to hold the victim’s head, keeping an open airway for more than ten minutes, until EMS personnel arrived.
Trooper Roach’s actions were at great personal risk to his own safety as he was in the left lane around a sharp curve of a highly traveled interstate. He earned a Lifesaving Award for his response.
Trooper Christopher Allegro, Police Officer Doug Lange, Trooper First Class Christopher Colasanto and Trooper First Class John Kimball In the fall of 2008, the New Fairfield Resident Troopers Office received several calls regarding items stolen from local houses and other buildings. Troopers Allegro, Colasanto and Kimball and Police Officer Doug Lange located, identified and arrested the perpetrators. A detailed search of the suspect vehicle and subsequent interviews led to the resolution of burglaries in four towns. Multiple burglaries in New York were also closed with the capture of these suspects.
The investigation revealed that the man-woman team worked the crime spree together, acting as lookouts for each other with walkie-talkies. Both were charged with multiple counts.
Police from several other municipalities have inspected the seized items and believe some may belong to victims in their towns. They await additional counts from the court.
The Troopers and Officer in this case demonstrated exceptional skill and prevented further burglaries in the town of New Fairfield and elsewhere. Each earned an Outstanding Service Award.
Trooper First Class Joseph Roden, Trooper First Class Michael Trotman On August 31, 2007, Trooper Roden, assigned to the Woodbury Resident Trooper's Office, received a complaint from an employer about an employee who failed to report for work, which was out of character for this employee.
Trooper Roden and Trooper Trotman responded to the home of the employee and attempted to make contact with him after it was determined that both the employee and his fiancé’s vehicles were at the residence. After checking with neighbors and receiving no response at the door, a family member was contacted and responded to the home with a key.
Troopers entered the home and found a deceased female inside and a male on the floor in a semi-conscious state. Subsequent investigation revealed the male had fatally strangled the female and then attempted to commit suicide. Trooper Roden and Trooper Trotman secured the accused, seized his clothing and went with him to the hospital, where he later confessed that he had killed his fiancé.
Troopers Roden and Trotman not only saved the life of the accused, but ensured that crucial evidence from the scene was preserved for his murder prosecution. Their actions earned each an Outstanding Service Award.
Trooper Catherine Koeppel On October 26, 2009, Trooper Koeppel was assigned to investigate a burglary/larceny complaint at a residence in Sherman. Trooper Koeppel determined that forced entry had been used to enter the home. Once inside, the perpetrator removed cash, a large amount of jewelry, a shotgun and a briefcase containing personal documents. The homeowner estimated the total value of items stolen to be about a half-million dollars.
Trooper Koeppel conducted a thorough investigation – including interviews and a crime scene search for physical evidence – and developed a possible suspect. Due to Trooper Koeppel’s diligence, criminal investigation skills and determination, one of the perpetrators was identified and arrested within days. This arrest resulted in a full confession and the identification of a second perpetrator.
Trooper Koeppel’s actions led to a search warrant execution and a majority of the stolen property was recovered. An arrest warrant for the second perpetrator was also approved. The perpetrators were charged with larceny, criminal mischief and burglary. Trooper Koeppel earned an Outstanding Service Award for her actions.
Troop L, Woodbury Resident Trooper’s Office On October 9, 2009, Troop L received a call from a distraught female who had fled her home in Woodbury after her intoxicated boyfriend loaded a rifle and a shotgun in their home and threatened to harm others.
Trooper First Class Joseph Roden and Trooper First Class Daniel Sliby, along with Woodbury Officers Rich Marsh, Steve Tokarz, and George Romano, responded to the scene – a densely populated residential housing complex. As personnel closed adjacent roadways and secured the perimeter, the accused was observed exiting the home with an assault rifle strapped to his back. When the accused walked away from his vehicle without the rifle, he was taken into custody at gunpoint without further incident.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the accused was despondent over financial concerns from a recent divorce and had made threats to kill his ex-wife, his children and himself. Located in his vehicle were a fully loaded assault rifle, a loaded sawed-off shotgun and more than eight hundred rounds of ammunition.
The quick actions of police personnel at this rapidly-evolving incident secured the safety of the victim and neighboring community. They earned a Unit Citation Award.
Dispatcher Karen Geisel On September 1, 2009, at 12:57 a.m., Dispatcher Karen Geisel was on duty at Troop G when she took a phone call from a suicidal man. The man said he wanted the phone number for the suicide hotline. When asked for his location by Dispatcher Geisel, he hung up the phone.
Dispatcher Geisel viewed the caller’s phone number and immediately contacted the phone company for assistance in locating the man’s name and address. The phone company gave a possible name for the man and Dispatcher Geisel checked it in the NCIC/COLLECT system in an attempt to locate an address. Possible addresses in the towns of Bridgeport and Trumbull were provided.
Dispatcher Geisel then contacted the police departments in each town and relayed the information she had. She then called the man on his phone and kept him on the line, attempting to help him. The suicidal male refused to give his address, and continued to tell Dispatcher Geisel that he was going to kill himself.
Dispatcher Geisel then contacted the local electric company in an attempt to locate an address for the person. The electric company gave a possible address in Bridgeport. Dispatcher Geisel immediately contacted the Bridgeport Police Department and a short while later, Bridgeport Police Officers arrived at the address, located the suicidal man and rendered aid to him.
If it were not for the quick thinking and diligent actions of Dispatcher Geisel, the suicidal man may have killed himself. Dispatcher Geisel earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award for her actions.