|STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2011
State Police Troopers from
TroopS A, B, G, AND 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 November 16 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 Commissioner Reuben Bradford and State Police Colonel Danny R. Stebbins.
Awards were presented in five categories:
Ø The Medal for Bravery is awarded to a Trooper who demonstrates exceptional heroism in the performance of duty while exposed to life-threatening danger.
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 Trooper 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 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 Michael Dyki On October 2, 2010, at 9:15 p.m., the Waterbury Police Department broadcast the news that officers were searching for a vehicle wanted in connection with a shooting. Trooper Dyki took a post on Route 8 in Seymour and, several minutes later, he spotted the suspect vehicle.
Trooper Dyki followed the vehicle – remaining undetected by the suspects – in an effort to avoid a pursuit and reduce any risk to public safety. The vehicle exited the highway and pulled into a gas station, where two males exited the vehicle and entered the building. Trooper Dyki moved into position, and when the males exited the building, he took them into custody at gunpoint just as backup arrived. A search of the vehicle revealed a loaded semi-automatic pistol. According to Waterbury Police, shell casings from the same type of pistol were found at the shooting scene. It was later learned that the men were responsible for two separate street robberies in Waterbury.
Trooper Dyki earned an Award for Meritorious Service.
Lt. Edward Gould, Sgt. Kenneth Cain, Sgt. Patrick Torneo, Det. Keith Graham, Det. Marc Grandpre, Det. Sean Krauss, Det. Mark Wiener, Det. Carmine Verno, Det. Paul McElroy, New Haven Officer Robert Lawlor, New Haven Officer Michael Styles, Orange Police Det. Christopher Chiarelli, Cheshire Police Det. Frederick Jortner, Woodbridge Police Officer Gerald Kubik, Middlebury Police Officer Alton Cronin, Waterbury Police Officer Max Torres, Waterbury Police Lt. Mike Panzillo, Waterbury Police Sgt. Tim Kluntz, Waterbury Police Officer Juan Rivera, Waterbury Police Officer Eric Medina, Waterbury Police Officer Billy Weidmier, Waterbury Police Officer Ed Rivera, Waterbury Police Officer Nelson Padua,Waterbury Police Officer Rich Hemel, Waterbury Police Detective Robert Liquindoli, Waterbury Police Detective Rick Innaimo, Waterbury Police Detective Mike McKenna, Parole Officer Steve O’Connor
On December 1, 2010, the Statewide Narcotics Task Force South Central Office, along with an undercover officer from the East Office, concluded a two-month investigation into a cocaine trafficking organization operating in the New Haven and Waterbury areas. This case concluded with assistance from the Northwest and East Field Offices in conjunction with the Waterbury Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit.
Undercover Detectives were able to arrange for the purchase of a kilo of cocaine from the suspects at a hotel in Waterbury. One of the suspects was taken into custody as he met with an undercover detective in a vehicle. When detectives learned that the kilo and other suspects were in a hotel room, they gained access to the room and detained three more suspects. The room was secured and a search and seizure warrant was obtained.
Detectives seized 1,303 grams of cocaine, $7,535 in cash and a motor vehicle. The four individuals were charged with numerous narcotics-related violations. With the success of this investigation, a very large amount of illegal narcotics was taken out of the hands of drug dealers and therefore out of the community.
All involved in this investigation demonstrated a high degree of alertness, perseverance, and superior judgment in the performance of a difficult task. They each received an Award for Meritorious Service.
Sergeant John Jacobi On November 13, 2010, at approximately 3:13 a.m., Troop G received numerous 911 calls regarding a vehicle traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Fairfield.
Sgt. Jacobi began to slow traffic northbound at Exit 19, bringing vehicles to a stop. The wrong-way operator initially slowed in the left shoulder of the highway, then attempted to accelerate erratically across the left and center lanes avoiding Sgt. Jacobi. Sgt. Jacobi successfully positioned his cruiser in an attempt to block the wrong-way vehicle from striking stopped traffic. Sgt. Jacobi’s actions protected innocent motorists from injury by placing himself in harm’s way.
The operator of the wrong-way vehicle was taken into custody and charged with operating under the influence, reckless driving and driving the wrong way on a divided highway.
Sgt. Jacobi earned an Award for Meritorious Service for his actions.
Sgt. Daniel Semosky & Sgt. Robert Boroski On Jan. 12, 2011, at 10:23 p.m., a woman called Troop A reporting that her friend ran from her home in Oxford because her husband had been drinking, was out of control and was destroying their house. The caller was extremely concerned about the friend’s husband and the potential violence.
Troopers, including Sgt. Daniel Semosky, were dispatched to the scene of the Oxford house. They set up a perimeter around the home and tried to contact the husband by telephone. Troopers observed an individual in an upstairs bedroom window throwing things against the wall.
Sgt. Robert Boroski responded to the victim who was at her friend’s home. The victim stated that her husband had loaded firearms in the house. Sgt. Boroski used the victim’s phone to speak briefly to the husband and convince him to surrender, but the irate husband refused and demanded that the police leave his home. The man then abruptly terminated the conversation.
Sgt. Boroski returned to the Oxford home, where Sgt. Semosky attempted to contact the husband. Sgt. Boroski was in contact with the victim and her friend who reported that they received text messages from the husband which included suicidal statements. The stand-off continued until 3:40 a.m. the next day, when the husband exited his residence and surrendered.
Sgt. Semosky and Sgt. Boroski are commended for their superior judgment and perseverance in ending a five-hour standoff and apprehending the accused man. They each earned an Award for Meritorious Service.
Trooper Josef D’Uva & Sgt. Daniel Semosky On Jan. 14, 2011, at 11:34 a.m., Troop A received a 911 call regarding a disturbance at an Oxford home which included a handgun. The victim reported that her former boyfriend came to her house, was extremely confrontational, restrained her, assaulted her and struck her in the face while armed with a pistol. The suspect then fled the home with the victim’s grandmother’s funeral urn.
Sgt. Semosky called the suspect on his cell phone, but the man refused to surrender or cooperate with the State Police. Sgt. Semosky and Trooper D’Uva responded to the suspect’s residence in Oxford. The Troopers learned that the suspect had a long history of resisting arrest and that this residence was the scene of a past stand-off with the State Police.
Trooper D’Uva and Sgt. Semosky approached the suspect’s residence using trees and snow piles for cover. The Troopers quickly secured the startled suspect and took him into custody. His loaded pistol was found and secured, as were two rifles.
The quick and decisive actions of Trooper D’Uva and Sgt. Semosky prevented this suspect from retrieving his loaded weapons, and arming and barricading himself in his home. Each Trooper earned an Award for Meritorious Service.
Litchfield Constable Peter Russo, Litchfield Ambulance Captain John Pudlinski, Litchfield Ambulance Mike Gallagher, Paramedic Jeffrey Ganung On Dec. 22, 2010, at 11 a.m., Litchfield County Dispatch received a 911 call from a residence in Litchfield reporting a 26-year-old unconscious female. Officer Russo was the first responder to the residence. He assessed and monitored the patient with the assistance of a family member.
Ambulance Members Pudlinski and Gallagher arrived on the scene as the patient went into full cardiac arrest. Pudlinski and Russo started CPR and chest compressions. Their efforts were successful and the patient regained a pulse, started to breathe on her own and regained consciousness. The patient was transported to a local hospital with the assistance of Paramedic Ganung and made a full recovery.
Officer Russo earned a Lifesaving Medal; the ambulance members earned Commissioner Recognition Awards.
Trooper Jonathan Naples, Trooper William Ortiz On Oct. 19, 2010, at 8:30 p.m., Naugatuck Police contacted Troop I and requested a K-9 team to locate a wanted/suicidal suspect. Trooper Naples with K-9 Euro and Trooper Ortiz responded and were advised that the suspect had cut his wrists, was armed with two large knives and had fled the scene of a domestic disturbance.
The Troopers and K-9 tracked the suspect for more than one mile through woods and along railroad tracks. The suspect was located attempting to conceal himself near the railroad tracks. He refused numerous commands to show his hands, which were concealed in his waistband. While Trooper Naples distracted the suspect, Trooper Ortiz tackled the suspect and placed him in custody. The suspect revealed that his intent was to throw himself in front of a train due to come through the area. Troopers Naples and Ortiz earned the Lifesaving Medal.
Trooper Andrew Fisher, Sgt. Jeffrey Norkus On Jan. 1, 2011, at 1:07 a.m., Sergeant Norkus and Trooper Fisher were responding as back-up units to an incident in Woodbury. On the way, the Troopers located an intoxicated female in cardiac arrest in a snow bank off the roadway in Woodbury.
Sgt. Norkus and Trooper Fisher immediately rendered aid and performed CPR on the woman, who had stopped breathing. A local ambulance arrived and transported the woman to a local hospital.
It was later learned that the woman suffered from extreme hypothermia and a sudden loss of cardiac function, which would have lead to death within minutes. The woman has since fully recovered, thanks to the initiative and lifesaving efforts demonstrated by Sgt. Norkus and Trooper Fisher. Their actions earned each of them the Lifesaving Medal.
Oxford Corporal James Burr & EMT April Brooks On Nov. 17, 2010, a teen driver was traveling on a road in Oxford with three passengers when he lost control of the vehicle while negotiating a slight curve in the roadway. The vehicle spun out of control and completely severed a wooden utility pole. The vehicle caught fire due to the significant damage.
The driver and two passengers exited the vehicle; however, a third passenger was unable to exit due to serious injuries, including a compound fracture of her left femur. Off-duty Oxford EMT April Brooks responded to the crash and was able to pull the passenger from the vehicle. Corporal Burr also responded and, upon seeing the imminent danger the burning vehicle presented to both the injured teen passenger and EMT Brooks, he lifted the injured passenger while EMT Brooks stabilized the girls’ head and neck. Together, they slowly moved the injured girl to safety away from the extreme danger of the now fully-involved car fire.
The girl suffered both a fracture to her neck and to her left femur. Without the immediate and timely assistance of both EMT Brooks and Corporal Burr, the passenger would not have been able to free herself from the burning vehicle
Oxford Corporal Burr earned the Lifesaving Medal; EMT Brooks earned the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Det. Marvin Miller, Det. Colleen Anuszewski, Det. Roberto Gomez, Sgt. Robert Kenney, Lt. Dale Hourigan In April 2010, Detectives Miller, Anuszewski and Gomez of the Statewide Firearms Trafficking Task Force began an investigation into the sale of illegal firearms originating from a seller in Bridgeport. The detectives used a confidential informant to arrange for the purchase of a rifle. After debriefing the informant, detectives learned the seller – a convicted felon on parole – had additional firearms for sale including four pistols, two of them fitted with silencers. The seller tried to recruit the informant to participate in a home invasion, robbery and murder of a Fairfield family.
The detectives, working with Sgt. Kenney, arranged for the purchase of two illegal pistols by the informant. At that meeting, the seller arrived without the pistols. He again attempted to recruit the informant and discussed detailed plans for the home invasion, robbery and murder. The Troopers successfully recorded the suspect’s plans in which he described the names of the intended victims, how they were to be murdered, the name of his co-conspirator who authored the plans and the amount and split of monies to be taken during the commission of the crime.
Task Force personnel learned that FBI Special Agents were simultaneously targeting subjects of their investigation in the commission of other crimes. Information provided by the FBI uncovered additional facts used to arrest one suspect in this conspiracy. Lt. Hourigan and Det. Miller, accompanied by FBI Agents, located the targeted family and notified them of the plot.
The combined efforts, skill and perseverance of this undercover investigative team resulted in the capture and arrest of one suspect and the court-ordered arrest of a second felon, allowing federal authorities to solve a second, unrelated home invasion from Stamford. The investigative efforts were above and beyond normal expectations resulting in the prevention in this most serious of crimes. All investigators earned the Award for Outstanding Service.
Trooper Robert Olechowski, Trooper Anthony Sciarretto & Trooper Stephen J. Perrault On Dec. 23, 2010, at 1:53 a.m., Trooper Olechowski was on Route 179 in Burlington when he initiated a motor vehicle stop. As Trooper Olechowski approached the vehicle, the operator rolled down his window. The Trooper immediately recognized the odor of both raw and burnt marijuana emanating from the vehicle.
Trooper Olechowski requested backup units and Trooper Sciarretto and Trooper Perrault responded. The Troopers conducted a search and found a container plus ten clear plastic bags of a green leafy substance and more than $8,000 in cash. The items recovered tested positive for the presence of marijuana. The total amount of marijuana seized from the vehicle was approximately 5.5 pounds, with an estimated street value of $30,000.
Each Trooper earned an Award for Outstanding Service for their role.
TFC Ryan Pfeiffer, Oxford Officer Luke Ramirez During the month of January 2011, Trooper Pfeiffer and Officer Ramirez of the Oxford Resident State Trooper's Office demonstrated outstanding service with the arrests of five individuals on numerous charges.
On Jan. 18, at 2:31 a.m., Trooper Pfeiffer and Officer Ramirez responded to a burglar alarm at a local pharmacy, where they found the front door smashed open and $1,500 worth of prescription medication stolen. They began searching the area and notified additional Troopers and surrounding towns about the incident. An hour later, three suspects were apprehended and arrested.
On Jan. 27, at 12:15 a.m., Trooper Pfeiffer and Officer Ramirez were patrolling Oxford during a heavy snowstorm when they observed a suspicious vehicle parked near a fenced-in area of a commercial business. The vehicle operator was wearing a ski mask and there was a large spool of copper wire in the vehicle. The Troopers stopped the vehicle and removed two individuals from it. The suspects had $2,000 worth of copper wire belonging to a utility company and had damaged the fence of the facility while committing the larceny.
The immediate response of these Troopers resulted in the felony arrests of five suspects who were also suspects in incidents in neighboring towns. They each earned an Award for Outstanding Service.
Stratford Police Officer Rachel Crosby In February 2010, the Statewide Narcotics Task Force Southwest Office developed information on several heroin dealers conducting their illegal operations openly in the city of Bridgeport. The street-level dealers were selling heroin at different locations, all within 1,500 feet of public elementary schools.
Officer Crosby agreed to perform in a detective capacity and purchase heroin from each of the suspects. Officer Crosby completed twelve controlled purchases of heroin from six narcotics dealers.
The detective work of Officer Crosby led to the issuance of seven arrest warrants and three search warrants, with the final arrest warrant being executed in September 2010
Officer Crosby performed her duties above and beyond normal expectations and with a high degree of alertness, perseverance and superior judgment. She earned the Award for Outstanding Service.
Sgt. Robert Kenney, Det. Richard Van Tine, DMV Inspector Chris Gilroy Sgt. Kenney assisted Det. Van Tine of the Motor Vehicle Fraud Task Force in conducting an extensive investigation involving an inspector/agent at the Norwalk Office of the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
A DMV employee was accepting cash bribes through middlemen to issue licenses without any actual testing. In addition, the employee was changing legitimate driving test results within the DMV computer system and applying these results to fraudulently- issued licenses. Many of these licenses were issued to people who were not eligible to obtain licenses or were unable to pass the testing process.
This employee also issued upgrades to commercial drivers’ licenses and motorcycle licenses without performing the required testing procedures. Detectives found about 1,000 suspect licenses issued by the employee. During this lengthy investigation, detectives interviewed 100 suspects and seized more than 50 fraudulently-issued licenses. Middlemen and non-cooperating suspects were identified and arrested during the investigation. Det. Van Tine obtained and executed extensive and detailed arrest and search warrants.
The detectives, with assistance from DMV Inspector Chris Gilroy, conducted hundreds of field interviews and developed dozens of photo-boards to identify suspects. The DMV employee was arrested on numerous charges. Sixteen others were arrested for forgery-related crimes or crimes related to identity theft. All of the remaining suspect licenses are being revoked by the DMV.
This extremely lengthy, complex investigation could not have been possible without the investigative skills of these three men. Each of them earned the Award for Outstanding Service.
On Sept. 28, 2010, at 9:15 a.m., Southbury Officers and Troopers from Troop A responded to a Southbury residence for a report of a suicidal male. At the residence, the man charged out the front door holding two steak knives to his throat.
The man then retreated back inside behind the glass front door still holding the knives to his throat. The man continued to disappear back into the house and then reappear behind the front door holding the knives and acting very disturbed. Family members stated that the man wanted to commit “suicide by cop.”
Two teams of Troopers and Officers were assembled and, when it appeared the man was disoriented and no longer paying attention, entry was made through the front door. The knives were secured and the man was taken to a local hospital.
Troopers and officer from Troop A earned the Unit Citation Award.
On November 10, 2010, Troop B received a call from a painting contractor who arrived at a residence in Sharon to survey a painting job when he observed a suspect vehicle near the residence with a lone operator. When the painter entered the residence he heard footsteps upstairs. He called out to the person upstairs, who responded with a question.
The suspect then came downstairs and exited through a broken sliding glass door at the rear of the residence.
A description of the suspect and vehicle was broadcast as units responded to the scene. Trooper Roy Dungan was familiar with the suspect and arrived at his residence, where the suspect admitted his role in the burglary. The suspect identified a New York man as the one who fled from the residence. Evidence was recovered from the suspect’s vehicle and he was taken into custody. Trooper Dungan and Detective Brian Narkewicz worked with New York State Police to interview the second suspect. That man confessed to his involvement in the burglary and turned over the stolen items to the Troopers.
A home burglary was solved within hours and all stolen property was recovered. Troopers from Troop B in Canaan earned the Unit Citation Award.
During the months of September through November 2010, a crime spree occurred in Sharon, Salisbury and several New York towns. The crimes involved burglarizing homes and the thefts of easily fenced, pawned or disposable property.
The Western District Major Crime Squad and the Salisbury Resident Trooper investigated to determine if the crimes were linked and to curb the burglaries. The Troopers compiled lists of stolen property, collected evidence, checked pawn shops, conducted surveillance and worked closely with the Duchess County Sheriff’s Office and the New York State Police.
As a result of the investigators’ efforts, three suspects were identified and taken into custody in New York. An identifiable piece of property taken in a Salisbury burglary was recovered at the residence of one of the suspects
As a result of the tedious work of the investigators, the Connecticut burglaries were solved. One of the more unusual items stolen was an urn containing the cremated the remains of a member of a Connecticut family. The irreplaceable remains were recovered and were returned to a grateful family.
Detectives and Troopers solved a series of related crimes with skill and ingenuity resulting in multiple arrests and provided outstanding service to the community. Troopers from Troop B, the Western District Major Crime Squad and Duchess County Sheriff’s Office earned the Unit Citation Award for their work in this case.
Jacob Pandiscia & Katrina Pandiscia (civilians) On Jan. 25, 2011, at 12:52 p.m. Jacob Pandiscia, age 6, and his mother, Katrina Pandiscia, were at home with the three other children of the Pandiscia family: Julia, age 3, Benjamin, age 2, and three-month-old Nathan. The father of the family, Trooper First Class David Pandiscia, was on duty at State Police Troop L that day.
Katrina noticed that her daughter, Julia, was not breathing and may have been choking on her lunch. Without being asked, Jacob immediately went to the telephone and dialed 911. During the call with the dispatcher, Jacob remained calm, confirmed his address, and described what was occurring as Katrina performed the Heimlich maneuver on Julia.
When asked, Jacob gave the phone to his mother, who remained calm and performed the tasks asked of her by the dispatcher. Due to the combined performance and calmness under the extreme stress of this situation, the actions of Katrina and Jacob prevented further injury of Julia. Katrina’s efforts revived Julia, resulting in her making a full recovery without any permanent medical issues.
The actions of Jacob Pandiscia and Katrina Pandiscia earned each of them the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
John Yuschak (civilian) On September 29, 2010, in the early morning hours, Troop L received a complaint of a missing 79-year-old woman from Morris.
At approximately 12 noon that day, John Yuschak was working in the area for a local utility company when he observed tire tracks leaving the roadway heading into a swamp. He observed a vehicle on its side in the swamp, saw a hand moving inside the vehicle and instructed his crew to call 911.
Mr. Yuschak spoke with the female operator who explained that she was stuck in her vehicle because her seat belt was locked. Yuschak stayed with her and provided her with water until EMS, fire rescue and Troop L personnel arrived.
An investigation revealed that the woman was the same elderly woman reported missing earlier in the day. She had left her residence in Morris sometime prior to 6 a.m. and was suffering from a medical condition that altered her mental state and contributed to the accident. The woman was transported to the hospital.
John Yuschak is applauded for taking the initiative to help a fellow citizen in serious trouble. For his actions, he received the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.