|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 f, h, i and w
Receive Service Awards
State Police Troopers from Troop F in Wesrbrook, Troop H in Hartford, Troop I in Bethany and Troop W in Windsor Locks received awards for service during a ceremony May 13, 2011, 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:
Sgt. Dwight Washingon, TFC John Tollis, TFC Louie Reyes, TFC David Laboy, TFC Christopher Tanner, TFC Mark Wyler, TFC Keith Loveland, TFC James Foley, TFC William Taylor, Dispatcher Theresa Lockwood
On August 3, 2010, at approximately 7:29 a.m., Troop H personnel responded to a large distribution warehouse in Manchester for a report of an active shooter. It was determined that an employee had retrieved firearms and was shooting fellow employees. He fatally wounded nine employees and injured two.
Upon arrival, Troop personnel, working with local police officers, valiantly entered the building in an attempt to locate and stop the active shooter. This platoon located the shooter, who then took his own life.
Along with other agencies, the Troopers continued to search the building for victims in need of help and to clear the building of any other possible threats. These Troopers faced life-threatening danger while searching for an active shooter in order to protect innocent victims.
TFC Taylor earned a Medal for Outstanding Service; Dispatcher Lockwood earned a Commissioner's Recognition Award; all others earned the Medal for Bravery.
TFC Robert Lombardo & TFC John Tollis On November 30, 2010, at approximately 12:15 p.m., Troopers Tollis & Lombardo were returning to Troop H for an assignment.
During this time, TFC Tollis noticed a large amount of black smoke emanating from the area of the Hartford courthouse. The Troopers headed in that direction and found the smoke coming from a building on Broad Street. There, they found a four-floor apartment building entirely engulfed in flames.
With no other first responders on scene and with total disregard for their own safety, Troopers Lombardo and Tollis entered the apartment building in an attempt to locate any occupants. They advised numerous occupants in apartments and hallways to immediately exit the building.
The Troopers made their way through the smoke and fire to the third and fourth floors, located an additional 15 to 20 occupants and guided them to a safe location. At this point, both Troopers were overcome by heavy smoke. After clearing as many apartments as possible, Troopers Lombardo and Tollis were forced to evacuate themselves out of the building through heavy, blinding smoke. Remarkably, there were no serious injuries or deaths as a result of this devastating fire. Trooper Lombardo was treated for smoke inhalation.
Troopers Tollis and Lombardo averted a catastrophe that afternoon by bravely entering a building entirely engulfed with fire.
Troopers Tollis and Lombardo each earned a Medal for Bravery.
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 Officer Christopher Chiarelli, Cheshire Police Officer 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 targets at a hotel in Waterbury. One of the targets was taken into custody as he met with an undercover detective in a vehicle. When Detectives learned that the kilo and other targets were in a hotel room, they gained access to the room and detained three more targets. 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 and two suspects were remanded to custody by parole. 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 received an Award for Meritorious Service.
TFC Robert Lombardo & TFC John Tollis On January 24, 2011, at approximately
1 p.m., Troopers Tollis and Lombardo were on I-91 southbound attempting to locate a suspect and vehicle wanted by the Newington Police Department for fleeing the scene of a domestic assault.
Trooper Tollis observed the vehicle driving erratically and posing an imminent threat to other drivers. The suspect intentionally rammed the vehicles of both Troopers. The Troopers were able to stop the vehicle before any further damage or injuries.
The suspect attempted to have the Troopers shoot him by threatening the use of a knife which he held to his own throat and simultaneously waved in the direction of the Troopers. Trooper Lombardo utilized his Taser to remove the suspect from the vehicle where he was secured by Trooper Tollis.
Troopers Tollis and Lombardo averted two catastrophes that afternoon. They prevented the suspect from causing harm by stopping him as he was driving erratically and aggressively on the highway. The Troopers also used their training and experience to end a deadly force situation with a suspect wanted on several felonious warrants across multiple localities.
Troopers Lombardo and Tollis each received an Award for Meritorious Service.
Sgt. Daniel Semosky & Sgt. Robert Boroski On January 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.
Troopers, including Sgt. 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. Boroski responded to the victim who was at her friend’s home. The victim stated that she and her husband were having marital problems and the 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 January 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.
Trooper Carl Schlicker & TFC Brian Faughnan On January 28, 2011, at 4:15 p.m., Troop I was contacted by Wallingford Police who reported an armed robbery at a bank on North Colony Road. Wallingford Police reported that the suspects had fled in a vehicle last seen on Interstate 91 Southbound.
Trooper Schlicker took a post on the Exit 12 on-ramp and quickly observed the suspect vehicle pass his location. As Trooper Schlicker took a position behind the vehicle and waited for back-up, the suspect observed the Trooper and attempted to flee.
However, the suspect vehicle suffered a mechanical failure which caused it to stop in the right travel lane. Trooper Schlicker activated his cruiser’s emergency lights and, at great risk to himself, took a position on the passenger-side of the vehicle while holding both occupants at gunpoint.
Upon the arrival of Trooper Faughnan, the operator exited the vehicle and began approaching Trooper Faughnan stating “Shoot me!” At that time Trooper Schlicker tackled the suspect and placed him into custody.
Troopers Schlicker and Faughnan earned the Award for Meritorious Service.
Trooper Christopher Porrini On December 4, 2010, at approximately 7 p.m., Trooper Porrini was off-duty and attending an event at a club in Bristol. While there, he overheard someone yelling for 911. Trooper Porrini instinctively responded to the commotion and observed the mayor of the city of Bristol lying on the ground unresponsive. There was an off-duty firefighter performing CPR on the mayor. Trooper Porrini began to assist the firefighter with the CPR by performing chest compressions. During this procedure, both rescuers observed a foreign object in the victim’s throat; however, they were unable to clear the airway so they continued CPR.
Eventually, the firefighter performing mouth to mouth ventilations was able to successfully remove the obstruction from the mayor’s throat. Trooper Porrini then connected an Automatic External Defibrillator to the mayor and continued with the CPR until relieved local ambulance personnel.
The immediate response of Trooper Porrini clearly helped save the life of the mayor and he earned a Lifesaving Medal.
Trooper Jonathan Naples, Trooper William Ortiz On October 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.
The quick response by Troopers Naples and Ortiz helped save a life and they earned the Lifesaving Medal.
TFC Christopher Snow, TFC Brian Becker, Mr. James Esposito On January 5, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., Troopers Snow and Becker responded to a motor vehicle accident rollover on Interstate 84 in Manchester. They observed a vehicle lying on its roof on top of the median Jersey barrier. They saw a male operator sitting upside down in the driver’s seat with his head close to the window. Trooper Snow crawled into the vehicle on his stomach.
Once inside the vehicle, Trooper Snow saw that the operator still had his seatbelt attached. He also saw that a civilian, James Esposito, had stopped to help and was lying through the back passenger window checking the driver’s vitals. Mr. Esposito noted that the driver was not breathing and did not have a pulse.
Trooper Snow could see that the driver was being suffocated by his own body weight and was lifeless. When Trooper Snow cut the seatbelt, the driver fell partially out of the front seat, but his legs were jammed under the steering wheel. With the assistance of Mr. Esposito and Trooper Becker, Trooper Snow was able to free the driver from the vehicle. The three men removed the driver from the vehicle to a safer location.
Upon opening his airway, the driver regained his pulse and respirations and eventually made a complete recovery. Troopers Snow and Becker earned the Lifesaving Medal and Mr. Esposito received the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
TFC Kevin Furbush On December 27, 2010, Trooper Furbush was dispatched to a Middlefield residence for a well-being check on a woman. After receiving no response from inside the residence, Trooper Furbush looked inside a front window and observed a woman lying on the living room floor unresponsive.
Recognizing that the woman was in distress, Trooper Furbush forced his way into the residence and called for EMS. Trooper Furbush stabilized the woman by ensuring she continued to breathe until paramedics arrived. Trooper Furbush also observed empty prescription medication bottles on the floor next to the woman. It was apparent that the woman had intentionally ingested a combination of more than 200 pills. The woman was transported to a local hospital.
The swift response and sound judgment of Trooper Furbush saved a life. He earned a Lifesaving Medal.
Detective Pedro Rosado On December 16, 2010, at 1 p.m., detectives from the Statewide Organized Crime Investigative Task Force received information that a subject wanted on at least six Failure to Appear warrants was preparing to assume a new identity and flee from Connecticut to avoid arrest. Detectives also learned that the subject was in a vehicle at an apartment complex in Middletown awaiting a ride. The vehicle was described as having flat tires and the subject reportedly did not have the keys for this vehicle.
Detective Rosado responded to the area and established a surveillance post while uniformed Troopers arrived. Troopers observed the subject leave the vehicle and, upon seeing law enforcement, flee into the building. Troopers surrounded the location, covering all possible avenues of escape.
The subject ran to the roof of the building, from which he refused to leave, even when ordered by Troopers. Det. Rosado maintained constant dialogue with the subject and continually requested that he come down from the roof. The subject repeatedly threatened to jump from the rooftop rather than be sent to prison. Utilizing negotiating skills, Det. Rosado convinced the subject to exit the roof and surrender. The subject was then taken into custody without incident or injury to himself or others.
The actions of Detective Pedro Rosado earned him a Lifesaving Medal.
Lt. William Baldwin, Sgt. William Onusko, TFC Kevin Conway, TFC Donald Jones, Firefighter/EMS Richard Sawtelle, Firefighter/EMS Matthew Atwood, Firefighter/EMS Jesse Peters, Firefighter/Paramedic/EMS Howard Libera, Ambulance/EMS Donald Peck, Ambulance/EMS Tarek Perdue
On November 5, 2010, travelers inside Bradley International Airport observed an elderly individual lose consciousness and fall to the ground. They immediately summoned Troopers who were nearby.
Trooper Conway ran to retrieve an Automatic External Defibrillator while Lt. Baldwin and Sgt. Onusko assessed the individual, who was without a pulse and not breathing. They immediately began CPR. Trooper Conway returned with the AED, which was administered to the victim.
CPR was continued until the arrival of Bradley Fire Paramedics and Ambulance personnel from Hamilton Sunstrand. Trooper Jones assisted EMS. Paramedics indicated that a faint pulse was detected. The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
All involved in this medical emergency made a valiant attempt to save a life by administering emergency first aid and CPR. The Troopers each earned a Lifesaving Medal the firefighters and paramedics earned the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Oxford Corporal James Burr & EMT April BrooksOn November 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 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 The operator of the crashed vehicle was a newly licensed 16-year-old operator who was not allowed to have passengers.
Oxford Corporal Burr earned the Lifesaving Medal; EMT Brooks earned the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
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 January 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 January 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.
Major Warren Hyatt, LTC Robert Corona, Lt. Anthony Schirillo, Lt. William Baldwin, Sgt. David Wagner, Det. Andrew Burke, Det. Christopher Zullo, Det. Matthew Reilly, Sgt. Luis Rosa, Det. Michael Kowal, Sgt. Justin Kelley, TFC Arthur Derderian, TFC William Rochette, TFC Robert Maynard, Sgt. Robert Kenney, Det. George Leitkowski On May 1, 2010, New York City was the target of an attempted terrorist attack in which a car bomb failed to detonate in Times Square. FBI Agents and State Police investigators assigned to the Office of Counterterrorism/Joint Terrorism Task Force followed up on leads related to the vehicle involved in the bomb attempt. Investigative information gathered at the crime scene led to a connection in Bridgeport and helped to identify a suspect in the failed bombing.
Detectives assigned to the Office of Counter Terrorism conducted numerous interviews, performed surveillance and assisted the FBI New Haven office in the initial stages of this investigation and as additional leads developed. Based on information from a witness, State Police created a composite sketch that was used to positively identify a suspect in the failed attack. Detectives learned that the suspect had purchased a firearm from a store in Shelton. Members of the State Police Firearms Unit were instrumental in researching the firearm purchase and providing information to FBI/JTTF investigators.
The State Police Bomb Squad was requested to assist the New York FBI Tactical Team with making entry into the suspect’s residence for fear it was booby trapped with explosives. The bomb squad rendered the house safe with no booby traps located.
The direct involvement of the Connecticut State Police and its specialized units proved instrumental in the identification and quick apprehension of the accused and served as a fine example of the collaborative effort by all agencies and personnel involved.
Each person involved in this case earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.
Statewide Narcotics Task Force In July 2010, the Statewide Narcotics Task Force East Office developed information about a drug trafficking organization operating in the New Haven area. The main targets of this investigation utilized cell phones to facilitate transactions of illicit narcotics.
Lead investigators obtained a court-authorized wiretap warrant and began a complex investigation. They utilized surveillance and other techniques to develop probable cause. They intercepted conversations which revealed a plan to commit an armed home invasion during which a victim who had just received a large sum of money would be assaulted, tied-up and forced to reveal the combination of a safe where the money was kept. Since the suspects spoke in code, detectives used superior judgment, police intuition and quick decisions to thwart the plan while at the same time protecting the ongoing narcotics investigation.
Through diligence and ingenuity, detectives identified and protected the victim and arrested the suspects. The victim confirmed that he had a large sum of cash locked in a safe within his home. Six search warrants were executed in which narcotics consisting of oxycontin, heroin, cocaine and marijuana were seized, as well as $108,000 in cash and several vehicles. The investigation revealed a large scale drug trafficking organization with ties to New York and Massachusetts. The outstanding and exemplary efforts of these investigators led to the dismantling of this organization and the arrest of nine individuals.
The Statewide Narcotics Task Force earned a Unit Citation Award.
Statewide Narcotics Task Force In August 2010, Detectives from the Statewide Narcotics Task Force South Central Field Office received information that a Department of Correction officer was involved in the sale of narcotics in the Milford area. Detectives determined that the suspect and his girlfriend both used and sold narcotics.
Utilizing a cooperating witness, detectives purchased narcotics from the suspect on several occasions. The suspect told the witness that he had been committing burglaries and home invasions in the area. The suspect attempted to persuade the witness to assist him in future burglaries.
On November, the suspect told the witness that he was going to commit a home invasion later that night with the help of another individual, but asked the witness to join them. Detectives acted immediately on this information and began surveillance of the location of the planned home invasion and of the suspect’s residence. The suspect and his girlfriend were arrested onsite for numerous narcotics-related charges.
The response of all involved in this case prevented a home invasion and took a narcotics dealer off the streets of Connecticut. The Statewide Narcotics Task Force earned a Unit Citation Award.
Eastern District Major Crime Squad On December 19, 2010, Troop K learned of an attempted robbery at a Colchester business. Detectives from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad responded and identified a suspect: a convicted felon who was implicated in a carjacking and abduction in East Hartford the previous evening.
Detectives pieced the investigation together and gathered evidence to secure an arrest warrant for the suspect. The last piece of evidence needed was a positive ID of the suspect from the victim in the case. However, the victim was too upset to pick the suspect out of a photo array, leaving the case without the final piece needed to secure the warrant.
Detectives then contacted the victim of the East Hartford carjacking. That victim positively identified the suspect, linking him to the East Hartford case and to the State Police case. The warrant was quickly signed.
The swift actions of the detectives allowed East Hartford Police to secure an arrest warrant for the suspect. Detectives notified surrounding law enforcement agencies about the warrants and provided a description of the suspect’s car. The information was also released to the press.
The suspect’s vehicle was seized in Colchester, but the suspect still eluded police. Working non-stop, the detectives learned that the suspect was traveling to Old Town, Maine, to commit another armed robbery. The detectives contacted the Old Town Police Department, explaining the suspect’s plan. The suspect arrived as stated in a stolen motor vehicle and was taken into custody.
The Eastern District Major Crime Squad Detectives earned a Unit Citation Award.
Forensic Examiner Joy Reho, Forensic Examiner Dr. Carll Ladd, Forensic Examiner Dr. Dahong Sun On October 27, 2010, at 6 a.m., a female jogger was running along a street in West Hartford when she was accosted and sexually assaulted by a male assailant. West Hartford Police began an investigation into this brutal crime. West Hartford detectives contacted the Forensic Lab to assist in locating trace evidence on the victim’s clothing.
Within three hours of the evidence being submitted to the lab, Forensic Examiner Joy Reho painstakingly and methodically extracted potential evidence that the suspect had left on the victim’s clothes.
Ms. Reho then collaborated with Forensic Examiners Dr. Ladd and Dr. Sun, who identified a single source male profile and expedited its entry into the Convicted Offender Database. This profile matched a convicted offender from Puerto Rico and to a profile of several unsolved burglaries in Massachusetts and in Hartford. The Forensic Examiners provided the suspect’s identity to West Hartford Detectives and within 96 hours, the suspect was apprehended in Massachusetts.
The three Forensic Examiners each earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Forensic Examiner Dr. Heather Degnan, Forensic Examiner Dr. Dahong Sun, Forensic Examiner Melanie Russell, Forensic Examiner Patricia Johannes In January 2007, New Haven Police submitted forensic evidence from a violent sex assault to the Forensic Laboratory. Forensic Examiners Russell & Johannes from the DNA Unit processed the evidence and linked the assailant to eleven unsolved sex assaults dating back to February 1997 in Maryland and Virginia. Media outlets began referring to the assailant as the “East Coast Rapist.”
In February 2011, law enforcement authorities throughout the east began a media campaign to develop leads that would lead to an identification of the suspect. New Haven Police, following up on one of the tips received, retrieved a cigarette butt discarded by the suspect and brought it to the Forensic Lab for analysis. Dr. Degnan and Dr. Sun immediately began processing the evidence for DNA. Within 24 hours, they developed a profile matching the DNA to 12 unsolved sex assaults linked to the East Coast Rapist.
The Forensic Examiners’ work provided a crucial link for law enforcement to apprehend this most-wanted suspect. They earned the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Mr. Jesse Matarazzo On August 11, 2010, at 11:35 p.m., Jesse Matarazzo was traveling along Neck Road in the town of Old Lyme. This is a non-illuminated section of roadway and very lightly traveled late at night.
As Jesse approached the intersection of Talcott Farm Road, he observed a red glow off the north shoulder of Neck Road. He saw a motor vehicle accident off the roadway in which a vehicle had struck a tree, with the engine compartment completely engulfed in flames.
Jesse immediately stopped his vehicle and directed his girlfriend to call 911 while he approached the vehicle. He could clearly see that there was an unconscious female driver still seated in the vehicle.
With complete disregard for his own safety, Jesse approached the vehicle and removed the sole occupant seconds before the fire spread through the entire passenger compartment. As a result of Jesse’s heroic actions, the female driver survived her injuries and has since fully recovered.
The actions of Jesse Matarazzo earned him the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Forensic Examiner Cheryl Civitello In January 1998, a 61-year-old female was brutally beaten and killed and found in a secluded woodline in East Hampton. The East Hampton Police called in detectives from the State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad to process the crime scene and assist in the investigation. Over the next several years, detectives from East Hampton Police and members of the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit worked to generate leads and identify a suspect.
In May 2008, East Hampton Detectives obtained a search warrant to match a suspect to unknown DNA found at the crime scene. The samples were brought to the Forensic Laboratory DNA Unit where Forensic Examiner Civitello was assigned to the case. Due to the unique characteristics of the DNA sample, Ms. Civitello used special DNA typing techniques that required special attention and distinctive work. Ms. Civitello’s training and expertise in DNA extraction resulted in linking the victim’s DNA to the suspect.
The tenacity and diligence in forensic science demonstrated by Forensic Examiner Civitello led police to their suspect and earned Ms. Civitello the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.
Ms. Jayne Platt Ms. Platt is assigned to the Internal Affairs Unit of the Connecticut State Police. According to her supervisor, Ms. Platt is extremely competent and self-motivated and continues to carry a workload that was once assigned to two employees.
Her excellent judgment and dependability have allowed her to take her own initiative and meet the needs of the unit. Her outstanding secretarial and organizational skills have led her to create an accurate, up to date and user-friendly case management system.
Ms. Platt created a manual of instructions on how to complete each of her duties and provided updates to all administrative duties. Her former supervisor notes that Ms. Platt relates to all people, whether co-workers or the general public, in a professional and positive manner. More often than not, she is the first contact that many people have with the Internal Affairs Office.
Ms. Platt continues to be a valued asset to the Internal Affairs Unit. Following her medical leave, her return signaled a return to peak efficiency for the unit. Ms. Platt earned the Administrative Excellence Award from the Connecticut State Police.
Auxiliary State Trooper Michael Suntava Aux. Tpr. Suntava has served the State of Connecticut as an Auxiliary Trooper for 37 years. He currently serves in the Office of Administrative Services.
During 2010, Aux. Trooper Suntava worked more than 1,000 hours over 136 days in OAS, working on various projects. In addition, he logged in more than 50 hours over 46 days in administrative and patrol functions at Troop L.
Aux. Trooper Suntava spent countless hours overseeing the Reflective Markings Project, which resulted in all state police patrol vehicles being equipped with reflective markings to the interior trunk area. This allows for better visibility when a Trooper is retrieving equipment from his or her trunk on the side of the roadway. He also visited all the troops and major units and provided instructions with regards to proper installation of the reflective material.
Most recently, Aux. Trooper Suntava assisted in updating the staffing board in the Office of Field Operations. The board is a “real time” account for both sworn and civilian staff and their current assignments.
Aux. Trooper is committed to his work and is truly dedicated to the auxiliary unit. His assistance in so many assignments over the years has allowed the Connecticut State Police to operate with greater efficiency and with greater safety.
Aux. Trooper Suntava earned the Auxiliary Trooper of the Year Award.