Connecticut State Police Patch STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457

April 12, 2006                        

Troopers from Troop K Receive Service Awards

State Police Troopers from Troop K in Colchester received awards for service during a ceremony Wednesday, April 12, at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy in Meriden.

Twice a year, the Connecticut State Police honors troopers who demonstrated bravery and outstanding service in the line of duty.  The ceremony also honors men and women serving in local and federal law enforcement agencies and those serving as first responders.  Award winners received medals and certificates from Department of Public Safety Commissioner Leonard C. Boyle and Governor M. Jodi Rell.

Awards are presented in four categories:

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

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

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

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.

Troop K barracks of the Connecticut State Police, located in Colchester, is proud have several individual award winners from the troop.   

Trooper Steven Bellandese, Sergeant William Bundy and Trooper Stephen McManaway.  In January of this year, these three Troopers conducted a well-being check on a woman in Salem.  Upon entering the woman’s residence, the Troopers discovered her lying on the floor, unconscious and not breathing.  The Troopers performed rescue breathing and CPR on the victim. Their actions, continued over several minutes, were ultimately successful in establishing a pulse.  The troopers continued with rescue breathing until the arrival of emergency medical personnel a short time later.  The victim was then transported to the hospital where she was treated and subsequently made a complete recovery.  Sgt. Bundy and Troopers Bellandese and McManaway were awarded Lifesaving Medals.

Trooper First Class David Piela.  Trooper Piela was dispatched to an alarm at a house in Windham last December.  Upon his arrival, he encountered a vehicle backing out of the driveway and further observed that a front door to the residence was ajar.  Trooper Piela stopped the vehicle and identified the driver. Trooper Piela became suspicious due to the behavior of the driver.  He conducted a “pat down” of the driver and located a loaded handgun on his waist.  A criminal check on the suspect revealed he was a convicted felon and prohibited from owning a handgun.  After securing the suspect, Trooper Piela conducted a search of the suspect and his vehicle, recovering various narcotics and paraphernalia and thousands of dollars in cash.   Additionally, a check of the handgun serial number revealed that it had been reported stolen.  The suspect was charged with drug and weapon violations.  Trooper Piela received an award for Outstanding Service for his efforts.

Trooper John Ceruti, Lieutenant John A. John, Officer Kevin Leach and Officer Laura Zellner (of the Norwich Police Department).  During March of 2005, a caller notified Troop K about a shooting at a residence in Bozrah.  The caller reported that he had shot a female victim and was still in possession of a loaded firearm.  Trooper Ceruti, the Troop K desk officer, attempted to persuade the caller to put down the firearm and remained on the telephone with him while officers from the Norwich Police Department arrived on the scene.  Trooper Ceruti continued to talk with the man and convinced him to go outside where Lieutenant John, Officer Leach and Officer Zellner, all of the Norwich P.D., were able to subdue him without further incident.  A subsequent search of the residence located a female victim with a gunshot wound and an uninjured elderly female.  Trooper Ceruti, Lt. John and Officers Leach and Zellner were awarded medals for Outstanding Service.

Trooper Kelly Kraynak.  One day in September of 2005, Trooper Kraynak learned that a male subject was stalking a female high school student in Hebron. The unknown male would repeatedly drive by the girl as she stood at the bus stop.  His actions frightened and disturbed the girl, as he would stare and gesture at her.  The victim and her parents reported the incident due to their concern for her safety.  The following day, Trooper Kraynak dressed in typical high school attire and accompanied the student to the bus stop.  At the bus stop, the unknown male drove up and Trooper Kraynak gave the signal to stop the vehicle.  The accused was stopped and arrested on numerous criminal and motor vehicle charges, including stalking in the second degree.  The accused was also identified as an illegal alien and was subsequently deported out of this country. Trooper Kraynak received a medal for Outstanding Service for her work.