Connecticut State Police Patch STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
November 9, 2007

Receive Service Awards

State Police Troopers from the Eastern District received awards for service during a ceremony Tuesday, November 13, 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 and those serving as first responders.  Award winners received medals and certificates from Department of Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III and State Police Colonel Thomas Davoren.

Awards are presented in five categories:

Ø      The Medal for Bravery is awarded to any person who demonstrates exceptional heroism in the performance of duty while exposed to a life-threatening danger.

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 C in Tolland, Troop D in Danielson, Troop E in Montville and Troop K in Colchester, all located in Eastern Connecticut, each had representatives at the awards.

Trooper First Class Nicholas Leary and Trooper Bryan Stadnicki  On August 9, 2007, at approximately 3:15 a.m., Troop D was notified of a house fire in Danielson.  Trooper First Class Nicholas Leary responded and observed smoke bellowing out of the second floor.  An occupant exiting the structure confirmed a fire and said a woman was still on the second floor and unable leave due to physical limitations. 

Despite heat and heavy smoke, Trooper Leary climbed the stairs and began searching for the woman.  Hearing cries for help, he looked into one room filled with heavy smoke.  When flames illuminated the room, he located the woman, with burn injuries to her upper body.  Trooper Leary entered the room, where the fire was actively burning, and pulled the woman into the hallway where he was met by Trooper Bryan Stadnicki, who ran into the burning building to assist Trooper Leary. 

Troopers Leary and Stadnicki carried the woman out to the street. Other responders arriving to the scene observed Trooper Leary and Trooper Stadnicki covered in soot and affected by the smoke and heat conditions.  The second floor of the residence was destroyed by the fire and the burn victim was transported to a local hospital.

TFC Leary and Trooper Stadnicki were each awarded the Medal for Bravery.

Detective Joseph Masson, Detective Michael Hoagland, Detective Michael Robinson and Detective Derrick Kasperowski During the months of March, April and May 2007, a series of armed bank robberies occurred in the eastern and central regions of Connecticut. During these robberies, a lone masked male would enter a bank armed with a handgun and demand money from the tellers. After obtaining the money, the suspect would flee and in each case, witness information was limited.

Detectives from the Eastern and Central Districts began conducting surveillance of area banks to develop information and/or apprehend suspects.  Detective Joseph Masson, Detective Michael Hoagland, Detective Michael Robinson and Detective Derrick Kasperowski, assigned to the Eastern District Major Crime Squad, became familiar with these unsolved and frequent bank robberies. These detectives began patrolling business areas, specifically targeting banking institutions within the Town of East Lyme.  On May 15, 2007, the four detectives were conducting surveillance on a bank when they observed a suspicious vehicle occupied by two males, one matching the physical description of a suspect in previous robberies.

Taking great initiative, the detectives stopped the vehicle and apprehended the operator while the passenger fled on foot. After an extensive search utilizing State Police aircraft and canine units, the second suspect was apprehended. Following their arrest, the suspects were interviewed by detectives regarding the bank robberies. Detective Hoagland conducted an interview and was able to obtain pertinent information implicating both suspects in five bank robberies in the Eastern and Central Districts.

Each detective received a medal for Meritorious Service.

Sergeant Joseph Weber, Trooper First Class Jeffrey Krause, Trooper First Class David Brigner, Trooper First Class Matthew Feest and Trooper First Class Melvin Gillus, Jr., On August 28, 2007, at 6:30 a.m., Troopers from the Traffic Services Unit (TSU) were traveling together on Interstate 95 in Groton. After observing a rollover car accident that occurred just ahead of them, the Traffic Services team immediately stopped and closed down the highway. 

The car had rolled onto its roof, trapping the operator, whose upper body and neck were being crushed by the weight of the vehicle. While TFC Thomas Izzarelli safely secured oncoming traffic, Sgt. Joseph Weber, TFC Jeffrey Krause, TFC David Brigner, TFC Matthew Feest and TFC Melvin Gillus, Jr., worked together to lift the 2,000-pound vehicle off the operator, allowing him to breathe. The operator was stabilized by medical responders and was transported to a hospital via medical helicopter.  Medical rescue personnel and hospital staff noted that without the quick action of the Troopers from Traffic Services, the victim would not have survived.

Each member of TSU was awarded a Lifesaving Medal.

Trooper First Class Jean Callaghan In 1999, TFC Callaghan co-founded the Windham County Chapter of Safe Kids.  Safe Kids conducts child safety seat clinics to ensure the proper installation of child car seats and correct safety measures for all children riding in vehicles.

Under the direction of TFC Callaghan, Safe Kids has received numerous donations that are used to purchase car seats and to train volunteers.  Volunteers at the child safety seat clinics have inspected some 50,000 vehicles for correctly-installed child safety seats and have replaced more than 900 defective seats. The clinics have corrected an 89 percent misuse rate of improperly installed seats. 

TFC Callaghan continues to lead child safety seat technician courses.  She has instructed 11 classes producing more than 320 qualified technicians.  TFC Callaghan has been the lead sponsor for several classes – from managing the instructional staff and teaching, to serving as the validating authority and coordinating a facility.

TFC Callaghan earned a medal for Outstanding Service.

Trooper First Class James O’Donnell and his K-9 partner, Arek, TFC O’Donnell and Arek have been responsible for numerous felony arrests resulting from K-9 tracks performed for both the State Police and municipal police departments. 

TFC O’Donnell’s self-initiated activity has led to the recovery of stolen firearms and stolen property.  TFC O’Donnell and Arek are also cross-trained as a narcotics detection team and they have been called upon by federal, state and local agencies to assist in criminal investigations.  The team has been responsible for the seizures of large quantities of narcotics, including a seizure of more than one pound of marijuana. Between January and July of 2007, this K-9 team has made 19 canine apprehension arrests, 2 other arrests, seized 17.5 grams of cocaine, 554.7 grams of marijuana, $2,226 in cash and various pills. The pair also recovered evidence including copper wire worth $2,000, two stolen handguns and a stolen motor vehicle. 

TFC O’Donnell earned an award for Outstanding Service.    

Sergeant Kenneth Albert, Trooper First Class Richard Woods, Trooper First Class Eric Leroux, Trooper David Allen, Trooper Robert Scavello, and Trooper David Mattioli and his K-9 Visar On January 12, 2007, at approximately 4 a.m., Plainfield Police contacted Troop D to request assistance with a homicide.  A male suspect had forced entry into the home of his estranged girlfriend and stabbed her to death as one of her children watched.  The suspect fled on foot and Plainfield Police asked State Troopers to help search for him.  Sgt. Albert, TFC Woods, TFC Leroux, Trooper Allen, Trooper Scavello, and Trooper Mattioli and his K-9 Visar responded from Troop D. 

Trooper Allen joined Trooper Mattioli and K-9 Visar in a canine track in search of the suspect.  As that was occurring, Sgt. Albert, TFC Woods, TFC Leroux and Trooper Scavello went to the suspect’s address, where they met a relative of the suspect and established contact with the suspect via cell phone.  They determined his location and relayed that to the team of Troopers still engaged in the canine track.

As a result of the concurrent efforts of these Troopers, Trooper Mattioli and K-9 Visar were able to track directly to the suspect’s location, where he was taken into custody without incident.  The Troopers were then re-deployed to further assist the Plainfield Police with this investigation in a variety of capacities such as prisoner transportation, crime scene security and additional canine tracks in which key evidence was located. 

These Troopers were awarded a Unit Citation for their work.

Sergeant Christopher Guari, Trooper First Class Jeffrey Rogers, Trooper Timothy Bettencourt, Trooper First Class James Matlock  On March 26, 2007, at 6:15 p.m., TFC Matlock initiated an investigation of an armed robbery in which an elderly female victim left a Montville casino with a large sum of cash and was followed. 

Through the use of security cameras at the casino, Trooper Bettencourt was able to identify a suspect who followed the victim’s car onto I-395. The perpetrator coerced the victim into pulling her vehicle over in Norwich. The suspect convinced the victim to exit her vehicle, at which time he took her purse, pushed her to the ground and fled the scene.  The victim was able to partially identify the license plate and provide a vague description of the suspect and his vehicle. 

Through investigative efforts supervised by Sgt. Guari and carried out by TFC Rogers, as well as Troopers Bettencourt and Matlock, the accused was located by the East Haven Police Department and detained.  After identification of the accused by the victim, Troopers Matlock and Bettencourt, with the assistance of the Eastern District Major Crime Squad, arrested the suspect.  As a result of the arrest, the victim’s money was recovered. 

            The Troopers involved in this incident were awarded a Unit Citation.

Sergeant Clanford Pierce, Trooper First Class Kevin Mulry, Trooper First Class Kevin Eklund and Trooper Daniel Mainiero On April 7, 2007, at 9:11 p.m., Troop C received a call from a woman who left her boyfriend’s house because he said he was going to kill himself. The woman said she observed her boyfriend pulling out a rifle.

Sgt. Pierce, TFC Mulry, TFC Eklund and Trooper Mainiero responded to the multi-family residence, quickly got all other occupants out of the house and established a perimeter.  Troopers made telephone contact with the man and were able to lure him outside of the residence.

Once outside, Troopers encountered the man and there was a brief stand-off. After a few tense moments, the subject surrendered, at which time he was transported to a local hospital. Once inside of the house, Troopers discovered numerous guns and swords.  They also determined that the subject had begun cutting himself in his upper torso prior to exiting his residence.

            These Troopers received a Unit Citation award.

Trooper First Class Mark Gendron and Colchester Constable Robert Labonte On March 24, 2007, at 10:39 p.m., TFC Gendron and Constable Labonte responded to a report of a despondent Colchester man who had fled his residence after retrieving a loaded pistol and making suicidal statements to his family.

TFC Gendron and Constable Labonte were able to locate the man’s vehicle in a secluded parking area in Lebanon. Upon their arrival, the man activated the high beam lights on his vehicle in an attempt to diminish their view. TFC Gendron and Constable Labonte obtained the man’s cell phone number and contacted him. The man refused to exit his vehicle, said that he had a loaded firearm in his possession and made further suicidal statements. TFC Gendron and Constable Labonte were able to convince him to exit the vehicle and surrender to Troopers at the scene. He was taken into custody without injury to himself or any Troopers.

            TFC Gendron and Constable Labonte were awarded with a Unit Citation.

Sergeant Christopher Guari,  Detective Scott Edwards, Detective Theodore Parker Trooper First Class Noah Gouveia, Trooper Jeffrey McDermott & his K-9 Zeus, Trooper First Class Thomas Fabian, Trooper James Matlock, Mashantucket Pequot Police Officers Steven Smith and Ryan O’Connell  On Dec. 12, 2006, State Police was asked by the Lincoln Rhode Island Police Department to be on the lookout for a male homicide suspect who drove a sports car and who might be armed, dangerous and suicidal.  Det. Scott Edwards of the Foxwoods Casino Unit notified Troop E desk Trooper Matlock and the Casino Unit that the suspect may be near the casino driving the sports car.  Troop E was then advised by the Casino Unit that Officer Smith located the vehicle in a casino garage.    

Officer Smith, assisted by Officer O’Connell, secured the area around the suspect’s vehicle, closing it off to motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic until responding Troopers could arrive. TFC Gouveia reported to Sgt. Guari that the suspect was in the vehicle and was moving.  Sgt. Guari requested that Officer O’Connell use his vehicle to block the suspect vehicle, as TFC Gouveia, Det. Edwards, Officer Smith, Trooper McDermott & his K-9 Zeus, Det. Parker and Sgt. Guari tactically surrounded the suspect vehicle and ordered the suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect was secured and detained. 

TFC Gouveia built a rapport with the suspect while transporting him to Troop E.  Once in the troop’s interview room, TFC Fabian took detailed notes, allowing Trooper Gouveia to maintain rapport with the suspect, leading to the suspect’s confession in the murder of a Rhode Island woman. 

            All involved in this incident earned a Unit Citation award.

State Police Dispatcher Kathleen Farley Dispatcher Farley has served with distinction at Troop K in Colchester for 30 years.  Although the job duties involve complex communications equipment, maintaining radio contact and taking countless telephone calls, Dispatcher Farley continually goes above and beyond the call of duty.  In addition to being a voice of reason during urgent 911 calls, Dispatcher Farley takes seriously her role in the State Police family.Dispatcher Farley organizes the Annual Troop K Children’s Christmas Party, coordinating the location, goods, crafts, gifts and a visit from Santa Claus.  She also assists with the Troop’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Day Pond State Park, dressing as the furry animal associated with that holiday.  In addition, Dispatcher Farley shares in the fun and festivities at the Annual Troop K community-based Halloween Party.         
            Dispatcher Farley was named Dispatcher of the Year.

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