despp: State Troopers From Troops F, I & H Receive Awards

{Connecticut State Police Patch}  
Department of Emergency Services &
Public Protection
Connecticut State Police
Public Information Office
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
Reuben Bradford
Colonel Danny R. Stebbins
Deputy Commissioner
Division of State Police
November 2, 2012


                                                                                  State Police Troopers from

TroopS F, I and H

Receive Service Awards


   State Police Troopers from Troop F in Westbrook, Troop I in Bethany and Troop H in Hartford

received awards for service during a ceremony November 2, 2012, at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy in Meriden.


   Twice a year, the Connecticut State Police honors Troopers who demonstrate exceptional 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 F. Bradford and State Police Colonel Danny R. Stebbins. 


   Awards were presented in six 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.


Ø  The Commissioner’s Recognition Award is presented by the agency commissioner to a person who has been instrumental in helping the State Police accomplish their job of public safety for all. This is generally presented to civilians (non-law enforcement). 


Awards were presented to:


Trooper Jonathon Naples, New Haven Officer Juan Ingles, New Haven Officer Michael Defonzo

   On October 22, 2011, at approximately 6:40 p.m., Trooper Naples of Troop I spotted a stolen vehicle wanted in connection with numerous larcenies, robberies and motor vehicle pursuits that occurred in the preceding days. Trooper Naples attempted a motor vehicle stop in New Haven at an intersection adjacent to a small business.  The suspect vehicle attempted to elude Trooper Naples in the parking lot of the business but was unable to initially escape. 

   Trooper Naples approached the vehicle on foot, ordering the suspect to stop and exit the vehicle. The suspect began maneuvering his vehicle recklessly in an attempt to turn around, nearly striking Trooper Naples.  The suspect aimed his vehicle in the direction of Trooper Naples and drove straight at him.  Trooper Naples fired two rounds into the vehicle, striking the suspect twice.  The suspect drove out of the parking lot but stopped a few blocks away. 

   Trooper Naples, along with Officers Ingles and DeFonzo, pursued the vehicle to an intersection.  The suspect exited the vehicle and was ordered to the ground by Officer DeFonzo.  Officers DeFonzo and Ingles and Trooper Naples secured the suspect in handcuffs.  The suspect was taken to a local hospital for treatment of two gunshot wounds. 

   All three performed bravely while attempting to stop a dangerous suspect. Trooper Naples earned a Medal for Bravery; Officers Ingles and Defonzo each earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class Gregory Smith

   On May 10, 2012, Trooper Smith responded to a disturbance between a mother and her

23-year-old son at a home in Middlefield.  Upon arrival, Trooper Smith was met by the distraught mother who advised the Trooper that her son was in the house, had not taken his prescribed medications and was highly agitated. Trooper Smith instructed the mother to stay outside.

   Trooper Smith located a young man standing in a corner of the kitchen, holding a large knife with the cutting edge pressed up against his throat. The man stated: “I’ll kill myself!”

Trooper Smith engaged the man in conversation in hopes of calming him down, but the man repeatedly shouted “I’ll kill myself! Go ahead and shoot me!”

   Trooper Smith utilized all his negotiating skills to keep him engaged in positive conversation. After some time, Trooper Smith convinced the man to lower the knife from his throat and place it on the kitchen counter.  Trooper Smith immediately handcuffed the man and summoned emergency medical services. He earned a Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class William Kozik

   In a one-week span in October of 2011, Trooper Kozik stopped two separate wrong-way drivers on Interstate 84 in the Hartford and Manchester areas. In each incident, both drivers were extremely intoxicated and operating at a high rate of speed with total disregard for the safety of any other operators on the road. 

   Trooper Kozik, at great personal risk to his own safety, was able to position his cruiser in front of these operators and get them to stop without injury or damage to property.  There is no doubt that had these operators been allowed to continue on the road, they would have created a substantial risk of serious physical injury and/or death to other unsuspecting operators on the road.  Trooper Kozik earned a Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class John Such and Trooper First Class Marquis Knox

   On April 11, 2012, at 11 p.m., Troop I in Bethany received several 911 calls regarding a motor vehicle crash on the embankment of Route 15 northbound in Hamden.

   Troopers Knox and Such responded to the scene and found that the vehicle operator had struck a coyote in the travel portion of the roadway, lost control of the vehicle and struck a tree located on an embankment off the right shoulder of the roadway in the woods.

   Trooper Such found the operator slumped over onto the passenger side, unconscious and in serious respiratory distress. The operator also suffered from a fractured left femur and patella. Trooper Such opened an airway for the operator and, with Trooper Knox, they removed the operator from the severely-damaged vehicle. The Troopers treated the operator’s injuries until she was transported to a local hospital, where she was expected to recover from her injuries.

Troopers Such and Knox were each awarded a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Kenneth Dillon and Trooper First Class Brian McGran

   On March 7, 2012, at 3 p.m., Troopers from Troop H were dispatched to the Dexter Coffin Bridge in Windsor Locks for a reported suicidal male.

   Upon their arrival, Troopers Dillon and McGran found the distraught man on the side of the bridge, kneeling and smoking a cigarette with a noose tied around his neck. Troopers Dillon and McGran engaged the man in conversation as they both carefully approached his position.  They talked the man from jumping off the bridge and subdued him without incident.

   While waiting for medical services to arrive on scene, the man made it known that he had planned to end his life by jumping off the bridge and would have done so if the Troopers hadn’t come along. Troopers Dillon and McGran are commended for putting their training and experience into action to save a life; each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Carlos Guerra

   On June 9, 2012, at 11:24 a.m., Trooper Guerra was off-duty, operating his assigned vehicle on Route 85 passing a pond in Salem when he saw a canoe capsize in the water.  The occupants of the canoe, an adult male and a child were thrown into the water and started to struggle.  The child was wearing a personal flotation device while the adult male was not. 

   Trooper Guerra pulled into the boat launch area to ascertain if the canoe occupants needed assistance.  Realizing that the man was having difficulty, Trooper Guerra entered the water and started to swim to the man, who was approximately 250 feet off-shore.  While swimming, Trooper Guerra gathered up a personal flotation device that had fallen from the canoe and was floating in the water.  Trooper Guerra helped the man put on the personal flotation device and then pulled him to shore.

   Trooper Guerra then re-entered the water and assisted fishermen who were bringing the child to shore.  Emergency medical personnel arrived and determined that no injuries were sustained. 

The quick, lifesaving actions of Trooper Guerra saved a man from drowning.  He was awarded a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Kenneth Freed and Hartford Police Detective William Rivera

   On April 18, 2012, a man was riding a bicycle southbound on I-91 in the left lane near the Exit 29/Whitehead Highway on-ramp in Hartford. The man abandoned his bicycle in the left shoulder, jumped over the Jersey barrier and ran across five lanes of northbound traffic before jumping into the Connecticut River. He then floated about 300 feet down river before getting to a riverbank near the Charter Oak Landing Boat Launch in Hartford.

   The Hartford Fire Department and its Marine Rescue Team, Hartford Police Officers and Troopers from Troop H responded to this area. The man acted in an irrational manner, refused to exit the water and intentionally submerged himself in an attempt to drown himself. Marine Rescue moved its boat closer to the man and used a pole hook to rescue him. The man physically resisted rescue attempts by pulling on the pole hook while continuing to submerge himself. 

   Trooper Freed and Det. Rivera jumped into the water and helped move the man into the rescue boat.  Det. Rivera made his way back to the riverbank while Trooper Freed jumped into the boat to help restrain the man, who was combative. The man was transported to a local hospital for treatment and observation.

   Trooper Freed and Det. Rivera each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper William Bevans

   On May 10, 2012 at 6:00 p.m., Trooper Bevans responded to the Founders Bridge in Hartford for a report of a man sitting on the railing overlooking the Connecticut River. Upon arrival, Trooper Bevans determined that the man was despondent and contemplating suicide.

   Trooper Bevans established a rapport with the man by displaying a calm, sympathetic demeanor. This allowed him to get close enough to the man to remove him from the railing. Trooper Bevans moved the man some distance from the bridge and managed this incident until the arrival of EMS personnel, who transported the man to a local hospital.

   Trooper Bevans was awarded a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper Sean Mahar, Trooper First Class Thomas Gorman, Dispatcher Paula Freeman

   On September 6, 2012, at approximately 4:42 a.m., Troop H Desk Trooper Mahar took a 911 call from a distraught female who cited numerous ongoing crises and reported that she walked to a bridge where she planned to end her life.  Immediately, Trooper Mahar gave this information to Dispatcher Freeman who utilized the E-911 phone system to reveal an approximate location for the woman. Trooper Mahar worked with DOT personnel to locate the woman via a highway camera, determining her to be on the south side of the Bulkeley Bridge in Hartford. 

   Dispatcher Freeman exercised exemplary dispatching skills in locating the woman and directing Troopers to the area.  Trooper Mahar displayed an extremely calm, professional demeanor while maintaining phone contact with the woman, drawing vital information from her until she told him that she saw a light pole and would be jumping, then terminated the call. 

   Trooper Gorman located the woman sitting on the edge of a high, concrete portion of the bridge with her legs dangling over.  She began to twist her body away from his direction, toward the river below.  Trooper Gorman was able to gain control of the resistant woman and physically bring her to safety on the pedestrian walkway.  She was later transported to a local hospital.

   Troopers Gorman and Mahar earned a Medal for Lifesaving, Dispatcher Freeman earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.


Trooper Larry Morello, Trooper Derek Smitt, Mr. James Overly

   On May 11, 2012, at 9:20 p.m., Troop F in Westbrook received a call from someone who reported hearing a female voice asking for help in the Black Pond area of Middlefield.  The exact location was unknown.  Troopers Morello and Smitt responded to the area, but were unable to locate anyone calling for help.  They searched the Mount Higby/Blue Trail area within the Lake Beseck section of Middlefield and, with the help of civilian James Overly and his four wheel drive vehicle, they were able to locate the source of the voice. 

   They found a 25-year-old female who had fallen 50 feet over the edge of the mountain. She told the Troopers that her 28-year-old boyfriend had fallen also and was about 100 feet below her. She said they had fallen at about 7:30 p.m. while hiking and her boyfriend had been in and out of consciousness. 

   After five hours of rescue work by the Troopers and three fire departments, the two victims were moved and flown to a local hospital for treatment.  The victims had endured more than eight hours outdoors after their fall, with temperatures that had dropped into the 30-degree range.

   Troopers Morello and Smitt each earned a Medal for Outstanding Service; Mr. Overly earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.


Trooper Adam Rosenberg

   On June 8, 2012, Hartford Police Detectives and Special Agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement requested the assistance of the Computer Crime Unit regarding an emerging investigation in which a Russian file-sharing website was posting images of child pornography.

Trooper Rosenberg and Hartford Detectives executed a search warrant for a Hartford apartment and determined that a neighbor had gained access to the apartment owner’s internet provider address through an open wi-fi network.

   Trooper Rosenberg and Hartford detectives worked over a 24-hour period without a break, as they feared a child was in imminent danger.  They worked to obtain an additional warrant for the suspect’s apartment. Once they located the suspect, he admitted to sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl and posting images to a file-sharing network.

   Trooper Rosenberg arrested the suspect while ICE agents continued their federal investigation into the distribution of the files. Trooper Rosenberg worked with the Department of Children and Families to ensure that the victim was provided a safe family environment.

   Trooper Rosenberg was awarded a Medal for Outstanding Service.


State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit

   The Special Licensing and Firearms Unit is responsible for investigating and permitting for a host of regulatory functions, including the monitoring of firearms transfers within the state.

Due to a doubling of firearms purchases, a reduction in manpower and the expansion of the general public’s ability to virtually purchase firearms seven days a week, the weapons transfer paperwork developed a significant backlog over many years.  This became not only a clerical problem, but also an officer safety concern, since the locations of some firearms were not yet entered into the database.

   On January 19, 2012, the backlog consisted of 33,251 firearms transfers. The commander of the Bureau of Training and Support Services formulated a strategy with the commander of the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit to eliminate this backlog. All members of the Unit were advised of the plan and the stages of implementation. With motivation and determination, the entire unit of sworn and civilian employees worked together.  Some employees arrived at work early, some worked past their shift and still others worked on weekends and days off to complete the objective. What makes this extraordinary is that the Unit maintained its normal operations seven days a week, at times involving 300 new transfers a day, up to as many as 1,200 in a single day.

   The entire Unit performed diligently and efficiently on this task. The goal was met three months ahead of schedule with the virtual elimination of the backlog on April 1, 2012. The efforts of all involved were truly a testament to the dedicated members of the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit.  Members of the Unit earned the Unit Citation Award.


Connecticut State Police Honor Guard

   Members of the Connecticut State Police Honor Guard have selflessly given of their own time to represent the Connecticut State Police at many different functions around the state and around the nation, with the utmost degree of professionalism, dedication and pride.

   The unit is operated strictly on a volunteer basis and Connecticut State Troopers have attended numerous funerals, parades, graduations, inaugurations, national and local police memorials, as well as professional and collegiate sporting events all over New England and in many other states. 

   Many times, these Troopers participate in events after completing or prior to a regular patrol shift at the expense of much valued time with their families. These Troopers travel long distances and are called upon to stand or march for extended periods in every kind of weather.  The response from the public and the organizations making the requests for their participation has been consistently and overwhelmingly positive. 

   Members of the Connecticut State Police Honor Guard earned the Unit Citation Award.


East Granby Resident Trooper’s Office and Troop H, Hartford

   On July 31, 2012, East Granby Resident Troopers Smith and Powell learned of a stolen vehicle which could be located in a New Britain housing project. The Troopers located the stolen vehicle as well as a second vehicle stolen from East Granby.  After Sgt. Tino-Tomassetti was informed of the two stolen vehicles, a tactical plan was implemented in the housing project to locate and apprehend the suspect. 

   Sgt. Tino-Tomassetti, along with Troopers Mahar, Meier, Herz, and Stankosky with K-9 Captain, surrounded the suspect’s residence with the K-9 unit deployed at the rear of the residence. When Trooper Smith knocked on the front door, a female answered and stated that the suspect was not there. Seconds later, a male later identified as the suspect ran out of the rear of the residence.

Troopers Herz and Stankosky pursued the suspect and apprehended him after a short foot pursuit.  Because of the location of this arrest, Troop H dispatch informed New Britain Police of the incident.  New Britain Police arrived to assist Troopers in deescalating a situation, as a large crowd was starting to gather.

   The stolen vehicles were seized and the suspect supplied information regarding other stolen vehicles and other individuals involved in this car theft ring. During this incident, Trooper Gridley along with Dispatchers Newman and Sachok were of great assistance.

   The Trooper H Troopers and Dispatchers worked as a professional unit in a stressful situation by obtaining the stolen vehicles and arresting the suspect. All involved earned a Unit Citation.


Troop H, Hartford

   On June 8, 2012, Troopers from Troop H were conducting seat belt enforcement on the Exit 33 on- ramp of Interstate 91 in Hartford. A vehicle entered the ramp, stopped, then reversed up the ramp and drove off toward Jennings Road at a rapid pace in an effort to avoid Troopers.

   Troopers Mahar and Perez attempted to catch up to the vehicle, but lost eye contact with it. A short time later, Troopers Mahar and Perez located the vehicle at a Hartford intersection and observed a male occupant flee on foot from the vehicle. Sgt. Medina, and Troopers Davidson, Wilson, Pirog, Connolly and Menard set up a perimeter around the area while Trooper Perez and his K-9 Taj quickly tracked and located the suspect hiding in a loading dock.

   Troopers Perez and Mahar took the suspect into custody.  A search of the suspect and his vehicle found multiple bags of narcotics, a 9mm handgun and drug paraphernalia. The suspect was also wanted by the Hartford Police and South Windsor Police with courtset bonds totaling $830,000.

   The apprehension of this armed and dangerous suspect, as well as the recovery of the handgun and narcotics, is due to the exceptional skill and collective efforts of Troop H personnel. Their actions earned them the Unit Citation Award.


State Police Statewide Narcotics Task Force, New Haven Police, Orange Police, Cheshire Police, Woodbridge Police, New Britain Police, Drug Enforcement Administration

   In March of 2011, Statewide Narcotics Detectives developed information about a drug trafficking organization operating on a local and international level. Detectives brought this information to the Drug Enforcement Administration and a joint investigation began.

   Over the course of nine months, Detectives and Agents used every investigative tool at their disposal while investigating this organization. As a result of their exhaustive efforts and dedication to duty, Detectives and Agents were able to prepare a very complete and complex investigation for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Seventeen Federal Arrest Warrants were secured and all warrants were executed. This investigation resulted in the following seizures: approximately 9 kilograms of heroin, 2 ½ kilograms of cocaine, 9 pounds of marijuana and $80,000 cash.

   All of the personnel involved played a key role in dismantling an international drug trafficking organization and earned the Unit Citation Award.


Forensic Examiner John Brunetti

   On June 18, 2012, Forensic Examiner Brunetti, supervisor of the Latent Print Section, received an urgent call from Southington Police Detectives regarding evidence in a home invasion. The detectives indicated that they had a serial burglar who was entering residential homes during the night while the occupants slept.  Detectives believed the perpetrator was involved in multiple burglaries in Southington and had gathered fingerprint evidence from the crime scenes.

   Forensic Examiner Brunetti processed the latent fingerprints from Southington and developed potential suspects based on hits in the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System. He obtained copies of a fingerprint card for the potential suspect to provide a timely hit confirmation report. He worked through the day and night to ensure that an identification could be made.

Brunetti contacted Southington detectives with his findings and they questioned the suspect, who confessed to committing six burglaries/home invasions in Southington. 

   The commitment and dedication by Forensic Examiner Brunetti earned him the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.



Content Last Modified on 11/2/2012 3:07:29 PM