despp: State Troopers from Troops A, B, G & L Earn Service 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
Dec. 12, 2013


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 December 12, 2013, 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 Dept. of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford and State Police Colonel Danny R. Stebbins. 


   Awards were presented in seven categories:


*  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.


*  The Lifesaving Award is presented to those who save a human life or make a valiant attempt to save a life.


*  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.


*  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.


*  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 First Classs Anthony Cipriano, Jr.; Woodbury Officer Franz Dielemans; Woodbury Officer George Romano; Southbury Officer Christopher Grillo

   On July10, 2013, at approximately 10:20 a.m., Troop L received a call from a state marshal reporting that a 49-year-old male who had just been served with an eviction notice barricaded himself within a bedroom with a knife, while threatening to harm himself.  Woodbury Officers Dielemans and Romano responded to the scene within minutes, took up a position outside the bedroom door and began a dialogue with the man in an effort to have him exit voluntarily.

   Trooper Cipriano and Southbury Officer Grillo also responded and, through a window, observed the man harming himself with the knife.  They notified Officers Dielemans and Romano, who immediately forced entry into the bedroom.  Once inside, they found the man unarmed, but suffering from a self-inflicted laceration on his forearm.  They administered lifesaving first aid by stopping the profuse blood loss and ensuring transport to a local hospital. 

   These Troopers and Officers are commended for their quick response to save a life. Their actions earned each of them a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Kenneth Dillon

   On July 5, 2013, at 1:15 p.m., Trooper Dillon was off-duty, traveling through the Troop B patrol area when he heard an emergency radio broadcast advising Troopers to respond to New Hartford for a report of a woman who had fallen out of a tube into the raging Farmington River.  It was reported that the woman was holding onto a concrete bridge support while also experiencing a severe asthma attack.

   Trooper Dillon and other responding Troopers arrived and found that the victim needed to be rescued immediately. Trooper Dillon retrieved a rope from his patrol vehicle, descended down a steep embankment to the river’s edge and waded into the raging flood waters. He threw the rope to the woman and was able to successfully and single-handedly pull her to shore without injury.

   His actions earned him a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Thomas Grigerik, Trooper First Class Raymond Guimond

   On August 1, 2013, at 10 a.m., Troop L received an activated residential burglary alarm call from a Harwinton residence.  Trooper Grigerik and Trooper Guimond were dispatched to investigate.  Rather than finding signs of a burglary, however, they located three young children playing in the backyard with no sign of adult supervision.

   The Troopers knocked on the door of the house and the children’s mother exited the residence in haste, completely ignored the Troopers’ presence, and stood still, staring at her children. When Troopers attempted to speak with the mother, she did not respond, yet appeared to be alert. The children mentioned that their mother had complained of having a headache the day before. 

   Recognizing that the mother may be suffering from a serious neurological condition affecting her ability to speak and possibly her life, the Troopers summoned ambulance personnel to the scene to transport her to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. Troopers assisted EMS personnel with preparing her for transport and ensured that the children were safely transferred to the custody of their grandfather.  It was later learned that the mother was suffering from a life-threatening stroke.  Trooper Grigerik and Trooper Guimond earned the Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper Joao dos Santos

   On July 31, 2013, at 12:54 a.m., the Troop ABL dispatch center received a call reporting a capsized canoe on Green Pond in Sherman.  It was reported that there was a male in the water calling for help; Trooper dos Santos was dispatched to the location.

   Trooper dos Santos arrived at the same time as the Sherman Volunteer Fire Department. He could hear a male calling for help from the water of Green Pond.  Trooper dos Santos retrieved a flotation device from his cruiser and located a canoe that was docked nearby. While the fire department was setting up its search equipment and preparing its boat for the recovery, Trooper dos Santos utilized the canoe to go out on the water, where he located the man approximately 300 feet from shore.  In an extremely dark environment, Trooper dos Santos and was able to pull the man out of the water, into the canoe and back to safety.  It was later discovered that the man was intoxicated and unable to orient himself while on the water after his canoe capsized. Trooper dos Santos earned the Medal for Lifesaving.

Prospect Police Officer Erno Nandori

   On the morning of July 3, 2013, Officer Nandori of the Prospect Resident Trooper’s Office was working a highway construction project on Route 69 in Bethany.  A worker for a tree removal company notified Officer Nandori that a co-worker had severely cut his own leg with a chainsaw while trimming back brush.

   Officer Nandori responded immediately to the victim, who hobbled to the street.  Officer Nandori observed a severe, eight-inch laceration to the worker’s lower leg.  Officer Nandori quickly retrieved his medical kit and began to apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding.  He wrapped the victim’s calf area so that the bleeding would cease and he could be transported to a local hospital.

   The injured man survived the life-threatening laceration due to the immediate action of Officer Nandori.  His quick response earned him the Medal for Lifesaving.


Beacon Falls Police Officer Caroline O’Bar

   On May 23, 2013, at 7:09 p.m., Officer O’Bar responded to a report of an agitated male at a residence in Beacon Falls.  Upon arriving, Officer O’Bar found the man was unconscious and not breathing.  Officer O’Bar immediately started CPR and utilized an AED until the man’s pulse was regained.
         Beacon Falls EMS arrived and transported the man to a local hospital for treatment.  The man survived this life-threatening event due to the immediate action of Officer O’Bar, who earned the Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Joseph Russo

   On June 13, 2009, at 2:15 a.m., Trooper Russo was assigned as lead investigator of a double-fatal motor vehicle collision involving an on-duty police officer.  During the investigation, he created a computerized simulation of the collision using state-of-the-art crash scene software.  The computerized simulation was requested by the Milford State’s Attorney’s office to assist them with the criminal prosecution of the operator. 

   At the jury trial, the animation was introduced but was vigorously opposed by the defense counsel. The judge allowed the computerized animation to be entered into evidence and to be viewed by the jury. This was a significant decision for a Connecticut court, as this became the first computerized simulation ever introduced into a criminal court proceeding.  This created favorable case law on the admissibility of this type of evidence for future investigations.  

   Trooper Russo is commended for his many hours of dedication and diligence that led to an arrest and successful prosecution in an extremely difficult case.  His actions earned him the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class Michael Dyki

   On June 29, 2013, at 8 p.m., Troop A received a 911 call reporting an armed robbery at a gas station on Route 67 in Oxford.  The caller stated that a man entered the service station and waited for other customers to leave. He approached the female clerk, stated that he had a gun, and loudly demanded all of the money in the cash register or he would shoot her.

   The clerk attempted to comply but was unable to open the register due to fear. The perpetrator continued to loudly demand the money and threaten the clerk.  Several customers then entered the store, so the man grabbed several items off the counter and ran from the store.

   Trooper Dyki responded to the scene and interviewed the victim and witnesses.  He documented and seized evidence from the video security system and recovered latent fingerprints from the scene.  He began an intense effort to identify the perpetrator using all resources available, including the media, to assist in the investigation. Trooper Dyki identified a person of interest and had the latent prints recovered at the scene compared to those of the suspect and found a match. He applied for and received an arrest warrant for the suspect, who was incarcerated in New York.

   Trooper Dyki received approval to have the suspect extradited to Connecticut where he was arrested for the outstanding charges and for five other outstanding arrest warrants from other agencies in Connecticut.  Trooper Dyki earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


Oxford Police Officer Louis Denaro, Trooper First Class David Hare

   In October 2010, Oxford and other towns were plagued by a rash of daytime residential burglaries in which large amounts of jewelry, guns and cash were stolen. In all cases, rear doors of residences were kicked in and suspicious persons were observed in the area. Each investigation continued with no leads being developed. The burglaries caused widespread concern and unrest among western CT residents. 

   Officer Denaro and Trooper Hare actively investigated these burglaries by re-interviewing victims and canvassing areas. They located several pieces of jewelry off a roadside in Oxford and developed a lead that identified a suspect.

   Trooper Hare and Officer Denaro located and executed an arrest warrant at the home of the person of interest. A large amount of heroin was located and seized. The suspect was arrested and brought to Troop A for possession of narcotics, where he was also questioned about his involvement in the burglaries. After several hours of interviews, the suspect confessed to burglaries in Oxford and other towns but could not recall the street names where he committed each burglary.

   The accused was taken to other towns where he identified homes which he had broken into.  The interview produced a written confession from the suspect, leading to ten arrest warrants being executed for him. Trooper Hare re-interviewed the accused in prison, where he provided information regarding his female accomplice.

   The follow-up interview resulted in a third confession leading to ten more arrest warrants being executed for the female accomplice and the original suspect. Ultimately, the court found both burglars guilty and each received lengthy prison sentences.

   The diligence, determination and attention to detail demonstrated by Officer Denaro and Trooper Hare led to the identification of the offenders and a halt to a regional burglary ring.  Their actions earned them the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Captain Mark Cassista

   In September of 2011, the Connecticut State Police Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force, in conjunction with Bridgeport Police, focused an intensive investigation into two separate violent street gangs in Bridgeport.

   The investigation targeted these groups due to their violent nature in protecting their narcotics operations. Several members of each group were the focus of Bridgeport Police open homicides and shooting investigations. The Task Force initiated an in-depth undercover investigation operation which included covert surveillance, undercover narcotics/gun purchases and extensive development and use of confidential informants. 

   From September 2011 to December 2012, these two investigations produced 174 investigations, 34 search warrants and 123 arrests made with 15 outstanding arrest warrants. Investigators made 137 undercover buys and seized 14 firearms, $46,279 in currency, 298 grams of cocaine, 171 grams of crack, 44.7 pounds of marijuana, 153 grams of PCP, 162 grams of heroin and 91 assorted illegal prescription pills.

   Captain Cassista is commended for his active, dedicated role in this complex criminal investigation.  He earned the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class Jason Cassavechia
   On September 17, 2012, Trooper Cassavechia was conducting traffic enforcement on Interstate 84 eastbound near Exit 2 when he clocked a vehicle traveling 82 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone. As he pulled out after the vehicle, the vehicle sped up, exceeding 85 miles per hour. Trooper Cassavechia caught up with the vehicle and conducted a motor vehicle stop on Route 7 southbound. He approached the vehicle and detected an odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle.

   During a probable cause search, Trooper Cassavechia located a small amount of marijuana in a bag on the passenger’s floor. He then located two large locked suitcases in the passenger’s compartment. Upon opening those suitcases, he located 37.6 pounds of marijuana, valued at $125,000.  The driver was arrested on narcotics and motor vehicle charges. Trooper Cassavechia earned the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class Stephen Sordi, Kathleen Masterson, R.N., M.S

   On June 1, 2013, at approximately 9:50 a.m., Troop L received a call from The Gunnery School requesting medical assistance for a 76-year-old man who collapsed shortly after playing a game of tennis on the school’s tennis courts. 

   Trooper Sordi and Gunnery School Nurse Masterson both responded and found the victim ashen and having difficulty breathing.  With no signs of physical injury, they concluded the victim was suffering from cardiac arrest and immediately commenced C.P.R., using several separate shocks from an AED device.  Throughout this process, which lasted approximately 20 minutes, Trooper Sordi and Nurse Masterson continuously provided lifesaving efforts until emergency medical personnel arrived on scene.  Trooper Sordi and Nurse Masterson assisted with preparing the man for transport to a local hospital for treatment.

   Trooper Sordi and Nurse Masterson are commended for their valiant effort to save a life. Troopers Sordi received a Medal for Outstanding Service; Nurse Masterson received a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.


Sergeant Kevin Curry, Trooper Bryan Fahey

   On April 20, 2013, at 2:02 a.m., Sgt. Curry responded to a report of a pedestrian versus motor vehicle near a café in Preston. Upon arrival, Sgt. Curry advised Troop E that a vehicle drove into a private parking lot at a high rate of speed, across the street from a café on Route 2A, striking two pedestrians and two parked vehicles. One of the pedestrians struck was thrown 100 feet down an embankment, landing in a stream of water.

   Sgt. Curry located the victim down a rock embankment and ran to him to assess his condition. Trooper Bryan Fahey arrived and quickly ran to assist Sgt. Curry.  The Troopers found the victim was not breathing and did not have a pulse. They immediately began immediate lifesaving actions, including CPR, in an attempt save the victim’s life. EMS arrived and transported the victim to a local hospital.

   Sgt. Curry and Trooper Fahey are applauded for responding quickly to save a life. They earned the Medal for Outstanding Service.


State Police Statewide Narcotics Task Force; State Police Troop G; Bridgeport Police Dept.; Stamford Police Dept.; U.S. Attorney’s Office-Southern District of New York; Drug Enforcement Administration-White Plains Office; Yonkers Police Dept.

   On August 31, 2012, the Statewide Narcotics Task Force Southwest Office assisted a delivery company with two suspicious packages in Bridgeport believed to contain marijuana.  A narcotics detection dog alerted to the presence of narcotics.  Investigators discovered 76 pounds (3,000 packages) of professionally packaged and labeled synthetic cannabis ready for sale.

   On September 10, 2012, Task Force members were conducting surveillance on a Bridgeport residence and observed a male place a large box into a vehicle.  They trailed the vehicle as it traveled southbound on Interstate 95 toward Yonkers, New York.  Troop G personnel assisted with stopping the vehicle in Norwalk.  The box was found to have a shipping label which was consistent with the previously-seized packages.  Bridgeport Police and Stamford Police were summoned and a narcotics canine alerted to the presence of narcotics.  This led to a consent search of the vehicle, where 21 pounds of synthetic cannabis was discovered and the operator was arrested.  A search warrant was obtained for a Bridgeport residence, yielding a seizure of an additional pound of synthetic cannabis.

   Simultaneously, Drug Enforcement Administration agents from White Plains, New York, assisted with surveillance of a Yonkers residence and witnessed two men placing boxes into a vehicle. The DEA trailed the vehicle as the two men drove to the Bronx, at which point New York Police Officers stopped the vehicle and arrested both men. Another 40 pounds of synthetic cannabis was seized from their vehicle.  The DEA later executed a search warrant at the Yonkers residence and discovered a full-service drug packaging and distribution facility, and an additional 22 pounds of synthetic cannabis.  Task Force members assisted the DEA with executing a second search warrant at a storage unit in the Bronx being rented by one of the men, with another 50 pounds of synthetic cannabis seized. 

   This cooperative effort by multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies resulted in the seizure of 210 pounds of synthetic cannabis, with a street value of more than $200,000, making this investigation the largest of its kind in Connecticut.  The US Attorney in New York indicted all three men on federal charges of possession of synthetic cannabis.  All involved received the Unit Citation Award.


State Police Troop A; State Police Troop L; Woodbury Resident Trooper’s Office; State Police Western District

   On September 12, 2012, at 7:12 p.m., Troop L received a report of an armed robbery at a car dealership in Woodbury.  Woodbury Constables and Troopers from Troop A and Troop L responded to the scene to begin an investigation. They learned that a man wearing a mask and brandishing a firearm ordered the victim to the office to remove money.  The victim complied and filled a bag with more than $1,000.  With great persistence of the initial investigators, the “victim” later told Troopers that the robbery had been planned and identified his co-conspirator.  These investigators also learned that the suspect claimed to be involved in previous armed robberies at two locations in Southbury. 

   Detectives from the Western District Major Crime Squad organized a controlled call to the suspect, who agreed to meet at a location in Southbury.  Surveillance was established and Troopers and Detectives stopped the vehicle and took the suspect into custody.  Weapons and clothing disguises used during the robberies were located in the suspect’s vehicle. 

Subsequent investigation and interviews identified additional suspects. Confessions were obtained, search warrants were executed and arrest warrants were completed.  In the end, three armed robberies in Southbury and Woodbury were solved.  Each Constable, Trooper and Detective played a critical role in identifying and apprehending the perpetrators, as well as locating evidence, including property taken by the suspects.  The perseverance and timely judgment of these investigators led to the arrest of four suspects for three armed robbers, for a total of 39 felony charges.  All involved received the Unit Citation Award.


Thomas Rywolt

   On August 2, 2013, civilian Thomas Rywolt was in the parking lot of a bank in New Fairfield when he noticed a suspicious male. Mr. Rywolt observed the male park his pickup truck in a way that blocked the parking lot exit.  Believing that the male could be experiencing mechanical problems with his truck, Mr. Rywolt offered help, but the male declined.  The male then entered the bank.

   Believing that this male was suspicious based on his interaction with him, Mr. Rywolt used his cell phone to take a photo of the male’s truck and then left the scene.  A short time later, Mr. Rywolt was contacted at home by State Police, at which time he learned that the suspicious male had robbed the bank.

   Mr. Rywolt returned to the bank to show State Police investigators the picture of the robber’s vehicle, in which the registration plate was visible.  State Police investigators traced the vehicle back to the suspect’s residence.  Within 30 minutes, the suspect was taken into custody.  In his possession was most of the money that was stolen from the bank, along with other incriminating evidence.

   Mr. Rywolt is commended for his efforts that directly resulted in the quick identification and apprehension of a suspect.  His actions earned him a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.

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Content Last Modified on 12/12/2013 4:36:16 PM