despp: State Troopers From Troops F, H & I 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
December 12, 2013

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 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 Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford and State Police Colonel Danny R. Stebbins. 


   Awards were presented in seven categories:


*  The Medal of Honor is awarded to any person who performs with gallantry and bravery
at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in combat with an armed and dangerous person. 


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


*  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:


Detective Scott Wisner, Sgt. Robert Derry, Sgt. Keith Graham, M/Sgt. Patrick Torneo, Trooper First Class Dean Griffin, Trooper First Class Thomas Inglis, Trooper First Class Enrico Milardo, Trooper First Class Jeffrey Couto, Trooper Andrew Gwiazda, Lt. Mark Cassista, Trooper First Class Matthew Ewing, Trooper First Class Christopher Reid, Trooper First Class Robert Hart, Trooper First Class James Matlock, Westbrook Officer Lawrence Merrill, Jr., State Police Troop F, Essex Resident Trooper’s Office, Old Saybrook Police Dept., Clinton Police Dept., DEEP Police, Middlesex Hospital Paramedics

   On April 8, 2013, at approximately 2:45 p.m., Troop F was advised that Old Saybrook Police Officers were engaged in a motor vehicle pursuit of a vehicle occupied by two suspects from a robbery in Old Saybrook. The pursuit entered into Westbrook on Route 153.

   Det. Wisner was on duty traveling north on Route 153 ahead of the pursuit and heard the radio broadcast. He activated his emergency lights and siren as the fleeing vehicle approached him from behind. The fleeing vehicle struck Det. Wisner’s vehicle, resulting in both vehicles traveling off the roadway and down a steep embankment.  The robbery suspects remained in their vehicle and immediately opened fire at Det. Wisner from four feet away. Det. Wisner leaned across the front seat of his vehicle for cover and, upon doing so, was shot in his left ear and left shoulder. Det. Wisner immediately returned fire, striking the two armed robbery suspects. The suspects temporarily ceased their fire due to their injuries. Det. Wisner was removed from the dangerous scene by State Troopers and immediately transported to a medical facility.

   A stand-off with the two armed suspects ensued as they continually failed to follow the commands of the Troopers. While this stand-off was taking place, Troop F Troopers, along with Officers from Old Saybrook, Clinton and the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection, arrived to assist with the perimeter of this very active and dangerous scene.

   Paramedics from Middlesex Hospital also arrived to provide medical support. The stand-off resulted in one of the two armed suspects being shot. The suspects were removed from the vehicle, taken into custody and transported to area hospitals. The suspects were found to be convicted felons with violent criminal histories; located inside of the vehicle were two handguns and numerous rounds of ammunition.

   Det. Wisner earned the Medal of Honor; Sgt. Derry, Sgt. Graham and M/Sgt. Torneo earned the Medal for Bravery; Troopers Griffin, Inglis, Milardo, Couto, Gwiazda, Ewing, Reid, Hart and Matlock, along with Lt. Cassista and Officer Merrill, earned the Medal for Meritorious Service; all others earned the Unit Citation Award.


Trooper First Class Jack Kulig

   On July 1, 2013, at 7:53 p.m., Troop I received a call from New Haven Police requesting assistance with the apprehension of a suspect in possession of a firearm.  New Haven Police reported that two of their detectives were following a vehicle traveling on Interstate 91 northbound, approaching exit 15 in Wallingford.

   Trooper Kulig responded to the area and located the vehicle in an industrial park on Barnes Road in Wallingford. The suspect attempted to flee the area, but struck a parked vehicle in the parking lot and then intentionally collided into the New Haven Police undercover car.

   The suspect reached under the car seat as he was trying to flee from the crashed vehicle. Trooper Kulig took immediate action, apprehending the suspect who was attempting to gain possession of a firearm located in plain view on the passenger side. Also seized in the vehicle was a significant amount of narcotics.   Trooper Kulig earned the Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class John Such, Trooper First Class Scott Menard

   On May 2, 2013, at 2:00 a.m., Trooper Such was dispatched to Interstate 84 in the area of Exit 44 for a report of a man sitting on the bridge overpass. Trooper Menard also responded and established a verbal rapport with the man, who was perched on the overpass with his feet dangling over the edge.

   As the man continued to look over the ledge, he started rocking back and forth, supporting his weight with his palms and lifting himself upward.  Trooper Menard distracted the man long enough to allow Trooper Such to approach from behind and secure the man around the chest and pull him down off the bridge barrier to safety.  Troopers Such and Menard each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Dale Smith, East Granby Constable William Flynn

   On April 8, 2013, at 9:53 a.m., Constable Flynn responded to a well-being check of a 17-year-old male with a history of drug abuse.  The mother of the teen had called the East Granby Resident Trooper’s Office earlier, explaining that she had not seen her son since the day before. 

   Constable Flynn located the teenager at a friend’s house, sleeping on a couch.  When he tried to wake the teen up, he observed that the youth was bluish in color, had labored breathing and was unresponsive. Trooper Smith arrived and assisted Constable Flynn in positioning the youth so that his airway was clear of fluid.  Once the fluid was cleared, the victim started to breath normally. 

   Trooper Smith and Constable Flynn monitored the teen’s vitals until EMS arrived and transported him to a local hospital.  It was later determined that the youth had overdosed on heroin.  The mother thanked Trooper Smith and Constable Flynn, noting that, without their immediate response, her son would not have survived.  Trooper Smith and Constable Flynn each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Christopher Tanner, Sergeant Rafael Medina III

   On June 24, 2013, at 1:28 p.m., Trooper Tanner was assigned to investigate a one-car accident that occurred in the gore area of Interstate 291 eastbound on the Exit 4 off ramp in South Windsor. Upon arrival, Trooper Tanner and Sergeant Medina provided medical care to the female operator. 

   The operator was incoherent, actively seizing, and gurgling due to an obstructed airway, and she was bleeding from her left hand and left knee area. Sgt. Medina and Trooper Tanner monitored the operator’s vital signs, opened her airway, and immobilized her head until medical personnel arrived on scene.

   The operator was put in a cervical collar, removed from her vehicle and transported to a local hospital. The operator regained consciousness two days later.  Doctors confirmed the operator experienced an unknown incapacitating medical event and that the actions of the Troopers helped save her life.  Trooper Tanner and Sgt. Medina each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Seymour Police Sgt. David Parratt, Seymour Police Patrolman James Duda
     On July 15, 2013, at 6:10 p.m., Sergeant Parratt and Patrolman Duda responded to a residence in Beacon Falls for a report of a disturbance.  Upon their arrival, they saw a woman walking in the middle of the road holding an infant child by the neck and throat.

     Sgt. Parratt and Patrolman Duda tried to reason with the woman to release the infant. She then began to strangle and squeeze the infant harder at which time the infants’ skin color turned blue/black and began to lose conscious.

     Fearing for the life of the infant, Sgt. Parratt, and Patrolman Duda physically restrained the woman while wrestling the infant away from her. The woman was taken to the ground and handcuffed while fighting with the officers. The infant was immediately transported to a local hospital for treatment.

      Sgt. Parratt and Patrolman Duda each earned a 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 Belton

    On June 10, 2013, Trooper Belton was parking his cruiser at the State Police Complex in Meriden when he observed a man dressed in a blue hospital gown running across the complex towards Interstate 691.  It was apparent that the man was fleeing from the direction of Midstate Hospital, adjacent to the Meriden State Police Complex. 

   Trooper Belton gave verbal commands to the man to stop, but the man ignored him and continued to flee through a wooded area towards Interstate 691.  Trooper Belton immediately gave chase and caught up to him as he approached the edge of the highway. 

   After a struggle,  Trooper Belton was able to place handcuffs on the man and prevent him from fleeing onto the highway. Within minutes, numerous Meriden Police Officers, in addition to two Midstate security officers, arrived on scene. Trooper Belton learned that the man had escaped about ten minutes earlier from Midstate Hospital. He was transported back to the hospital for treatment. Trooper Belton is commended for his quick response, which earned him the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Detective Paul Makuc

   In the early morning hours of March 9, 2011, New Haven Firefighters responded to a structure fire in a multiple family residence on Wolcott Street.  Upon arrival, fire personnel observed occupants trapped on a second floor porch and others jumping from second floor windows.  After making several rescues, firefighters fought the fire which engulfed the second and third floors. A total of 17 people occupied the second and third floors of the apartment building at the time of the fire. 

   After extinguishing the flames, firefighters located the lifeless bodies of three family members in a third floor bedroom, all burned beyond recognition. 

   A joint investigation was conducted by members of local, state and federal agencies. Det. Makuc of the Connecticut State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit was assigned as the lead origin and cause investigator and accelerant detection K-9 handler.  The fire scene investigation team concluded that the fire was intentionally set.  Evidence of a liquid accelerant was found on the second floor hallway, which spread the fire and blocked  egress from the second and third floor apartments.  

   Det. Makuc participated in the two-year investigation which identified a suspect who admitted that he lit the fire over a drug debt owed to him.  Subsequent investigation led to a federal drug arrest of the suspect for the sale and possession of illegal narcotics.  A federal grand jury handed down indictments on numerous charges to the suspect and his father, who assisted him in committing these heinous crimes. 

   In April 2013, both suspects were convicted on all counts, including the charge of arson resulting in the deaths of three persons, conspiracy, and witness tampering.  Det. Makuc was awarded the Medal for Outstanding Service for the countless hours of investigative work and expert witness testimony he provided for the case.  



Content Last Modified on 12/12/2013 4:35:40 PM