despp: Central District State Troopers, Civilians Receive 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
Dr. Dora B. Schriro
Colonel Brian F. Meraviglia
Deputy Commissioner
Division of State Police
July 8, 2014


Central District state troopers, civilians

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 July 8, 2014, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.


   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 Dora B. Schriro and State Police Colonel Brian Meraviglia. 


   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 First Class James Scott, State Police Troop G, Milford Police Dept.

   On Oct. 23, 2013, at 3:19 a.m., Trooper Scott entered a Milford gas station as he routinely did in his patrol area to check on the store.  While Trooper Scott was inside the convenience store, he encountered a masked individual threatening the clerk with a 22-inch sword. Trooper Scott took a position of cover and ordered the armed man to drop his weapon.

   Due to the man’s aggressive actions, Trooper Scott was forced to engage the suspect, using deadly force to protect himself and the store clerk from the advancing threat.  Trooper Scott fired at the suspect, striking him in the chest.  After being shot, the suspect was able to flee from the store.  A short time later, with the assistance of Milford Officer Degnan and his K-9 Diesel, the suspect was located in an alleyway near the store, having succumbed to his injuries.

   State Troopers and Milford Police established the crime scene and set up a perimeter search of the adjacent motel.  Trooper Bombace and Milford Officer Frith conducted a search of the motel parking lot and located a suspicious vehicle behind the building, facing the exit of the parking lot.  A male individual was in the driver’s seat and told them that he was waiting for his friend to return from inside the motel.

   With assistance from Police Officers and Troopers at the crime scene, Trooper Bombace was able to quickly determine that the operator and his vehicle were connected with the robbery suspect.  The operator was detained and further investigation by State Police Detectives led to his arrest for his involvement in the attempted convenience store robbery.

   All of the personnel who responded to this event are commended for their actions in the face of a highly stressful and volatile incident.  All involved remained professional and demonstrated exceptional skill that led to the discovery of the suspect’s accomplice and getaway vehicle. 

   Trooper Scott earned a Medal for Bravery, Troop G and Milford Police earned a Unit Citation Award.


Sergeant Ian Case, Hartford Sgt. Sean Spell, DEA, Dept. of Correction, Hartford Police Dept.

   On Sept. 2, 2013, Hartford Police responded to Franklin Avenue for a report of a shooting and found a male victim suffering from two gunshots wounds.

   Members of the Hartford Shooting Task Force, supervised by Sgt. Spell and Sgt. Case, knew of an on-going dispute in the area and quickly identified the persons involved and a suspect vehicle used to flee the scene of the shooting.

   Sgts. Spell and Case observed three of the suspects standing in front of a residence on Hillside Avenue. Assisting units from the Shooting Task Force and Traffic Division responded and encountered a combative group in the rear of the residence, later determined to be an active marijuana distribution location.

   Sgts. Spell and Case led officers into the residence and, after a brief struggle, apprehended five suspects, including the three suspects they observed. Two of the suspects were armed with loaded 9mm handguns.  All but one of the arrested parties made post-arrest statements implicating them in the incident, including placement of four of the suspects in the vehicle used in the shooting.

   Sgts. Case and Spell each received a Medal for Meritorious Service; DEA, Dept. of Correction and Hartford Police Dept. each received the Unit Citation Award.


Trooper First Class Albert Gorski, Trooper First Class Donald Comstock, Meriden Police Officer Michael Siegler, Correction Officer Midhat Sulejmanovic

   On October 16, 2013, Trooper Comstock was traveling west on Interstate 691 in Meriden when he observed a vehicle turn into a guardrail.  Trooper Comstock found that the male operator was unresponsive and apparently suffering from an unknown medical condition.  Trooper Gorski arrived on scene and retrieved his medical kit.

   Trooper Comstock, assisted by off-duty Meriden Officer Siegler, broke a window and the victim was moved to a safe location along the highway where it was determined that he was not breathing and had no pulse. Troopers Comstock and Gorski, along with another passerby, Correction Officer Sulejmanovic, began CPR on the victim until EMS personnel arrived and relieved the first responders.

   After the victim regained breathing and a faint pulse, he was transported to a local hospital. It was determined that he had suffered a heart attack prior to crashing his vehicle and the quick actions of the first responders saved his life.

   Gorski, Comstock, Siegler and Sulejmanovic each earned a Medal for Lifesaving


Trooper First Class Thomas Gorman, Trooper First Class Peter Leacu, Trooper Trainee Jerry Richardson, Trooper John Blalock, Trooper David Misenti

   On Jan. 30, 2013, at 4:24 a.m., the Vernon Police broadcast that a robbery had just occurred in their town, with descriptors for a suspect person and vehicle.  The suspect vehicle was located in Hartford, where it struck a Hartford Police vehicle and intentionally rammed the patrol vehicle of Trooper Leacu after Trooper Leacu attempted to stop the vehicle.

   The suspect vehicle was stopped by Trooper Blalock, Trooper Misenti and Trooper Trainee Richardson on nearby Flatbush Ave where the male suspect fled on foot, climbed a fence and jumped 30 feet to a waterway below, landing on ice. 

   Trooper Trainee Richardson, Trooper Leacu and Trooper Gorman rushed to aid the man lying on the ice-covered river way.  The man suffered a severe injury to his lower extremities and was lying partially in water, unable to move from the ice breaking beneath him.  The Troopers moved the suspect to the embankment and he was transported to a local hospital.  In their haste to climb through fencing to reach the injured suspect, these three Troopers suffered lacerations to their hands and legs and received treatment at area medical facilities.

   The suspect is believed to have been responsible for numerous robberies in the towns of Windsor, Windsor Locks and South Windsor.  These Troopers are commended for their decisive actions in apprehending this dangerous suspect and successfully saving his life.

   Gorman, Leacu and Richardson each earned a Medal for Lifesaving; Blalock and Misenti earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class James Connelly

   On Sept. 17, 2013, at 6:55 a.m., Trooper Connelly was on patrol in Haddam when he heard a call for a medical assist at a Deep River residence. Trooper Connelly was one of the first responders at the scene, where an 83-year-old man was found without a pulse. Trooper Connelly immediately assisted EMS personnel from the Deep River Ambulance service in administering CPR.

   Trooper Connelly continued to administer CPR until a pulse was established. The victim was stabilized and transported to a local medical facility. While clearing the scene, several members of the Deep River Ambulance service voiced their appreciation for the efforts of Trooper Connelly in aiding them with the immediate care for the victim.

   The quick actions of Trooper Connelly helped save the life of an elderly man. Trooper Connelly earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper Lindsey Valcourt, Civilian Kelley Skaarva

   On Oct. 15, 2013, at 8:16 p.m., Trooper Valcourt responded to a report of a structure fire on Amity Road in Bethany.  Upon arrival, Trooper Valcourt observed a lone female, Kelley Skaarva, kneeling next to an older female who was lying on the ground, unconscious and not breathing. 

   Trooper Valcourt and Ms. Skaarva immediately started CPR until they regained the woman’s pulse.  Bethany EMS arrived on scene and relieved Trooper Valcourt and Ms. Skaarva of their medical duties.  The victim was transported to a local hospital for additional treatment.

   The quick response of Trooper Valcourt and Ms. Skaarva allowed them to successfully regain a pulse on the victim.

   Trooper Valcourt earned a Medal for Lifesaving; Ms. Skaarva earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.


Sergeant James Kodzis, Troop F Westbrook

   On November 2, 2013, at 4:12 p.m., a resident of Lyme reported that his 36-year-old wife was last heard from at 1 p.m. that day and possibly took prescription medicine. She stated in a telephone conversation to him that she was going into the woods on their 14-acre property and no one would be able to find her. The complainant stated his wife had a past history of depression.

   Sgt. Kodzis and his K-9, Farley and Troopers from Troop F responded to the residence to search for the victim. A search of the area and a neighborhood canvass were conducted, State Police K-9 Search and Rescue teams arrived and a Silver Alert was posted.

   At 10:10 p.m., after searching for the missing woman for six hours, Sgt. Kodzis and Farley found her lying in a wooded brush/debris hole within the property. The victim was semi-conscious and responsive and was immediately transported to the hospital. An investigation revealed that she took 60 pills. The personnel involved in this investigation conducted themselves with a high degree of alertness, perseverance and superior judgment and their actions saved the woman’s life.

   Sgt. Kodzis received the Medal for Lifesaving; Troopers from Troop F received a Unit Citation Award.


Trooper Lindsey Valcourt

   On Dec. 25, 2013, at approximately 2:08 p.m. on Christmas Day, Trooper Valcourt was sent to a medical assist at a Bethany residence in which the patient, a 74-year-old female, was in cardiac arrest. 

   Trooper Valcourt arrived on scene and found that the patient did not have a pulse. Trooper Valcourt immediately began CPR, established a pulse in the patient, and continued medical care until Bethany Ambulance arrived to transport the patient to a local hospital. 

   The quick response and medical care provided by Trooper Valcourt saved the life of the patient. Trooper Valcourt earned the Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Robert Lanouette, Sgt. Edward Benecchi

   On Nov. 30, 2013, at 3:37 p.m., Troop F received a 911 phone call regarding a vehicle passenger suffering from cardiac arrest on Route 9 Northbound, near exit 9 in Middletown.  Trooper Lanouette responded to the scene and found an unresponsive male in the passenger seat of the vehicle.  The passenger was cyanotic and in respiratory distress.  Trooper Lanouette removed the passenger from the vehicle and found a weak pulse on him. 

   Sgt. Benecchi, who was off-duty at the time, also responded to the scene. The Troopers learned from the vehicle operator that the passenger was suffering from an overdose.  Trooper Lanouette was able to maintain an open airway on the passenger, while Sgt. Benecchi provided rescue breaths.  The Troopers assisted the passenger with breathing until EMS arrived and transported him to a local hospital, where he made a full recovery.

   Trooper Lanouette and Sgt. Benecchi are commended for their prompt response and immediate medical aid, which was instrumental in saving the life of the passenger. Each Trooper earned the Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Michael Dyki, Oxford Officer Dennis D’Archangelo

   On March 25, 2014, at 4:25 p.m., the Oxford Resident Troopers Office responded to a report of a man falling through the ice at the Naugatuck State Forest Reservoir #3 in Oxford.  Resident Trooper Dyki and Oxford Officer D’Archangelo immediately responded and located the victim’s truck near a trail to the reservoir. Trooper Dyki and Officer D’Archangelo ran to the reservoir and located the male victim about 50 feet from shore in the water holding onto ice fishing supplies. The victim’s 12-year-old son was found on the shore in a panicked state. 

   Trooper Dyki and Officer D’Archangelo threw a rescue rope to the victim, who was able to hold onto it despite the effects of hypothermia from being submerged in the freezing water. With some effort, the two officers were able to drag the victim out of the water, back onto the thicker, safer ice and then to shore. Oxford EMS and Fire Department responded to the scene and treated the victim for his severe hypothermia.

   Both Trooper Dyki and Officer D’Archangelo received a Medal for Lifesaving.


Sergeant William J. Bundy

   In March 2011, a municipal police department contacted the State Police to request an investigation into the disappearance of evidence. Sgt. Bundy was tasked with the investigation.

   Sgt. Bundy obtained video surveillance footage and, after considerable time, effort and attention to detail, the video revealed evidence crucial to the investigation. The location of the cameras and the software employed by the system created a challenging situation for detectives. However, Sgt. Bundy spent countless hours thoroughly reviewing the video evidence and documenting his findings.

   Working together, Sgt. Bundy, Detective Stephen McManaway and Detective Michael Hoagland interviewed all persons having access to the building during the relevant time. This included interviewing every sworn member of the police department, as well as civilian employees and contractors with access to the facility in March of 2011.

   Based on the evidence, an arrest warrant was secured. In the months and years that followed, Sgt. Bundy never wavered in his commitment to this important case. He tirelessly reviewed the evidence, including the video, in preparation for the trial. His testimony was instrumental in gaining a conviction. Despite being subjected to hours of direct and cross examination in the courtroom, Sgt. Bundy remained calm and composed throughout.

   Sgt. Bundy is commended for his extraordinary efforts in connection with the successful prosecution of a former police officer for larceny from the department’s evidence locker – and helping to restore the public’s confidence in that department.

   Sgt. Bundy earned a Medal for Outstanding Service. 


Trooper Ronald Bastura

   On Nov. 27, 2013, at 4:48 p.m., Trooper Bastura was dispatched to Interstate 91 in New Haven for a report of a motor vehicle accident.

   Trooper Bastura observed three vehicles stopped in the right shoulder of I-91 Northbound, with four people standing outside.  Trooper Bastura was speaking with one of the operators when she suddenly ran out into the right travel lane of I-91. Trooper Bastura immediately pulled her out of the travel portion of the highway. 

   The woman fought with the Trooper and was trying to get back out into traffic. She continued screaming that she wanted to die and she wanted someone to run her over. Trooper Bastura restrained her for several minutes, with her trying to get past him and run back out into traffic. After a short time, the woman’s sister arrived on the scene.  Trooper Bastura explained the situation to the sister, who informed him that the operator suffered from depression.

   At the time of this incident, it was dark, there was heavy rain and the highway was experiencing a heavy volume of rush hour traffic.  Trooper Bastura used superior judgment and his calm demeanor kept the situation under control and saved a life.

   Trooper Bastura earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


Troop H, Hartford

   On July 5, 2014, at 7 p.m., Enfield Police issued a “be on the lookout” alert for three men traveling in a sedan with New York registration.  Enfield Police noted that two of the men assaulted a security guard at an Enfield retail store. 

   Troopers from Troop H were conducting DUI enforcement on I-91 in the area of Exit 45 in East Windsor.  Trooper First Class Shawn Swarz spotted the suspect vehicle and positioned his assigned cruiser behind the vehicle to confirm the license plate.  Trooper First Class Dale Smith, Trooper Robert Zdrojesk, Trooper John Wilson and Sergeant Stephen Samson followed behind Trooper Swarz with emergency lights and sirens activated as the suspect vehicle traveled south on I-91 without stopping.  The vehicle sped up and made an evasive turning maneuver onto Route 20 westbound.  The Troopers positioned their assigned cruisers and safely stopped the vehicle in Windsor Locks.

   While the vehicle was stopped, Trooper Smith observed furtive movement inside the vehicle prompting all Troopers on scene to complete a felony motor vehicle stop.  All three suspects were removed from the vehicle and placed under arrest.  Inside the vehicle, Troopers located $4,500 in cash, 147 stolen credit cards, 92 credit cards with no name on them, 65 gift cards, and numerous merchandise items.  Enfield Police Detectives responded and took custody of the three accused. 

   The Trooper H Troopers are commended for their communication and judgment in taking these three suspects into custody. Their actions earned them the Unit Citation Award.



Content Last Modified on 7/8/2014 4:32:08 PM