despp: Eastern 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


State Police Troopers, CIVILIANS from

Eastern District Troops C, D, E & K

Receive Service Awards


   State Police Troopers from Troop C in Tolland, Troop D in Danielson, and Troop E in Montville received awards for service during a ceremony July 8, 2014, held at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.


   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, 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:


Major Louis J. Fusaro, Trooper First Class Steven Rief, Trooper First Class Michael Avery, Trooper Collin Konow, State Police Emergency, CT Telecommunication System, Norwich Police Dept.

   On January 7, 2013, at 4:10 p.m., the State Police Tactical Unit responded to a request from the Norwich Police Department regarding an armed and suicidal barricaded man in an apartment building.  From a third floor unit, the man fired a weapon at Norwich Police.

   As State Police Tactical members made their way to the building, a barrage of sustained gunfire could be heard coming from the building.  Major Fusaro and Troopers Rief and Avery tactically moved toward the building and encountered Norwich Officers carrying a fellow, critically shot officer down an exterior stairwell.  Major Fusaro and Troopers Rief and Avery continued toward the barricaded man’s apartment to determine if there were additional injured personnel and to gain a tactical position.

   The armed man fired a barrage of gunfire from his apartment, aimed at the Troopers.  From their position, the Troopers were unable to safely return fire.  The Troopers realized that they needed to evacuate themselves and the Norwich Police Officers who were in the stairwell with them. 

Major Fusaro, Troopers Rief and Avery, and newly-arrived Trooper Konow held this position for several minutes to allow the evacuation of officers and residents before leading a tactical retreat down the stairwell to ground level where they assisted in the evacuation of all officers, including the wounded Norwich Officer.

   The Tactical Team, along with Norwich Police and Patrol Troopers, secured the perimeter of the building and attempted to negotiate a peaceful surrender of the armed and suicidal man. After a nine-hour stand-off, he was discovered deceased within the apartment from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  All law enforcement are commended for bravely confronting a life-threatening situation.  Fusaro, Rief, Avery and Konow each received the Medal for Bravery; all others received the Unit Citation Award.


Sgt. John Aiello, Det. Eric Leroux, Det. Brian Sumner

   On Sept. 6, 2013, at 5 p.m., the Casino Unit was contacted by a member of the Lebanon, New Hampshire Police Department who requested that the detectives locate a male subject for whom several felony warrants existed in New Hampshire.  The wanted man was believed to be at the Foxwoods/MGM Casino and had an extensive criminal history, including felonious firearms and sexual offense charges. 

   Sgt. Aiello, Det. Leroux & Det. Sumner determined that the suspect in a casino hotel room. The Troopers heard activity within the room, yet received no response to repeated knocking or to telephone calls.  Due to the suspect’s past history of violent behavior – as well as concern for the safety of patrons and police personnel – the Troopers determined that immediate intervention would be required. 

   The Troopers forced the door open and made a tactical entry.  They located the suspect in the bathroom attempting to harm himself, swiftly subdued him and took him into custody.  The suspect was arrested as a fugitive from justice and later returned to the state of New Hampshire. 

   The State Troopers are commended for their decisive actions, executed at great personal risk, which resulted in the saving of a life and the arrest of a dangerous fugitive from justice. 

Aiello, Leroux and Sumner each earned a Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class Stowell Burnham

   On June 25, 2013, a Willimantic Police Officer was shot while conducting a well-being check.  It was learned that the shooting suspect had previously murdered his father and was attempting to keep his body concealed in their residence.  The suspect attempted to flee the scene on foot and attempted to shoot responding State Police personnel in a running gun fight. 

   Trooper Burnham responded to the scene, along with several canine teams, to establish a perimeter to keep the suspect contained.  When the suspect attempted to break through the perimeter, Trooper Burnham deployed his assigned K-9 “Koda” to detain the suspect.

   Trooper Burnham and K-9 “Koda” apprehended the suspect after a brief foot chase and struggle. The performance of Trooper Burnham was instrumental in apprehending this armed and dangerous felon. 

   Burnham received a Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class Bruce Taylor, Trooper Joseph Hayward

   On April 12, 2013, Troop C received a call from a concerned party reporting a suicidal male and his last known location.  Near the Somers & Stafford town line, Trooper Taylor located a vehicle matching the description of the male’s vehicle.  A sign on the vehicle that said “stay away” and a propane tank with a hose leading into the vehicle.

   Without regard for his own safety, Trooper Taylor approached the vehicle and observed the man unresponsive in the passenger compartment.  Trooper Taylor broke out the driver’s side window.  Trooper Hayward arrived and assisted Trooper Taylor in removing the man from the vehicle to safety.  The Troopers kept the man upright and walked him around to get fresh air.  They maintained his airway and monitored him until EMS arrived and transported the man to a local hospital.

   The propane being discharged into the vehicle posed an immediate danger, including the possibility of an explosion. The Troopers disregarded the danger and took quick, decisive actions to save a life.  The response of Troopers Taylor and Hayward earned each of them a Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class Timothy Bettencourt, Trooper First Class Jason McCarthy, Trooper First Class Armando Bettini

   On Sept. 4, 2013, a suicidal male was reported missing by family members who reported the distraught man left his residence operating his pickup truck. The individual had previously been treated for mental health conditions, was depressed, and expressed a desire to harm himself.

   State Police dispatch personnel coordinated with the man’s cell phone carrier to locate the pickup truck, which was found in a heavily-wooded area in the Pachaug State Forrest. GPS coordinates of the man’s phone placed it north of the truck, possibly near a pond. A note in the vehicle expressed the man’s intent to end his life.

   Trooper Bettencourt deployed his assigned canine, Blaze, while working alongside Trooper McCarthy and Trooper Bettini, in an effort to locate the man. With the help of Blaze, the man was located in a secluded area about a mile from his truck. The man was in a semiconscious state, having consumed a large quantity of prescription pills. Unable to stand, he was escorted from the forest by Troopers and transported to a local hospital’s intensive care unit, as it was determined that he ingested deadly chemicals in addition to a large quantity of prescription medication.

   The actions of these Troopers saved the man’s life. Each received a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper Paul Piper, Trooper Randy Silvestri, Trooper Greg Hunter

   On November 7, 2013, at 1:43 p.m., Troop E received a call from a pastor who reported that one of his parishioners had called him and threatened suicide.  The pastor indicated that the woman left a message saying she wanted him to preside at her services.  

   Troopers Silvestri, Hunter and Piper were dispatched to a Lisbon residence.  The Troopers could hear crying sounds coming from the basement of the residence and made a forced entry via the locked front door. 

   Troopers discovered a female lying on the basement floor, conscious but bleeding profusely from both arms.  Troopers noticed a power table saw in the center of the basement that was still running with blood leading from it to the woman. They discovered that she had severely injured both arms.  These Troopers quickly fashioned a tourniquet with a towel and a screwdriver and stemmed the flow of blood from her arms. 

   The quick entry and the application of a tourniquet by the Troopers saved the woman’s life. Each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper Daryl Manbeck, Trooper Luke Larue

   On Oct. 31, 2013, Troopers Manbeck and Larue were dispatched to a Thompson residence for a report of a despondent male. 

   After checking the exterior of the residence, they located a vehicle running in the back yard. The vehicle was not occupied, but was parked next to a shed with the exhaust pipe pointing towards the shed. The Troopers heard a generator running inside the shed.  They moved the vehicle and located the man inside the shed, unresponsive and slumped over a running portable generator.

   The Troopers removed the man from the toxic shed environment to fresh air where they provided first aid and lifesaving efforts until the arrival of EMS. The man was transported to a local hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning where he was treated and expected to survive.

   Manbeck and Larue each earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class Nicholas Leary

   On Feb. 6, 2014, Troop D requested K-9 assistance in locating a 60-year-old man who had been missing for several hours.  The man was not dressed properly for the cold weather and was believed to be on foot in the area. It was reported that he had not taken his medication and suffered from delusions. A patrol K-9 team conducted a track but was unable to locate him. The State Police Search and Rescue (SAR) K-9 team was activated and deployed to search areas attempting to cover about one-half mile from the residence in all directions in the snow and freezing temperatures.

   SAR Team member Trooper Leary and his K-9 located the missing man lying in the snow in a wooded area off the southbound shoulder of Route 97, approximately one-quarter mile from his residence. The man was conscious but extremely cold and could not move. He was carried from the woods by SAR team members and transported to a local hospital.

   Leary earned a Medal for Lifesaving.


Trooper First Class James Esposito

   During the early morning hours of May 25, 2013, Detectives with the Eastern District Major Crime Squad, as well as Troop D Troopers, were assigned to an active homicide investigation in the town of Sterling.  Troopers learned that, while operating a motor vehicle, the victim sustained a stab wound to his chest during a confrontation and succumbed to his injures.  Numerous witnesses and potential suspects were interviewed, which led to no new leads or information.

   Two days later, Trooper Esposito was off-duty and met with a close community contact who disclosed that a crack cocaine user may have been involved with the homicide.  That vital information was forwarded to Major Crime Detectives and the suspect was subsequently located and interviewed.  During the interview, the suspect confessed to Detectives that he had stabbed the victim during a drug transaction. 

   The initiative demonstrated by Trooper Esposito ultimately resulted in solving the homicide and apprehending a dangerous felon.  The actions of Trooper Esposito exhibited a high standard of professionalism and superior judgment, in the highest tradition of the Connecticut State Police.

   Esposito earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


East Lyme Police Det. Donald Marr, East Lyme Police Officer Mark Comeau, Greenwich Police Det. Robert McKiernan

   The East Lyme Police Department investigated residential burglaries between February 28, 2008, and April 4, 2010.  Numerous burglaries were reported in towns close to Interstate 95, from Greenwich to Stonington. To combat this spate of burglaries, East Lyme Resident Sgt. Wilfred Blanchette assigned Det. Marr and Officer Comeau to a “Burglary Task Force,” charging them with developing information and suspects to solve these crimes.

   The officers worked with surrounding agencies to compare the burglaries. Evidence suggested that the same individuals were committing these burglaries and a multijurisdictional investigation unfolded.  The East Lyme officers met with officers and detectives from affected towns to develop suspects.  Physical evidence, including similar footwear impressions, glove patterns and tool impressions, were collected at numerous burglaries. As a result of that meeting, two convicted felons with a history of burglaries were identified as “people of interest.”      

   On Nov. 13, 2010, Det. McKiernan reported that a Greenwich resident had just been burglarized.  Det. McKiernan requested the East Lyme Police to be on the lookout for the suspects. Later that day, Det.Marr and Officer Comeau located a vehicle registered to one of the two suspects parked in front of a self-storage unit in East Lyme.  The officers could hear a loud banging noise coming from inside the storage unit.  Both suspects were observed inside the unit; one of them attempting to force open a large safe.  Upon seeing the police, the suspects fled from the unit in different directions and eluded capture.  Observed in plain view inside of the storage unit were thousands of items suspected as stolen.

   A search warrant was secured for the storage unit and police found 8,062 pieces of property, including identifiable items from more than a dozen towns and 19 stolen guns.  Arrest warrants were obtained for the two suspects.  On Nov. 18, 2010, both suspects were arrested in Massachusetts.  For months, Detectives, Officers and Troopers worked tirelessly to inventory, categorize and link the stolen property to victims throughout the state.  Due to their investigative efforts, more than 200 residential burglaries and three armed robberies were solved, with both men pleading guilty in November 2013 to numerous felony charges. 

   Marr, Comeau and McKiernan each earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper Brett Davison, Trooper First Class James Grimes

   On Sept. 21, 2013, at 2:30 a.m., Troop C in Tolland received 9-1-1 calls regarding a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 84 westbound between Exits 71 and 72.  Troopers Grimes and Davison arrived on-scene and observed a vehicle split in two pieces and a full-size tractor trailer unit rolled over the median, blocking all three lanes on the eastbound side of the highway, as well as the left lane on the westbound side.  

   Trooper Grimes located the truck driver bleeding and trapped inside the cab of his overturned truck. The cab was positioned in the center lane on the eastbound side of the highway, just over the crest of a hill.  The weather during this time was extremely thick fog and visibility of oncoming traffic was significantly impaired.  Trooper Grimes observed two vehicles nearly collide with the overturned truck cab. 

   Due to the potential life-threatening situation to the injured driver, Trooper Grimes began smashing out the windshield of the truck cab in order to rescue him.  Trooper Davison responded and called for additional Troopers to position their vehicles on the eastbound side of the highway to stop traffic.  Trooper Davison then used his flashlight to help warn and divert traffic from the rolled-over tractor trailer unit, while Trooper Grimes pulled the trapped driver from the cab of his overturned truck.  Troopers Grimes and Davison successfully rescued the injured driver and pulled him to safety for emergency medical attention. 

   The immediate response of these Troopers clearly saved a life and prevented further collisions. Troopers Davison and Grimes received the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Troop C, Tolland

   On May 20, 2013, at 11 p.m., Troop C received a 911 call from a Pennsylvania man who was traveling on I-84 west in the area of exit 65 in Vernon.  He stated that he was traveling behind a vehicle that was the subject of an Amber Alert out of Massachusetts.  The man followed the suspect vehicle as it exited I-84 at exit 62 in Manchester, but lost sight of the vehicle.

   Troopers from Troop C responded to the area and located the suspect vehicle several miles away at a convenience store in South Windsor.  Troopers approached the vehicle and located the children who were the subject of the Amber Alert.  The children were hidden under blankets and pillows and were not injured. 

   Troopers located the suspect in the store and brought him outside.  Braintree, Massachusetts Police requested that the man be taken into custody as a result of their case. 

   Troopers found approximately $8,600 in the suspect’s wallet.  A check of the vehicle indicated that the subject was planning a long road trip, with several coolers packed and numerous items for sleeping inside the vehicle.  The children stated that they were headed out west but did not know exactly where. 

   A detective from Braintree Police extended his sincere thanks for the exceptional efforts put forth by Troop C personnel. Troop C Troopers earned the Unit Citation Award.


Ms. Lisa Sheehan, Mr. Raymond Merrill

   On March 24, 2014, at 8 p.m., a motor vehicle operator suffered a medical emergency, causing him to lose control and crash into the center median on I-395 in Griswold.  Civilian Raymond Merrill witnessed the collision and stopped.  He found the operator unresponsive and all doors to the vehicle locked.  The operator’s foot was pressing on the accelerator, causing the engine to race.  Mr. Merrill observed that the engine compartment of the involved vehicle was smoking heavily and beginning to catch fire.

   A second civilian, Lisa Sheehan, drove past the accident, turned around and returned to the scene.  After seeing flames beneath the vehicle, Mrs. Sheehan and Mr. Merrill determined that they must break the vehicle’s window and remove the operator.  Mr. Merrill retrieved a scissor jack from his vehicle and broke the rear passenger window.  

   Through the broken window, Mrs. Sheehan leaned into the vehicle and attempted to revive the operator.  Mr. Merrill reached the driver’s door and found the operator to be disoriented and combative.  Mr. Merrill struggled to unfasten the operator’s seat belt as the fire began to spread quickly and flames shot up through the opened driver’s door.  State Troopers arrived on scene and doused the flames with fire extinguishers. 

   Mr. Merrill reached through the flames, grabbed hold of the operator’s wrist and pulled him from the burning car.  Mr. Merrill, Mrs. Sheehan and Troopers moved the operator clear of the vehicle just as it became completely engulfed in flames.  If not for the brave actions of Mr. Merrill and Mrs. Sheehan, the operator would surely have perished in this accident.  Mr. Merrill and Mrs. Sheehan risked their own safety to save the life of a complete stranger.  Each earned the Commissioner’s Recognition Award.


Auxiliary Trooper William Nowyckyj

   Aux. Tpr. Nowyckyj has served as an Auxiliary Trooper since July 7, 1976.

A year later, then-Governor Ella Grasso presented him with an exemplary performance of duty award for Lifesaving.

   Auxiliary Nowyckyj is currently assigned as a Patrol Auxiliary Trooper at Troop K in Colchester.  During the calendar year 2013, Auxiliary Nowyckyj worked 619.5 hours during 81 days, providing vital support to Troop K.

   In addition, Auxiliary Nowyckyj supplies administrative assistance to the Emergency Services Unit and Fleet Maintenance, both located in Colchester. He assists with Troop K Police Cadets and provides traffic control for events in the towns of Colchester, Hebron, Lebanon and Columbia. In October, he helps with the Troop K Halloween party and at Christmas he helps collect toys for the Stuff-a-Cruiser event.

   A Vietnam veteran, Auxiliary Trooper Nowyckyj is retired from AT&T.

   The outstanding job performance of Auxiliary Trooper Nowyckyj routinely exceeds expectations, making him a great asset to Troop K, as well as the entire gency.  Auxiliary Trooper William Nowyckyj is the Connecticut State Police 2014 Auxiliary Trooper of the Year.




Content Last Modified on 7/8/2014 4:49:48 PM