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State, local police and civilians recognized during awards ceremony

An awards ceremony has been held by State Police to recognize troopers, local police and civilians for their work over the past year.


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


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 Outstanding Service Award is given to those who successfully perform an extreme, complex ordifficult 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 Lifesaving Award is presented to those who save a human life or make a valiant attempt to save a life.


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


Woodbury Police Officer Timothy Wright, Trooper First Class Tyler Spence

On, Sept. 1, 2014, at 11:15 hours, Troop L broadcast a description of a motor vehicle stolen from Southbury which eluded Waterbury Police in a pursuit. The operator was reportedly armed with a handgun and had been involved in a domestic incident in Southbury a day earlier.


Trooper Spence observed the vehicle traveling on a Woodbury road. The operator engaged Trooper Spence in pursuit, with Officer Wright joining. They pursued through roads in Woodbury and Bethlehem before the suspect vehicle crashed at an intersection in Washington. 


Trooper Spence and Officer Wright exited their cruisers with their weapons drawn and ordered the operator out of the vehicle.  The operator retrieved a gun and pointed it in the direction of the officers. Trooper Spence and Officer Wright fired their weapons and struck the operator once. He dropped his weapon and retrieved a knife, putting it to his own neck. He yelled numerous times for the officers to kill him.


During this time, the operator also attempted to evade the scene and began moving the stolen vehicle, striking Officer Wright's cruiser.  Trooper Spence successfully deployed stop sticks, while Officer Wright deployed his Taser and struck the operator, who then complied with the officers’ commands.  The operator was removed from the vehicle and first aid was rendered. 


Trooper Wright and Officer Wright each earned the Medal for Bravery.


Trooper First Class Robert Maurice

On the morning of March 24, 2015, the TD Bank in Torrington was held up by a lone, armed assailant who escaped with large sums of cash. The Western District Major Crime Squad was called to assist Torrington Police with processing the crime scene.


A short time later, Trooper Maurice was patrolling Route 7 when he noticed a pick-up truck traveling at a speed slower than the normal traffic flow. The operator was trying to ignore him by looking straight ahead. The license plate on the vehicle came back as unregistered and possibly misused. Trooper Maurice attempted to stop the vehicle on Interstate 84, but the operator ignored the lights and sirens of the cruiser. Trooper Maurice notified the troop about this low-speed pursuit.


The pursuit continued off Exit 2 into Danbury, then reentered I-84 eastbound. With Danbury Police along, Trooper Maurice pulled alongside and the operator waved a firearm at him. The vehicle reentered Route 7 northbound and pulled into a grassy area at the intersection of two busy highways. The operator exited his vehicle and was held at gunpoint by Trooper Maurice. The operator had one hand behind his back and was clearly holding a firearm. Trooper Maurice gave several commands to drop the gun. The operator entered his vehicle and proceeded north on Route 7, at reckless rates of speed while being pursued again. The operator appeared to intentionally crash into a slow-moving box truck after exiting in New Milford, suffering a serious injury.


While first aid was rendered, law enforcement located large sums of loose-bundled cash in the vehicle. Trooper Maurice had no information regarding the Torrington bank robbery, but this was clearly the suspect.


Trooper Maurice earned a Medal for Meritorious Service.


Trooper First Class Ryan Pfeiffer, Oxford Police Officer Scott McCue

On October 3, 2014, at approximately 11:52 p.m., Trooper Pfeiffer and Officer McCue were dispatched to an Oxford residence for a report of an individual in full cardiac arrest.


Upon arrival at the residence, the two officers found the victim unconscious, unresponsive and without a pulse.  They immediately began performing CPR. The two officers continued CPR for approximately 15 minutes before Oxford EMS and Paramedics arrived and transported the man to a local hospital. It was learned that the man had suffered a severe heart attack as well as acute respiratory failure.


The immediate intervention and response of Trooper Pfeiffer and Officer McCue saved the life of the unresponsive victim and each earned the Medal for Lifesaving.


Sergeant Thomas Bennett, Det. Brian Marino, New Milford Det. Scott Flockhart

The Northwest Office of the Statewide Narcotics Task Force, in conjunction with Danbury Police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Danbury State’s Attorney, conducted a wire intercept for 110 days. This six-year investigation identified two Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO’s) largely responsible for distributing illegal substances including marijuana, oxycodone, and cocaine throughout Northwest Connecticut, New York State, Massachusetts and Vermont. The oxycodone and cocaine originated from the New York City area and were distributed in this same geographic area.


Investigators determined the DTO was trafficking pills, as well as selling and developing hybrid marijuana plants and distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana. The DTO spanned several states: Connecticut, New York, California and Vermont. Two indoor grow houses were identified and thousands of dollars in equipment was seized. Two people who obtained oxycodone from the DTO suffered fatal drug overdoses, demonstrating the danger this DTO presented. This investigation concluded with search warrants executed in Connecticut, New York and Vermont; 12 people were arrested and indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for federal narcotics trafficking violations. Another eight individuals were arrested on state narcotic charges, with several more pending. Approximately $800,000 in cash was seized, along with 22 firearms, four vehicles, 50 pounds of marijuana, 175 marijuana plants, and more than 1,000 pills.


Case officers Det. Marino and Det. Flockhart authored four wiretap affidavits and ten wiretap extension orders, reviewed and approved by Sgt. Bennett.  Each affidavit detailed six years of exhaustive investigative efforts by personnel from the DEA, Danbury Police and New Fairfield Resident Troopers. The applications were prepared under a short deadline, requiring the approval of the State’s Attorney and a three-judge panel. Det. Marino and Det. Flockhart also authored several affidavits requesting search warrants, arrest warrants and countless investigative reports. Sgt. Bennett, Det. Marino and Det. Flockhart analyzed thousands of telephonic intercepts, identifying phone calls and deciphering codes to identify the suspect to be charged.  Sgt. Bennett maintained daily supervision of all activities related to the investigation and administrative requirements for the case. 


The combined efforts, skill and perseverance of this investigative team resulted in dismantling two major DTO’s and disruption of smaller drug dealers, impacting rural and large communities. Sgt. Bennett, Det. Marino and Det. Flockhart each earned the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class Ryan Pfeiffer

On Sept. 25, 2014, at approximately 11:47 p.m., the Oxford Resident Trooper’s office received a report of an intoxicated and distraught male armed with a high-powered rifle who just left his home on foot and was walking through the neighborhood. The wife of the man stated that her husband had been drinking and had been very depressed and irrational that evening. She feared that he might harm himself or others.


Trooper Pfeiffer immediately responded to the area and located the armed man. Upon exiting his cruiser with his service weapon drawn, Trooper Pfeiffer quickly confronted and handcuffed the distraught man. He secured the high-power rifle, finding it fully-loaded with a round in the chamber. The man stated that he was having severe personal problems and feeling overwhelmed. The man also said that he didn’t want to hurt anyone but that he was planning on shooting his neighbor’s dogs because their constant barking upsets him. He was transported to the hospital for evaluation. 


The immediate intervention and decisive actions by Trooper Pfeiffer prevented tragedy that evening. He earned a Medal for Outstanding Service.


Trooper First Class Christopher Sorrell

On March 20, 2014, Trooper Sorrell of the Salisbury Resident Troopers Office was contacted by a man who stated that there was a fire at his Salisbury residence on March 17. The man discovered a large portion of a coin and cash collection, worth nearly $30,000, was missing from the area where the fire occurred. Trooper Sorrell arranged to have fire department members, the town fire marshal and a representative from the state fire marshal’s office meet at the residence to determine the facts surrounding the fire, as well as the origin and cause. 


The investigation revealed that someone had entered the attic area of the residence and set a fire to cover up the larceny. Trooper Sorrell interviewed three workers at the residence and determined that they had drug addictions and had access to the stolen items. He was able to locate and recover a portion of the stolen items that had been sold by the head of the contracted company.


After several interviews, the suspect admitted taking the items and consented to a search of his two company vehicles, resulting in the seizure of heroin and the arrest of two of his employees. Both parties admitted to being with the first suspect when he attempted to sell off the stolen items. After more interviews with the first suspect and extensive investigation into his alibi, Trooper Sorrell obtained a full confession from him. He admitted stealing all of the missing items, setting fire to the attic and attempting to hide evidence of the crime after the fire. 


The tenacity and dedication demonstrated by Trooper Sorrell went above and beyond the call of duty.


He earned the Medal for Outstanding Service.


Troop B, North Canaan, Winsted Police Dept.

On May 7, 2014, State Police from Troop B and Officers from the Winsted Police Department responded after a citizen reported observing a vehicle belonging to a male accused in the murder of his wife and the serious wounding of his mother-in-law earlier in the day in Oxford.  The vehicle was parked in an abandoned restaurant parking lot bearing a marker plate number that was broadcast on the news. The accused was believed to be in possession of a pistol and a shotgun.


Troopers and Officers tactically approached the vehicle and found a lone male occupant in the driver seat with a hat pulled down over his face and an item completely covering his hands.  The vehicle engine was running with the doors locked and a hose was observed leading from the exhaust pipe into the passenger area of the vehicle.  Prior to gaining entry into the vehicle, Trooper Michael Reidy and Sergeant Patrick Malloy verified that the occupant resembled the accused murderer and observed him breathing, with normal skin tone. 


Trooper Reidy and Sergeant Malloy simultaneously smashed the front passenger and the rear passenger window of the vehicle while fellow officers on scene provided back-up.  The suspect was taken into custody and the murder weapon was recovered from the immediate area of the accused.


All involved earned the Unit Citation Award.

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Rich Valdes

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