Danbury Police held their 32nd annual awards ceremony and memorial service Thursday morning. A memorial wreath was placed, there was a 21-gun salute followed by the playing of Taps and Amazing Grace. Awards were then presented by Mayor Mark Boughton, Chief Al Baker and Deputy Chief Shaun McColgan. The Chief's Achievement Award was presented to Officer Michael Reo. He was also selected as the Danbury Exchange Club's Officer of the Year for 2016.
Members of the Police Department were presented with Exceptional Police Service Awards, Life Saving Medals, Unit Citations and Meritorious Citations for 14 incidents from the past year.
A string of residential burglaries were brought to an abrupt end with the arrest of a suspect in November 2014. Officers Roger Hancock , Robert Perun and Ted Zalenski were presented with Exceptional Police Service Awards for their patrol work in monitoring the downtown area. They observed the suspect walk into a pawn shop with a wooden jewelry box and other items. Detectives Adam Marcus, Paul Carroccio, Ethan Mable and Justin Williams were presented with Unit Citations for investigating the home break in connected to the suspect that night.
Officer David Williams was presented with the Exceptional Police Service Award for his patience and professionalism in stopping a man from committing suicide. Williams responded to a Scuppo Road apartment in April 2015 on a report of a man barricaded in his bedroom and found the man cutting his arm . Williams pushed the door open, but the man leaned out the window as he threatened to jump. The Fire Department ladder truck bucket was remotely raised, pushing the window shut. The man peacefully surrendered after 30 minutes of dialog with Williams.
Two officers and a retired Officer were recognized for their restrain and diligence in dealing with a stressful situation involving a man who said that he wanted to die in a "suicide by cop" situation in June 2015. Officers Bryan Reed and Dayleth Scantling responded to a woman's 911 call that her son took a number of pills while drinking. The man was found in the driveway holding a knife and a machete. He also told police there was a gun in his car, and made several movements like he was grabbing for it. The man said he wanted to talk with retired Officer James Pacific, a family friend. Pacific arrived and the situation came to an end. Reed and Scantling were presented with Exceptional Police Service Awards, while Pacific received a Civilian Award.
In July, police were called to Sil Cam Drive on a report of the same man fighting with his mother, who didn't know if his two guns were real or not. With no trained negotiator on scene, Sgt. Matthew Casazza and Officer Alexander Relyea were aided by Officer Rui Fernandes in convincing the man to give up peacefully. Officer Christine Galgano searched for additional firearms. When presented with the Exceptional Police Service Awards, officials said that even though the gun ended up being fake, they would have been justified in shooting the man after he pointed it at them at least twice.
Officer Andrew Katkocin was presented with a Meritorious Citation for an investigation into a hit and run accident involving a pedestrian on Main Street in June. The victim came to the police station a few days after being hit, and told Katkocin that his cousin hit him on purpose after previously threatening to hit him with a pipe. The suspect had a lengthy criminal history, across the country. An arrest warrant was granted. Katkocin led a team to serve the warrant, and took the suspect by surprise before he could flee or resist.
Unit Citation were presented for an investigation into a stabbing at Kennedy Fried Chicken. An officer worker DUI enforcement saw a man matching the suspect description and confronted the man by himself. Other officers arrived and noticed blood on the suspect's shoes. Their investigation revealed that the victim instigated the fight by punching the suspect, breaking his jaw. Both were arrested. Officers Melissa Morrill and Lance Brevard and Sgt. Matthew Casazza recovered the knife, aided by anonymous information. Officers Michelle Cattuti, Christine Galgano and Ryan Howley also investigated.
Exceptional Police Service Awards were presented to Officers Hector Rodriguez and Travis Weber for racing into a burning home and helping several adults to safety. One woman said her infant was still inside. Both raced back in and got the baby out safely.
An Exceptional Police Service Award was presented to Sgt. Ethan Mable for helping a woman in cardiac arrest who was unconscious . Despite his and others efforts, the woman did not survive.
Detectives Paul Carroccio and Adam Marcus were investigating burglaries in the downtown area in October. Detectives Justin Williams and Kevin Zaloski were looking into one particular case. Officers Robert Perun and Ted Zalenski notified them that they detained a man matching their suspect's description. The suspect admitted to several burglaries and to severely injuring a parking lot attendant in the process. Additional suspects were then identified. The Detectives received Meritorious Citations while the Officers received Unit Citations.
Detective James Lalli was presented with the Life Saving Medal for assisting a 13-year old boy. A woman called 911 to report that her stepson hanged himself. Lalli found the boy with a belt around his neck, got the boy down and checked his vital signs. The boy alter was reported in good condition at Danbury Hospital.
Officer David Williams was also presented with the Life Saving Medal for his role in reviving an unconscious man. Williams responded to a reported overdose at a Spring Street home and found a woman attempted to perform CPR incorrectly. He took over, and a doctor later noted that giving chest compressions presumably shocked the victim's body into breathing again.
The Life Saving Medal was also presented to Officer Drew Carlson for performing CPR on an unresponsive woman in the basement of a home. Carlson took over CPR from a man who was on scene, and the woman started breathing. She regain consciousness and informed EMTs that she had snorted heroin.
Officer Ted Zalenski was presented with the Exceptional Police Service Award for an incident with a suicidal man. In December, officers reported to the home of a man armed with a box cutter who refused to open the door. The man yelled that he'd rather kill himself than ho back to jail. Zalenski was familiar with the man, and kicked the door open. The man had a suicide note in his hand, and Zalenski convinced him to drop the knife.
Just this March, two officers entered a dangerous situation without regard for their own safety and saved the life of a man who was attempting to commit suicide. Officers Gary Bardelli and Matthew Malone were presented with the Life Saving Medal for a well being check. They heard a motor running in a garage and saw a man slumped over a motorcycle. They forced the door open and carried the unconscious man outside where he began breathing . Even after 20 minutes after the incident, the home had very high levels of carbon monoxide and that when the officers entered the garage, the levels would have been life threatening.