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Citizens and Officers Honored by West Hartford Police Department

Citizens who assisted emergency responders, and a total of 83 West Hartford police officers, were recognized at Friday's ceremony.

In honor of Police Week – traditionally a time when departments honor fallen officers – the holds its annual awards ceremony. The Town has been lucky, with no loss of life on the job in 90 years of service.

"In West Hartford we use this week to celebrate our officers and recognize our citizens," said Chief Tracey Gove Friday morning at .

Citizens who went "above and beyond" in assisting emergency responders were honored first and presented with Citizen Awards. Town Council member Harry Captain, chair of the Public Safety Committee, spoke words of praise. "You protect the citizens, and you put the citizen recognition up front.

A total of 83 police officers were also honored for performance during the past year, many for extraordinary service during last fall's hurricane, the unprecedented snowstorm and power outage, and for the apprehension of a suspect in a fatal stabbing which occurred while the power was still out in most of the town.

"It's almost difficult to put into words the pride I feel," said Mayor Scott Slifka as he presented the merit and citation awards to police department members. "I put it into one sentence: Two storms, two declarations of emergency, zero grievances, and one record of excellence."

In addition, the police department also recognized anniversary milestones with Service Awards.

Names and descriptions of the awards are listed below.

Citizen Awards

  • Louis Mira: On February 8, 2012, Mr. Mira observed smoke coming from a home on Brunswick Avenue. He notified the occupants of the home and assisted in evacuating them. He also notified 911. (1200006014)
  • Heather Dean, Donald Dean: July 1, 2011, Heather Dean observed 2 men breaking into a home on Prospect Avenue. She called 911 and gave crucial information while officers responded. She and her father were able to identify the suspects for field identification. (1100029580)
  • Marshall Kearns: July 9, 2011, a bicyclist fell at the reservoir and severely cut herself.  Marshal Kearns was riding his bike in the reservoir and came upon the scene.  He rode his bike 2.5 miles to the parking lot and then guided the officers back to the scene of the fall. (1100030958)
  • Juan Gerena, Alex Lopez, Saul Cabrera, and Saunnie Pilcher: June 10, 2011, a purse snatching occurred on Farmington Avenue.  The purse snatcher was apprehended by employees working at SHISH Lounge. (1100025863)

Departmental Citation

  • Officer Matthew Bonzagni: September 11, 2011, Officer Bonzagni was off duty and apprehended a person who had just burglarized an apartment in Middletown. He physically detained the suspect until Middletown Police could arrive.

Merit Award

  • Officer Ryan Riley: November 23, 2011, Officer Riley saw a suspicious person at the gas station at Farmington Ave/Prospect Ave.  Further investigation led to the arrest of a well known burglar who was in possession of stolen property from an unreported car burglary. Further investigation by the Detective Division led to the clearance of multiple burglaries. Detective Brian Hill, Detective Steven Ciarleglio and Detective Dawn Lascari are being presented with a Unit Citation in this case. (11000055774)
  • Officer Jeffrey Swank: June 26, 2011, Officer Swank was off duty and driving home when he observed a vehicle operating erratically. The car stopped and Officer Swank was able to detain the driver for marked units to arrive. Ultimately the driver was arrested on DUI, drug and weapons charges. Property recovered from the car implicated the driver in car burglaries in Glastonbury. (1100028645)

Life Saving Award

  • Officer Jeremy Allen, Officer Andrew Teeter: July 2, 2011, Officer Allen and Officer Teeter responded to a medical call involving a person with no pulse and not breathing. Officers were able to revive the victim using CPR. (1100029800)
  • Officer Frederick Malona: On July 7, 2011, Officer Malona responded to a report of a party choking. Officer Malona was able to clear the obstruction and the party was able to resume breathing. (1100030533)

Unit Citation

  • Detective Steve Ciarleglio, Detective Dawn Lascari, Detective Brian Hill, and Lieutenant Frank Fallon: November 23, 2011, Officer Riley saw a suspicious person at the gas station at Farmington Ave/Prospect Ave. Further investigation led to the arrest of a well known burglar who was in possession of stolen property from an unreported car burglary. Further investigation by the Detective Division led to the clearance of multiple burglaries. Detective Brian Hill, Detective Steven Ciarleglio and Detective Dawn Lascari are being presented with a Unit Citation in this case. (110055774)
  • ERC Sharon Williams, ERC Carol Thibedeau, ERC Laura Cashman, ERC Michele Kowalczyk, ERC Susan MacDonald, ERC Elizabeth Beyus, ERC Jesse Kristoff, ERC Michael Nolan, ERC Theodore Hansen, ERC Todd Hungerford, ERC Eric Reese, and ERC Melissa Cox: On August 27, 2011 the region was hit with a hurricane which caused significant destruction. This was followed by an early winter storm on October 29, 2011, which created even more destruction and plunged the town into darkness for over a week. Throughout both events the dispatchers in the Emergency Operations Center handled thousands of calls and worked tirelessly for the residents of the Town of West Hartford. The Unit is being recognized for their good work during these events.
  • Sergeant Kevin McCarthy, Officer Brett Balisciano, Officer Scott Segar, Officer Dominic Creaco, Officer Kevin Harrison, Lieutenant Tracey Gove, Detective William Kinahan, Detective Thomas Ganley, and Detective Michael Camilleri: On April 26, 2011, Officer Kevin Harrison and Officer Dominic Creaco stopped a car for a motor vehicle violation and developed information to arrest the driver for possessing 7 bags of heroin. They, other members of CIT, and members of the Special Investigations Division, along with Officer Brett Balisciano, were able to develop information on a major drug dealer in West Hartford, secure a search warrant and arrest the drug dealer. The search of his residence yielded 200 bags of heroin and a stolen handgun. (1100018836)
  • Sergeant Kevin McCarthy, Officer James Mahoney, Officer Dominic Creaco, Officer David Michael, Officer Kevin Harrison, and Detective Andrew Wamester: On November 23, 2011, an armed robbery occurred of two people walking home from a local restaurant in the area of Maplewood Avenue. The people were robbed at gunpoint. After a lengthy investigation by the Community Interaction Team, with the assistance of Detective Andrew Wamester, several search warrants were obtained. On February 29, 2012, the members of the unit were able to arrest two suspects in this case. (1100055811)
  • Captain Joseph LaSata, Captain Donald Melanson, Lieutenant Frank Fallon, Lieutenant Andrew Schiffer, Sergeant Michael Alquist, Sergeant Christopher Chappell, Sergeant Samuel Ferrucci, Sergeant Kevin McCarthy, Detective Brian Hill, Detective Dawn Lascari, Detective Dane Semper, Detective Robert Magao, Detective Peter Juda, Detective Steven Ciarleglio, Detective Gary Ciarleglio, Detective Anthony Anderle, Detective Gino Giansanti, Officer Jeremy Allen, Officer Daniel Bedford, Officer John Begin, Officer Matthew Bonzagni, Officer David Cavedon, Officer Leigh Cogle, Officer Michael Coyne, Officer Dominic Creaco, Officer Shawn DiBella, Officer Jeremiah Gagnon, Officer Brian Gallagher, Officer Paul Gionfriddo, Officer Kevin Harrison, Officer Edward Jacovino, Officer James Mahoney, and OfficerPSD Michael Nolan: On November 3, 2011, West Hartford Police Department received a report of a . Sadly, the victim did not survive the assault.  This attack occurred while the town was struggling with the aftermath of a freak winter storm and the town was largely without power. Many of the above members of the department had already worked multiple shifts dealing with the weather emergency and then worked tirelessly on this case. Within 2 hours the suspect was located hiding in a garage and taken into custody. (1100052841)

Service Awards

30 Years of Service:

  • John Silano
  • William Kinahan

25 Years of Service:

  • Patricia Noonan

20 Years of Service:

  • Stephen Estes
  • Joseph LaSata
  • David Dubiel

The names and descriptions of events were included in a release submitted by the West Hartford Police Department.

Keith Griffin May 19, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Thanks for the in-depth reporting on the awards. Nice to see what folks were honored for. At first it seemed odd to see so many being honored but it all makes sense after reading the release.

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