The West Hartford Police Department held a ceremony on Friday to officially donate the station’s SWAT Room to Marcus Stephens of Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
A young Hartford boy who had always wanted to be a member of the SWAT team was given the experience of being an honorary “police officer of the day” shortly before he passed away in 2012, but last Friday the West Hartford Police Department made sure that Marcus Stephens’ memory will live on.
Det. Sgt. Tony Anderle said that Marcus Stephens had originally gained the attention of the West Hartford Police Department through a mutual friend, West Hartford resident Jason Kovolski.
Marcus, who was 12 and very ill with an aggressive lymphoma, had always wanted to become not only a police officer but a SWAT member.
“We were able to to give Marcus a tour of the police department, a ride in the Bearcat, and with the assistance of Off. Riccobon, Marcus was able to wear some of the equipment that our SWAT members use,” Anderle said.
Marcus enjoyed that experience back in the spring of 2012, shortly before he passed away. Anderle said that several officers attended Marcus’ funeral.
West Hartford Police Chief Tracey Gove had made Marcus an honorary police officer for the day, but Anderle and Kovolski wanted to do more to remember the young boy.
“I spoke with our ESU Commander Lt. Clark and informed him of what Jason and I were attempting to accomplish,” Anderle said.
When Kovolski’s employer, Firestone, donated money to create a plaque in memory of Marcus, Anderle asked if it could hang in the ESU room.
“Lt. Clark did not hesitate a moment in authorizing this plaque to be placed in the ESU room,” Anderle said.
On Friday, Sept. 22, that plaque was unveiled as the West Hartford Police Department held a ceremony attended by Marcus’ mother, Henda Johnson, as well as other family members, friends, and officers. A proclamation signed by West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor was presented to Johnson.
The plaque will hang in the West Hartford Police Department Emergency Services Unit (SWAT) room, ensuring that Marcus will be forever remembered.
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!