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West Hartford Police Department Welcomes Four New Officers

From left: New West Hartford Police officers Visoud Kong, Rachael Farina, Jakub Mierzejewski, and Marc Teixeira. Courtesy photo

The West Hartford Police Department welcomed four new officers at a swearing-in ceremony last month.

From left: Town Manager Rick Ledwith, Assistant Chief Larry Terra, Town Council Public Safety Committee Chair Carol Blanks, Ofc. Visoud Kong, Mayor Shari Cantor, Ofc. Rachael Farina, Ofc. Jakub Mierzejewski, Ofc. Marc Teixeira, and Chief Vernon Riddick. Courtesy photo

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Police Department officially added four new officers to its ranks – welcoming a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, a doctoral candidate, an immigrant from Poland, and a mechanic at a swearing-in ceremony held in Town Council Chambers on June 17, 2024.

Ofc. Visoud Kong

Kong, a native of Southington, CT and 2014 graduate of Southington High School, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduation and served from 2014 through 2020 when he was discharged with the rank of Corporal.

His billets included automatic rifleman and fire team leader, and he participated in training courses including the School of Infantry, non-machine gunners course, and Tactical Combat Casualty Care. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2019 during Operation Sentinel Freedom, primarily serving in the role of security detail to Marine advisors training the Afghan National Army, performing site reconnaissance on unfamiliar territory, VIP Protection in Afghanistan, and base defense. He received multiple awards and commendations, including the National Defense Ribbon, Afghan Campaign Ribbon, Good Conduct Ribbon, and the Global War on Terrorism medal.

Kong earned an associate’s degree from Tunxis Community College following his discharge, and is currently pursuing his bachelor’s in exercise science at Central Connecticut State University.

“Prior to joining the West Hartford Police Department, Visoud also worked as a Health Professional and coordinated wellness programs for the Bristol Board of Education as his way to give back to the community,” and to fulfill his lifelong goal, combining his military experience, his passion for helping others through positive impact, and his background in health and wellness, Assistant Chief Larry Terra said as he read Kong’s bio.

Ofc. Rachael Farina

Farina grew up in Newington and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as. masters degree in human development and family sciences from the University of Connecticut. Her studies at UConn have continued, and she is currently a doctoral candidate, working on her dissertation on the topic of “communication and attachment styles in law enforcement officers and their significant others,” said Terra.

Prior to joining the West Hartford Police, Farina’s most recent experience has been as supervisor for the State of Connecticut’s Mobile Response Team in Middletown, where she worked collaboratively with local and state police to respond to individuals in the community experiencing mental health crises.

Prior experience also includes serving as a licensed marriage and family therapist in Willimantic, treating individuals with mental health and substance use challenges post-incarceration. Additionally, she worked as an adjunct faculty member for Western New England University in Springfield, MA, and at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford.

Ofc. Jakub Mierzejewski

Mierzejewski was born in Lapy, a small town in Poland, and immigrated to the United States in 2008 with his parents, initially living in New York and then moving to Connecticut in 2010.

Mierzejewski graduated from Shelton High School, and after graduation began his study of law enforcement at Housatonic Community College before transferring to the University of New Haven, earning a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in criminal justice with a concentration in police science.

“While attending the University of New Haven, Jakub worked as an electrician, building electrical components for train track testing vehicles and as a rock climbing instructor. … He would like to take the opportunity to thank his parents for all of their love and support,” said Terra.

Ofc. Marc Teixeira

Teixeira was born in New Haven, and grew up in Ansonia, graduating from Ansonia High School. After graduation, he attended Gateway Community College.

Teixeira’s previously volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley (the Jowell E. Smilow Club House) and was then hired as a camp counselor. His has also worked as a wastewater mechanic and for Southern CT Gas.

He applied to and was hired by the West Hartford Police Department to fulfill what he said is his calling and life goal of serving in law enforcement and to provide “a positive contribution to the department as well as excellent service to the West Hartford community,” Terra said.

Mayor Shari Cantor administered the Oath of Office to all four officers, who are now enrolled in the police academy. After graduation, they will participate in the West Hartford Police Department’s 12-week Field Training Officer program before assuming their first assignments.

From left: New West Hartford Police officers Visoud Kong, Rachael Farina, Jakub Mierzejewski, and Marc Teixeira are sworn in by Mayor Shari Cantor. Courtesy photo

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