Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Police Hold Swearing-In and Promotion Ceremony

Det. Ross Friedman (right) is given the oath of office by Town Manager Matt Hart. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Police Department welcomed one new officer and promoted an officer to detective at a ceremony Wednesday night at Town Hall.

From left: Asst. Chief Dan Coppinger, Asst. Chief Larry Terra, Off. Christopher Campbell, Town Manager Matt Hart, Lt. Eric Rocheleau, Chief Vernon Riddick. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Christopher Robert Campbell was officially sworn in as an officer in the West Hartford Police Department by Town Manager Matt Hart, and Ross Friedman was promoted to the rank of detective at a ceremony held Wednesday at Town Hall.

From left: Asst. Chief Dan Coppinger, Asst. Chief Larry Terra, Detective Ross Friedman, Town Manager Matt Hart, Lt. Eric Rocheleau, Chief Vernon Riddick. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Detective Friedman joined the West Hartford Police Department in July 2012, and following training was assigned to the Patrol Division where he served on all three shifts.

In 2014 he became a lockup ground fighting instructor and has helped teach annual in-service training and at the police academies, and that year he was also selected as a member of the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) – a position he said was a lifelong goal.

He became a Field Training Officer in 2016, and a member of the ESU Sniper Unit in 2018.

In 2019, he became a Taser instructor, joined the Traffic Division on a long-term assignment, and was selected as one of the first FAA-licensed drone pilots for the police department, helping to establish the new aerial program.

He attended the Direct Action Resource Center’s Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism Course in Little Rock, AK, earlier this. month, and was also named a member of the West Hartford Police Department’s newly-established Auto Theft Task Force.

Assistant Chief Dan Coppinger noted that since the formation of the task force, “Off. Friedman has contributed towards the recovery of two stolen vehicles, two stolen hand guns, one illegally-possessed handgun, a taser, and ammunition.”

Det. Ross Friedman is pinned by his daughter, Annabelle.. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

In his time with the West Hartford Police, Friedman has exhibited exemplary service and earned multiple accolades.

“At the end of 2018, multiple units responded to a report of a serious assault of two victims where the suspect utilized a knife. Off. Friedman along with Off. Boughton provided life-saving medical care to one of the victims and were credited by medical control with saving the life of the victim,” Coppinger said.

Coppinger also described a February 2019 incident for which Friedman earned a Unit Citation.

In that 2019 incident, Friedman responded to a report that an intoxicated man had told his girlfriend that he had a gun and was planning on killing a police officer and then dying “via suicide by cop.”

Freezing rain was falling when Friedman and two other officers arrived, Coppinger said, and they found the male suspect outside on the sidewalk, with his right hand in his right pocket, repeatedly yelling at police “You have every right to.”

The suspect did not comply with officers’ orders to show his hands and was backing up in the direction of an intersection near a local elementary school.

Friedman requested backup at the intersection, and Off. Teeter responded and deployed a Taser on the suspect.

“When the suspect fell, Off. Friedman immediately isolated the suspect’s concealed hand which was gripping a fully loaded 9mm handgun which he removed. Officers on scene quickly worked to secure the suspect and safely take him into custody,” Coppinger said.

Friedman and his wife, Natasha, daughter, Annabelle, and son, Abel, live in West Hartford. Friedman has served as parent representative to Bugbee Elementary School’s Safe Climate Committee for the past three years.

Annabelle pinned him with his detective badge Wednesday.

Off. Christopher Campbell (right) is sworn in by Town Manager Matt Hart. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Campbell, who was most recently a detective with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Floria, is a Rhode Island native. He was born in Providence, and grew up in Smithfield, RI, where he graduated from Smithfield High School in 2004.

He earned a B.A. in criminology from the University of South Florida in 2009, and in 2011 entered the Manatee Tech Law Enforcement Academy.  In 2012 he completed his Florida Law Enforcement Certification, and joined the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy, eventually becoming a detective assigned to the violent crime task force.

He and his wife, Jessica, and their daughter, Carly, are in the process of moving from Palmetto, FL, to the West Hartford area.

Chief Riddick pinned Campbell with his officer badge.

Chief Vernon Riddick pins Off. Christopher Campbell. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Riddick usually speaks about honoring the badge at swearing-in and promotion ceremonies, but Wednesday he shared a different message. Earlier in the day he attended a memorial celebration for former WFSB news anchor Denise D’Ascenzo, and was moved by the tenets she lived by, lessons she has shared with others, and reprised her words, noting that they are particularly important and appropriate for law enforcement.

“Lesson No. 1: Be open to new ideas and possibilities. The universe may be leading you down a path you never imagined. It could be immeasurably better … So I say to you, be open and you will never stop learning. Lesson No. 2: Be brave and face your fears. Never give anyone the power to make you doubt yourself! And, never forget, you have a mighty weapon against self doubt … your gut. Learn to trust it and it will never fail you. … Be brave and you will achieve more than you ever dreamed. Lesson No. 3: Be kind in your words and actions. Wherever you go from here, set an example by doing your job and living your life with kindness.”

Lt. Eric Rocheleau, who heads the department’s Training Division, served as emcee of the swearing in ceremony.

Rocheleau oversees 12-week Field Training Officer program that Campbell will complete following graduation from the academy, before they assume duties on his own.

Rocheleau gave Campbell oath, which incorporates the department’s mission statement, and a Miranda rights card. A key part of service in West Hartford, he said, is “treating all other with fairness and respect.”

Mark Diaz, director of Discipleship with Calvary Fellowship, delivered the invocation.

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Off. Christopher Campbell (left) and Detective Ross Friedman listen as Chief Vernon Riddick speaks at Wednesday’s ceremony. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Chief Vernon Riddick (right) and Assistant Chief Dan Coppinger. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Det. Ross Friedman poses with his daughter, Annabelle, who pinned him with his new badge. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Lt. Eric Rocheleau congratulates Off. Christopher Campbell and gives him a copy of the oath and Miranda rights card. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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