The West Hartford Police held its annual awards ceremony at Town Hall on May 19, 2017.
By Ronni Newton
On Friday morning, during National Police Week, May 15-21, the West Hartford Police Department held its annual awards ceremony, paying tribute to several local residents who have either assisted the department in preventing a crime, apprehending a suspect, or performing other valuable service.
The department also honored many of its own members for exceptional work and for service anniversaries.
National Police Officer Memorial Day is observed during National Police Week, but Chief Tracey Gove said instead in West Hartford, “We use it to celebrate those who have gone above and beyond, and citizens.”
Gove said that what’s been going on in the world, the country, the state, and the community – politically and fiscally – has impacted how the police do their jobs.
“Residents might ask, ‘Are we safe?'” Gove said. The answer is: “Of course!”
West Hartford residents should feel confident that the town’s police officers hold each other accountable, are “fit, strong, honest, and brave,” and shouldn’t be concerned.
Deputy Mayor Leon Davidoff, who heads the Town Council’s Public Safety Committee, handed out awards to several citizens whose “cooperation has aided the department in the prevention of crime, the apprehension of criminals, or has performed a valuable service.” He said that it was particularly meaningful since his own father had previously received one of the awards.
Sisters Debra Miller and Regina Saucier received a citizen award for quickly reporting a suspect breaking into a neighbor’s home and providing valuable witness information that led to the apprehension of the suspect.
A recognition award was also given to resident Alberto Cortes, who contacted police when he saw a suspect burglarizing cars. When the suspect left the area, Cortes was able to safely follow the suspect in his own car, providing the dispatcher with location details until police were able to apprehend and arrest the individual.
Nickesha Coley and Laurel Brooks received citizen awards for saving the life of an individual who was threatening to jump out of a window. They were able to hold onto the resident and were assisted by officers Nick Sanford and Aaron Thomas, who were also honored with the department’s Life Saving Award for their work.
Sanford and Thomas received a second Life Saving Award for successfully using CPR to resuscitate an unresponsive resident of Hughes Health and Rehabilitation.
School Security Officer Dawn Lascari, a former police officer, also was honored for helping apprehend a suspect stealing a bicycle from Whiting Lane School.
“When citizens take an active role in keeping citizens safe, it helps us do our job to the best of our abilities,” Gove said.
Those present to accept their awards for years of service included Patricia Noonan (30 years) and Lt. Michael Perruccio (20 years).
West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor presented a multitude of merit and citation awards to police department members for exceptional work including traffic stops that resulted in drug and weapons arrests, stolen cars, burglaries, and robberies.
Before recognizing all of those receiving awards, Cantor praised Gove for being “so responsive, compassionate, and caring” to the community, and thanked the department for going above and beyond in its responsiveness to citizen needs.
Many department members received numerous awards, and two of the unit citations were given to large contingents of officers and their supervisors. Those cases included successfully investigating a home invasion and burglary that involved an elderly Bloomfield Avenue resident. A plan involving the coordination of officers in multiple jurisdictions led to the arrest of the suspect, who was found at his girlfriend’s home using heroin.
The other case that resulting in an award to a large contingent of department members involved a suspect who robbed an individual of his cellphone at gunpoint in a parking lot in February. The suspects committed several additional robberies in Farmington before being located, pursued, and stopped in their vehicle with no injuries or property damage.
Det. Phillip Mugford received a merit award for leading a two-year statewide investigation of a forgery case that began with a $24,426 bad check. Sixteen arrest warrants were eventually executed as a result of that investigation.
“It’s a remarkable bit of work that we are recognizing here,” Cantor said after all of the awards had been handed out. “But it happens every day.”
To end the ceremony, Gove presented Town Manager Ron Van Winkle with an award thanking him for his years of service to the town, and the good deeds that he has done. Van Winkle will retire on June 30, 2017.
A list of all those recognized Friday, which has been provided by the West Hartford Police Department, can be found in PDF form below.
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