2013 in Review: The Year's Most Important Police Stories

Note: Our year-in-review series covers the most relevant crime and police department stories of 2013.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: In February, about a dozen officers who responded to the Dec. 14 shooting suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. In November, Officer Thomas Bean received an intent-to-terminate letter from the town due to his ongoing PTSD and inability to return to work. Chief Michael Kehoe rescinded the letter in December.

Department Plans for New Hires: In May, the Newtown Police Department opened an application window for new hires. The 2013-14 budget included funds for enough school resource officers (SROs) to staff all Newtown public schools. "We recognize this process is a long process, and yet our service requirements may occur before we can jumpstart that process," said Chief Michael Kehoe.

"Rest In Peace, Buddy": Longtime Newtown K9 Baro died in June after retiring to the home of his police partner, Officer Felicia Figol. "When we had to put Baro down, it was like losing one of us," said Officer Matt Hayes. A two-year-old German Shepherd named St. Michael joined the department in September, working alongside Figol.

Police 12/14 Response Was 'Appropriate': Newtown officers responded appropriately to Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to a peer review by a group of Connecticut police chiefs. "Our evaluation showed that the officers of the Newtown Police Department navigated the inevitable chaos created in the first few minutes of such a call, managed to piece together what was occurring, but were unable to intervene before the shooter took his own life," the report's authors wrote.

The Heath Trial: John Heath, convicted of murdering his wife and concealing her body for 26 years, was sentenced to 50 years in prison in December.

Missing Person: The unexplained disappearance of 50-year-old Newtown resident Robert Hoagland sparked a search, but never produced a successful lead. Hoagland was last seen in late June. His wife continued the search, and local police have investigated leads in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Phone Threat to School: In the wake of Dec. 14, schools were on the watch for phoned-in threats. In June, a phone threat to Hawley Elementary School prompted a modified lockdown, or "lock-in." Since then, the school has revisited and clarified its lockdown policies.

Thanksgiving Dinner: A bit of good news this year — six-year-old Lucia St. Lorenzo and the owners o the Inn at Newtown teamed up to bring a Thanksgiving dinner to officers who worked overnight in November. St. Lorenzo said the move was a "random act of kindness" to thank officers for all their work keeping Newtown safe.


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