The Newtown police department issued nearly 50 awards and commendations to officers and a civilian during a ceremony held at Edmond Town Hall Thursday.
"It is important we take the time to do this to make it a matter of public record," Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe told the gathering of elected officials, police officers, award recipients and family members who gathered for a light buffet in the Alexandria Room.
"The presentation of these awards not only provides recognition of the recipient but it helps build department morale, and more important reinforce the department's commitment to the maintenance of the highest standards of performance," Kehoe said
Sgt. Christopher Vanghele headed the Awards & Decorations Committee. Invited guests included First Selectman Pat Llodra, State Rep. Christopher Lyddy and Duane Giannini, police commission chairman.
Award for Bravery
Issued to anyone "who demonstrates exceptional heroism in the performance of duty while exposed to life-imperiling danger."
Officer Jeffrey Silver
Silver responded to a report of a young man with a history of mental instability and violent tendencies who was holding his parents at knifepoint on Aug. 18, 2008. After entering the house and sneaking up on the man from behind, Silver, grabbing the hand the man was using to hold the knife, used a Taser to stun the man in the back, police said. After a brief struggle, Silver and the other officers were able to subdue the man and place him under arrest, police said.
Award for Merit
Given to anyone "who renders service beyond the ordinary course of duty with alertness, perseverance or timely judgment in the performance of a difficult task, which results in the saving or protection of life, the recovery of stolen property, prevent or solving a major crime or the apprehension of an armed or dangerous person."
Detective Jason Frank
Frank was assigned the case of 10 handguns that had been stolen from a Newtown home on Oct. 10, 2007. In two weeks, Frank had identified a suspect, obtained a confession, applied for an arrest warrant and recovered nearly all of the handguns, preventing them from being used to commit a crime or harm anyone, police said.
Commissioner's Service Award
Given in recognition of "an intelligent act, materially contributing to a valid police accomplishment or for submission of a device or method adopted by the department to increase efficiency in administrative or tactical procedures.
Sgt. Philip Hynes and Officer Jeffery Silver
Hynes and Silver helped research, purchase equipment, prepared lesson plans and planned and executed "simunitions" training for the department starting in May 2007. The training uses a firearm outfitted with chalk bullets that leave behind a mark on its target. Newtown was one of the first departments in the area to provide simunitions training.
Certificate of Commendation
Awarded to any member or division of the department who demonstrates an act deserving of recognition, but that does not meet the standards of a department medal.
Officer Michael McGowan
McGowan was involved in the October 2006 investigation and prosecution of William Trudeau and wife, Heather Bliss of the Newtown Oil Co., who pleaded guilty and ordered to pay full restitution in connection with cheating hundreds of customers out of $700,000, police said. McGowan spent hours interviewing victims and witnesses, examining documents, identifying affected banks and eventually obtaining arrest warrants.
Officer Andrew Stinson
Stinson was driving through Watertown in his marked police cruiser on Feb. 7,2008 when he saw a man running across the street and away from an employee of a nearby Staples store. After a second employee told Stinson the man had just stolen a computer from the store, the officer joined the chase and after spotting the man and the first employee tussling with one another, Stinson helped hold and detain the man until Watertown police arrived.
Officer Steven Santucci
Santucci was assigned to be the lead investigator of a case involving $26,000 in damage caused to Highland Plaza, 123 S. Main St. on Jan. 14, 2009. Because the closest surveillance video only showed a basic description of the suspects, Santucci deduced the people responsible for the damage also might have been hanging out in the center of town that night. He viewed surveillance video from other businesses and identified the suspects by matching their clothing. He additionally obtained a written confession from one of the suspects and subsequently made two arrests in the case.
Detective Jason Frank
In 2005, Frank began investigating the case of a Newtown doctor accused of improperly prescribing controlled substances to patients. Through Frank's work, which included infiltrating the office with confidential informants, going undercover himself and working with other outside agencies, including the U.S. Attorney's Office, the doctor ultimately surrendered his license to prescribe controlled substances. A federal forfeiture action also was placed on the doctor's office property that is expected to benefit Newtown, officials said.
Anita M. Goosman Memorial Award
Given to a civilian or group whose action is considered above and beyond the call of civic duty.
Judy Blanchard, Newtown school district health coordinator
Honorable and Meritorious Service Award
Given to any member of the department who has served for five or more years.
Chief Michael Kehoe 30 Year
Det. Joseph Joudy 25 Year
Lt. James Mooney 25 Year
Det. Sgt. Darlene Froehlich 25 Year
Sgt. John Cole 20 Year
Officer Stephen Ketchum 20 Year
Lt. George Sinko 20 Year
Capt. Joe Rios 20 Year
Sgt. Aaron Bahamonde 15 Year
Officer Scott Ruszczyk 15 Year
Sgt. Douglas Wisentaner 15 Year
Sgt. Philip Hynes 15 Year
Det. Jason Frank 10 Year
Officer Dana Schubert 10 Year
Officer William Hull 10 Year
Sgt. Richard Robinson 10 Year
Officer Jeffrey Silver 10 Year
Officer Maryhelen McCarthy 10 Year
Sgt. Dominic Costello 5 Year
Det. Daniel McAnaspie 5 Year
Officer Felicia Figol 5 Year
Officer Matthew Wood 5 Year
Issued to any member of the department who graduates from an accredited college with an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree.
Officer David Kullgren (Masters)
Officer Adam Greco (Bachelors)
Officer Steven Borges (Bachelors)
Officer Scott Smith (Bachelors)
Officer Bart Lorancaitis (Bachelors)
Officer Richard Monckton (Bachelors)
Officer William Chapman (Bachelors)
Officer Steven Siecienski (Bachelors)
Officer Jeffrey Silver (Associates)
Military Service Award
Presented in recognition of an officer's service in the U.S. military
Officer Robert Haas (Army)
Officer Thomas Bean (Army Reserves)
Officer Steven Santucci (Army National Guard)
Officer John McClusky (Coast Guard)
Officer Charles Guernsey (Air Force)
Officer Richard Monckton, Military Service with Combat Star (Army National Guard)
Officer Liam Seabrook, Military Service with Combat Star (Air Force)
Officer Matthew Hayes, Military Service with Combat Star (Army National Guard)