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Thread: EnCon Police Awards Ceremony 2/20/09

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    EnCon Police Awards Ceremony 2/20/09

    Governor Rell and DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy Honor Environmental Conservation Police Officers

    Annual Ceremony Recognizes Outstanding Performance

    The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today recognized twenty-one of its Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police Officers for outstanding performance and service to the State of Connecticut.

    Governor M. Jodi Rell said, “The officers we recognize today have shown true courage and dedication to their profession as they perform their everyday duties. What makes all of our officers exceptional is that in addition to their traditional law enforcement duties, they are specially trained to protect Connecticut’s natural resources and wildlife, and help to ensure the security and safety of all who reside in or visit our state.”

    DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, “The role of DEP’s EnCon Police officers has grown and expanded over time, as they have strived to protect our natural resources for our residents and visitors to Connecticut.” Since the terrorist attacks in 2001, the EnCon Police Division has assumed responsibilities related to homeland security and work in conjunction with the Coast Guard to secure our waterways and ports.

    At the DEP’s 2009 EnCon Police awards ceremony, held at Harkness Memorial State Park, Waterford, awards were presented in five categories:

    • Conservation Officer of the Year - Officer Jeff Samorajczyk

    A Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association (NECLECA) pin and a Shikar-Safari International pin will be permanently displayed on his uniform.


    • Medal for Meritorious Service
    Special Conservation Officer Robert Russell
    Sergeant James Warren
    Officer Matthew Tomassone
    Special Conservation Officer Donald Willard
    Officer William Myers

    A Medal for Meritorious Service award bar with 2 gold stars will be permanently displayed on each officer’s uniform.

    • Medal for Lifesaving
    Officer Todd Chemacki
    Officer Karen Reilly
    Special Conservation Officer Ken Savage
    Officer Christopher Dwyer
    Officer Steve Stanko
    Officer Tate Begley
    Officer John Hey
    Sergeant Paul O’Connell

    The award bar (red and white with a blue cross) will be permanently displayed on each officer’s uniform.

    • Citation of Achievement
    Officer John Esteban
    Special Conservation Officer Henry Butler
    Special Conservation Officer John Graves
    Officer Hans Danielson

    Each recipient is presented with a citation that includes a short synopsis describing the achievement of the recipient.

    • Unit Citation
    Officer Karen Reilly
    Officer Raul Ramos
    Officer Laura Gregonis
    Officer Mike Tavares
    Sergeant Tom Bull
    Captain Kyle Overturf

    The award bar (green) will be permanently displayed on each officer’s uniform.


    Description of Awards

    Conservation Officer of the Year


    The Conservation Officer of the year award which is presented by The Shikar – Safari Club International and the Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association is awarded each year to an officer who meets the following criterion:

    • Exemplary performance in the protection of our State’s wildlife and the apprehension of wildlife law violators
    • Dedication to duty
    • Enthusiasm and willingness to work with fellow officers
    • Willingness to gain a well rounded knowledge of the entire wildlife management field
    • Enthusiasm and willingness to work with sportsmen groups, other agencies and the general public
    • Extensive knowledge in Conservation Law Enforcement
    • Outstanding general appearance and physical performance
    • Other criterion including patrol area, training, outstanding achievements, case load, etc.

    Each year the Sector Sergeants submit a nomination for their respective sector for the Officer of the Year award. The District Captain then makes a final determination of the District’s candidate from the Sergeants nominations. Synopses of each of the three District candidates are forwarded to all of the Conservation Officers who then vote for their choice.

    Officer Jeff Samorajczyk



    Medal for Meritorious Service

    The Medal for Meritorious Service is awarded to any person 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 protection of life, the recovery of stolen property, the prevention or solving of a major crime, or the apprehension of an armed or dangerous person.

    The award bar (green with one gold star) is worn over the nametag on the class B uniform shirt. Each medal Recipient is also presented with a citation that includes a short synopsis describing the achievement of the recipient.

    Special Conservation Officer Robert Russell
    Sergeant James Warren
    Officer Matthew Tomassone
    Special Conservation Officer Donald Willard
    Officer William Myers

    OFFICER MATTHEW TOMASSONE – Western District
    OFFICER ROBERT RUSSELL – Western District
    SERGEANT JAMES WARREN – Western District
    On September 13, 2008, Officers Matthew Tomassone, Robert Russell and Sergeant James Warren responded to Nepaug State Forest after receiving information from the Farmington Police Department that a subject may be in the forest attempting to commit suicide. Officers had expedited a comprehensive search and coordinated response of resources when they located the victim who had taken an unknown quantity of prescription medication and consumed a large quantity of alcohol. EMS personnel could not access the remote location in the forest so the officers used the victim’s own four-wheel drive vehicle to transport the victim out of the forest to awaiting EMS personnel.

    OFFICER DONALD WILLARD – Eastern District
    On June 20, 2008, Officer Donald Willard was patrolling Miller’s Pond State Park when he observed three men attempting to swim across the pond and noted that one of them appeared to be struggling and was being assisted by the other two. A second subject then started to struggle and it appeared that both were exhausted and starting to go under water. Officer Willard retrieved a rescue flotation ring and line and threw it to the third swimmer who brought it to the other two. Officer Willard then pulled all three swimmers to safety.

    OFFICER WILLIAM MYERS – Eastern District
    On September 4, 2007, Officer William Myers was off duty at his residence on Cedar Lake Road in the Town of Chester when he observed a white male with a backpack walking along the road. He did not recognize the subject and several minutes later noticed that the subject was no longer visible. Knowing that the Labor Day weekend had just passed and that several lake homes along the road were now vacant, Officer Myers was suspicious of the subject’s presence and decided to check the security of those homes. Officer Myers approached one of the vacant homes and looked into the kitchen window and saw an individual who he knew was not the homeowner inside. Officer Myers entered the home and identified himself as a police officer. The subject stated that he did not have permission to be there and that he had entered the home through a basement window. The subject also stated that he was looking for alcohol because he had a substance abuse problem. Officer Myers secured the subject until State Troopers arrived who subsequently arrested him for Burglary.


    Lifesaving Medal



    The Lifesaving Award is awarded to any person saving a person’s life or making a valiant attempt to do so.

    The award bar (red and white with a blue cross) is worn over the nametag on the class B uniform shirt. Each medal Recipient is also presented with a citation that includes a short synopsis describing the achievement of the recipient.

    Officer Todd Chemacki
    Officer Karen Reilly
    Special Conservation Officer Ken Savage
    Officer Christopher Dwyer
    Officer Steve Stanko
    Officer Tate Begley
    Officer John Hey
    Sergeant Paul O’Connell

    OFFICER TODD CHEMACKI – Marine District
    OFFICER KAREN REILLY – Marine District
    On June 8, 2008, Officers Todd Chemacki and Karen Reilly were on patrol in Hammonasset Beach State Park when a violent electrical storm erupted and lighting struck pavilion #2. Officer Chemacki responded to a report of multiple casualties and upon arrival discovered personnel performing CPR on one victim and another victim lying on the ground unattended. Officer Chemacki radioed in the status and after assessing the unattended subject he started CPR. Officer Reilly responded to the scene and immediately began to assist Officer Chemacki with CPR by administering rescue breaths. Both officers were relieved of that duty by arriving rescue personnel. Rescue personnel then began to administer Automated External Defibrillation to the victim while Officers Chemacki and Reilly were directed to perform abdominal thrusts. After the victim was transported from the scene both officers continued to assist rescue personnel with other victims. It was later learned that the victim had been pronounced dead at a local hospital. Both officers performed admirably under extremely stressful conditions as they attempted to save lives.

    OFFICER TATE BEGLEY – Western District
    OFFICER JOHN HEY – Marine District
    On September 3, 2007, Officers John Hey and Tate Begley were on patrol at Squantz Pond State Park when they received a report of a possible drowning at East Beach. Responding to the area, the officers determined that a subject had gone underwater and had not resurfaced. Both officers removed their duty belts and began diving underwater in search of the victim. The victim was located and brought to the surface to an emergency response vessel where lifeguards started CPR. Officer Begley climbed into the boat to assist when the motor’s propeller became entangled in a rope that delineated the swim area. Officer Begley dove into the water yet again and freed the propeller from the rope. The victim was turned over to an awaiting ambulance that transported him to Danbury Hospital where he expired. Officers Hey and Begley placed their own safety in jeopardy in a valiant attempt to save the victim’s life.

    OFFICER STEVE STANKO – Western District
    OFFICER CHRISTOPHER DWYER – Eastern District
    On September 10, 2007, Officer Steve Stanko was in route home from his patrol shift when he observed a vehicle driving erratically on Rt. 66 in Middlefield. When the vehicle failed to stop at a red light Officer Stanko stopped the vehicle for the motor vehicle violation. As Officer Stanko spoke to the operator he could see that he was having difficulty breathing and then saw the operator grab his chest and begin to hyperventilate. Officer Stanko notified DEP Dispatch of the medical emergency and requested rescue personnel. Officer Chris Dwyer, who was in the immediate area and is an EMT, responded. Officer Dwyer assessed the operator and determined that his breathing and pulse were weakening. Officer Dwyer administered oxygen to stabilize the victim’s condition. Both officers continued first aid until rescue personnel arrived. It was later learned that the operator had suffered a heart attack and was listed in stable condition at a local hospital.

    SERGEANT PAUL O’CONNELL – Eastern District
    On April 27, 2007, Sergeant Paul O’Connell was on duty in the Town of Glastonbury when he noticed a large plume of smoke coming from a tobacco barn on Naubuc Avenue and seeing no emergency personnel on scene he notified DEP Emergency Dispatch Center of his observations. Upon further investigation, Sgt. O’Connell discovered that the barn was fully engulfed in flames and then observed an arriving fireman run towards the barn. He followed the fireman where they encountered a subject at the barn who was struggling to carry an unconscious victim away from the burning structure. With Sgt. O’Connell’s assistance, the three were able to move the victim to a safe location. While moving the victim, the rescuers were showered with sparks and burning shingles from several explosions. Arriving medical personnel determined that the victim was in cardiac arrest and transported him to a local hospital where he later expired. Sgt. O’Connell placed his own safety in jeopardy in a valiant attempt to save the victim’s life.

    OFFICER KEN SAVAGE – Marine District
    On August 7, 2008, Officer Ken Savage responded to the campground at Hammonasset Beach State Park for a complaint of a person having difficulty breathing. Arriving on scene, Officer Savage discovered a sixty-five year old female lying on the ground and immediately determined that the victim did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Officer Savage initiated CPR and continued for approximately five minutes until rescue personnel arrived and relieved him. Officer Savage then assisted with the care of the victim’s grandchildren, ages fifteen, nine and seven until an adult family member arrived.

    Citation of Achievement

    The Medal for Outstanding Service or Achievement is awarded to any person or persons who:

    (a) Successfully performs an extremely complex or difficult investigation; or

    (b) Demonstrates exceptional skill or ingenuity in the apprehension of a wanted person; or

    (c) Provides outstanding service to the public or the agency; or

    (d) Continuously achieves excellence in the performance of duties over an extended time period.

    Each recipient is presented with a citation that includes a short synopsis describing the achievement of the recipient.

    Officer John Esteban
    Special Conservation Officer Henry Butler
    Special Conservation Officer John Graves
    Officer Hans Danielson
    Officer Hans Danielson (nominee co of year 2007)
    Officer John Esteban (nominee co of year 2007)
    Officer Matthew Tomassone (nominee co of year 2008)
    Officer Dean Wojcik (nominee co of year 2008)


    OFFICER HENRY BUTLER – Marine District
    OFFICER JOHN ESTEBAN – Marine District
    On September 19, 2008, EnCon Police Officers responded to West Rock Ridge State Park on a complaint that a vehicle had struck a pedestrian, causing serious injury, and had then fled the scene. Officers John Esteban and Henry Butler, with the help of others, initiated the investigation and through their skills, knowledge and determined efforts were able to find and secure the evading vehicle and subsequently apprehend the operator.


    OFFICER HANS DANIELSON – Eastern District
    OFFICER JOHN GRAVES – Eastern District
    On July 17, 2007, Officers Hans Danielson and John Graves responded to a complaint that a log forwarder machine had been stolen from a logging site in Pachaug State Forest and subsequently abandoned several miles away. The forwarder, State Forest gates and bridges and a private cemetery had been vandalized during the theft resulting in estimated damages of $12,000. The officers conducted a difficult four month investigation into the incident that resulted in the arrest of three suspects.


    OFFICER JOHN ESTEBAN – Marine District
    Officer John Esteban is a twenty-year veteran of the Department of Environmental Protection assigned to the west sector in the Marine District. In the fall of 2007 the Marine District Officers nominated Officer Esteban for Conservation Officer of the Year. In recognition of his efforts and dedication to conservation law enforcement, Conservation Enforcement Officer John Esteban is hereby awarded this CITATION OF ACHIEVEMENT.


    OFFICER DEAN WOJCIK – Eastern District (assigned to Western District 2/13/09)
    Officer Dean Wojcik is a three-year veteran of the Department of Environmental Protection assigned to the southeast sector in the Eastern District. In the fall of 2008 the Eastern District Officers nominated Officer Wojcik for Conservation Officer of the Year. In recognition of his efforts and dedication to conservation law enforcement, Conservation Enforcement Officer Dean Wojcik is hereby awarded this
    CITATION OF ACHIEVEMENT.


    OFFICER MATTHEW TOMASSONE – Western District
    Officer Matthew Tomassone is a fourteen-year veteran of the Department of Environmental Protection assigned to the northwest sector in the Western District. In the fall of 2008 the Western District Officers nominated Officer Tomassone for Conservation Officer of the Year. In recognition of his efforts and dedication to conservation law enforcement, Conservation Enforcement Officer Matthew Tomassone is hereby awarded this CITATION OF ACHIEVEMENT.


    OFFICER HANS DANIELSON – Eastern District
    Officer Hans Danielson is a nine-year veteran of the Department of Environmental Protection assigned to the northeast sector in the Eastern District. In the fall of 2007 the Eastern District Officers nominated Officer Danielson for Conservation Officer of the Year. In recognition of his efforts and dedication to conservation law enforcement, Conservation Enforcement Officer Hans Danielson is hereby awarded this
    CITATION OF ACHIEVEMENT.

    Unit Citation

    (a) A unit citation may be awarded to recognize exceptional collective effort by members of a district, sector or special unit.

    (b) A unit citation certificate will be presented to the district commander, or sector or special unit supervisor who will display it at the command facility or at any appropriate place.

    (c) The unit citation award bar shall be worn by any officer who was assigned to the district, sector or special unit during the period of time or event for which the citation was awarded and participated in the activities being recognized.

    (d) The award bar (green) shall be worn over the nametag on the class B uniform shirt. A copy of the award citation shall be placed in each officer’s personnel file.

    Marine District
    CENTRAL MARINE SECTOR
    OFFICER LAURA GREGONIS
    OFFICER MIKE TAVARES
    OFFICER KAREN REILLY
    OFFICER RAUL RAMOS
    SERGEANT TOM BULL
    CAPTAIN KYLE OVERTURF

    On November 14, 2008, EnCon Police received a call from the Wallingford Police Department requesting assistance to search for a female who had left a suicide note at her home in Wallingford. Wallingford detectives had traced her cell phone and were able to determine that she was in the Clinton/Madison area and possibly at Hammonasset Beach State Park. Central Marine Sector Officers Laura Gregonis, Mike Tavares, Karen Reilly, Raul Ramos, Sgt. Tom Bull and Captain Kyle Overturf all responded. Responding officers located the victim in her vehicle where she had consumed a quantity of pills. The officers treated the victim with compassion and understanding as they determined her medical condition. A search of the victim’s vehicle revealed another suicide note and several bottles of pills. The victim stated to the officers that she was about to consume the rest of the pills to commit suicide when the officers arrived. The victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital. If not for the timely response by these officers, the female victim may have successfully taken her own life.

  2. #2
    Cal45
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    Congratulations to all of the receipients. Jobs well done.

  3. #3
    FOUNDER/Admin Andy's Avatar
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    Congratulations to all !!!!!! Great job Encon you all have a tough job and deserve the awards!!!!!
    Shoot a Coyote save a Fawn

  4. #4
    CT SwampHunter
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    Congratulations to all for the work you do, be safe.

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