AP NEWS

Stratford police honored for meritorious service

February 28, 2019

STRATFORD — Town Police Officer Mark Lecardo was working a private duty job last July when a woman approached him saying she had just been sexually assaulted.

The woman said the suspect had gotten on a bus headed west. Lecardo hopped in his private vehicle, intercepted the bus and ordered the suspect off.

The man ran. Lecardo pursued and tackled him, detaining him after a struggle — and found the suspect had a stolen gun on him.

On Wednesday, Lecardo received the department’s Combat Cross for his actions in arresting the suspect, one of more than a dozen awards handed out during a ceremony at the Riverview Bistro.

In addition to awards for meritorious service, the department honored three retirees and acknowledged four promotions.

Lieutenants Celeste Robitaille and David Gugliotti and Officer Robert Joy retired after 25 years of service each.

Lieutenants Robert Burroughs and Antonio Santos were promoted, as well as two sergeants — Lawrence Castelot and Kevin Albohn.

Also honored Wednesday:

Parking Enforcement Officer Matthew White and Officer Maria McAvoy received Life Saving Awards for rendering aid to an 86-year-old man who collapsed near the bocce court behind the Baldwin Center last September.

Sgt. Ulysses Munoz and Officer Omar Jimenez received Life Saving Awards for convincing a pregnant woman not to attempt suicide after a lengthy negotiation at the Birdseye boat ramp last July.

Officers Anthony Cataldo, Omar Jimenez and Eric Wilcoxson received Excellent Arrest awards for arresting a shooting suspect from a domestic incident after a chase near Wiklund Avenue last October.

Sgt. Lawrence Castelot received an Excellent Arrest award for chasing down and arresting a stabbing suspect from a domestic violence incident last July.

Officers Rachel Crosby, Edwin DeJesus, Stephen Grimalli and Anthony Zona received Excellent Arrest awards for apprehending suspects attempting to flee the area of a June 2018 shooting on Woodend Road.

Officer Amanda Burden received an Excellent Arrest award for her apprehension of two men who were stealing antiques from a home on Christmas Eve 2017.

Mayor Laura Hoydick thanked police for their service at the beginning of the ceremony.

“You know how strongly I feel about you and what you do for our town and how vital you are to our success and our safety here,” she said.

Police Chief Joseph McNeil said the police department is filled with “extraordinary people doing extraordinary things every single night — and the next day, they throw the uniform on and they do it again.”

“We appreciate what you do, but more importantly want your families to know that you truly are brave and you are heroes, and I will never forget that,” the chief said. “I thank you and I salute you all.”

About 100 officers, family members and town officials attended the event, which began with Jovan Clobert Jr., a sixth-grader at Johnson House school, singing the national anthem.

The Rev. Johnny Gamble offered an invocation and benediction.