BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Bridgeport police officers received some of the department’s highest honors at the department’s award ceremony last week.
“We gather to honor acts of valor and bravery. Police officers work extraordinarily hard to keep the kids and families of Bridgeport safe,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “That’s why it is essential to recognize the outstanding police work done every day by the men and women of the department. I’m honored to be a part of this and grateful for all they do.”
At the ceremony, more than 100 police officers and civilians were recognized for their efforts to make Bridgeport a better and safer place.
“You will hear stories of heroism and selflessness. You will hear accounts of officers risking their lives to apprehend armed felons,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. “Mainly you will hear about tremendous police work, the kind of outstanding work that that shouldn’t go unnoticed or unrecognized.”
To watch video from the awards ceremony, click here.
Some of the officers receiving top awards, include:
- The Medal of Valor is the department's highest award and may be awarded to officers who distinguish themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands for police services. On Sept. 25, 2010, Sgt. Gregg Granello and now-Detective Jason Ferri apprehended two armed suspects involved in a shooting. They attempted to stop two individuals matching the description of the suspects as they crossed the Congress Street Bridge on bicycles. Both suspects pulled out handguns and engaged the officers in a fire fight. The officers took cover and returned fire. The suspects subsequently ran out of ammunition and then threw the firearms into the water below the bridge.
- The Purple Shield is awarded to those officers whose actions within law enforcement have caused them to suffer a serious physical injury, permanent disfigurement, a protracted or permanent impairment of health, or death. On April 23, 2012, Officer Jorge Larregui pursued a suspect on foot who had stolen a work van full of tools. A violent struggle ensued as Larregui tried to take him into custody. Despite suffering a fractured shoulder, Larregui did not give up until the suspect was in custody.
- A Police Combat Cross may be awarded for the successful performance of an act of extraordinary heroism while engaged in personal combat with an armed adversary and facing imminent personal danger in the performance of duty. On July 6, 2013, Sgt. Stacy Lyons and Officer John Topolski were dispatched to the German Club on the report of a street fight. The officers responded to a chaotic scene within the club, where they identified an individual reaching inside his waistband for a firearm. A struggle ensued as these officers tried to gain control of the weapon. About 60 individuals hostile to the police presence were in attendance. During the struggle the suspect discharged his weapon in the direction of the officers. The suspect was taken into custody with no loss or serious injury to life or property.
- The Medal of Merit may be awarded to officers who distinguish themselves by bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of duty. On July 6, 2013, Sgt. Adam Rozum and Officers Anthony Caiazzo and Keith Hanson assisted Sgt. Lyons and Officer Topolski in apprehending an armed suspect in the German Club who had fired his weapon in the direction of these officers. Several firearms and razors were ultimately recovered.
- On Nov. 12, 2014, three individuals burglarized a home on the East End. Two young men who lived there realized the home was being burglarized, hid in a bedroom closet and dialed 911, speaking with dispatcher Lourdes Torres. As the intruders proceeded through the house, the young men stayed on the phone with Torres and provided information about what was unfolding. Torres relayed the information in real time to officers responding to the scene. As a result, all three suspects were arrested. The two residents were awarded the Civilian Award. Torres was awarded the Honorary Service Citation. Officers Anthony Caiazzo, Juan Esquilin, Stavros Mirtsopoulos and Marcus Teixeira received the Medal of Merit.
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