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Newtown Police Department Bestows Awards For Public Service



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In ceremonies held at Newtown High School, the Newtown Police Department bestowed awards on its officers for their public service to the community.

The October 16 event initially had been scheduled for May 15, but a macroburst that day caused extensive property damage and widespread power outages. Emergency conditions resulted in many police being dispatched that evening to aid the people affected by the storms. Thus, the awards event was postponed.

Patrol Sergeant Scott Smith, who oversees the police department’s awards program, said that 44 awards were presented overall, most of those honors being certificates of commendation to individual officers for their public service.

Life Saving

At the ceremonies, Patrol Officer Timothy Schoen received the Life Saving Award.

On the night of March 22, 2017, Ofc Schoen was dispatched to a motor vehicle accident on South Main Street. Officer Schoen was on the scene within one minute. After arriving, Ofc Schoen saw that a vehicle that had flipped onto its roof and had been ripped in half by the accident’s impact. The male driver had been partially ejected from the auto.

Ofc Schoen got the medical bag from his patrol vehicle and rushed to the injured driver. As he approached the vehicle, Ofc Schoen saw that the driver was wedged under the vehicle’s dashboard. The driver was unconscious, unresponsive, struggling to breath and profusely bleeding from injuries he sustained to his head and neck, according to police.

Without delay and at significant risk to himself, Ofc Schoen entered the vehicle by crawling on the ground through the severely damaged passenger compartment and provided first aid to the driver.

Ofc Schoen promptly applied pressure to the deep arterial cuts on the operator’s neck to control the bleeding. Due to their respective positions inside the vehicle, Ofc Schoen needed to wedge his hands between the broken glass and sharp metal in order to maintain pressure on the driver’s wounds. This subjected Ofc Schoen to injuries himself, yet the policeman continued to apply pressure the entire time the driver was being extricated from the wreckage.

Package Store Fire

On the night of January 21, 2017, officers responded to Rooster Wine and Liquor at 113 South Main Street for the report of an armed robbery in progress, as well as a report that the suspects set the building on fire before fleeing. That package store has a residence located directly above it.

Detective Jason Frank, who also is the police department’s fire and hazardous materials investigations officer, was called to the scene to assist. Det Frank encountered an event involving an alleged armed robbery, an arson, and a potential hate crime, as hate speech was found in graffiti on the building.

Det Frank led the investigation by coordinating with the town fire marshal, the State Police Major Crime Squad and arson investigators, and the Botsford Fire Rescue Company.

Det Frank wrote and executed numerous search warrants and compiled a significant amount of information during the course of this investigation. This extensive investigation of an incident that caused great concern to the general public resulted in the arrest of a suspect on multiple felony charges. The case is pending in court.

Awards for Merit

Patrol Officers Paula Wickman and Leonard Penna participated in the same Rooster Wine and Liquor incident, and they were the first police to arrive at the scene. They entered the building and knocked down the flames with fire extinguishers, which greatly limited the damage caused.

Patrol Officer Adam James also received an Award for Merit for a different incident.

On the night of March 22, 2018, Ofc James was working on patrol and pulled into the Mobil gas station/ convenience store parking lot, 62 Church Hill Road, intending to enter the store to make a purchase.

Upon parking his cruiser, Ofc James saw the suspicious behavior of a patron outside the store and continued observing such behavior as they both entered the business.

Ofc James then determined that the man was a wanted felon. The officer ultimately seized more than eight grams of crack cocaine, more than 28 grams of cocaine, some heroin, some prescription pills, more than $1,500 in cash, and other contraband. The incident was one of the most significant cocaine seizures by a Newtown officer in recent memory.

Officer James’ vigilance and thorough investigation resulted in this felony arrest, according to police.

Other Honors

Patrol Sergeant Matthew Wood received the Law Enforcement Excellence Award.

School Resource Officer William Chapman received an Award for Merit in connection with his work in helping to rescue people from a burning house in Waterbury while he was off duty, in June 2017.

Also, police presented education awards to Patrol Officer Chelsea Harold and to Captain Christopher Vanghele, both of whom have received masters degrees.

Newtown Police Commission member Scott Ciccari received the Anita Goosman Award.

In the past, Mr Cicciari created the Newtown Police Building Fund with the purpose of promoting awareness and raising funds for a new police station. Mr Ciccari worked with others for more than five years to explain the concept, raise money, and publicize the need for new police quarters.

Mr Ciccari’s and others’ efforts have improved police department equipment and furnishings. “Their work has not only increased public awareness, it has improved the efficiency of the daily operations of the police department as well as boosting the morale of those working here,” according to police.

Police also presented the Anita Goosman Award to Easton resident Steven Klein.

At about 1:24 pm on April 6, 2016, Newtown police responded to a residence in town for a missing elderly man. At the time, all that was known was that the frail man had left the residence on foot and had been walking for an unknown amount of time. Due to the potential severity of the situation, assistance was received from multiple police dog units and a state police helicopter.

Newtown police also sent out a reverse 911 call alerting residents in Newtown and Easton about the missing person. Mr Klein received this phone call. Being familiar with the woods in the area, Mr Klein took the initiative to ride through the woods on his all-terrain vehicle, actively searching for the missing man.

At about 7:50 pm, Mr Klein located the missing man deep into the woods and escorted him back to the Klein residence, where they met with police. When found, the man was lost and planning to spend the night in the woods because he had walked too far from home, police said.

Without Mr Klein’s actions that day, it is unknown when, or even if, that missing man would have been found, according to police.

In ceremonies at Newtown High School on October 16, the Newtown Police Department issued awards to police officers and civilians for their efforts on behalf of public safety. Participating at the ceremony, from left, were Police Chief James Viadero, Captain Christopher Vanghele, Patrol Officer Adam James, Patrol Officer Paula Wickman, Patrol Officer Timothy Schoen, and Patrol Sergeant Scott Smith. —Newtown Police Department photo
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