Wilton Police Department: Officers promoted after retirement

The recent retirement of Lt. Steven Bartek from the Wilton Police Department was accompanied by the promotion of two officers, Lt. Thomas Conlan and Sgt. Robert Cipolla, both of whom say they’re looking forward to their new responsibilities on the force.

Lt. Conlan, a member of the Wilton Police Department for 13 years, said his promotion is an opportunity to better support the force, and that he expects more administrative duties, although administrative experience is something he’s quite familiar with, especially after filling such roles as the department’s domestic violence coordinator, a position involving routine collaboration with the town’s Domestic Violence Task Force.

His time on the force includes eight years as an officer and five as a sergeant. Educated at the University of New Haven, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Lt. Conlan was assigned to the Wilton Police Department for his initial training. Currently, he is raising two daughters with his wife in Oxford.

“I’m filling the shoes of Lt. Bartek, and just thinking of the organization as a whole, looking at how to contribute,” he said. “As a lieutenant now, there’s more of an emphasis on organizational goals; you just try to do what you can for the organization.”

The second promoted officer, Sgt. Cipolla of Trumbull, joined Wilton’s force in August 2005, after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

He first became interested in police work during his undergraduate years, becoming immersed with internships at the town of Poughkeepsie Police Department.

“I’ll be responsible for supervising patrol officers, which is about four to seven people per shift,” he said of his new position. “I’ll be making sure they’re correctly doing their day-to-day patrol duties and criminal investigations.”

Since joining the force, he has covered various assignments as “acting sergeant” and “acting detective” for special purposes.

“He has performed these roles with skill and professionalism, working well with those within the department and outside police agencies,” said Capt. John Lynch in a news release.

“Officer Cipolla has also received numerous letters of commendation and recommendation for his outstanding efforts as a patrol officer, acting sergeant and acting detective.”

His honors include being recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (known as MADD) for law enforcement, being named “Officer of the Year” in 2009 by Chief Michael Lombardo, and graduating first in his class at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden, the first ever from a member of the Wilton Police Department.

The Wilton Police Department offers a test for sergeant and detective every two years on a rotating basis, and although Sgt. Cipolla placed first on the station’s last two detective tests, there were no open positions in the detective bureau.

He did, however, have a chance last year to work for the bureau from April to August, and was even responsible for obtaining a confession from Aaron Ramsey, the local man accused of bludgeoning his father to death at their home on May 3.

Sgt. Cipolla worked with Detective Peter Trahan over his tenure with the bureau, while there was a vacancy because of a detective being on leave, and said it was an invaluable training experience.

“It was really a collaborative effort,” he said of the Ramsey case.

At the time of Mr. Ramsey’s arrest, Sgt. Cipolla was assigned by Detective Kip Tarrant — who was then coordinating the detective bureau (Lt. Donald Wakeman is the current coordinator) — to obtain a statement from Mr. Ramsey at Norwalk Hospital, where he had been taken shortly after being found “covered in blood” at a neighboring residence of his father’s.

“I’m very grateful to the people who helped me along the way,” Sgt. Cipolla said of his mentors, and he specifically cited Detectives Christopher Isidro and Peter Trahan; the latter was his field training officer when he came on the force as an officer.

After advancing through the police academy in 2005 and then being assigned to the Wilton Police Department, he was put through a mandatory 12-week, on-the-job training period with Detective Trahan, who was an officer at the time.

“He really got me off on the right foot, in terms of being positive, proactive, and getting me familiar with the department,” Sgt. Cipolla said of his training experience.