Wilton police assist Polish victim, win arrest award

Two Wilton police officers stepped in as translators for Stratford police last year, and their efforts, as well as that of a Wilton lieutenant, have earned them an award from their fellow agency.

Lt. Stephen Brennan, Detective Eva Zimnoch and Officer Wojciech Brodzinski were honored Oct. 15 with the Stratford Police Department’s Medal for Excellent Arrest award for their assistance with an arrest made in 2014.

Stratford police reached out to the Wilton Police Department in early May 2014 and asked to aid with an investigation into the assault and sexual assault of an 89-year-old Stratford woman.

The problem was the victim only spoke Polish, making it impossible for English-speaking members of the Stratford police force to elicit a statement from her.

“I went to the [police] academy with one of the lead investigators, and he knew I spoke Polish, so he reached out to us and asked if that was a possibility, for me to come and help them out,” said Zimnoch.

At that time, the Wilton Police Department had recently hired a new officer, Brodzinski, who also spoke fluent Polish.

Brennan coordinated the effort with the sergeant in Stratford’s detective bureau and sent Zimnoch and Brodzinski there to assist with the investigation.

“They did all the legwork,” Brennan said; “I coordinated.”

With Zimnoch’s and Brodzinski’s interpretation and translation, investigators were able to record a statement given by the victim and draw a composite of the suspect.

“Based on this collaborative effort, the suspect was identified and apprehended within four days of the incident,” said Brennan.

“It was in such a timely manner, and they didn’t just go there once; they went there several times over the course of a week, and helped out, and then they did follow-up too, consoling the victim. It was very comforting to the family, comforting to the victim, and just very nice altogether,” Brennan commented.

Brennan was not able to make it to the ceremony due to a conflict, but he said, “Detective Zimnock and I believe Officer Brodzinski will be in attendance, and Chief Crosby will be going as well.”

The ceremony took place at Stratford Town Hall.