It was a year of bravery, life saving and outstanding public service, and the Wilton police honored their own for their efforts in 2016 during the 15th annual awards ceremony March 13.
The event was held at the Trackside Teen Center.
“I would like to thank all of the officers and their families. They are the ones that this is all about,” said Chief Robert Crosby, who is marking his last month in office prior to retiring. The audience of about 100 family members of the officers took the opportunity to give a round of applause to the incoming chief, Capt. John Lynch.
The first award of the night was the Medal of Honor, which was given mostly for the actions of officers who rescued a Wilton man from a burning car last Thanksgiving.
The case made regional headlines. On the eve of Thanksgiving at approximately 9 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area of New Canaan Road and Old Boston Road for a report of a motor vehicle accident. The caller reported that a vehicle was off the road in a wooded area and on fire. Additional 911 calls reported that the driver was trapped inside the vehicle.
Sgt. Gregg Phillipson and Officer Brandon Harris were the first to arrive on scene. They attempted to control the fire with extinguishers, but the car continued to burn. The driver of the vehicle, although conscious, was trapped inside and unable to free himself from the driver's seat.
As the vehicle continued to burn, Sgt. David Hartman, Sgt. Arnault Baker, Officer Mark Canepari, and Officer Malcolm Hayes arrived on scene. They began to use extinguishers on the fire but the driver was still unable to get out. With flames making their way to the passenger compartment, officers went in and pulled the driver to safety.
The Emergency Medical Service Award was given to Officer William Barrett, who was at Three Brothers Diner in Danbury with his friend Kevin, who began to turn blue and was not responding to the waitress at the counter. Barrett thought his friend was choking and began to perform the Heimlich maneuver as Kevin became limp.
Barrett moved him to the floor and determined Kevin had no pulse and was not breathing. While 911 was called, Barrett began chest compressions, and soon after his friend regained a pulse. Kevin was taken to Danbury Hospital, where he underwent a cardiac stent placement for a nearly occluded coronary artery. Kevin survived the event.

Emergency Medical Service Award


Officer Kevin Barrett
Officer Mark Canepari
Officer John Patry
Sgt. Anthony Cocco
Officer Paul Lichtenberger
Officer Eric Patenaude

Citation of Commendation


Sgt. Gregg Phillipson
Officer Shawn Frendt
Lt. Stephen Brennan
Detective Kip Tarrant
Detective Eva Zimnoch

Letter of Recognition


Lt. Robert Cipolla
Sgt. Gregg Phillipson
Sgt. David Hartman
Detective Kip Tarrant
Detective Scott Sear
Officer Eric Patenaude
Officer Scott Spezzano
Officer Steve Zawacki
Officer Richard Ross
Officer Michael Tyler
Officer Paul Lichtenberger
Officer Steven Gelineau
Officer Frank Razzaia
Officer Robert Smaldone
Officer Douglas Parsons
Officer Anna Tornello

Community Police Officer of the Year Award


Lt. Robert Cipolla: Awarded for community policing, in efforts like Stroll with Patrol and A Ride to End Domestic Violence.
Officer Shawn Frendt: Acknowledged for community work like Stuff a Cruiser, and for visiting a Syrian refugee family placed in Wilton.

Officer of the Year


Officer Eric Patenaude: He was credited for showing initiative with police K-9 Baso, volunteering with community efforts like Toys for Tots, and being tops in the department for motor vehicle stops and drug arrests.