Some of the Wilton Police Department‘s outstanding personnel were honored Wednesday afternoon, May 10 at the 21st annual awards ceremony held at Wilton Library.

“It lets our officers be recognized, showing that the town appreciates all the great work that they do,” Chief Thomas Conlan said following a ceremony that included friends and family members, police commissioners, and First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.

Close to two dozen members of the force were acknowledged for various acts of bravery, hard work, mindfulness, and the care and commitment they’ve shown toward the community.

“I just want to publicly thank you for what you do for the town,” said Vanderslice, who made special mention of the family members of police personnel.

She acknowledged their sacrifice, praising them for “supporting them, helping make them who they are so they can do the job they do,” she said.

Chris Giovino, chair of the Police Commission, noted the importance of this award ceremony.

“On behalf of Tom (Sinchak) and Adrienne (Reedy) and myself, we really look forward to this day,” he said. “It’s really great that we acknowledge the work that you men and women do because we would be lost without you.”

He also praised the families, noting that he too grew up with relatives on the force.

“It’s all about the families … the kids and the spouses,” he said.

Ofc. William Whitman, who received several honors throughout the ceremony for his participation in various incidents, was named the Police Officer of the Year for 2022.

Originally a dispatcher with the town beginning in 2016, Whitman applied to and trained at the Connecticut Police Academy for three years, ultimately being sworn in as an officer in November 2019.

Ofc. Eric Patenaude, who was honored as Officer of the Year in 2016, was named Community Officer of the Year for 2022.

Many around town know Patenaude, the K-9 officer, by his “partner,” the German shepherd K-9 Baso. 

While he started with the Wilton department in 2014, Patenaude originally received his training as a canine handler through the U.S. Marine Corps., deploying in Afghanistan and Iraq during his eight-year tenure.

A special first-time award was given to Ofc. Elise Ackerman in recognition of her struggle with breast cancer and full recovery, the story of which she and the department shared with the Wilton community.

Ackerman, who recently has served as School Resource Officer, originally joined the Wilton force in 2014.

The department’s Civilian Blue Angel Award, which is given for exceptional service to the community, was awarded to Wilton Safe Rides, which is now in its 10th year.

“Over the years the demand for service has increased,” Conlan noted, with the average number of weekend rides provided to teens up more than 50% since the program started.

Others acknowledged with awards for specific actions included:

Letters of Commendation

Ofc. Kevin Maloney (2)
Ofc. Eric Patenaude (2)
Det. Edward Dolenk (2)
Ofc. William Whitman
SRO Frank Razzaia
Ofc. Graham O’Gorman
Sgt. Anthony Cocco
Ofc. Mark Canepari
Ofc. Christopher Ventura
Lt. Gregg Phillipson
Det. Sgt. Anna Tornello
K-9 Baso

Letters of Recognition

Ofc. Graham O’Gorman
Det. Eva Zimnoch
Ofc. Steven Gelineau
Ofc. Shawn Frendt
Ofc. Steven Anuszkiewicz
Sgt. Robert Smaldone
Sgt. Anthony Cocco (2)
Ofc. Brandon Harris
Ofc. Jeton Ejupi
Ofc. William Whitman (3)
Ofc. Matthew Cisewski
Ofc. Frank Razzaia
Det. Edward Dolenk
Ofc. Paul Lichtenberger
Lt. Steven Rangel
Sgt. Arnault Baker
Ofc. Wojtek Brodzinski

Life-Saving Pin

Ofc. Brandon Harris
Ofc. Malcolm Hayes
Ofc. Christopher Ventura
Ofc. Michael Cisewski

Citation of Commendation Pin

Ofc. William Whitman
Det. Sgt. Anna Tornello
Ofc. Mark Canepari