Three Wilton police officers will be receiving medals of commendation from the Stratford Police Department, for their work and compassion assisting a rape victim from that town. According to a letter sent to the Wilton Police Department, they are being recognized not only for their work in helping to comfort and console the elderly victim, but also for their significant contributions that helped the suspect be identified, located and arrested.
In 2014 the Stratford Police Department requested assistance from Wilton’s department, to assist on a case involving an elderly woman who was physically and sexually assaulted on May 8 of that year. The 89-year-old woman spoke only Polish and spoke very little English, so the Stratford force needed a fluent Polish speaker to work with the victim.
Two Wilton officers⎯Detective Eva Zimnoch and Officer Wojciech Brodzinski⎯both speak Polish fluently. Lt. Stephen Brennan was the supervising officer at Wilton’s police headquarters at the time.
“I went to the [police] academy with one of the lead investigators and he knew I spoke Polish. He reached out to me and asked if I could come and help them out,” Zimnoch said.
Brennan coordinated with the sergeant in Stratford to get the Wilton officers there.
“Utilizing the officers and their interpretation, they were able to get a statement from the victim and also a composite drawn of the subject. Stratford was able to identify the subject and place him under arrest,” Brennan explained during his weekly press briefing with Wilton media outlets. Based on this collaborative effort, the suspect was identified and apprehended within four days of the incident, he added.
Several local, state and federal agencies also cooperated with the investigation and arrest: the FBI; the CT State Police; police departments of Bridgeport, Fairfield and Wilton; and the MTA Authority.
“They did the critical work–they did the interviewing, sat with the victim, comforted her. And they were able to obtain and extrapolate information that they needed,” Brennan said. “They went there several times over the course of a week, and did follow-up too. It was very comforting to the family, to the victim.”
Stratford police chief Patrick A. Ridenhour will be awarding the Medal for Excellent Arrest to the three Wilton officers at the Stratford Police Department’s annual award ceremony. The ceremony will take place this Thursday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Stratford Town Hall.