Due to the COVID pandemic, the Wilton Police Department was not able to hold a public ceremony for its annual police awards, which is typically held each March. Instead, the department awarded its annual 2019 Officer of the Year and Community Police Officer of the Year awards on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at Police Headquarters.
2019 Police Officer of the Year
The annual Officer of the Year Award began in 2003 as a way of acknowledging a member of the department who provided exceptional service. The award is granted each year to the member who distinguishes him/herself from their peers by actions that represent the highest standards of the police profession. The members recommended for consideration by supervisors must have no sustained departmental or citizen complaints for the year, must have maintained an acceptable level of productivity and a minimal level of absenteeism. One nomination for this award is submitted by each supervisor.
This year’s recipient of the Wilton Officer of the Year Award is Mark Canepari.
Canepari began his career with the Wilton Police Department in December of 2014. He has consistently distinguished himself as a proactive officer. His distinction is particularly evident in his proactive motor vehicle enforcement. In 2019 he conducted 412 traffic stops resulting in three DUI arrests, one narcotics arrest, and the issuance of nine infractions for marijuana possession. In addition, he has distinguished himself as a keen criminal investigator, who takes exhaustive efforts to identify those responsible for crimes. Canepari also received a letter of commendation, a letter of recognition, and a life-saving award in 2019.
In looking through Ofc. Canepari’s personnel folder there are many letters from residents thanking him for the professional and caring way that he assisted them in their time of need.
2019 Community Police Officer of the Year
The Community Police Officer of the Year award acknowledges members of the Wilton Police Department who have demonstrated outstanding service to the community with particular emphasis on the Wilton Police values of Integrity, Respect, Professionalism, and Community Support.
This year’s winner is Lt. Dave Hartman. Hartman began his career with the Wilton Police Department in August 1999. Over the years, he has truly embraced the Department’s concept of community policing. He has participated in many community policing events the Department has hosted, such as Coffee with a Cop and Shop with a Cop. He has been involved in fund-raising efforts for the Special Olympics by volunteering his time for events like Tip a Cop and the annual Special Olympics Torch Run.
It is safe to say that Lt. Hartman is one who sets the tone for the Department’s community engagement activities. He has been at the forefront of organizing and attending community policing events. He has volunteered each year to be the department’s lead in assisting the Wilton YMCA in programs like “Race for Chase” and the annual “Swamp Romp”. “Race for Chase” is a program that helps kids in need who typically wouldn’t have access to summer programs and organized exercise. Hartman helps organize and oversee the donation of bicycles for this program. He is also brave enough to take the plunge each year in below-freezing temperatures at the annual “Swamp Romp” hosted by the Wilton YMCA, raising money for the YMCA’s many youth programs.
Hartman strives to keep the community safer by conducting frequent Senior Citizen Driver Education classes in partnership with AAA each year. He conducts almost all of the department’s road safety surveys, ensuring that citizen concerns on traffic safety are addressed. He has engaged local media outlets to address specific road safety concerns in the Town of Wilton. Hartman was also instrumental in creating a presentation on scams that target the senior population and throughout the year has presented this program with other Wilton officers, to various community groups and senior living communities.
Lt. Hartman recognizes the importance of a police department’s interaction with the community in a non-enforcement capacity and sets the example by his own involvement in these activities.