Monday morning, Sept. 25, saw the promotion of two worthy members of the Wilton Police Department, as Sgt. David Hartman was promoted to lieutenant, and Ofc. Timothy Fridinger was accordingly promoted to sergeant. Capt. John Lynch made the promotions and both men were sworn in by town clerk Lori Kabak in front of a crowd of fellow police officers and family.
Lt. Hartman was raised in Wilton and graduated from Wilton High School. As a student, he started a life of public service early, volunteering as a Wilton Police Explorer and a member of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
“He’s been a great asset to our department. He’s very community oriented and it’s nice to have someone from home, and he appreciates what the community has to offer,” Lynch said.
He holds a BS in criminal justice from Marist College and numerous certifications, including as a field training officer. He has been a sergeant since November 2014, and has served as the strategic traffic patrol officer and training officer. Hartman has also served as president of the union and of the PBA.
Community outreach programs have also benefitted from Hartman’s involvement: he is the AAA driver improvement instructor, critical incident training officer, NHTSA child safety seat technician, and a participant in the Special Olympics Tip-A-Cop and Torch Run programs.
He is also highly decorated, and was awarded the department’s Medal of Honor, three life saving awards, citations of commendations and letters of recognition. He was named Officer of the Year in 2011.
Sgt. Fridinger joined the Wilton Police Department in 2002. He has a BS in conservation law enforcement from Unity College, and a masters degree in criminal justice from Boston University.
Fridinger is a certified training officer, law enforcement training instructor, firearms instructor, member of the Southwest Emergency Response Team, certified sniper, lead firearms armorer, founding member of the Honor Guard, and a previous member of the dive team. He has also received several meritorious service commendations, and has been the union president for the past four years.
“Jim has been a great asset in training. You don’t worry about the officers on the road, because they know what they’re doing. He’s also the union president, and we work well together–we both have the same goals,” Lynch added.
As an avid outdoorsman, he is currently the Town of Wilton’s liaison for the Controlled Deer Hunt. He is designated the “safety coordinator and hunt master,” and is responsible for working closely with the town departments in establishing a safe and successful program.
Socially, Fridinger’s colleagues also enjoy his services as unofficial resident chef, especially grilling during his shift and department events.
There currently are a total of three openings for officers; with these promotions, the department has gotten the approval from the Board of Selectmen to hire two new officers. They will leave the third position unfilled until budget issues are resolved at the state level and the town can determine what kind of impact that will have on the municipal budget.
“We’re very fortunate the Board of Selectmen allowed us to hire two of the three. We’ll have to evaluate, because it will be nine months or so before those two officers are on the road by themselves. We may have some officers taking over other duties,” Lynch added.