MANCHESTER — Police officers who performed admirably and above and beyond the call of duty were honored in a medal ceremony Friday at the Manchester Police Department.
Those recognized served with distinction, with dedication to the city and the department, and often acted without regard for their own personal safety, Police Chief David Mara said.
Mara opened the ceremony by promoting Carlo Capano to captain, and to commander of the administrative division with that promotion.
Citing his expertise, work ethic and professionalism, Mara called Capano a great addition to the MPD command staff. "Anyone who's ever worked with him knows what I'm talking about," Mara said.
Detective David Dupont was recognized as the 2013 Officer of the Year.
"He is what the officer of the year should be," said Mara, citing Dupont's work ethic, exemplary service and tenacity.
Mayor Ted Gatsas congratulated the medal recipients and the department, citing exemplary service, public safety and continued efforts to curb drug use in Manchester.
A heroin epidemic in New Hampshire is naturally being felt in the state's largest city, and the scourge of illegal drug use is no longer held at bay in one demographic, such as low-income individuals or people passing through, Gatsas said.
The breadth of the heroin problem was evident in some of the awards presented Friday.
Four officers receiving a Life Saving Medal were honored for responding July 21, 2013, to a distraught man threatening to jump off the Bridge Street Bridge. The man, a heroin addict, had recently overdosed and been released from the hospital. Mara applauded the quick actions of Sgt. Chris Goodnow, Officer Andrew Fleming, Officer Ian Fleming and Officer Clifford Elston in saving the man and pulling him back from the edge.
Officer Aaron Brown and Officer Eric Desmarais received the Meritorious Service Medal for their response to a traffic stop April 12, 2013, in which a passenger fled the vehicle and, while being pursued, fired a round at Brown. Brown returned fire and the man discarded his firearm. Brown and Desmarais closed in and made the arrest. Mara, noting that the case began as a traffic stop for a broken tail light, said the incident underscores the seriousness and dangerous nature of being an officer.
Meritorious Service medals were presented to Sgt. Joseph Mucci, Sgt. Jamie Gallant, Detective Michael Lavallee, Detective Michael Bergeron, Detective Ferdinand Cruz, Adam Bergeron-Rosa, and Officer Patrick Mullen for professionalism and service without regard for their personal safety in apprehending a violent person who attempted to ram a vehicle at officers June 3, 2013.
Officer Todd Biery and Officer Ed Devereaux were awarded with Honorable Service medals for their strategic response to the murder-suicide case at the Manchester YWCA on Aug. 11, 2013. Three other members of the department were similarly recognized late last year for their response in that tragedy.
Detective Derek Sullivan and Detective John Cunningham received a Certificate of Recognition for their work and initiative that led to a significant marijuana arrest Oct. 17, 2013. The case netted 15 large pot plants, a large quantity of cash and a loaded shotgun.
Sgt. Brandon Murphy and Officer Christian Horn were recognized for Honorable Service for demonstrating initiative and competence in responding Nov. 2, 2013, to a reckless conduct case in which a handgun was fired off in the city center.
Officer Justin Mangum was recognized for Honorable Service in response to a robbery in progress Nov. 14, 2013, in which the accused later confessed to prior robbery of a city store.
Officer Tony Battistelli, Officer Fred Gillis and Officer Brian Karoul received the Meritorious Service Medal for apprehending a man wanted in an armed robbery on Dec. 4, 2013. The man had his hands in his pockets and, after a struggle, arresting officers found the man had an open knife in one pocket as well as several bags of heroin.
A Certificate of Recognition was presented to Capt. Flanagan on behalf of the Investigative Division, with specific honors going to Detective Patrick Houghton, Detective David Dupont and Detective Ken Loui. Almost two dozen detectives helped make the burglary initiative and investigation a success, according to Mara. The case in the fall of 2013 led to 26 arrests and involved 55 victims, while reclaiming an estimated $69,000 in property and $2,423 in cash, Mara said.
Mara presented the Chief's Achievement Medal to two members of the force: Officer Paul Rondeau and Capt. Carlo Capano. Rondeau was recognized for professionalism and his community education, empowerment and outreach.