NORWALK, Conn. A Norwalk Police service dog and his handler were named officers of the year in a ceremony at police headquarters.
Sgt. Frank Reda and canine officer Czar were honored Monday by the Board of Police Commissioners for "their outstanding work throughout the year and especially for their courage and professionalism when confronted and engaged with several individuals with knives," according to the department's Facebook page.
A man armed with two steak knives charged Reda in June but found himself dealing with Czar, who probably saved the officer's life, according to Sgt. Andre Velez, who is now retired. Velez, who founded the department's canine unit, described Czar as a "courageous and brave police dog" who "probably saved the life of Officer Reda by engaging the armed suspect, who had two knives. The dog suffered numerous cuts to the head area and never abandoned his defense of Officer Reda." Reda has since been promoted to sergeant.
Czar recovered but missed the ceremony because he was injured while capturing one of the suspects in the Westport Avenue Jewelry Store robbery Jan. 20, according to Facebook posts. Czar has five stitches in his mouth.
A commenter on the Facebook page commended the officers who responded to the armed robbery. Gene Autore said, "Your response to that event probably saved the lives of those wonderful people that own that store. You guys did a great job on that capture. I was having dinner at the restaurant across the street and saw and heard Czar while you searched the properties."
Officers Patrick English and Adam Mulkern were also honored at the ceremony, where they were named Officers of the Month for December. The officers were honored for their service to the city and country after both recently returned from serving extended tours of duty in the Middle East, the Facebook post says.
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