NORWALK, Conn. -- Four Norwalk police officers were among 22 officers and residents from throughout the state recognized recently with Community Policing Awards by U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly as part of National Community Policing Week.
During a Friday ceremony, Daly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said she was happy to acknowledge special efforts of police and community members in keeping people safe.
"The officers and community members recognized today are excellent examples of the best in community policing and community relations," Daly said.
In Norwalk, Lt. Terrence Blake, Sgt. Sophia Gulino and Officer Felipe Taborda were recognized for a new high school program at an alternative high school that encourages better relationships between law enforcement and young people.
Also, Cesar Ramirez was recognized for organizing an Aug. 3 interfaith prayer vigil that brought 200 people out in front of the police department to show solidarity in light of tensions throughout the nation.
The high school program started this year when the Norwalk Police Department partnered with Pathways, an alternative high school, to create a curriculum to educate students about policing in a fun and positive manner. The inaugural class was offered as a semester-long elective for 11 students who met for a weekly a two-hour seminar.
The class is taught members of the police department, mainly Blake, Gulino, and Taborda. Not only does it provide information about pursuing police work as a career, but it helps bridge the gap between officers and young people, officials said.
Students heard about different roles within the department and how police handled a variety of crisis calls over the course of the 17-week program. They also were able to meet with others in the justice system, such as prosecutors, public defenders, and more.
Like the high school program, the Aug. 3 prayer vigil was a way to bridge a gap between officers and community members, officials said. Representatives of a variety of diverse faith-based organizations were invited to participate in the event.
Representatives from twenty of Norwalk’s faith-based institutions spoke and prayed in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Creole, Hindi, and Hebrew, officials said. The idea was to promote trust between all community members and the police department.
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