NORWALK, Conn. – The Norwalk Police Department named Joseph Martino its Officer of the Year for 2013.
Martino’s honor stemmed from a call last December, when he was called to an apartment building on Belden Avenue on reports that a woman may have been attempting suicide. Martino discovered the woman in the building’s elevator, and she pointed a revolver at him and another officer.
To stop the woman, Martino placed his hand between the hammer and the firing pin to prevent a shot and wrestled the handgun away from her. He suffered a minor cut to the hand during the encounter, according to police reports at the time.
Martino received two of the 40-plus awards handed out at the Norwalk Police Awards Ceremony on Thursday evening.
Sgt. Bruce Hume and Officers Larry Tiani, Matthew Policastro and James Wright also received Meritorious Commendation Certificates for their work on the same case.
For the act, Martino also received a Police Service Cross, an award given out each year to officers who “distinguish themselves by an act of bravery while exposing themselves to physical injury, or while engaged with an armed adversary, and exposing themselves to physical injury.”
Sgt. Jeffrey Proudfoot and Officers Louis Proto, David Busch and Richard Ribisl took home the same honor for their work in chasing down an armed suspect after a Washington Street fight in February.
Four other officers also received Medals of Merit for life-saving actions while on the job last year. Officers James Ytrurbe and Paul Wargo responded to an attempted suicide in November, in which they found a woman standing on top of a bed with a cord around her neck attached to a ceiling beam, intending to hang herself. Yturbe held the woman up to prevent strangulation while Wargo loosened the cord, saving the woman’s life.
Officers Kenny Fludd and William Madsen earned their Medals of Merit in March, when they were called to the home of a 65-year-old woman who was unconscious. The two used an automated external defibrillator to revive the woman before an ambulance arrived.
Lt. Arthur Weisgerber, head of Norwalk’s Cold Case Unit, was also honored at the ceremony. Weisgerber received the Distringuished Service Award for his work closing a 1988 case involving the kidnapping and sexual assault of a teenage girl. Through new forensic tactics Weisgerber’s unit arrested a suspect in December after 25 years.
The department also handed out a total of 30 Meritorious Service Commendations, which reward cases that don’t fit the criteria for other awards but where “personal recognition is deserved for excellent service to the community or department.” The full list of awards can be found in the attachment below.
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