Pittsfield police officers recognized in new annual awards ceremony

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PITTSFIELD — From saving babies to making big drug busts, the Pittsfield Police Department's leaders say officers have been busy behind the scenes.

During a first-of-its kind awards ceremony on Wednesday at Taconic High School, Chief Michael Wynn said it's time the public sees more of the good work the department's officers do every day. The event featured departmental promotions and honored officers for saving lives, making important arrests and for their years of service.

Awards and commendations were previously doled out at roll call, he said, but with the new ceremony he'd like to share the good news more widely.

"There's more to this story and I need to share that," Wynn said.

Lt. Mike Maddalena said that because it's the first time department leadership has held an awards ceremony like this, officers were reticent.

"Do I have to go?" he said they asked. "Am I going up on stage for this? I have nothing to wear."

He said the most common response from award recipients was, "why am I getting an award for this? I was just doing my job."

But in recognizing their good work, he said, the department plants seeds for the future.

Officer Brenna Dorr received high praise during the event. She won three awards — one for playing a pivotal role in one of the biggest drug busts the department has ever seen in May of last year, another for her work taking weapons off the street and an exceptional duty award for her work on a yearlong human-trafficking investigation.

Dispatcher Jennifer Carr and Sgt. Cheryl Callahan were honored for helping to safely deliver a newborn after responding to the mother's apartment.

Officer Thomas Bowler Jr. won an award for saving the life of a toddler choking on a piece of apple. The child had stopped breathing, Lt. Jeffrey Bradford said, and Bowler delivered several back blows that dislodged the snack.

Lt. John Soules announced Officer James McIntyre's impending retirement. Come July, he'll step down after 32 years with the department, thousands of calls for service and countless traffic tickets issued, Soules said. He praised McIntyre for his steadfast professionalism in handling so many tragic accidents as part of the traffic division.

Lt. Thomas Dawley presented several officers — John Virgilio, Mike Silver, Edward Pezze, Matthew Killeen and Michael Lupisella — an award for their work in a set of November weapon and drug arrests of four from Springfield and Holyoke.

"They were armed," he said. "They had brought narcotics into our community, which is already suffering from a serious drug problem."

Capt. Mark Trapani presented the Detective Unit, Crime Scene Services and the Anti-Crime Unit with a Unit Citation Award for a team effort to investigate and close six homicide cases between July 2017 and January 2019. He said the uptick in complex, violent cases came at a time of turnover in the unit, and so its success speaks volumes of the junior detectives involved.

The ceremony also recognized four newly promoted sergeants: Jacob Barbour, Cheryl Callahan, Dave Kirchner and John Mazzeo.

"I am so proud of you for all that you are to this city and this department," Mayor Linda Tyer told the officers.

Award ceremony recipients:

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Lt. Glen Decker

Sgt. Jacob Barbour

Sgt. Cheryl Callahan

Sgt. David Kirchner

School Resource Officer John Gray

Officer Thomas Bowler Jr.

Officer Christopher Coffey

Officer Brenna Dorr

Officer Brandon Gallagher

Officer Brett Henault

Officer Matthew Killeen

Officer Michael Lupisella

Officer Edward Pezze

Officer Michael Silver

Officer Kipp Steinman

Officer John Virgilio

Dispatcher Jennifer Carr

Dep. Sheriff Michael McMullen

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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