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2015 Wasson Memorial Award Winners Announced!

In 1993, The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, in cooperation with the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc., established "The Daniel Wasson Memorial Canine Award".  Officer Wasson was a Milford, Connecticut Police Canine Officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty.  Officer Wasson made the ultimate sacrifice; it is in his memory that these awards are given each year.

These annual awards are chosen from line of duty deployments submitted by Connecticut police canine teams that exemplify the highest tradition of police canine law enforcement.  The award plaque honoring Officer Daniel Wasson and the winners of this prestigious award, hangs proudly in the lobby of the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden, Connecticut.

The C.P.W.D.A. Award Nomination Committee forwarded all entries for the 2015 Daniel Wasson Memorial K-9 Award to the Connecticut Police Chief's Association who selected a committee to select the award recipients from nominations received throughout our state and were awarded on June 14, 2016.

This year the selection committee has unanimously selected Officer Officer John Oczkowski and his K-9 partner "Sage", of the Seymour  Police Department, as the winner of the 2015 Daniel Wasson Memorial K-9 Award. This year's honorable mention recipients are: First runner up was Officer Stephen C. Grossi and K9 Hades of the East Hartford Police Department ". Second runner up, Officer  Lars E. Vallin and his K-9 partner "Zander" of the New Haven Police Department.


Officer John Oczkowski & K9 Partner "Sage"

   Seymour Police Department  


On November 20th 2015, Officer Oczkowski and his K9 partner were dispatched to the Town of Woodbridge to assist to assist New Haven, CSP, Woodbridge and Hamden PD’s. It was relayed that the above mentioned Police Departments were actively pursuing a double homicide suspect, after reckless evasive attempts to elude Officers as they attempted to deploy stop sticks, the suspect dumped his vehicle and fled on foot into a heavily wooded area. Upon arrival on scene, Officer Oczkowski utilized a hat as a scent article lost by the suspect upon entering the wooded area and began a track for the suspect. The area was extremely dense giving full tactical advantage to the suspect. Despite the disadvantage, the K9 team made entry into the woods. After a considerable distance, the track led to a canal that was 15 feet long and waist deep. PSD Sage engaged through the water and alerted to the presence of the suspect that was concealing himself in the water. Due to the overwhelming show of force of the handler/ K9 team, the suspect was taken into custody without injuries to Officers.              


1ST  Runner Up

Officer Stephen C. Grossi & K-9 Partner "Hades"

 East Hartford Police Department

On September 19th 2015, Officer Grossi and his K9 partner Hades were dispatched to assist detectives in locating a burglary suspect that ran from them, Officer Grossi learned that detectives were arresting the suspect for a burglary but that he was also wanted for questioning as a suspect for a home invasion, sexual assault and larceny of a hand gun. Pursuing Officers lost sight of the suspect as he ran into a thick swamp area. Upon arrival Officer Grossi made announcements into the heavily wooded area and sent his partner K9 Hades into the woods on a “scout mission”. K9 Hades located the suspect hiding in waist deep water hiding under brush and apprehended him by his arm. Officer Grossi and on scene Officers were able to take control of the suspect without any injuries to Officers.

2nd  Runner Up

Officer Lars E. Vallin & K-9 Partner "Zander"

New Haven Police Department

On April 4th 2015, Officer Vallin responded to assist Officers with a parole violation complaint. Upon arrival at the location, it was learned that the suspect was in an upstairs bedroom possibly armed with a knife. Officer Vallin retrieved his K9 partner Xander from his cruiser and proceeded to the last known location with his K9 partner and additional on scene Officers. As they slowly opened the bedroom door, the suspect was observed on the bed and appeared to be “sleeping”, upon calling out to him he violently jumped up with a knife in his hand and swung it “wildly” , Officer Vallin commanded his K9 partner Xander ahead of on scene Officers to apprehend the suspect. K9 Xander took hold of his right arm which subsequently made the suspect drop the knife giving the opportunity for Officers to move in. Despite the fact that K9 Xander was still engaged, the suspect continued to fight violently knocking Officers down. On scene Officers were able to regroup and gain control of the suspect after a long struggle. Once control was gained, Officer Vallin commanded K9 Xander to release the suspect. It was learned at the Hospital later that the suspect was under the influence of PCP.       





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