2015 Wasson Memorial Award Winners
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,
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
Second runner up, Officer
Lars E. Vallin and his K-9 partner "Zander" of the New Haven Police Department.
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.
Stephen C. Grossi & K-9 Partner "Hades"
East Hartford Police Department
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
Lars E. Vallin & K-9 Partner "Zander"
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.