LOWELL — Police Superintendent Raymond Kelly Richardson is pleased to share that the Lowell Police Department recognized nearly three dozen officers for outstanding and lifesaving work.
Individual officers, dispatchers and members of the Gang Unit, District Response Unit and Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT Team were recognized in front of their peers and families at a ceremony held at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Sept. 9.
“The men and women of the Lowell Police Department, like all law enforcement officers, go to work each day not knowing what they will encounter, and often face dangerous and unpredictable situations. I could not be more proud of the professionalism, courage and empathy they continue to show,” Superintendent Richardson said. “We recognize the best work of officers and dispatchers not to show off or brag, but to share and learn from the great examples they set.”
Those honored were:
Officer Casimir Czarnionka – Citation
On Nov. 11, 2020, Officer Czarnionka was among officers who responded to a 911 call reporting two men were breaking down the caller’s door. Officer Czarnionka saw a vehicle attempting to drive away from the scene, stopped the vehicle, and later determined two men in the vehicle allegedly broke into and ransacked the caller’s apartment in search of drugs. Czarnionka’s quick response and attention to detail led to a quick resolution.
Officer Adam Ducharme, Officer Danny Perrin Jr., Sgt. Michael Bergeron and K-9 Randy – Citation
On Dec. 10, 2019, while working with the District Response Unit, Officers Ducharme and Perrin conducted a traffic stop and noticed a driver allegedly attempting to hide a bag containing a white powdery substance, and had the driver step out of the vehicle. Sgt. Bergeron and his K-9 partner Randy responded. K-9 Randy showed interest in portions of the vehicle’s interior and trunk where a subsequent search led to the recovery of over 33 grams of cocaine, over 15 grams of Fentanyl, 84 tablets of Oxycodone, 70 tablets of Adderall and 37 strips of Suboxone. The attention to detail and teamwork of Officer Ducharme, Officer Perrin, Sgt. Bergeron and K-9 Randy helped take a variety of drugs off the streets of Lowell.
Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT Team members Lt. James Fay, Sgt. David Frechette, Officer Jason Gatto and Officer Christopher Jacques – Unit Citation
Few situations faced by law enforcement are more unpredictable or high-stress than when officers serve high-risk warrants, help individuals experiencing a mental health crisis or arrest armed suspects. Members of the NEMLEC SWAT Team over the past year have relied on training and professionalism to repeatedly resolve such incidents while using the least amount of force, making arrests, and assisting those in need of psychological or medical assistance. NEMLEC SWAT Team members also provided support during various demonstrations in Lowell. The NEMLEC SWAT Team, including Lt. Fay, Sgt. Frechette, Officer Gatto and Officer Jacques have repeatedly assisted the Lowell Police Department in resolving volatile situations and are recognized for their contribution to safety in the City of Lowell.
Officer Christian Poueriet – Commendation
On Dec. 15, 2019, Officer Poueriet attempted to stop a vehicle for a stop sign violation. The driver allegedly fled in the vehicle before continuing on foot carrying a multi-colored bag. Officer Poueriet detained the suspect after a short pursuit and subsequently discovered several rocks of alleged crack cocaine in the suspect’s pockets, $600 in cash left behind near the vehicle, and a loaded .38 special handgun in the bag the suspect was carrying. Officer Poueriet’s work led to drugs and a gun being removed from city streets.
Detective Socrates Deno and Detective Connor Elmore – Commendation
On June 10, 2020, the Gang Unit received information that an individual known to them was illegally in possession of a gun. Detective Deno and Detective Elmore worked to locate the individual, and arrested him after discovering a loaded M&P Bodyguard .380 handgun on the floor of the suspect’s vehicle. The detectives’ teamwork and dedication led to an illegally-possessed firearm being removed from city streets.
Officer Raymond Jean Jr. and Officer Matthew Trani – Commendation
On Aug. 30, 2020, Officers Jean and Trani noticed a vehicle that had been idling in a parking lot for about 10 minutes, and approached to check on the driver. They discovered the vehicle’s license plate did not match the vehicle and subsequently noticed two knives in plain sight inside the vehicle. A firearm with an illegally defaced serial number was also found in the vehicle during a subsequent standard inventory search. Officer Jean and Officer Trani’s diligence and attention to detail led to an illegally-possessed handgun being removed from city streets.
Officer Matthew Cassella and Officer Timothy Cooper – Commendation
On Dec. 10, 2020, Officer Cooper and Officer Cassella responded to a report of someone breaking into a vehicle and arrived to discover a suspect still inside the vehicle. The suspect attempted to hide something in his pocket, and a during a subsequent search, officers located a firearm with an illegally defaced serial number in the suspect’s pocket. Officer Cassella and Officer Cooper’s quick response and on-scene awareness led to an illegally possessed handgun being removed from city streets.
Officer Ryan Coyle, Detective Socrates Deno, Detective Connor Elmore, Detective Thomas Feehan and Detective Matthew Krug – Commendation
Between November of 2018 and January of 2020, Gang Unit Detectives Deno, Elmore, Feehan and Krug worked with Officer Coyle to investigate a suspect believed to have multiple firearms in his home. Detectives conducted surveillance while Coyle worked with the Criminal Investigation Division to apply for a search warrant. The execution of the search warrant turned up alleged cocaine, multiple rounds of ammunition, a large-capacity Ruger .22 caliber rifle and a .45 caliber handgun. The teamwork, diligence and dedication to duty of Detective Deno, Detective Elmore, Detective Feehan, Detective Krug and Officer Coyle led to the removal of both drugs and illegally possessed firearms from the streets of Lowell.
Officer Walter Varey – Commendation
On Aug. 8, 2020, Officer Varey responded to a report of shots fired in a location where 10 spent shell casings were then found. While at the scene, Officer Varey heard a single gunshot in the immediate area and investigated. He located the suspect nearby and relied on his training to de-escalate the situation as he waited for backup. Officer Varey successfully convinced the suspect to reveal a loaded handgun that was allegedly tucked into his waistband and arrested the man. Officer Varey’s courage, quick response and professionalism during a volatile situation helped remove a gun from city streets without anyone being harmed.
Sgt. David Frechette and Officer Rafael Rivera – Commendation
On May 7, 2020, Lowell Police responded to an armed robbery during which a witness followed the suspect’s vehicle as it left the scene. The suspect allegedly fired four gunshots at the witness’s vehicle, striking the vehicle, other vehicles and buildings in the area before continuing to flee. Officer Rivera responded to the registered address of the suspect vehicle, and spotted the vehicle there. Officers began securing the building while waiting for backup, and noticed an open door to a laundry room in the building. While conducting a protective sweep of that room, Officer Rivera and Sgt. Frechette discovered a man who was later identified as the suspect in the unlit room. Also in the room, they discovered a handgun, keys to the suspect’s vehicle, clothing and a mask believed to have been used in the robbery, and cash. Their courage, diligence and attention to detail helped result in a quick and peaceful resolution to the incident.
Dispatcher Allora Rudy – Life Saving Bar
On March 24, 2020, Dispatcher Rudy received a 911 call from a male who said he was armed with a knife and wanted to kill himself. Dispatcher Rudy calmly talked with the man while determining his exact location and dispatching officers, and then continued to speak with the man about his children and ways to find help until officers located the man and got him transported to a local hospital. Officer Anthony Webb later reported that the male told him he didn’t change his mind about taking his own life even as officers approached him, but that the woman he had spoken with on the phone “knew how to talk.” Dispatcher Rudy’s calm demeanor, professionalism and empathy helped prevent a tragic outcome.
Officer Frank Greenhalgh – Life Saving Bar
On June 2, 2020, Officer Greenhalgh was among officers who responded to a report of a male threatening to take his own life. Officer Greenhalgh calmly engaged the male in an approximately 10-minute conversation. When the male appeared to lose focus on the conversation and prepare to jump, Greenhalge shared that he was a military veteran whose years of service left him with many friends who struggle with trauma and mental illness. The personal story engaged the male and led to him voluntarily climbing back over a fence to safety, and then going to a local hospital for evaluation. Officer Greenhalgh’s compassion, steadfastness and empathy helped prevent a tragic outcome.
Officer David Lavoie, Officer Tong Phay, Officer Robert Rayne and Officer Rafael Rivera – Life Saving Bar
On Aug. 8, 2020, Officers Lavoie, Phay, Rayne and Rivera worked together to help a distraught and intoxicated male who was hanging onto the outside of a bridge railing while threatening to jump. Officers Rivera and Phay engaged the man in conversation and reassured him that help was available. Officer Rayne brought the man’s roommate to the scene to help convince the man to come to safety. Officer Lavoie taped off the area and kept a gathering crowd back as officers continued to talk with the man and firefighters deployed rescue boats into the water below. As the conversation between officers and the man continued, Officers Lavoie, Phay, Rayne and Rivera were eventually able to pull the man back over the bridge railing. The man was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The professionalism, calmness, bravery and teamwork of Officer Lavoie, Officer Phay, Officer Rayne and Officer Rivera helped prevent a tragic outcome.
Detective Edward Davis IV, Detective Ryan Ostler and Officer Gregory Pekarski – Life Saving Bar
On April 18, 2020, Detective Ostler and Officer Pekarski responded to a domestic incident in which one family member allegedly stabbed another in the arm. Detective Ostler immediately began rendering aid to the victim and Officer Pekarski placed the suspect under arrest. Detective Davis arrived on scene and began to help with first aid. Officers initially tried to use a belt to slow the victim’s bleeding, but were unable to do so due to the extreme amount of blood. A department-issued tourniquet was then applied to the victim’s upper arm, which stopped the bleeding until Lowell firefighters and Trinity EMS arrived to take over care. The quick response, teamwork and outstanding performance of Detective Davis, Detective Ostler and Officer Pekarski helped to save the victim’s life.
Officer Frank Greenhalgh and Officer Brian Rourke – Life Saving Bar
On Nov. 20, 2020, Officer Rourke arrived at the scene of a motor vehicle crash into a utility pole and discovered a burning vehicle with the driver trapped inside and several other incapacitated occupants nearby. Unable to open the driver’s door, Officer Rourke was aided by two bystanders and the driver was pulled out through a window of the vehicle. Officer Greenhalgh arrived and with help from several bystanders pulled the other occupants a safe distance from the vehicle. Both officers then began CPR on an unresponsive passenger until EMTs arrived. The quick response, courage and dedication to duty of Officer Rourke and Officer Greenhalgh prevented further injury to the occupants of the vehicle.
Officer John Golojuch and Officer Christopher Jacques – Life Saving Bar
On Sept. 11, 2020, Officer Golojuch and Officer Jacques were dispatched to a medical emergency involving an unconscious man. Dispatchers provided the caller instructions to start CPR while officers were en route. Officer Golojuch arrived and began using his department-issued automated external defibrillator, while Officer Jacques arrived a short time later and began performing rescue breaths. The officers ultimately performed five rounds of CPR and applied three shocks from the AED before EMTs and paramedics arrived on scene. It wasn’t until an hour after the initial call that the patient was stabilized at a local hospital. The quick response and dedication of Officer Golojuch and Officer Jacques helped save the patient’s life.
Officer Leang Chhor, Officer Joshua DeLisle, Officer Warren Greenhalgh and Officer Walter Varey – Life Saving Bar
On Feb. 10, 2021, Officers Chhor, Delisle, Greenhalgh and Varey arrived at the scene of a residential fire where several people and a baby were trapped inside. Officer Varey entered the smoke-filled building to search for occupants. Officer Varey was forced to crawl on the building’s second floor due to heavy smoke and heat, but called out and located two adults and a child, carried the child out of the building to safety and returned to the second floor to help both adults out of the building. Outside, Officers Chhor and DeLisle assisted a woman who was holding her baby out of a second-floor window by catching the baby as the woman dropped it into their arms. Officer Delisle then took the baby to safety while Officer Chhor and Officer Greenhalgh teamed up to catch the baby’s mother when she jumped from the window to escape the house. The bravery, determination, teamwork and dedication of Officers Chhor, DeLisle, Greenhalgh and Varey helped save multiple lives in a dangerous and rapidly deteriorating situation.
“The men and women of the Lowell Police Department are trained to enforce the law while showing professionalism, empathy, and respect for life,” Superintendent Richardson said. “It is my honor to highlight their hard work and achievements from the past two years, and I hope we can continue this tradition for years to come.”
The Lowell Police Department extends a special thank you to City Manager Eileen Donoghue, the Lowell Police Department Honor Guard, the Lowell High School Choir and the Lowell Memorial Auditorium for assisting with the awards ceremony. Refreshments were provided by the Lowell Police Department Superior Officer’s Association and the Lowell Police Department Patrolman’s Association.