WOODSTOCK — Chief Robbie Blish and the Woodstock Police Department are pleased to share that officers, dispatchers and police staff were recognized for exceptional work during an awards banquet on Dec. 2.
During the annual awards ceremony Officers, Dispatchers and Police Department staff were recognized for their actions and efforts from the past year, with several awards being presented for responses to a June 14 homicide on Slayton Terrace.
Medal of Honor: Sgt. Joseph Swanson
Sgt. Swanson was the first officer at the scene of a homicide at Slayton Terrace on June 14, 2022. Sgt. Swanson, knowing that a gunman was still believed to be in the area, immediately exited his cruiser to provide first aid to an individual who was shot and laying face down in the driveway of a home.
While attempting to provide first aid, Sgt. Swanson came under fire from an individual who exited the home. Sgt. Swanson returned fire while taking cover, forcing the gunman back inside. Sgt. Swanson was grazed in the arm by a bullet. Nevertheless, he helped other arriving officers set up a perimeter to keep the gunman contained to the home, even as the gunman began firing from a second-floor window.
“Sgt. Swanson, despite knowing there was a real and present danger of death in entering the shooting scene, followed his instinct to provide aid to the victim and risk his own life and safety,” said Chief Blish. “Due to his swift and tactical response, Sgt. Swanson was able to address the lethal threat that the shooter presented, and prevented his own death or serious injury or that of nearby bystanders.”
Sgt. Swanson also was recognized by the New England Police Benevolent Association for his response to the homicide on Dec. 8.
Medal of Valor: Corporal Mark Donka
While approaching the scene of the June 14 homicide, Corporal Donka heard Sgt. Swanson report “shots fired” over the radio and stopped a short distance from the scene in a tactical position while the shooter was still firing.
When the shooter began firing from a second-floor window, Corporal Donka helped Sgt. Swanson find a better cover position and worked with Sgt. Swanson and other responding officers to establish a perimeter.
Corporal Donka remained on scene and assisted with coordinating responding backup units until a perimeter was established. He also assisted responding State Police command units.
“Cpl. Donka, despite knowing there was physical danger present in entering the shooting scene, and knowing he faced a hazardous situation, continued to the scene, conducted himself in a tactical manner and dealt with a tumultuous situation professionally,” said Chief Blish.
Chief’s Citation: Dispatch Supervisor Elizabeth Therrien, and Dispatchers Carolyn Clarke and Lisa Linton
On June 14, 2022, at 1:15 p.m., the Woodstock Emergency Communications Center began receiving numerous calls reporting an individual had been shot on Slayton Terrace. Dispatch Supervisor Therrien and Dispatchers Clarke and Linton gathered important information while dispatching emergency services to the scene.
In an extremely stressful situation, Dispatch Supervisor Therrien and Dispatchers Clarke and Linton maintained their composure and continued to coordinate backup response from multiple agencies, also handling other incoming phone calls and entering information into computer systems to properly document the incident.
Dispatch Supervisor Therrien and dispatchers Clarke and Linton remained at their posts throughout the incident, and also updated the Department’s Facebook page to keep the community informed.
“Due to their excellent dispatching skills, professionalism, and unflappable composure, as well as multi-tasking acumen, Dispatch Supervisor Therrien and Dispatchers Clarke and Linton managed what can only be described as one of the worst scenarios a dispatcher could face, in a calm and thorough manner,” said Chief Blish. “Their management of the incident in the communications center undoubtedly assisted in the successful conclusion of this terrifying incident.”
Chief’s Citation: Officers Joseph Lucot, Kyle Goodrich, Joshua Linton, Matthew Frates, and Jacob Holmes
Officers Lucot, Goodrich, Linton, Frates, and Holmes were off duty at the time of June 14 shooting, but responded to the scene to assist.
Officers Lucot, Goodrich, Linton, Frates, and Holmes were deployed to homes surrounding the scene to advise residents to shelter in place or evacuate, and patrolled the area to ensure the shooter did not break the established perimeter.
Professional Service Award: Administrative Supervisor Michelle Sutherland and Parking Enforcement Specialists Harold Eaton and Terri Poljacik
Beginning in late 2019, Administrative Supervisor Sutherland and Parking Enforcement Specialists Eaton and Poljacik provided insight and knowledge about the Village of Woodstock’s parking program to the Village Parking Committee, which was overhauling the parking system.
Administrative Supervisor Sutherland and Parking Enforcement Specialists Eaton and Poljacik spent countless hours working with parking system vendors to ensure the project was implemented properly. They coordinated and assisted with installation, collaborated with vendors to ensure back-end software worked properly, and successfully implemented payment processes and training.
“Due to hard work that was above and beyond their regular duties, their considerable efforts, and devotion of time and tenacity, Administrative Supervisor Sutherland, PES Eaton, and PES Poljacik ensured this special and difficult project was a complete success,” said Chief Blish. “Their professionalism and diligence in seeing the project effectively implemented greatly benefited the Village of Woodstock.”
The following police employees were also recognized for years of service:
- Sgt. Joseph Swanson — 15 years
- Administrative Supervisor Michelle Sutherland — 35 years
- Parking Enforcement Specialist Harold Eaton — 20 years
- Part-time Officer Mark Donka — 10 years
- Cpl. Jacob Holmes — 5 years
- Part-time Officer Joseph Lucot — 5 years
- Part-time Officer Denel McIntire — 10 years
- Part-time Officer Steven Neily — 10 years
- Parking Enforcement Specialist Terri Poljacik — 10 years
- Dispatch Supervisor Elizabeth Therrien — 5 years
- Dispatcher Douglas Perkins — 15 years
- Part-time Officer James Otranto — 15 years
- Part-time Dispatcher Katrina Porch — 5 years
- Dispatcher Lisa Linton — 5 years