BRISTOL – The Bristol Police Department handed out several awards Tuesday night, honoring officers and citizens.
Bristol Police Officers Ben Draper and Alec Iurato were both recognized with the Letter of Commendation and Officer of the Month for assisting a distressed individual struggling with suicidal thoughts.
“Based on the quick and composed actions to help a distressed teen and protecting his mother from one or both of them incurring serious injury or death,” said Police Chief Brian Gould.
On February 22, both officers responded to a residence for a male who had been reported as making suicidal statements earlier that day, said Gould. Upon arriving, they found him struggling with his mother over a kitchen knife. Gould noted the individual was six feet and two inches tall and weighed around 200 pounds. Gould reported he was trying to stab himself. Iurato grabbed the blade of the knife and Draper replaced his grip with the mother’s grip on the other end of the knife.
Gould said that the male was screaming to the two officers to shoot him but both “remained calm and controlled” until they were able to get the knife away. He was then placed in handcuffs to be calmed before being taken into medical care for evaluation.
Officer Draper was also recognized with the Life Saving Award for efforts made to intervene in a suicide attempt.
In May 2020, Draper responded to a residence on Morris Avenue for attempted suicide, said Gould. Upon arriving he found a basement door secured by an electrical cord and a suicide note. Draper forced entry into the basement and found an individual with a plastic bag over their head, hanging from a rope attached to a beam.
The officer cut the victim down and found him still breathing, said the chief, before calling for medical aid.
The chief said that “based on quick actions” Draper was capable of saving the individual and in accordance with the values of the Bristol Police Department and the City of Bristol, Draper received the Life Saving Award.
Officer Michael Marino was also recognized with the Letter of Commendation for actions taken in apprehending a bank robber.
On January 5, 2021, Officer Michael Marino and others responded to Webster Bank on Farmington Avenue for an armed robbery call. A man had displayed a knife to a bank teller, said Gould, after telling her to hand over $2,000 in cash. The money was handed over and the man left.
Officers secured the location and obtained a description of the individual as well as reviewed surveillance footage. One of the officers recognized the suspect leaving the area in a vehicle. Officers located the vehicle being operated by an individual matching the robber’s description. Officers engaged in a felony-level motor vehicle stop on Farmington Avenue.
“The suspect exited the vehicle and spontaneously uttered ‘Guilty as charged,’” said Gould.
A search would reveal $1,941 taken from the bank. While the suspect was being processed, he admitted to committing another robbery at another store on Farmington Avenue.
Matthew Bessette, representing Ascension Athletics, received a Citizens Commendation Award for the organization’s assistance in providing officers with martial arts training.
Since spring 2019, Ascension Athletics has been providing free tactics training focused in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to officers once a month for two-hour sessions.
“Ascension (Athletics) is located in Bristol which has allowed Bristol police officers to capitalize on the offer they have,” said Gould. “Thank you for your service.”
Officer James Pelletier was also recognized with the Exceptional Service Award for taking a lead role in BPD’s accreditation efforts.
In 2014, the Bristol Police Department became a tier one state accredited agency, said Gould. As the deadline loomed, it was apparent the department was not going to meet the standards, he said. An accreditation manager position was created and Pelletier was chosen for the role. He was successful in his goal and BPD was reaccredited.
“We set a goal to have BPD attain all three tiers of accreditation. Officer Pelletier met this goal by ensuring BPD obtained tier two status in 2019 and tier three status in 2021. Currently, there are 24 law enforcement agencies in the state that have been awarded tier three accreditation by Post,” said Gould.