Former Meriden CT Police Chief, Robert Kosienski led the bittersweet day of honor on Thursday, May 21, 2015. For the 27th time, a sea of law enforcement, family members and State of Connecticut dignitaries paid homage to officers killed in the line of duty. Chief Kosienski performed his duties and Chairperson and Master of Ceremonies for the Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation with dignity and unwavering commitment.
Connecticut has yet another first ever distinction regarding the first law enforcement memorial of its kind in the country (although not without some who dispute it). The Connect State Police Force is also the oldest in the U.S.
The history of this beautiful monument has to be seen to truly be appreciated. Through private donations over a period of several years, it finally came to fruition in October 1989. Encased in a portico like structure, surrounded by a winding brick way and floral arrangements, the pyramid-shaped monument with etched names of the 137 killed, represents a time span currently from 1855 to 2010!
Respect and ceremonial protocol dictated as state, local, federal officials, cadets in training, the Connecticut Honor Guard, the Waterbury Police Fife and Drum Corps, the Bridgeport & Hartford Police Mounted (Horse) Units, a rifle salute and taps all took their rightful honored place in the ceremony. However, time appeared to stand still, just as if God took a deep breath, when the 137 names and associated towns were read with officers standing at attention, followed by a solemn single “dong” of the bell after each name.
To be able to tour the lively memorial from afar and up close, to tactically feel the etched names and interact with some of the officer’s family members at the site and at a luncheon was an opportunity I will not forget!
In particular, I was able to talk with Debbie Agusto, relative to Officer Jorge Agosto, who was struck and killed while assisting another trooper at a traffic stop on Thanksgiving in November 1989, after two years on the job. This man was the victim of a diabetic impaired driver, which we featured as a groundbreaking topic on a previous Shattered Lives Radio show!
I also met Carol Bagshaw, widow of Trooper Russell Badshaw. Trooper Bagshaw was shot and killed on June 5, 1991 after 4.5 years on the job. In the course of his patrol duties, he interrupted a burglary at a sporting goods store. He was shot while still inside of his patrol car. He died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
For More Information about Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation and to Make a Donation Refer to: http://www.ctneverforget.org/