New Canaan Police Department Promotes Four, Honors Three and Gives K-9 Apollo His ‘Badge’


Newly promoted Sgt. Marc DeFelice of the New Canaan Police Department describes his uncle, Dinny Lapolla, as a man of few words.

“So when he talks, he makes his point,” DeFelice told a roomful of fellow officers and their families, town officials and guests on Tuesday night.

During a special ceremony that saw DeFelice officially was promoted to the rank of sergeant—his was one of four promotions made on the night, in addition to three special awards given to other officers (see gallery above for information and quotes from honorees)—the New Canaan High School graduate recalled what his uncle, himself a 30-year veteran of the force, told him on getting hired.

“He said, ‘Go out there and do the right thing,’ ” DeFelice recalled from a podium in the Douglass Room at Lapham Community Center. “ ‘Do not harass people—help them. And if you use your heart and your head, you will do the right thing.’ And he said, ‘Just don’t harass your supervisors either.’ ”

Uncle Dinny phoned DeFelice repeatedly on the night of promotion interviews, eager to hear whether his nephew had achieved the rank of sergeant. Finally, when DeFelice got the good news, Lapolla shared more sound advice for his nephew. “He kept it short and brief,” DeFelice recalled. “He said, ‘You know when I told you when you started as a cop, I said don’t harass your supervisors? Now you are in charge of guys,’ he said. ‘You are entrusted with their safety, so don’t harass them. Let them go out and do the job and they will do it to the best of their ability and do it just fine.’ ”

It’s advice that DeFelice said he has heeded since joining NCPD at a 22-year-old, and speaks perhaps to a feeling of mutual respect and recognition that was tangible at the promotion and awards ceremony.

Attended by more than 100 people—including Selectman Beth Jones, Police Commissioners Stuart Sawabini, Paul Foley and Sperry Decew, the Police Chaplain for all New Canaan emergency services, Msgr. William Scheyd of St. Aloysius Church and Greenwich Police Chaplain Emeritus and pastor of New Canaan Baptist Church, the Rev. David Hickman—the evening included the New Canaan Police Honor Guard, and with Capt. John DiFederico looking on, saw Chief Leon Krolikowski recognize each promoted officer in turn, spotlighting their years of service and special commendations earned, and Capt. Vincent DeMaio remove each officer’s former badge and replace it with a new one, signifying higher rank in the department.

DeMaio in opening remarks called it a “very big” and even “historic” evening, in part because New Canaan Police saw the department promote its first woman, Sgt. Carol Ogrinc, to the rank of lieutenant.

The ceremony also saw Lt. Jason Ferraro and Officer Jeff Deak receive the Meritorious Police Duty Award for their work in developing the Special Response Team (see photo and caption in gallery above) and Officer Shane Gibson—removed from probationary status hours earlier by the Police Commission, by a unanimous vote—earned the Medical Service Award for saving a choking woman’s life downtown in May.

“We are very proud of all our officers this evening, for their willingness to take on the added responsibility of ensuring the people we serve continue to receive the highest quality law enforcement services in the country,” DeMaio said. “The command staff will rely on them to maintain the highest levels of professionalism and performance in their subordinates and we expect them to exemplify the high standards of honestly, integrity and respect. They must walk the walk and be the personification of excellence.”

And that’s increasingly difficult, given the temperature of the general public when it comes to police in general, the captain said.

“Being a police officer has always been difficult, but I don’t think it has been as difficult as we find it in this recent year, when people have the attitude that our lives are expendable and it is OK to hate the police and OK to target the police. These are difficult times we live in. We constantly see crowds on TV, shouting, ‘What do we want? A dead cop.’ You start to realize that only those with the strongest resolve and the strongest commitment to duty can stand on this thin blue line each and every day, and then you can begin to appreciate how truly special they are.”

Addressing the entire room—toward the end of the ceremony, the spouses and significant others of the honored officers were asked to stand and be recognized—DeMaio said he understood the great sacrifices that families of police make.

“We must continue to perform our jobs faithfully until society again realizes the value of what we do,” DeMaio said. “There are a bunch of people running around out there today trying to convince people that we are bad guys. But we are not the bad guys. The freedoms enjoyed by everyone in this great country would not exist without the dedication and professionalism of our police officers. Be proud of the badge. Every day when you put it on, let the world see who we really are—courageous, compassionate warriors who stand at the edge of darkness to protect all those would do others harm and replace peace and tranquility with fear, suspicion and violence.”

The evening also included a special “badge” placed on the department’s new K-9 dog, Apollo, and words of praise for K-9 Officer David Rivera, who underwent training and now works with the dog, who already has assisted in finding drugs on motorists during numerous traffic stops and worked during missing person incidents.

Here is a video of Apollo getting his badge, followed by some additional information on the promoted officers:


  • Lt. Andrew Walsh: Lt. Walsh has served with the department for 15 years, filling many roles—patrol officer, dispatcher, patrol sergeant, DEA Task Force Agent, and is presently assigned to the Investigative Section. He is the Team Leader of the Department’s Special Response Team. During his career he has received many letters of appreciation and/or commendations for exceptional performance of his duties as well as three Meritorious Duty Awards. Lieutenant Walsh has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
  • Lt. Carol Ogrinc: Lt. Ogrinc has served with the department for 27 years, acting in many roles – patrol officer, dispatcher, acting sergeant, and acting lieutenant.  She has been the department’s Youth Officer and Press Information Officer since 2006. She has served as the department’s Communications Training Officer and E911 Manager for 14 years. In 2012, she implemented the department’s Project Lifesaver Program. During her career she has received many letters of appreciation and/or commendations for exceptional performance of her duties as well as two Meritorious Duty Awards and a Unit Citation award. Lt. Ogrinc has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Lieutenant Ogrinc and her husband John have two sons.
  • Sgt. Aaron LaTourette: Sgt. LaTourette has served the department for 15 years.  Sergeant LaTourette has been assigned to various positions including dispatcher, acting sergeant, firearms instructor, and Taser instructor.  He is also a member of the Honor Guard and motorcycle patrol. Sgt. LaTourette is a member of the Department’s Special Response Team and was recently appointed as the Team’s Executive Officer. Sgt. LaTourette was the recipient of the “Lieutenant Stephen W. Wood Officer of the Year” award. He has also earned Mothers Against Drunk Driving awards as well as commendations for exceptional performance of his duties. Sgt. LaTourette attended State University of New York-Courtland. He is an 18-year veteran of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, where he holds the rank of Warrant Officer 2. During his Marine Corps service he was deployed to Iraq where he participated in Operation Enduring Freedom 2. He is married to his wife Kimberly and they have two children.
  • Sgt. Marc DeFelice was promoted to Sergeant. Sgt. DeFelice has served the department for 12 years. He has filled the roles of dispatcher, acting sergeant and acting lieutenant, field training officer, business liaison officer and is a certified emergency medical technician.  Sergeant DeFelice is a member of the department’s Special Response Team and Honor Guard. Most recently, Sgt. DeFelice has been assigned to the Investigative Section. Sgt. DeFelice has earned two Unit Citation Awards, Mothers Against Drunk Driving awards, a Medical Service Award, and the AAA Traffic Safety Award. Sgt. DeFelice has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and English, and a Master’s Degree in National Security and Public Safety. Sgt. DeFelice is a graduate of New Canaan High School. Sgt. DeFelice is married to his wife Carrie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *