Updated: May 3
Staff from several Massachusetts Sheriff's Offices received awards today from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security's Correctional Employee of the Year Award Ceremony. The award ceremony was held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA.
The ceremony featured Honor Guard from the Department of Corrections and the following Sheriff's Offices: Barnstable, Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Norfolk, Middlesex, and Suffolk.
“The best work done by correctional professionals, whether behind the walls, or in the community, can often go overlooked," Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association President, Sheriff Nick Cocchi said. "But it is the empathy, professionalism, and desire to make a difference in someone else’s life that helps elevate not only the community but also the profession."
Below is a list and brief summary of the correctional staff working in Massachusetts Sheriff's Offices who received awards.
The Medal of Valor award was presented to K-9 Deputy Sheriff Kyle D. Kidger and K-9 Django (posthumously) from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
On October 22, 2022, Essex County K-9 Deputy Sheriff Kyle Kidger and his K-9 partner Django were assigned to work at the Middleton facility when they heard a radio call about a fight. This was a large-scale disturbance of serious concern. Initial officers on scene were outnumbered facing several of the inmates who were armed with edged weapons. Multiple commands to drop their weapons and get on the ground failed. For the safety of the officer, as well as other officers and inmates, Kidger deployed K-9 Django to apprehend one of the aggressors.
K-9 Django contained the inmate while Kidger pinned him down and was able to get the weapon from the inmate. Once they gained control of the inmate and weapon, all other combatants were under the control of responding officers. Due to Deputy Sheriff Kidger and K-9 Django’s heroic actions, the fight was stopped. Kidger and K-9 Django are commended for their bravery despite exposing themselves to great personal risk. Their selfless actions saved lives and prevented officers and inmates from further injury while bringing order to the unit.
The Meritorious Recognition Group Award is presented to Sergeant Peter A. Waldman, Sergeant Louis C. Potvin, Officer Ethan Champeau, Officer Max D. Munyanya, Officer George Dekeon, and Officer William Panzini from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
During the same fight, Officer George Dekeon was the first to observe the disorder and immediately notified staff that a fight had broken out. Many officers quickly arrived on scene and witnessed a
chaotic event with seven to 10 inmates armed with “shanks.” With multiple commands to stop fighting, drop the weapons, and get on the ground, all orders continued to be ignored. This large-scale disturbance was of great concern as these officers were outnumbered facing several combatants who were armed with weapons. Sergeant Peter Waldman, Sergeant Louis Potvin, Office Ethan Champeau, Officer Max Munyanya, Officer George Dekeon, and Officer William Panzini, were instrumental in attempting to take control of these inmates. After the K-9 was released to apprehend the aggressor, the above officers were then able to gain control of the remaining armed inmates and brought order to the unit. Sergeant Waldman, Sergeant Potvin, Officer Champeau, Officer Munyanya, Officer Dekeon, and Officer Panzini are recognized for their courage and commitment to the safety and well-being of others aside from placing their own safety at risk. They restrained the armed individuals during a chaotic scene, working together using their critical training and experience to gain control of a hostile environment.
The Meritorious Recognition Group Award is presented to Assistant Director of Security Jonathan A. Campbell, Sergeant Brett M. Feldman, Sergeant Christopher D. Walsh, Deputy Sheriff David D’Amico, RN Jonathan M. Wilson, and LPN Tatiana Bruno from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
On Thursday, June 23, 2022, while conducting a security round on a unit, Officer David D’Amico was alerted to an inmate banging on a cell door to get his attention. As he approached the cell, he was informed by an inmate that his cellmate may be suffering from a medical issue. Officer D’Amico immediately contacted Sergeant Brett Feldman for assistance before entering the cell. Officer D’Amico and Sergeant Feldman found the cellmate non-responsive and struggling to breath. Assistant Director of Security Jon Campbell, Sergeant Christopher Walsh, Officer Dennis Castro, Nurse Jonathan Wilson, and Nurse Tatiana Bruno quickly arrived on scene. The inmate had shallow breathing with a faint pulse and his skin was turning a shade of blue. ADS Campbell and Sergeant Feldman immediately began chest compressions while nurses Wilson and Bruno began to apply an AED machine and oxygen tank to the inmate. Two doses of Narcan were administered by medical staff. After several rounds of CPR, the inmate was provided two separate shocks from the AED machine. CPR continued with ADS Campbell and Sergeant Feldman constantly rotating out with Sergeant Christopher Walsh and Nurse Wilson. EMS personnel arrived on scene and placed their automatic CPR machine on the inmate and then placed him on a stretcher. At this time, the inmate began breathing on his own, had a pulse, and his skin color had started to return to normal. He was taken to Beverly Hospital for further treatment. If it were not for the quick response and actions of these individuals providing medical aide, this inmate would not have survived. These six individuals are recognized for their quick and selfless actions that undoubtably saved a life that day.
The Meritorious Recognition award is presented to Officer Jose Arroyo from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
On the morning of January 9, 2022, Officer Jose Arroyo had finished working the third shift and went home. Once he arrived home, a woman who lived next door ran up to off-duty Officer Arroyo, screaming that she needed help. Officer Arroyo noticed she was severely battered. The woman stated she had just been assaulted by her boyfriend and he had threatened to kill her. The male suspect rushed behind the women when Officer Arroyo quickly led her into his house to prevent her from being injured any further. The police were immediately called and shortly arrived on scene. The male suspect was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon—shod foot, assault and battery with a deadly weapon—knife, kidnapping, armed assault in a dwelling and intimidation of a witness. Officer Jose Arroyo quick thinking to escort this victim to safety may have saved her from further harm or worse. His immediate actions were a clear example of his commitment to his training and dedication to public service.
The Meritorious Recognition Group Award is presented to Officer Nicholas E. Husovsky and Officer Ryan P. Kennedy (posthumously) from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office.
On April 20, 2022, Officers Ryan Kennedy and Nicholas Husovsky were driving back to the main institution in Ludlow after bringing an inmate to the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office. While driving on Route 9 in Williamsburg in Hampshire County, they saw a car off the road that was crashed into a tree. They pulled over to investigate and found a female, unresponsive with a purple hue to her skin, slouched over the center console. The doors were locked, so the officers broke a window to pull the woman from the car. They began chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. After about five minutes, the fire chief arrived with an AED and with one shock was able to get a pulse back. EMTs, Massachusetts State Police and other first responders arrived on the scene and took over the rescue operation. Their immediate call to action and use of life-saving measures demonstrated a high level of competence and compassion to help a civilian that needed emergency assistance.
The Medal of Valor Group Award is presented to Lieutenant Kevin Fernandes and Lieutenant Louis P. Langton from the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office.
On May 10, 2022, Falmouth police responded to a 911 call regarding possible gunshots. The 911 call indicated that gun shots had been fired and a person had been shot. The CCRLEC SWAT team was called to assist, which Lieutenant Kevin Fernandes and Lieutenant Louis Langton are both members of. They worked alongside state police and local police, spending hours in a standoff with the man who was holding a gun outside the home. While the armed man was in the driveway police entered the house and found the victim with a gunshot wound to the head. The victim was not able to be resuscitated. Lt. Fernandes lead the team and Lt. Langton was the negotiator who was able to coax the gunman to lay his handgun on the front lawn and surrender. It is because of Lieutenant Kevin Fernandes and Lieutenant Louis Langtons’ training and selflessness that they were able to end this standoff without further injury to themselves, by-standers, and the gunman.
The Medal of Valor award is presented to Officer Sean J. Mullin from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.
On December 24, 2022, while Officer Sean Mullin was loading his children into a family vehicle outside his home in South Hampton, New Hampshire, he noticed the smell of a house fire. Officer Mullin, a 15- year veteran of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, began to recognize the smell of burning plastic, and knew there was a bigger issue at hand. Acting quickly, Officer Mullin canvassed his neighborhood and found a home two down from his own, fully engulfed in flames. It was a mobile home trailer of a neighbor he knew, and the site contained several propane tanks leaning up against the side of the home. As he re-approached the mobile home, the propane tanks began to explode from the heat. With disregard of his own safety, and dressed in just a short-sleeved shirt, Officer Mullin ran towards the home to determine if it was occupied. At that point, he said the roof of the residence blew off in flames. Officer Mullin made his way around the trailer looking for a means of entry and was relieved when he saw the owner standing in the frame of a side door. As he approached, he observed burns on the man’s beard, face, and body. The homeowner had a shovel in his hand and was trying to retrieve his dwindling belongings from the blaze. Officer Mullin said he knew the neighbor was elderly and had obvious physical issues that could have kept him from escaping the fire quickly. He didn’t want to further injure the man by forcefully moving him, so he led him 10-feet away from the home, where he and another neighbor convinced the homeowner to leave everything behind for his safety and move to the sidewalk so firefighters could access the property when they arrived. Officer Mullin said he was hesitant to leave his mobile home as he had lost his original home on the property a decade earlier to a fire. Utilizing his training in crisis negotiation and de-escalation, Officer Mullin was able to coax the resident to safety under unimaginably stressful and personally traumatic circumstances. While the homeowner suffered burns because of the incident, he is alive today thanks to the bravery, quick thinking and training of Officer Sean Mullin.
The Meritorious Recognition award is presented to Officer James Reinhart from the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office.
On October 23, 2022, while returning to the facility from a detail in Norwood, Officer Reinhart came upon a single car accident. Officer Reinhart immediately activated EMS and went to the vehicle to check on the victim. Recognizing the victim was in distress, Officer Reinhart gained access to the vehicle and began administering aid while awaiting EMS. As a result of Officer Reinhart’s quick action, the victim received lifesaving first aid and was successfully taken to the hospital. Officer Reinhart’s own personal safety was at risk, he created a barrier with his personal vehicle. Knowing that there was a down light pole, he attempted on several occasions to render aid to the driver. These attempts included attempting to break the window, forcing the door open to gain access and dragging the occupant out of the vehicle.
“When a moment is taken to show appreciation for those efforts, it helps fuel the next day’s important work" Sheriff Cocchi said. "So we are thankful to gather today to say ‘thank you’ for going above and beyond, and being an example of what is right in the field of corrections and law enforcement.”