When Detective Rachel Halas received a phone call on Jan. 10, 2010, telling her about sexual abuse alledged against a youth minister, she didn't know it would consume the next six months of her life.
Halas received a Meritorious Citation for her investigation into allegations against Troy Grant, a youth minister in Danbury, who was later convicted of numerous sexual assault charges and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
"It was a lot of work, I think, nine search warrants," Halas said. "It was six months of my life. He was a sexual predator."
The award description said, "During Det. Halas's investigation, she was able to convince the reluctant victim to disclose how and when he was victimized. She relentlessly pursued leads regarding the victimization of other children, and by the conclusion of the investigation, substantial collaboration was obtained to support the allegations and seven other victims were identified."
"Too often, we don't take a chance to say thank you," said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton to the gathering of family and officers at the Police Department headquarters. "You care about our residents."
In a second award, five officers were given awards for quickly capturing three burglars, for recovering stolen property and preventing other burglaries.
On July 18, 2011, police learned of a burglary at about noon on Side Hill Road. Police had a description of the car, and Sgt. Marc Scocozza saw it near the Wooster Mountain Shooting Range. Police Officer Justin Gibney learned that, parked and waited for the car. When he saw it he pulled it over.
Gibney, Police Officer Heather Burke and Police Officer Regina Guss took the three suspects into custody, and held them in three separate cruisers.
Officers Thomas Connors and Thomas Collins visited the victim, and were able to bring the victim to the suspects for identification. He also recognized the stolen goods. A neighbor offered more details, and one suspect admitted to Officer Burke he was the only one to enter the victim's house. All three were charged with a variety of burglary and larceny charges.
"You make our agency look very good," said Police Chief Al Baker. "I feel humbled and honored to serve with you."