SOUTH WINDSOR ——Officer Mark Cleverdon was new to the police force in September 2008 when he responded alone to a violent, bloody scene.
As Cleverdon pulled up at 174 Krawski Drive, he saw a young man in the front yard hit an older woman on the head with a baseball bat. The nearly naked man, later identified as Mark Schneider, continued hitting his mother, Sandy Schneider, after Cleverdon drew his pistol and ordered him to stop, police have said.
"That's really what makes it remarkable — one, he was so new, and he applied his training perfectly," Reed said.
Cleverdon was among officers, dispatchers and other police department staff members who were honored recently for bravery, leadership and using their training to make arrests and save lives.
The honorees included several officers who responded to a hostage situation at 96 Tumblebrook Drive in early July. Singling out officers who helped end the 13-hour standoff was tough, Reed said, because so many were involved. But Agent Michael Russotto, Sgt. Peter Alix and Officer Matthew Mainieri deserved special recognition, he said.
Alix and Mainieri were present for the duration and took Richard Shenkman into custody after Shenkman set fire to the house, Reed said. Alix also helped Shenkman's former wife, Nancy Tyler, get to safety after she escaped from the home. Russotto, the first supervisor on the scene, set up a perimeter and called in resources, laying the foundation for "the final successful outcome," Reed said. Shenkman remains in jail on charges that include kidnapping and arson.
Manieri also received an award for his part in a regional police team's response to another hostage situation in Coventry last year. Alfredo "Junior" Ferrer, a dishwasher at the Bidwell Tavern, had mortally wounded his girlfriend when police found him in the tavern parking lot holding a gun in one hand and his 2-year-old son in the other. After Ferrer threw down his weapon, other officers wrestled the child away and Manieri shot Ferrer with a Taser to subdue him and make the arrest. Ferrer hanged himself in his prison cell in July 2008.