New London, Groton Town officers honored for community policing efforts
New London police Sgt. Max Bertsch and Groton Town Officer Richard Savino were among 15 people the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office recognized Tuesday for their work in community policing.
Bertsch, with his department since January 2006, worked as a school resource officer from late 2009 through August 2016 and has organized National Night Out activities for the past eight years. The New London event brings elementary school youth, their parents and police together for fun, games and conversation at Ocean Beach Park.
The event saw more than 500 attendees this summer.
“He just gets better and better each and every time he does it,” said Capt. Brian Wright, who said Bertsch was on the first of three days off and unavailable to comment for this story. “He doesn’t rest on his laurels. Each year, whatever he may view as shortcomings or hiccups, he starts right after it’s over taking notes and saying, ‘This is what we can do to improve.’”
Bertsch now works as a patrol sergeant but still is known to take children fishing on his own time.
“We’re extremely proud of him,” Wright said. “I think yesterday’s award was a good opportunity for everyone else to understand what we already know about Max Bertsch.”
Savino, Groton’s dedicated community policing officer, was recognized for participating in events that benefit the Special Olympics, encourage children to read and visit libraries, engage community members in conversation and support Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Savino also helps organize Groton’s National Night Out event and meets with victims of domestic violence to ensure they get the help they need.
“He takes pride in those events and in the image of the department and how we’re seen,” Chief Louis J. Fusaro Jr. said. “That’s been evident to me for quite some time.”
Fusaro, who said the award was a source of pride for the department, said Savino also handles social media for the department and builds relationships with the community that way.
“He has this personality where he’s approachable,” Fusaro said. “He can speak to different segments of our population in a way that represents the department well but also ... shows his compassionate and caring presence.”
Also honored by the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office were:
Chief Vincent DeMaio, Clinton policeTrooper First Class Dawn Taylor, state policeSgt. James Scott, state policeTrooper Kate Cummings, state policeLt. Josh Litwin, East Hartford policeOfficer Eddie Nuno, Enfield policeOfficer Ron Bentley, New Canaan policeOfficer Jean-Maxime “Max” Sixto, Norwalk policeOfficer Silas Redd, Stamford policeOfficer Justin Cheney, University of Connecticut policeSgt. Luis Dos Santos, University of New Haven policeSgt. Ryan Bessette, Waterbury policeLisa Velez, past president of the Waterbury Neighborhood Council
“These deserving law enforcement officers understand that community policing is an effective way to prevent crime, solve neighborhood problems and keep our cities and towns safe and secure,” U.S. Attorney John H. Durham said. “They know that it is critically important to engage with members of the community in positive, friendly and constructive ways, long before a call for service.”