SOUTH PORTLAND – South Portland police Detective Robert Scarpelli was on routine patrol on Jan. 12, 2012, when he was flagged down on Main Street in front of St. John’s Church. Told there was a person unconscious inside, Scarpelli rushed in to find a 42-year-old man on the floor in cardiac arrest. He radioed for an ambulance and immediately began to administer CPR, staying to assist rescue workers as they were forced to use a defibrillator six times in succession to get the victim’s heart working again on its own.
“Due to your decisive and diligent actions in this case, a life was saved,” police Chief Ed Googins said as he presented the detective with the department’s Medal of Meritorious Service, adding in a less formal if perhaps more meaningful tone, “Nice job, Bob.”
Scarpelli was one of dozens of individuals recognized for exemplary service to the department and the city at the annual awards ceremony April 10.
At the ceremony, Unit Awards and Law Enforcement Awards were presented to 40 law enforcement personnel, including 17 from other departments, for what was the single largest incident of the year.
“We don’t get calls of this significance every day, but when we do it’s always nice to have those resources available to respond,” said Googins.
On March 6, 2012, three men robbed employees of a CVS pharmacy in Portland at knifepoint before fleeing to a residence on Mardale Avenue in South Portland, resulting in a standoff with police. After responding officers evacuated neighboring homes, dispatchers and police negotiators convinced two people in the home to give up. After obtaining a search warrant, the department’s special reaction team entered the home, found the stolen items and took two more suspects into custody.
Recognized for their efforts with Unit Awards and Law Enforcement Awards were the negotiating team of Lt. Frank Clark, Sgt. Kevin Gerrish, Officer Bob Libby and Scarborough Detective Eric Greenleaf; dispatchers Andrew Dziegielewski, Hiram Del Rio, Sidney Doyle, Susan Gorham and David Chandler; Patrolman Sgt. Jay Sutton and officers Patti Maynard, Ben Macisso, Scott Corbett, Phil Longanecker and Rocco Navarro; Detective Sgt. Steve Webber; from the state police, sergeants Robert Burke, Lucas Hare and Donald Shead, Corporal Lance McCleish and troopers Justin Cooley, Duane Doughty and Lawrence Rose; and from the special reaction team, Lt. Todd Bernard, Detective Matt Cyr, Special Agent Jake Hall and officers Jeff Levesque, Brian McCarthy, Kevin Sager, along with fire department Lt. Harry Weymouth and firefighters Blake Davis, Fred Floberg and, from the Scarborough Police Department, Sgt. Tom Chard, Sgt. John O’Malley and officers Michael Beeler, Timothy Dalton, Donald Laflin, Ted Mahar, Garrett Strout and Scott Vaughan.
Eleven people outside of law enforcement were recognized with Certificates of Citizen Service for what Googins called “their efforts to make the city a better place to live,” including those who “extended themselves beyond their own safety to assist people in danger.”
Among them was Sears Loss Prevention Officer Mason Shepard, who on June 20, 2012, reported a shoplifter, tracking the suspect across Maine Mall Road, where he scaled a storage trailer to help police locate the thief hiding in the underbrush.
In a similar vein, Animal Control Officer Corey Hamilton was given a Public Safety Award for his help on March 9, 2012, when he also tracked a shoplifting suspect, leading to an arrested.
Western Union employees Peter Desantis and Megan Tinz were recognized for their efforts to help an elderly man who entered their store on July 31, 2012 seeking a $2,700 wire transfer, who had been told in a scam that his “grandson” needed financial help. They helped locate the grandson, who was stateside and not, as purported, “in trouble” overseas.
Also singled out were several people who helped launch the department’s new Fitness in Law Enforcement program, including, Anne Charles, Abby DiPasquale and Danielle Yale of Maine Municipal Employee Health Trust; Tony Fournier, Skip Robinson and Delores Robinson of Fournier’s Fitness; and Mike Foley of Foley’s Fitness. An additional award was presented to photographer Woody Leland for his help last May in arranging for a full department photo, the first since 1999, rushed before the death of longtime Officer Peter MacVane.
Finally, Sarah Willett, Britney Ruotolo and Ariana Ruotolo were noted for their assistance on Jan. 24, 2012, when they cared for a lost autistic boy, keeping him safe until officer’s arrived.
Additional Achievement Awards, which included Public Safety and Law Enforcement awards for people outside the South Portland Police Department, were given in recognition of the following events:
For tracking a suspect and following up on leads, making an arrest following a March 3, 2012, burglary at Cumberland Farms: Lt. Thomas Simonds, Sgt. Webster, officers Chris Gosling, Kevin Theriault, Chris Schofield, Shane Stephenson, Mike Matheson and Richard Mearn, along with Agent Jake Hall and Cape Elizabeth Officer Ben Davis.
For an April 24, 2012, routine traffic stop that led to a drug arrest after a “brief struggle,” when the driver was found hiding crack cocaine in his mouth: Officer Scott Corbett.
For an incident on April 24, 2012, in which a call for the odor of marijuana in a Days Inn motel room led to the seizure of drugs, cash and firearms after a suspect jumped from second story window: Lt. Tom Simonds, Sgt. Gerrish, Det. Steve Connors, Det. Sgt. Steve Webster, officers Maynard and Kevin Webster, and evidence technician Mark Carlton.
For recovering more than $100,000 worth of stolen prescription drugs following an incident on April 20, 2012: Sgt. Webster, detectives Matt Cyr and Chris Todd and Officer Seth Page.
For work that led to an arrest following a July 5, 2012 robbery at TD Banknorth: Detective Chris Todd.
For work that caught the perpetrators of a Nov. 14, 2012, robbery at On the Border: Detectives Connors, Todd and Cyr, along with officers Theriault and Longanecker.
For tracking the people who stole lottery tickets from the store at 697 Main St. on Sept. 24, 2012: Officer Al Giusto.
For work resulting in capturing burglars who fled to a crawlspace in a 919 Broadway apartment, requiring the use of pepper spray to bring them out, on April 8, 2012: Sgts. Sutton and Gerrish, along with officers Macisso, Longanecker, John Bostwick, Jeff Pooler, Navarro, Ted Sargent and Maynard.
For helping to located a missing Alzheimer’s patient on July 23, 2012: Sgt. Adam Howard, Officer Richard Mearn, Erin Curry and Kevin Sager, and Warden Peter Herring.
And finally, for making an arrest on Dec. 17, 2012, successfully ending a rash of burglaries in the city: Officers Maynard and Levesque, along with Ray Hamlin.