SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield Police Department hosted a pinning ceremony for the department’s newest lieutenants and sergeants Wednesday afternoon.
According to Springfield Police spokesman Ryan Walsh, on Sunday September 6, Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood promoted ten officers to the rank of Sergeant and on May 17 Lieutenant Mel Kwatowski was also promoted and took part in the pinning.
The new Sergeants and Lieutenants were pinned by a family member or a member of law enforcement of their own choosing. The ceremony was held at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Forest Park at 2:15 p.m.
“This is one of if not the largest groups of Sergeants we have promoted at one time. It shows our need due to retirements, but also provides a great opportunity for these new Sergeants from all different backgrounds in and out of the Department,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said.
“My congratulations to our brave and dedicated Police Officers who are being promoted. These promotions are well earned and deserved. Commissioner Clapprood and I are proud of each and every one of you and we thank you and your families for your continued brave and dedicated efforts in keeping our City safe. Congratulations to our new Police Lieutenant and to the ten new Police Sergeants. God Speed!”-Mayor Domenic Sarno
The following officers were pinned:
- Lieutenant Mel Kwatowski: Lt. Kwatowski has been a Springfield Police Officer since 1993. He has worked as a Homicide Detective and a Sgt. in charge of the Traffic Unit. He is also a certified Enduro motorcycle instructor. Lt. Kwatowski is currently assigned to the squad.
- Sergeant Jacob Werbicki: Born and raised in Springfield, Sgt. Werbicki is a High School of Science & Technology graduate. After graduating from Westfield State University with a degree in Criminal Justice he became a West Springfield Special Police Officer. In October 2015 he became a Springfield Police Officer where he has been assigned to the squad and will remain there in his supervisory role.
- Sergeant Emily Dunn: Sgt. Dunn became a Springfield Police Officer in February 2012 after serving more than four years as a Springfield Police Cadet. After working in the squad, Sgt. Dunn was recently transferred to the Body-Worn Camera Unit where she is currently assigned.
- Sergeant Eric Podgurski: Sgt. Podgurski was born and resides in Springfield. He has served in the Springfield Police Homicide Unit for the past four years and the last eight in the Detective Bureau. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and became a Springfield Police Officer in 2007 after serving as a Springfield Police Cadet for eight years.
- Sergeant Reinaldo Bermudez: A 25 year veteran of the Springfield Police Department and a veteran of both the United States Coast Guard & United States Army National Guard, Sgt. Bermudez has spent the majority of his career in the uniform division. He was also one of the final members of the Mounted Patrol Unit. Sgt. Bermudez is assigned to the squad.
- Sergeant Dennis Hackett Jr.: Sgt. Hackett is a third-generation Springfield Police Officer. His family has been serving the city proudly since 1944. His grandfather Frank Staffelli was a police captain, his uncle Larry Debarge was a Sergeant, and his father Dennis Hackett Sr. is also a retired Springfield Police Sergeant. Sgt. Hackett Jr. has been serving the city for 24 years; he is assigned to the squad.
- Sergeant Eugene Roux: Sgt. Roux has been a Springfield Police Officers since 2008 and was working on the Springfield Police Academy staff until this recent promotion. The military veteran worked as a school resource officer and in the Street Crimes Unit. Sgt. Roux is assigned to the squad and is currently pursuing a master’s degree.
- Sergeant Edward VanZandt III: A Springfield Central High School graduate, Sgt. VanZandt became a Springfield Police Officer in 1996. With more than two decades serving the city, VanZandt has worked in a variety of units and bureaus from Community Policing to Street Crimes and most recently in the Springfield Police Academy. He will remain assigned to the Springfield Police Academy.
- Sergeant Jacob Strange: Most recently an Academy staff instructor, Sgt. Strange has had a 12-year career in law enforcement. He served in the Belchertown Police Department for seven years and with the Springfield Police Department for the past five. Sgt. Strange is assigned as a squad supervisor.
- Sergeant William Catellier: Sgt. Catellier began his law enforcement career as a Springfield Police Cadet. He’s been with the Department for more than 28 years and has worked in both the Narcotics and Street Crimes Unit. He is a Springfield Central High School graduate and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Catellier is assigned as a Squad Supervisor.
- Sergeant Daniel Johnson: Sgt. Johnson is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He has served with the Springfield Police Department for five years, with the last three being in the Forest Park C3 Unit. Sgt. Johnson is assigned to the squad.