The Ansonia Police Commission named Detective Rick Esposito the police department’s officer of the year.
Police Chief Kevin Hale presented the award to Esposito Wednesday (July 5) at a meeting of the city’s Police Commission.
The award is named for Brian Phipps, a decorated Vietnam veteran, brigadier general in the Army National Guard, and police commissioner in Ansonia for 13 years.
Phipps “was a warm, honest, and direct individual whose work ethic and ideals were evident to all who knew and admired him,” Police Chief Kevin Hale said during Wednesday’s meeting, reading from the award citation.
Several members of Phipps’ family were in attendance at Monday’s meeting to see Esposito receive the award.
Esposito is the 11th Ansonia police officer to receive the award since its inception.
He thanked Hale, the police commission, his family, and members of Phipps’ family.
“I’m very humbled by this, I appreciate it, I’m thankful for it,” Esposito said. “Sometimes people kind of lose sight of what we do day in and day out and it’s nice to be recognized from time to time for things just like this.”
A committee of police officers and police commissioners picked Esposito from nominations made by the department’s officers.
Hale said Esposito has been instrumental in developing ties between the community and the police department, including the coordination of block watch programs with city residents.
“For a long time he was the face of the department,” Hale said.
In addition, Esposito performed security evaluations at every school in the city after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, and worked with school and city officials to implement improvements.
That’s in addition to his other duties as a detective, a rank to which he was promoted last year after a decade on the job.
Esposito received a life-saving award from the department for giving an unresponsive 86-year-old woman CPR until paramedics arrived on a call in September 2009.
“He’s just a solid guy,” the chief said. “It was certainly his time.”