The Board of Police Commissioners welcomed three new officers to the Madison Police Department last week. In a room filled with the new officers' families, Commission Chair Eric Thornburg said, "This is a special occasion for us?and to the families here today, let me say that the selection of your loved one was very intentional?We are bringing in new talent and new ideas."
The three officers join the department after a series of recent retirements. They reflect the hiring pattern that the commission and Police Chief Jack Drumm have established over the last two years-two of the three have law enforcement experience in other departments and the third is a new recruit headed for Police Officer Standards and Training Academy.
"For the past 2½ years, our department has been on a journey that will bring us from being very good to being great," Thornburg said. "The officers in the department are the foundation of that journey."
He said bringing on new talent and new ideas, specifically with the selection of these three new officers, was intentional.
"These new officers will help position us to get to great," Thornburg said.
Benjamin Hoffman comes to the Madison Police Department from Groton Long Point Police Department, at which he was employed since February 2008. He left with the rank of sergeant. Previously he served as a member of the Homestead, Florida, Police Department and as a member of the Eastern Connecticut State University Police Department. He participated in a security detail for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak during his visit to Southern Connecticut State University in 2002.
In addition, Hoffman served as a police officer at the U.S. Navel Submarine Base in Groton, at which he was involved in counter-terrorism operations, security breaches, and investigation. There he participated in a security detail for former President Jimmy Carter in 1998.
He is a graduate of Western New England College with a master of science degree and a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a B.A. He is trained as an emergency medical technician and is a graduate of the Connecticut Fire Academy. He is a member of the International Bike Association and has completed its Police Cyclist course.
Daniel Wilczek is also an experienced police officer. He comes to Madison from New Milford, where he has been a police officer since 2006. He left as a trainee in the New Milford department's detective division. He is also a certified firearms instructor, Emergency Services Unit assistant team leader, and a field training officer (FTO).
Wilczek served with the U.S. Army as a non-commissioner officer from 2001 to 2005. There he was fire team leader in a light infantry company with responsibilities for training, health, morale, education, and combat readiness of four infantrymen during combat training. He also served as a squad designated marksman responsible for high volumes of target fire up to 1,000 meters in distance. He led numerous raids during ground combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II in 2004. At the rank of private first class, he attained the Expert Infantryman Badge (true blue), was an honor graduate of Air Assault School, and was promoted to position of fire team leader.
He was a member of Connecticut Army National Guard, and he is an emergency medical technician. He attended University of Connecticut at Avery Point and Three Rivers Community College.
Robert Zeidenberg was sworn in as an entry level officer. He has already started his academy training. He joins the department from the automotive field, holding positions over the course of 22 years and changing locations for career advancement opportunities. Thornburg said the commission was impressed with his customer service background, an important element of police service.
"We see great potential in Robert," he said.
Zeidenberg is a certified graduate of Technical Careers Institute and the Connecticut School of Electronics.