Town of Groton police say hello and farewell to officers

Chief Mike Crowley, left, of the Town of Groton Police Department stands with new Patrol Officers Heather McClelland and Phil Fazzino as they are sworn in by Town Clerk Betsy Moukawsher, not shown, during a ceremony held at the Groton Senior Center Thursday.

Groton - It was a day of past, present and future at the town's senior center as the Town of Groton police celebrated a retirement, five promotions and two swearing-ins.

Chief Michael J. Crowley, overseeing his first promotional ceremony since becoming acting chief last year, said those before him showed "accomplishment, work ethic and dedication to duty."

He also honored Benjamin Carpenter, a 29-year veteran of the department, who is retiring effective Friday. Crowley presented Carpenter with his retirement badge and an engraved watch as a token of appreciation for his service.

Lt. Steven Sinagra moved up to the rank of captain, and Sgt. Jeffrey Scribner was promoted to lieutenant. As captain, Sinagra, a 23-year veteran, will serve as third in command behind the department's chief and deputy chief and will take on more administrative duties, Crowley said.

Investigators Kelly Crandall and Douglas Hoffman and Patrol Officer Brian Dawson were promoted to sergeant. Hoffman, an ordained deacon in the Catholic church, gave the invocation before the ceremony Thursday, "one of several duties he has today, besides being sworn in," Crowley joked.

A 25-year veteran, Hoffman is a fourth-generation police officer, Crowley said.

Crandall, who has close to 18 years on the job, had her new badge pinned by her husband, Keith Crandall, a police detective in New London. Keith Crandall said they both have been officers for most of their marriage, giving them the opportunity to bounce ideas about policing off each other.

"She loves her work and loves the job," he said of his wife.

Philip Fazzino and Heather McClelland were sworn in as the two newest members of the 70-person department after the two graduated last month from the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden. Crowley said two other recruits are currently in the midst of training.

McClelland spent six seasons as head coach of the Connecticut College women's lacrosse team and holds a master's degree in liberal arts studies from Wesleyan University.

Fazzino, 22, spent time training with the Stonington and Waterford police departments and is the son of Philip Fazzino III, a chief inspector at New London Superior Court.

Fazzino III, who spent nine years with the New London Police Department, said Groton is a "great police department" and is excited for his son's new career.

"He weighed it out, and I'm glad he got this chance," Fazzino III said.

Various members of police and fire departments from around the area attended the 2:30 p.m. ceremony. Afterward, as family and friends mingled and took photos, Crowley said, "It's a little bit sad when you lose veteran officers, but also exciting to promote.

"I'm confident they will do great jobs and they're the future of the department," he said.


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