Local officers, community members recognized with U.S. attorney awards

Several area officers and community members were recognized in New Haven on Wednesday at the annual United States Attorney's Office Law Enforcement Awards ceremony.

Swaranjit Singh Khalsa was one of three men presented with the U.S. Attorney's Outstanding Community Award. Singh Khalsa, along with Amarjit Singh and Maninder Arora, volunteered hundreds of hours to Department of Justice cultural awareness trainings for police officers to better understand Muslim Americans and Sikh Americans. In 2016 and 2017, the three men trained nearly 1,200 officers throughout the state of Connecticut.

Singh Khalsa also was recognized in April by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his work to promote awareness of the Sikh religion and equality for diverse communities.

Members of the New London Police Department, including Capt. Brian Wright, Det. Christopher Kramer, Det. Richard Curcuro and Det. Sgt. Lawrence Keating were honored for their role in the April conviction of Nathaniel Smith, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for preying on a local 13-year-old girl. Detectives located the victim after her parents reported her missing, arrested Smith and obtained a videotaped and written statement from him, which was critical in his prosecution.

Curcuro and Sgt. Brian Laurie, also of the New London Police Department, as well as Senior Assistant State's Attorney Paul Narducci, were honored for their roles in the conviction of several individuals involved in the September 2012 stabbing death of Javier Reyes.

Det. Ryan Kelsey of the Norwich Police Department, Sgt. Cornelius Rodgers and Det. Joseph Pelchat of the New London Police Department, Det. Anthony LaFleur of the Groton Town Police Department and Det. David Holliday of the Groton City Police Department were honored for their roles in a two-year investigation headed by the state police Statewide Narcotics Task Force East that resulted in the 2015 conviction of 13 defendants on various narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses.

Kelsey also was honored for his role in solving the Hartford Police Department cold-case homicide of Ian Francis, who died of gunshot wounds in January 2011 after a drive-by shooting in December 2010.

In total, more than 160 federal agents, police officers and community members were recognized for their contributions to about 30 significant federal criminal prosecutions and civil cases in Connecticut, according to a program from the award ceremony provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Editor's Note: This version corrects that Det. Anthony LaFleur is a member of the Groton Town Police Department and Det. David Holliday is a member of the Groton City Police Department.

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