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    Monday, June 24, 2024

    Waterford Police welcomes two officers and names a new sergeant

    Retired Willimantic Police Sgt. Carl Caler pins a badge on his son, Sgt. Zachary Caler, at a pinning ceremony for him and two other officers on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Dan Drainville/The Day)
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    Denae Arpin pins a badge on husband Officer Jake Arpin at a pinning ceremony for him and two other officers on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Dan Drainville/The Day)
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    Colleen Gorman pins a badge on husband Officer John Gorman at a pinning ceremony for him and two other officers on Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Dan Drainville/The Day)
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    Waterford ― Town Clerk David Campo swore in a recently promoted police sergeant and two newly hired police officers at a badge pinning ceremony on Thursday in the police department’s training room.

    Family members of the three officers pinned them with their badges, as other relatives, friends, state and town officials and fellow officers looked on.

    “All three of these officers have different reasons on how and why they’re here today,” Chief Marc Balestracci said. “But I can tell you one thing, we’re happy they’re here.”

    The two new officers are Jake Arpin, 33, and John Gorman, 27. Both have served as police officers at other departments, Arpin for Mohegan Tribal Police Department, and Gorman for the City of Hartford. Waterford hired them in February, and then assigned them to a field training program.

    Arpin, originally from Griswold, now lives in Norwich. He graduated from Griswold High School, then earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Sacred Heart University. He served active duty in the United States Air Force from 2009 to 2013, then in the Air Force Reserves and Army National Guard until 2020. He worked at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, then became a dispatcher for about a year and a half before being hired by the Mohegan Tribal department in 2021.

    Gorman attended Saint Bernard School, then earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina. He has worked as a security officer at Backus Hospital in Norwich and was hired by the Hartford Police Department in 2020.

    Balestracci recalled that before being hired in Hartford, Gorman had interviewed at the Waterford department. Balestracci, who had been on the interview panel, said he’d appeared “a little nervous, like all candidates do.”

    But the Hartford department ended up offering him a job before Waterford did.

    “That experience certainly paid off, because here we are a few years later, and when John and I met one on one, he was confident, tons of experience, and clearly demonstrated how he will benefit our department and our community,” he said.

    Meanwhile, 27-year-old Zachary Caler, of Lebanon, was pinned after being promoted last month to sergeant by the town’s Board of Police Commissioners.

    “As the chief will say, and anyone who was in the room that night, that was very emotional. And you can see why,” Caler said, motioning to a seat in the front row. “This is my father over here. And since I was a kid, I’ve known him as Sergeant Caler.”

    “There has been nothing that I want to do but rise to his level,” he added. “And I finally got the opportunity.”

    His father, Carl Caler, a retired sergeant for the Willimantic Police Department pinned a badge on his son.

    Caler, a six-year patrolman for the department and drug recognition expert, has been undergoing additional supervisory training.

    “It’s been a good couple weeks so far, learning the process,” he said. “I trust every one of you, and you guys are my family, so thank you very much.”

    Caler, along with Sergeant Matthew Fedor, received the department’s life saving award earlier this month for administering Narcan to an man who was unresponsive in a Walmart bathroom, restoring his pulse.


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