Norwich police promote one to lieutenant, one to sergeant

Norwich police Lt. Josip Peperni, left, gets a hug from his wife, Kate, as Sgt. Julie St. Jean gets a hug from her father, Lawrence, after they were pinned with their new badges during a promotion ceremony Friday, July 20, 2018, at City Hall. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Norwich police Lt. Josip Peperni, left, gets a hug from his wife, Kate, as Sgt. Julie St. Jean gets a hug from her father, Lawrence, after they were pinned with their new badges during a promotion ceremony Friday, July 20, 2018, at City Hall. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Norwich — Newly promoted police Lt. Josip Peperni admitted he is a big proponent of wearing comfortable and dress-down clothes and felt a little uncomfortable in the freshly pressed white dress uniform he wore at Friday’s swearing-in ceremony in a full room at City Hall.

But the 16-year police veteran said he wouldn’t want to wear anything else right now.

“I would not trade this for the world,” Peperni said. “I’m honored and humbled to be able to wear this uniform. This uniform represents so many wonderful things for me. It represents an ability for me to be able to connect with the community that I serve.”

Peperni, 53, was promoted to lieutenant Friday, filling the position left vacant by the recent retirement of Lt. Jonathan Ley. And 19-year Norwich police veteran officer Julie St. Jean, 44, was promoted to sergeant, filling Peperni’s spot on the force. Both will work the midnight police shift, with Peperni as the shift commander, starting Monday.

St. Jean joked that many people mistook the abbreviated “Saint” in her last name for sergeant, and she frequently had to correct them.

“Now I don’t have to correct them,” St. Jean said, “so that feels really good.”

Both St. Jean and Peperni thanked retired Chief Louis Fusaro, who attended Friday’s ceremony, and current Chief Patrick Daley for showing support and confidence in them to “take the next step” in their careers.

Peperni, graduated from Middlesex Community College in 2009 with an associate degree in criminal science. He is working on completing his master’s degree in law enforcement management through Aspen University. He has served as a patrol officer, K-9 patrol officer, a member of the Crisis Intervention Team, marine patrol officer, DARE officer in city schools and as a school resource officer.

Peperni also has served as president of the police union and as treasurer for the Police Benevolent Association. Prior to his promotion, he served as records officer. He lives in Lyme with his wife, Katie, and has two grown sons, ages 27 and 29, who both attended Friday’s ceremony.

St. Jean’s parents, Lawrence and Gail St. Jean, pinned on and adjusted her new badge Friday. St. Jean, who lives in Mansfield, graduated from Windham High School in 1991 and attended Three Rivers Community College and Eastern Connecticut State University. She graduated from the Connecticut Police Academy in 1999.

During her tenure at Norwich police, she has served as a patrol officer, a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and as the department liaison for the Sex Offender Registry and served as field training officer for the patrol division in 2013. She has been a police detective since 2015, serving as juvenile detective, investigating child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking cases.

St. Jean said she derives strength for her career through her family, and thanked her sister Jennifer Johnson and her cousin Pam Morse of Woodstock for always checking in with her. Morse would call St. Jean in the middle of the night on her way home after a long shift to make sure she stayed awake and got home OK, St. Jean said. Morse always told her she was awake and was not tired yet.

c.bessette@theday.com

Norwich police Lt. Josip Peperni, center, takes his oath from City Clerk Betsy M. Barrett, right, as Sgt. Julie St. Jean, back, awaits her turn during a promotion ceremony Friday, July 20, 2018, at City Hall. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Norwich police Lt. Josip Peperni, center, takes his oath from City Clerk Betsy M. Barrett, right, as Sgt. Julie St. Jean, back, awaits her turn during a promotion ceremony Friday, July 20, 2018, at City Hall. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

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