By Lisa Capobianco
Southington honored three law enforcement officials last week during the 26th annual Public Safety Awards dinner in recognition of their long history of contributions to the town.
Hosted by the Southington Elks Lodge, the event honored Master Sergeant Jay Suski of the Southington Police Department, retired Southington firefighter Robert Upson and Connecticut State Trooper Sergeant William Blumenthal.
A lifelong resident of the town, Suski began his law enforcement career as an auxiliary police officer at the age of 19 with the Southington Police Department. He first served as a uniformed patrol officer in 1991, and became a detective ten years later, undergoing advanced training in criminal investigation disciplines, including crime scene investigation, interview and interrogation, sexual assault, child abuse and homicide investigations.
Suski also played a role in the investigation of a variety of crimes including a 2007 Christmas Eve murder.
“Police work and fire work is a balancing act…between work and family,” said Southington Police Chief John Daly. “It is a balancing act between having a position in a department you are comfortable in versus having the challenge of rising through the ranks of attempting to maximize your potential. Jay has done an exceptional job finding that balance.”
Besides serving as a detective, Suski also became the liaison for the State Police Sex Offender Registry Unit as well as a member of the Central Connecticut Multidisciplinary Team. Becoming a Sergeant in 2010, Suski got promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant just two years later.
Calling the award humbling, Suski recalled how he has grown throughout his career in law enforcement.
“This truly has been an amazing journey,” Suski said. “I have always known I wanted to be a police officer.”
Emphasizing his passion for helping people during his speech, Suski not only recognized his colleagues in the police department, but he also acknowledged other law enforcement officials, including Upson.
Upson grew up in Marion, where at the age of six, he discovered his calling through Engine Company 4, the sponsor of his Boy Scout troop. The Upson family has a background in fire service with the town. W.C. Upson, a cousin, once served as the department’s chief, and Robert E. Upson, a great-grandfather, became a member of the ad hoc committee who brought Engine Company 4 to Marion.
During his 31-year career, Upson has served as a firefighter/EMT, a Lieutenant, a Fire Inspector and the department’s Training Captain. In 2005, Upson traveled to Louisiana where he served as a Red Cross volunteer in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, offering health services support in church based shelters.
Upson mentioned in his speech how proud he was of his fellow colleagues as well as police officers in Southington and state troopers.
“In the fire department we do everything as a team, so for me to receive this award, it is really for every firefighter in the department,” said Upson, who retired from the fire department this past September to pursue his new career in the Engineering Department of the National Fire Sprinkler Association as the Manager of Installation Standards (NFSA), a trade organization responsible for creating and updating fire protection standards. “I am proud to have been a part of this department.”
Sergeant William Blumenthal also expressed pride and appreciation for his colleagues during his speech. Serving four years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps before becoming a state trooper, Blumenthal earned a degree in nursing, applying his medical skills to the Emergency Department at New Britain General Hospital and in other hospitals along the east coast. Over a decade ago, Blumenthal started his career with Connecticut State Police, serving in Southbury for Troop A, where he was assigned to Patrol. This past September he received a promotion to the rank of Sergeant.
“This definitely is an honor,” said Blumenthal who serves for Troop F in Westbrook.