By Lindsay Carey
The Southington Police Department was honored with the Annual Police Department of the Year award and Officer Tom Gallo was awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year at the recent American Legion Department Convention.
Representing the Southington Police Department, Chief John Daly was presented the Police Department of the Year Award, along with Captain William Palmieri, Lt. Steve Elliott, Lt. Michael Baribault and Gallo.
“When I first made chief 12 years ago, a very smart person told me surround yourself with smart people. I picked these people instead,” joked Chief Daly, as he accepted the award. “But obviously it’s turned out well. I thank them and I thank the legion.”
Chief Daly said that it was honor for all the men and women of Southington PD to be recognized for the hard work that they do.
“Even though it’s our job, it’s nice to be appreciated,” said Daly. “We’re really touched and we appreciate everything the Legion has done.”
He said that he believes their crime prevention programs within the schools and community is what set the Southington PD apart from other organizations.
“We don’t just do a D.A.R.E. Program and forget about those kids, we’re trying to stay on them continuously,” said Daly.
The Southington PD works within the school system with school resource officers in the D.A.R.E. Program and “Play by the Rules” program to try to keep kids out of trouble.
The D.A.R.E Program is a drug prevention program and “Play by the Rules” is a program that introduces middle school students to the concept of civic duty like how to prevent crime and making their community safer.
Gallo has greatly contributed to these programs, which is why he was recognized.
“I do a lot of our youth stuff,” said Gallo. “I do the D.A.R.E. program with two other officers and I do our child passenger safety stuff, but we work as a team so to be nominated for this is an honor.”
Gallo is known around town for his work with you in drug prevention as well as his community service efforts.
“It’s my hometown so I enjoy working here and doing trying to help out as much as I can,” said Gallo.