A Statement From Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne

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Jun 022020

Police Chief Robert Gagne
(File Photo by Cory Ziman)

This statement was posted on the OPD Facebook page:

The men and women of the Orange Police Department condemn the actions of the four police officers who were involved in the mistreatment and death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

It was sickening to watch the lack of training, judgment, and human empathy displayed by these officers. We have worked hard to ensure that nothing like this will ever occur here. We start by making sure that we hire good people, who we can trust to engage our public with our values and mission always in mind.

We are committed to community policing and were practicing that in this Department before the term ever became popular. Our officers are well trained in the proper use of force, procedural justice, crisis intervention, and the sanctity of life.

We are the medical first responder for the Town. Each of our officers is trained to at least the level of EMR (Emergency Medical Responder), with many being trained to the higher level of EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). We embrace that responsibility, our multiple roles, and all that comes with them.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of George Floyd. We stand with the good men and women of law enforcement who continue to believe in human respect and dignity.

Chief Robert J. Gagne

Nov 142018

We live in a scary world. With news of anti-semitic symbols and other vandalism at Amity that is making some of our young people uneasy, it is disturbing to find out that vandalism at High Plains may also have sent the same message of hatred in this community which also has a large Jewish population.

Orange Live reached out to Police Chief Robert Gagne for some reassurances.

Gagne confirmed that there was indeed vandalism at High Plains, and there have been eggings and spray painting incidents done by Amity kids, but some of the information that’s being shared has been misconstrued.

“There has been vandalism, which is bad,” he said. “But there were no swastikas, or anything anti-Semitic here in Orange, which is good.”

Gagne said Amity is taking the right steps, working to bring an end to this negative situation.

Don’t Miss Your Chance To Have Coffee With A Cop on Oct. 4

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Oct 032017

Together with Chip’s Family Restaurant, the Orange Police Department will be hosting Coffee with a Cop at Chip’s, 321 Boston Post Road, on Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 9-11 a.m.
The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to connect Officers with the community they serve.
This is the second time the Orange Police have had this event. The first one took place at Chip’s on Oct. 8, 2016, and was very well received.
Join them for a cup of coffee and conversation. Get to know the officers who work in your community!

2015 Citizen’s Police Academy Graduates Learned Many Valuable Lessons

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Apr 302015

Officer Robert Amarone was surprised by the Citizens Police Academy class of 2015 with a plaque. (see inset).

The Citizens Police Academy class of 2015 surprised Officer Robert Amarone with a plaque. (see inset).

On Wednesday evening, Police Officer Robert Amarone said goodbye to 21 of his new friends.

At the Graduation ceremony for the 2015 Spring Class of the Citizen’s Police Academy, 20 of the 21 students were greeted by Amarone, Chief Robert Gagne, Asst. Chief Anthony Cuozzo and Donald Lewis, Chairman of the Orange Police Commission.
During their last couple of hours of the 8 week course, which began on March 11, the students of this, the largest class ever assembled, asked many follow-up questions and expressed all positive comments about their experiences with the various instructors who volunteered their time. Including: Sgt. Ray LaPlante; Officer Brian Foote; Detective Harry Burke; Officer Jonathan DeRubeis; Detective Mike Kosh; ISU Lt. Andrew Steinbrick; Detective Brian Petrucelli; Lt. Max Martins; Officer Chris Brown and K-9 Loki; Officer Mary Bernegger and K-9 Trent; State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor and Judge Richard Arnold.
A couple of the students were repeat attendees. At least one previously attended the Milford Citizen’s Academy and stated that she feels closer to the Orange officers than any of the police in her former hometown.
Selectman Judy Williams was a member of the class of 2015, the first public official to enroll. Chief Gagne thanked her for her participation and said he hopes in the future other board and committee members also will take the class so they can learn about the inner workings of the department.
According to Chief Gagne, the Orange Police Department developed ways of community policing before it became a “thing.”
Amarone said he couldn’t have asked for a better group of people for his first year in charge of the Academy. The students showed their appreciation by presenting him with a wood and brass plaque commemorating their time together.
The Orange Police will run another Citizen’s Academy next Spring. Future courses may offer different department related subjects, such as the dispatchers’ job.
Some of this year’s graduates want to repeat the course in 2016, and they highly recommend it to others.
“I know so much more about everything the Orange police do every day and I appreciate their openness and I’m very comfortable with all of them,” said Lisa Hartshorn, a member of the Orange CERT.
The department will announce its next class in January 2016, so when they do, don’t hesitate in signing up for it.

Meet Patrol Officer Romaine Chamberlain

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Oct 102014

ChamberlainThe Orange Police Department welcomes Officer Romaine Chamberlain to the ranks. 

Officer Chamberlain graduated from the 344th Connecticut Police Academy class in June and recently completed the required field training program.    

Officer Chamberlain is 33 years old. He was born and raised in Jamaica prior to moving to the United States and becoming a citizen. 

Officer Chamberlain has attended college in Florida at Edison State College, as well as Palm Beach State College, where he earned an Associate’s degree. 

He is currently enrolled in Arizona State University’s online program earning credits toward a degree in Political Science. 

Officer Chamberlain has been assigned to the Patrol Division.

K-9 Major: Remembering A Life Lost Too Soon

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Aug 082014

The final resting place of K9 Major is in front of the Orange Police Dapartment.

The final resting place of K9 Major is in front of the Orange Police Dapartment.

The Orange Police Department hosted a small memorial service for K-9 Major who died tragically in the line of duty in the early morning hours of July 19.

More than a dozen police K-9s and their handlers from surrounding police departments, police officers, a handful of town employees, former Asst. Chief Ed Koether (one of the department’s original K-9 handlers), the Rev. Ann Ritonia, and a couple of invited guests attended the outdoor service under sunny skies.

Major’s partner Officer Christopher Brown, received a plaque from Chris Wheatman of the American Kennel Club —Trap Falls Kennel Club with a brass plate and a photo of Brown and Major.

Speakers included Detective Michael Kosh, who addressed the crowd accompanied by his retired K-9 Maximus.

Officer Kosh said, “There’s a special bond between you and your K-9 partner. From the moment you select your partner it starts, whether you realize it or not. I saw this in officer Brown and Major. … In the end, it was always about the dog.”

He read the poem “Guardians of the Night,” stating that he believes it fits the handler and his partner.

Brown choked up as he spoke briefly about his partner’s short life and their time together.

Chief Robert Gagne also choked as he paid tribute to the dog, reading a poem “Grieve Not For Me“, and concluding with a sincere “Good Boy, Major.”

The Rev. Ann Ritonia blessed the area in front of the police department where a dogwood tree provides shade over a polished black granite stone bearing Major’s image and the inscription “Major, July 28-2012 — July 19, 2014 LODD (Line of Duty Death). His ashes are buried there.

Highway Department Employee Steve Cifarelli donated the stone which was engraved by the father of one of the Orange policemen.

See more photos on our Orange Live Facebook page

Silver Alert For Missing Girl – But She Wasn’t From Orange

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Mar 222013

silver alert logoJust to clarify, 14 year old reported missing earlier today on WTNH8 and other media outlets was from New Haven, not Orange. She has been found with a friend and was safe.

Here are the details:

This morning the Orange police were informed that a 14 year old girl was missing and the last place she was seen was at LA Fitness in Orange on Thursday evening.

Orange police contacted the State Police which issued a silver alert. (Orange Live did not find this notice on the State Police Website so we’re not sure what information the other media received.)

Police Chief Robert Gagne said the girl was from New Haven, but because she was last seen in Orange, the OPD detectives began working on it quickly.

Their investigation revealed that she had gone to an apartment in New Haven.

Orange worked with the New Haven Police and found her safe with friend in the New Haven Apartment and the Sliver Alert was cancelled.

At Home WithTony Cuozzo, Moments After He Learned Of His Promotion

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Sep 192012

Asst. Chief Anthony Cuozzo and his wife, Antonietta at home.

Anyone in town that knows Anthony Cuozzo is well aware of his desire to be top dog in the Orange Police Department. When Asst. Chief Edward Koether retired nearly one month ago, Cuozzo was probably first in line with his application in hand.

The past month has been a nail-biter for Cuozzo and his wife of 20 years, Antonietta as the Police Commission meeting was postponed from last week to this week, and then from Monday to Tuesday due to the Jewish holiday.

Minutes after Chief Robert Gagne broke the news and congratulated Lt. Cuozzo on his new job, I was in his livingroom with Antonietta, two of his children and his mom watching as he fielded one congratulatory cell phone call after another.

Antonietta smiled and said, “It’s been a long time coming. He works so hard, he deserves it.”

Tony’s mom, Carole,  brushed back her tears and said, “My husband would have been so proud.” Arnold Cuozzo died in December 2010.

“So, talk to me, how does it feel?” I asked.

“Believe it or not, I’m speechless,” Cuozzo said. (If you know Tony … You wouldn’t believe it)

That said, he gathered his thoughts, lost the deer in the headlights look and talked about achieving his long time goal. “I bleed Orange. I’ve been here 23 years, it’s where I’ve always wanted to be,” he said. “I’ve directed my career to move up and to have this opportunity is really an honor.”

“I’m really looking forward to working at this level with Chief Gagne. I’ve been his administrative Lt. for four years, so we’ve worked close together on that respect, but I still have a lot to learn,” he said. “It’s a really different perspective. I’ve been able to make recommendations all these years, but now to actually be in the position to make decisions is kind of new to me.”

Cuozzo said the bottom line  is that he would not be where he is today had it not been for his wife and family supporting him when he was working on holidays and overnight shifts.

He also credits all the guys and gals that work for him and that he’s  worked with for all these years. “They’re the ones doing all the work and I got a lot of the credit, but I credit them,” he said. “The only thing missing here today is my dad, but I know he’s here somewhere.”

“I’m excited, I’m nervous. I’ve done everything I can do to prepare for this moment,” he said. “I have some big shoes to fill.”


For  Cuozzo, Tuesday was a nerve wracking, waiting for the call that would either bear disappointing news or change his life.

“The waiting is the hardest part. You have no control —  you do your best in the interview and hope that your experience and resume stand on their own and you wait,” he said.

He looked at Antonietta and continued, “I laugh, there are those moments in life with that ultimate surprise, your first born, you don’t know if its a boy or a girl … you get engaged, get married, have kids – and this is one of those moments, when the community has the faith in you,” he said. “I had to convince the police commission that I was the guy for the job, and for them to put their confidence in me is remarkable. They’re a volunteer commission and it wasn’t an easy decision. all of the candidates were outstanding. I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with all of them, and to be recognized as the next guy is a huge honor.”

Be careful what you wish for

Cuozzo said he’s stayed in touch with past chiefs and even sought out advice on getting through the oral interview and often heard the same thing, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Being Asst. Chief is a huge responsibility: it’s the operational end of the department. Chief Gagne’s job is planning and oversight, while the Asst Chief’s job is day to day, making sure things happen — he got a taste of that as acting second in command doing paperwork and answering his phone in the middle of the night. “It’s all part of the job and it’s for the good of the community. I’ve wanted this for a while. I think I’ll rise to the occasion and make Chief Gagne  and the  town proud.”

A date has not yet been set for Asst. Chief Cuozzo’s swearing in ceremony, but Orange Live will let you know as soon as it’s decided.