Shrewsbury Police Department holds first annual awards ceremony

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Shrewsbury Police Department holds first annual awards ceremony
Shrewsbury Police Chief Kevin Anderson presents Karen Doherty with an award. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – The town’s finest police personnel were honored on May 28 during the Shrewsbury Police Department’s first annual awards ceremony. The event, held in the police station’s training room, was attended by local government officials, the public, friends and family of the awardees.

“This evening is a celebration in recognition of all our hard work – not just the individual being honored, but the entire Shrewsbury community. I’m proud to be chief of police for such a great community as Shrewsbury, not only because of our officers, but because of each and every one of you. Our community supports us every day. It’s a real partnership,” Police Chief Kevin Anderson said.

The Shrewsbury Police Department distributed 15 awards to 27 people.

The first honor, the Civilian Public Service Award, was given to Paul Scheffer, who volunteered for two years at the police department, assisting with dispatch and greeting visitors who enter the station. David Lawson and Karen Doherty, two dispatchers, were also honored, along with the 11-person Police Station Building Committee that helped plan for the department’s new building.

Shrewsbury Police Department holds first annual awards ceremony
Shrewsbury Police Chief Kevin Anderson speaks at the event. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

The Police Service Award was given to four individuals: Officer Brett Wester, Sgt. Brian Sklut, Officer Justin Walker and Sgt. Christopher Abbascia. Wester, a field training officer, mentored 24 new officers, and his colleagues complimented his professionalism and attention to detail. Sklut mentored 23 new officers. Walker was recognized for organizing the department’s first-ever touch-a-truck event, which the department deemed a “huge success,” and Abbascia was recognized for his involvement with the Special Olympics and other events.

Det. Paul Brown earned the Excellence Award. In January 2023, Brown helped Shrewsbury recoup over $2.4 million that was stolen in a fraudulent wire transfer. In a “thorough and intense investigation involving several different state agencies,” Brown helped save Shrewsbury taxpayers significant money, police said.

Officer Christopher Vieira and Officer Jeffrey Svendsen were given the Lifesaving Award. Vieira and Svendsen saved the life of a 54-year-old Shrewsbury resident in January 2023. Both officers provided life-saving care for 19 minutes to a man who was experiencing cardiac arrest. The man has made a full recovery. Abbascia also received this award.

The Meritorious Service Award went to four individuals. Walker and Officer Kevin Warwick were awarded for risking their lives to save a suicidal man along Lake Quinsigamond, Officer Alicia Brownell was recognized for starting the department’s Youth Academy and Officer Gary Belanger received the award for his work moving and reorganizing thousands of evidence items to the new police station.

Officer Alex Desimone received the Distinguished Action Award for saving a man trapped in mud at Flint Pond.

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