On January 12, 2022, during the Board of Police Commissioners meeting, several Officers were recognized for their exemplary performance.
Sergeant Michael Stahl, Sergeant Richard Peck and Detective Eric Fuller received the Distinguished Service Award for their efforts in reimplementing a half decade old Citizen Police Academy Program (CPA). Though the title of Citizen Police Academy remained the same, some of the curriculum and mission of the program changed, focusing more on the voices of our residents and listening to their needs. The goals set forward by these Officers in 2020, during trying times in Law Enforcement demonstrated that small progressive conversations with our community members can lead to meaningful and impactful change in our society.
The following was read during the presentation of their award:
The year 2020 goes down in history as one of the most trying years for modern society. Humanity is tested as we struggle with COVID-19, Protests, controversial Presidential Elections, Police Reform, Social Inequality and Injustice amongst a host of other worldly concerns.
In a time of such worldly uncertainty, worldly uncertainty reverberates into town and community uncertainty. With the nation focusing on COVID, Elections and Police Reform after the death of George Floyd, a small group of Fairfield Police Officers wanted to make impactful change on a local level… one conversation… one interaction at a time. These Officers (Sgt. Michael Stahl, Sgt. Richard Peck and Detective Eric Fuller) along with Chief Kalamaras and his staff, had a vision of needing to understand our community, and in return, our community needing to understand our police. These mentioned officers began hosting a series of internal department focus groups, exploring ideas of how to better reach our residents. The efforts of these focus groups culminated in a decision to redeploy a half decade old Citizen Police Academy Program (CPA). Though the title of Citizen Police Academy remained the same, some of the curriculum and mission of the program changed, focusing more on the voices of our residents and listening to their needs.
In May of 2021, Sgt. Michael Stahl, Sgt. Richard Peck and Detective Eric Fuller made these ideas into reality, creating a 12 week Citizen Police Academy curriculum. For 12 weeks, 25 Fairfield residents, representing their various neighborhoods throughout town, met with these three coordinating officers, along with dozens of skilled Fairfield Police Officers representing the various divisions and units within the agency. These important interactions provided deep insight and impact between our law enforcement officers and our community members. Most importantly these interactions fostered trust and lifelong friendships between the two.
It is important to recognize the three officers who made this possible. The goals set forward by Sgt. Michael Stahl, Sgt. Richard Peck and Detective Eric Fuller in 2020, during trying times in Law Enforcement shows that small progressive conversations with our community members can lead to meaningful and impactful change in our society.
Sergeant Michael Stahl was additionally recognized by Chief Robert Kalamaras and presented with the Chief’s Award for his outstanding service and contributions to the Fairfield Police Department and Town of Fairfield Community.
The following was read during the presentation of his award:
The Fairfield Police Department prides itself on the high level of Honor, Excellence, and Professionalism in which all officers serve our community, 24 hours per day, seven days per week. However, every so often an officer emerges who takes our core values and concept of service to unprecedented levels. Sergeant Michael Stahl is one of those officers.
In his 11 years of service with the Fairfield Police Department, Sergeant Michael Stahl has consistently been known for, and relied upon for, his forward thinking, streamlining skills, and tireless efforts to improve systems within the agency, as well as improve the agency’s ability to serve our community. He has shown a high level of innovation on many projects, four of which I would like to highlight this evening.
As an officer, in 2011, Mike Stahl volunteered to join our Crisis Intervention Team, which focuses on serving community members struggling with Mental Health and/or Substance abuse issues. As the program was in its infancy at the time, Mike immediately began to identify needs of the program and devise ways to improve its service to the community. After a fateful evening of working to reunite a non-communicative child with his parents, Mike conceived the idea for our now highly successful “Safe Return” program. Within a few months, Mike had created and implemented a database in which community members can register photographs, physical identifiers, and emergency contact information for members of their family who are known to wander and may be non-communicative. Since the inception of this program we have successfully reunited several persons with dementia and autism with their families.
As a sergeant, Mike continues to innovate, system build, and provide services to the community beyond the normal scope of an officer’s duty. This can be seen in many recent projects, most notably his involvement in overhauling our department uniform and redesign of our agency patch, and his work with the Axon Enterprise Inc. company to streamline equipment and technology that will assist in improving public service and officer safety. Working to implement new equipment and technology systems can be tedious and demanding, but Mike has been unwavering in his determination to see these projects through.
Mike’s devotion cannot be understated and can also be seen in his commitment to manage our social media obligations; remaining accessible 24/7 to provide timely and reliable information to our public, as well as to highlight our agency’s successes, excellence, and commitment to our community in this critical time when the integrity of the police profession nationwide is called into question.
In closing, I want to thank Sergeant Michael Stahl for exemplifying what it means to be a trusted and respected member of this agency and of the police profession as a whole. His level of commitment has been invaluable to the betterment of this agency and its service to our community.
It is my pleasure to honor Sergeant Michael Stahl with the Chief’s Award for his outstanding service and contributions to the Fairfield Police Department and Town of Fairfield Community.