Waterbury Police Officer of the Year recipient honored on Wednesday

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He knew since he was a little boy.

I’ve always felt the need to serve the community and give back and help people out in their time of need, Officer Jon Krchnavy said.

On Wednesday, Jon Krchnavy received the Waterbury Police Officer of the Year Award at the 14th Annual Dr. Lawrence J. Shea Awards Banquet hosted by The Exchange Club of Waterbury — an event that gives recognition to excellence in the Waterbury community.

Waterbury’s police chief says the award is well-deserved because of the heart and drive Officer Krchnavy displays every single day.

Officer Krchnavy is the prime example of what a police officer should be, said Waterbury Police Chief, Fernando Spagnolo

Police point to two moments in particular that show Officer Krchnavy’s character while wearing the badge.

One incident was when an emotionally irate teenager started yelling at Officer Krchnavy to shoot and kill him. Officer Krchnavy did not fire his weapon. Instead, he managed to defuse the situation. No one was hurt.

I was just happy the way it turned out, said Officer KrchnavyAnd I was able to stop the incident from occurring, and I was able to explain to the parents that night it’s the last thing an officer ever wants to do is use deadly force. It was truly a difficult challenge and I’m just happy it panned out the way it did.

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The other incident involved a child with autism who had wandered away from home. Officer Krchnavy was able to find that child and safely return him to his family, thanks in large part, to his special partner– a police dog named Bane.

Bane started pawing at the fence and I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, so I started flashing my light and there the boy was, sitting there, Officer Krchnavy said. Talking to the mother afterwards, the look on her face made it all worth it, too, when she said thank you.

It’s been Officer Krchnavy’s calling to serve and protect. Before becoming a police officer, he served for 6 years in the U.S. Marines.

He’s only 27. A police department spokesman says he’s the youngest Waterbury officer ever to win the award.

If you put hard work into it and you perform, age really doesn’t matter, Chief Spagnolo said. It’s performance and the job that you do.

I try to do everything to the best of my abilities and it’s good to hear the fruits of my labor pay off, Officer Krchnavy said.

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