WEST HARTFORD — The American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 has recognized West Hartford Police Lieutenant Christopher Chappell as the 2019 Police Officer of the Year. Each year the American Legion honors one individual as the Police Officer of the Year, chosen and recognized by fellow officers, for upholding high moral, ethical and professional standards and for efforts that have gone above and beyond the call for duty.
The award was presented April 29 at a special ceremony held at Rockledge Grille. Since joining the WHPD in July, 1999, Chappell has served in the patrol division, training division, traffic division as an accident reconstructionist, a field training officer, a patrol sergeant, and a detective sergeant. He is currently a member of the WHPD Honor Guard, a motor officer, a member of the SWAT/ESU and is also the commander of the traffic division. Chappell is also a member of Hayes-Velhage Post 96.
In remarks by Chief Vernon Riddick, he offered numerous accounts of how Chappell has gone above and beyond the call of duty in service. Chappell received the Distinguished Service Medal by the Hartford Police Department on Oct. 31, 2000 for rescuing a family from a burning building on Amity Street, the MADD award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving as well as numerous other awards. Riddick stated that Chappell’s personal file is filled with too many letters of appreciation to count from the numerous amounts of citizens that he has helped during his career.
Chappell served six years on active duty in the U.S. Army as an Airborne Ranger and participated in a combat parachute jump during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989. He served 11 years in the U.S. Army National Guard where he attended sniper school and later became a sniper school instructor. He trained over 400 snipers deploying to combat zones around the world. He deployed to Iraq in 2005 to instruct sniper school and run missions with newly trained snipers. During his military he earned the Purple Heart, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with Arrowhead, Parachutist Wings with Jump Star, German Parachutist Wings, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and Ranger Tab.
Mayor Shari Cantor congratulated Chappell and all West Hartford Police for their outstanding support of our community. The Mayor also read a Proclamation from the Town of West Hartford declaring May 29, 2019 as Lt. Christopher Chappell Day.
Chappell was joined for the evening by his wife Diane and their three children as well as several members of his family.
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
The American Legion of West Hartford is open to military veterans who have served honorably during a wartime era and military personnel currently on active duty. More information is available on the Post’s website at www.post96.org.