MERIDEN – The Meriden Police Department celebrated its 150th anniversary on Friday night at the Meriden Green, showing off a brand new squad car that honored the department’s past and present.
The car features photos of the present day police department spread across the passenger side, while black and white photos of officers from years past stretched across the driver’s side. The vehicle, which was decorated as a donation by Fleet Auto Supply in West Haven, had been in hiding in a police garage for the past week before being unveiled at the anniversary ceremony.
”We supplied the pictures and (Fleet Auto) took care of the rest,” Meriden police Captain Glenn Milslagle said. “They did a great job.”
Other honorary items from the ceremony included a special birthday card in the form of an official citation from state Rep. Buddy Altobello and a certificate of accomplishment from state Rep. Hilda Santiago.
”The Meriden Police Department has been at the forefront of fighting crime and establishing an exceptional level of support to generations of Meriden families.” Santiago read from the certificate during the opening ceremony.
During his remarks, current Police Chief Jeffry Cossette acknowledged the attendance of former chief Robert Kosienski, who held the position from 1985 to 2001.
”I’m very proud to be here,” Kosienski said. “Police work is in my blood.”
After the ceremony, guests were given tours of the department’s surveillance van, taken inside the new squad car, and entertained by live music.
Also on hand were members of the department’s S.W.A.T. teams and the Meriden Police Cadets. Recent inclement weather made for a smaller than expected crowd, but officers embraced the opportunity to celebrate each other.
”We’re all here, that’s what matters,” said Captain Nicholas Sherwood, who approved the designs of the commemorative squad car. “We’re here to honor our history, and the success of the department.”
Kosienski, who was able to point out the names of the officers displayed on the black and white side of the special cruiser, shared Sherwood’s sentiment of the closeness of the department which turned 150 on Friday.
”I wish I could still serve here, but my heart is always with the department,” Kosienski said. “They’re family.”