BREAKING NEWS: Chief Ridberg John Clarke Award Honoree

Noon, April 7, 2001 — Hyatt Old Greenwich — Last April Chief David Ridberg was an “excuse” and today he is an honoree.  Each year the Greenwich Lions Club gives an award – the Dr. John Clarke Award — to the outstanding Greenwich Police officer of the year.  The recipient doesn’t know he or she is to receive the award until he or she arrives at the ceremony, typically at the Hyatt.  In 2010, Lt. Rick Cochran, showed up at the event believing Chief David Ridberg was to be the recipient when in fact Cochran was the unsuspecting honoree.

This year Chief Ridberg IS the recipient, being lured to the ceremony on the belief that one his detective, Mark Solomon would get the coveted award.  The diversion was a masterstroke, being so plausible.  After all, Detective Solomon was the Silver Shield Officer of the Year and has been honored on the national level by the FBI and Department of Justice for his working in breaking up an ATM skimming ring.  Detective Solomon is the national expert on that crime.

Chief Ridberg, age 49, whose current contract expires in November, is a most deserving recipient.  A 27-year veteran of GPD, Ridberg is slated to retire this year. He rose through the ranks to become Chief in 2007.  He was hampered in the beginning of his term as chief due to a series of pending law suits against the GPD.  The agency was under a court injunction preventing promotions, so Ridberg was a Chief without a command staff.  Upon the settlement of the suit, Ridberg oversaw the reorganization of the GPD and promotion of four Lieutenants to the rank of Captain.  He is still without a Deputy Chief some in the Town of Greenwich are urging that he remain beyond November to help an heir-apparent through the next budget cycle.  Ridberg is also credited with bringing in the new GPD headquarters building early and under budget, as well as building morale among the officers.

The Award was chosen by the four Captain and Capt. Tim Berry spoke on behalf of the group. In eloquent fashion, he touched upon the obstacles the new chief faced and told of the respect the Chief receives from his officers.

State Representative Fred Camillo gave the Chief a General Assembly commendation on behalf of State Senator Scott Frantz, State Rep. Livvy Floren, State Rep. Lile Gibbons and himself.

Chief Ridberg is a graduate of Greenwich High School (Class of 1979) and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1979-83, achieving the rank of sergeant. The Clarke Award is not the first honor the Chief has since received.  He has been honored with several awards and commendations, including the Town Award of Excellence.  The Dr. John Clarke Award is named after the first President of the Greenwich Lions Club who died in 1944, after years of service at the GPD medical adviser.

In addition to State Rep. Camillo numerous officers were in attendance as were past recipients and several elected officials including Tax Collection Tod Ladondia, and Selectman David Theis and Drew Marzullo. First Selectman Peter Tesei had a scheduling conflict.