BURRILLVILLE – From calls for service that led to saving lives, to investigative detective work that brought criminals to justice, members of the Burrillville Police Department celebrated a year of achievements Wednesday night, at an event honoring both members of their ranks and extraordinary actions by those in the community.
The department’s annual Awards Ceremony & Heroes in our Community Celebration was held at the Assembly Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 7, and included surprise honors for one restaurant owner who is, “known statewide for his big heart,” according to Col. Stephen Lynch.
Frank Galleshaw, the second generation owner of Wright’s Farm Restaurant, received the Wallace F. Lees Award, an annual recognition given in remembrance of a late chief and 30-year veteran of the department, who also served on the Burrillville Town Council for 20 years.
“His generosity is, to say the least, legendary,” said Lynch of Galleshaw. “He just does not know how to say, ‘no.'”
Lynch pointed to charitable events at the restaurant, from a fundraiser for a Burrillville boy battling leukemia, to a rally for an officer fighting cancer. He noted that Galleshaw has supported the department’s annual Adopt a Family program, the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition, Steere Farm Elementary School, CURE Epilepsy, the Gridiron Club for the Burrillville High School football team and many more organizations.
The restaurant, which marked its 50th anniversary in 2022 has sponsored a team for every youth sports program in Burrillville, Lynch said, and gives out its own annual scholarships to a graduating BHS seniors.
“There are folks sitting in the audience tonight who could tell their own story of Frank’s generosity,” Lynch said.
Betty Lees, wife of the late Burrillville chief who inspired the award, said her husband was a fan of the restaurant’s famous family-style chicken dinner.
“Wallace would have been so happy for all of the wonderful things you have done,” Lees said. “And there’s no place he liked to eat better than Wright’s Farm.”
The event also served as a chance to honor former Det. Lt. Guy Riendeau who retired earlier this year after 35 years with the BPD.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with some outstanding police officers throughout my career, and I put Lieutenant Riendeau at the top of that list,” said Lynch.
Riendeau, who started with the department in 1987, received more than 30 commendations over the course of his career in law enforcement, for investigations of everything from homicides, to violent assaults.
“The impact that Lieutenant Riendeau has left on this department will reign for years to come,” said Lynch. “His style was that of a very smooth, articulate investigator.”
BPD Major Albert Carlow presented honors and awards to current members of the department, describing outstanding police work from the past year. Among the incidents was a break-in at Chum’s Spirits, in which police identified the suspect via surveillance video, and worked with several enforcement agencies to ultimately make an arrest.
Sgt. Holly Barrett, and Officers Alexander Rosa and Ian Richardson were recognized for their work in the drive-by shooting of Burrillville residence in August.
Officers involved in the investigation of a string of vehicle thefts that same month, which led to the arrest of two men from Connecticut, were honored, as were those whose work led to the apprehension of a Smithfield man, wanted in connection to a separate series of car break-ins.
Rosa was also among those recognized for the investigation of suspicious activity related to death of a Burrillville man, which led to the arrest of a man accused of selling him deadly drugs.
Carlow recounted the, “intensive investigation,” which led to the arrest of a North Smithfield man and former substitute teacher at A.T. Levy Elementary School, accused child molestation in a case from incidents in 2011.
“The victim could not remember the male’s name,” Carlow said, noting detectives found the suspect, who was later identified in a line-up.
Officers received a standing ovation from those in attendance for their efforts last December, when a 12-year-old Burrillville girl was abducted by a registered sex offender. Burrillville police again worked with multiple agencies in the state to not only get the victim home safely, but also bring the suspect to justice.
Town Councilor Donald Fox was among those to give brief remarks at the annual ceremony.
“It’s indeed an honor for me to listen to descriptions of the work done by our police, our fire and EMS staff,” said Fox. “Tonight, we gather to pay testament to the actions of those who serve our community.”
The department’s community awards also recognized Lisa Murphy, whose quick action saved the life of a choking victim at the Western Hotel, and Tina Guenette-Pedersen, whose non-profit RAMP advocates for those with mobility issues.
“Tina’s efforts and mission of access and inclusion for all is not going unnoticed,” said Lynch.
Deacon Richard Lapierre, who recently retired after 26 years as a dispatcher with the Burrillville Police Department, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. Lapierre still serves as chaplain for the department, along with the Northern Rhode Island Firefighters League, and is deacon at Our Lady of Good Help Parish. He was a longtime deputy chief for the Oakland Mapleville Fire Department and a former EMA director, who authored two textbooks for pre-hospital emergency medicine.
“He has sat on so many boards and committees, it’s almost impossible to count,” said Lynch. “He is a pillar of this town. He is one of the most trusted and relied upon individuals in this community.”
Lynch also called to the stage the organizer of the event, BPD Administrative Asst. Lisa Rabideau, who recently celebrated 30 years of service, along with her family.
“She has become the department’s go-to person for all events,” said the colonel. “Lisa does not shy away from anything.”
The chief dedicated a portion of the program to another group of unsung heroes: the families and friends of those who serve in Burrillville’s emergency services.
“What we go home to is critical,” Lynch said, playing a video of photos from officers and firefighters in thier down time, at events such as the department’s annual Torch Run. “Thank you for always being there.”
Below is a complete list of award recipients.
- Lieutenant William Lacey
- Det. Lieutenant Jason Cahill
- Lieutenant Ryan Hughes
- Sergeant Brian Pitts
- Sergeant Kyle Genereux
- Sergeant Henry Yakey
- Sergeant Robert Veader
- Sergeant Holly Barrett
- Officer Wayne Richardson
- Officer Kathleen Kelley
- Officer Jason Nault
- Detective Rebecca Carvalho
- Officer Vincente Baffoni
- Officer Jennifer Baker
- Officer Bret Simas
- Officer Ryan Turner
- Officer Geoffrey Cicatiello
- Officer Eric Harris
- Officer Alexander Rosa
- Officer Ian Richardson
- Facilities Manager Scott Lee
- Retired Detective Lieutenant Guy Riendeau (Commendations & Retirement)
- Lisa Murphy (Community Hero Award)
- Tina Guenette Pederson (Community Hero Award)
- BPD Chaplain, Deacon Richard Lapierre (Lifetime Achievement Award)
- Frank Galleshaw, III (2022 Wallace F. Lees Award)