Woman thanks Trumbull police after her arrest

Exterior, Trumbull Police Headquarters, in Trumbull, Conn. Jan. 14, 2016.

Exterior, Trumbull Police Headquarters, in Trumbull, Conn. Jan. 14, 2016.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

TRUMBULL — Police Commission Chairman Raymond Baldwin called it the most unusual thank you note he has ever seen.

The handwritten card, one of six thank-you notes or emails that Police Chief Michael Lombardo read into the record at the Dec. 15 commission meeting, thanked the department’s officers for their courtesy and professionalism. The difference was the signature. The person who sent it had actually been arrested — twice.

“In the years I was a police officer, I received some thank-you notes, and some people I arrested contacted the chief,” Baldwin said. “But they were never the same people.”

Police spokesman Lt. Brian Weir said the story began with a domestic incident earlier this year. Police arrested a woman, who was subsequently released on a promise to appear in court. Then, in November, police learned there was a new warrant for her arrest.

“We found out there was a PRAWN (Paperless Re-Arrest Warrant Network) warrant out for failure to appear in court dating back to the original incident,” Weir said.

A PRAWN warrant is issued by the state courts when a defendant does not show up for court. The warrant can be served by any department. There are about 140 municipal and state police agencies that use the network, according to state records.

“So, hypothetically, you get pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer checks your name and the warrant pops up,” Weir said.

Weir said Trumbull officers went to the woman’s home on Nov. 2 to serve the warrant.

“Apparently, this person thought they were supposed to be in court on a different day, and they had the paperwork in order, but the officers informed them that they had a valid warrant,” Weir said.

During the incident, Weir said, everyone remained calm. After being briefly taken into custody, the woman was released. The following day, she penned the note, thanking police for their courtesy and professionalism during what could have been a tense situation.

Weir said he did not recall another incident when someone sent a thank-you note after being arrested, but he chalked it up to the department’s training and standards.

“Sometimes, there can be some anti-police sentiment out there, but we try to treat everyone with courtesy and respect, like we would want to be treated if the situation were reversed,” he said.