WCSU Police Officer LaClair honored for life-saving action
Regional college law enforcement organization cites professional response to emergency

DANBURY, CONN. Western Connecticut State University Police Officer James LaClair recently received recognition from the Northeast Colleges and Universities Security Association (NECUSA) for swift and decisive action that helped to save the life of a youth found unconscious in August 2011 at a WCSU residence hall.

LaClair accepted the NECUSA Robert Bunker Award for Outstanding Performance at the awards banquet held June 27, 2012, during the association’s 59th annual conference in Hyannis, Mass.

The award honored LaClair for his response to an assistance call received by the WCSU Police Department on the evening of Aug. 29, 2011, reporting a medical emergency at a university residence hall in Danbury. Upon his arrival at the scene, LaClair found an unconscious and unresponsive young man and took immediate action to radio for an ambulance and restore the youth’s breathing by establishing a clear airway. He continued to assist with care until emergency medical service responders arrived to transport the patient to Danbury Hospital, where the youth made a full recovery.

In a message of thanks to LaClair following the incident, WCSU President James W. Schmotter observed the youth’s survival could be attributed to “your professional and effective response. This work does you, the university police force and WCSU proud.”

WCSU Police Chief and NECUSA President Neil McLaughlin credited LaClair for a thorough investigation that led to identification of drugs used in the incident involving the youth and the WCSU student whom he was visiting at the time. Noting that the Western student subsequently made a voluntary commitment to obtain treatment for addiction to prescription pain medications, McLaughlin said, “the actions taken by Officer LaClair epitomize the professionalism required to meet the challenges of campus law enforcement. In all likelihood, he saved two lives that evening.”

LaClair previously received the Civilian Award of Merit from the Danbury Fire Department for his life-saving action in the August 2011 incident.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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