Crime

Bridgeport officer, police K9 injured in crash


BRIDGEPORT – A Bridgeport K9 officer and police dog were injured Sunday night after a vehicle struck their cruiser.

The accident happened at the intersection of State and Yale streets at 10:17 p.m.

According to the accident report, K9 Officer Marie Cetti was traveling in the right eastbound lane when her cruiser was struck by a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox traveling southbound from Yale Street.

The impact caused heavy damage on the driver’s side of the 2013 Dodge Charger cruiser.

Cetti was transported to St. Vimcent’s Medical Center for possible injuries.

Also injured in the back seat of the crusier was K9 Uno, a 95-pound German shepherd.



Police spokesman Terron Jones said the severity of Uno’s injuries “are unclear at this time.”

The driver of the Equinox – Marie Zavaleta, 25, of Cleveland Street, was charged with not having a driver’s license, failure to obey a stop sign, failure to carry a registration and failure to display a numbered license plate.


Zavaleta, who complained of chest and right leg pain, refused medical attention at the scene and did not want to get transported to the hospital.

Zavaleta also told police her vehicle came to a “full stop” at the stop sign before entering State Street.

However, live cameras from the department’s Fushion Center showed Zavaleta’s vehicle did not stop at the stop sign before colliding with the police cruiser.Cetti is the first woman to become a K-9 police officer in Bridgeport, a city of nearly 150,000 residents and the largest in the state.

Cetti was the first woman to become a K-9 police officer in Bridgeport. For her service to the public and never quit attitude, she is also a winner of AFSCME’s Never Quit Service Award. Cetti, a member of AFSCME Local 1159 (Council 4).

In a video from her AFSCME award last June, she talked a her professional and personal relationship with Uno.

“I’ve had other pets before, but it’s different when you know he’s your partner. He’s there to protect me. He’s the one who’s supposed to take a bullet before I do. That’s hard to fathom. I think only police handlers can understand that level of companionship.”

For Cetti and Uno, going above and beyond the call of duty is almost part of the job description. When they’re not on duty, they’re out somewhere training.


“He’s only as good as I make him to be,” Cetti says of Uno. “I constantly train with him and do things to make him better at his job. It’s nonstop. Sometimes we practice narcotics work or we do a building search with another K-9 officer that I train with. That’s the only way he’s going to get better. And he doesn’t realize this, but he pushes me, too.”

Uno is what’s called a “dual-purpose K-9,” which means he’s trained for both patrol and narcotics detection. Cetti has been a police officer for eight years, the last 3½ as a K-9 handler.Cetti and Uno don’t do a lot of sitting. On a typical day, they’re out patrolling the streets and keeping the public safe. And when Cetti takes a break and drives out of town to visit family, Uno comes along. He’s always by her side.

“I don’t have children, but it’s like having a kid,” she says. “It’s like having a 2-year-old kid in his terrible twos, I think, with him.”

She adds, “He’s my best friend. He’s my partner. I’m grateful.”

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