Beloved South Windsor Sergeant memorialized ahead of burial

SOUTH WINDSOR — A beloved member of the South Windsor Police Department was honored Friday by those who knew him best.

It was a somber Friday at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield as Sgt. Matt Mainieri was remembered. He was a 20 year veteran of the South Windsor Police Department.

On a rainy Friday morning…  rolled a sea of flashing blue. A chorus of engines roared beneath the backdrop of the flag he loved — Sgt. Matt Mainieri remembered in death as he was in life

“We’ll never know how many officers lives and injuries he’s prevented through his good works,” said South Windsor Deputy Chief Scott Custer.

A good person, who was good at what he did.

“We hired him as an animal control officer,” said Custer. “He was so good he became a police officer. And he got so good at shooting he became a firearms instructor. And then he became a SWAT officer and he was so good as a SWAT officer they made him and explosives breacher.”

Custer asked him to consider taking the test to be promoted to lieutenant. “He had told me, ehh I really don’t want to be an admin guy, I like what I’m doing too much I like working with people. And that’s who Matt was.”

Mainieri lived life as large as his 6-foot-seven frame.

Motorcycles were his passion. He coordinated the recent services in Westport for his friend, the late Trooper First Class Walter Greene.

Mainieri’s motorcycle was parked in back of the church for the memorial.

Inside was a vibrant but solemn tribute witnessed by family, friends, colleagues and strangers from departments near and far.

“I’ve always been proud of our agency, but never more so than today. Everyone has come together to honor Matt and his family,” said Custer.

They saluted and stood at attention looking at his pictures and his hat and helmet. Moments later, a ceremonial last radio call marked his end of watch.

“Sgt. Matthew Mainieri, this is your final radio call. Your end of watch is September 2nd, 2018. May you Rest In Peace and stand watch over everyone that you knew…we will take it from here,” was read aloud in church.

Mainieri will be laid to rest Tuesday in Vermont, where he was born.