2024 Citizen of the Year: Sgt. Adriana Molina

On behalf of the City of Stamford, the JWV Fred Robbins Post 142 and the Citizen of the Year Selection Committee are pleased to announce the selection of Sgt. Adriana Molina of the Stamford Police Department as Stamford’s 2024 Citizen of the Year (COTY).

Nominated by an enthusiastic and eclectic group of community leaders including Executive Director Dr. Anka Badurina of Building One Community (B1C), Rev. Robert Jackson from the Bethel A.M.E. Church, Retired Judge and former COTY Mary Sommer as well as Adriana’s boss, Police Chief Tim Shaw, among many others, Sgt. Molina drew praise well beyond the achievements of her more than 30 years on the force. Adriana has been a champion for the homeless, a bridge builder and an ambassador to the Hispanic community, and a volunteer for too many charitable organizations and events to list. Plus, at her day job, Adriana’s leadership was instrumental in steering the expansion of the SPD’s innovative Behavioral Health Unit, which directs measured responses to mental health, substance abuse, and domestic crises, augmenting traditional law enforcement with service referrals to the City’s many health and social services partners.

Adriana Maria (Garcia) Molina emigrated to Stamford with her parents and siblings from Colombia at the age of two. Like most of the immigrant families she has been helping along the way since, her mother, Luz Marina Posada Garcia, and her late father, Dario Garcia, sought better opportunities than were available in their original homeland. And Adriana has made the most of them, excelling as a student in the Stamford Public Schools, graduating from Westhill and then raising her three children here, before becoming a police dispatcher and then joining the force as an officer at the age of 37 where she rose to the rank of Sergeant through challenging assignments like Special Victims Investigation. All the while, everywhere in the department and elsewhere in City government that she has touched, she has strived to make empathy and understanding for Stamford’s newcomer families a part of its ethos, helping to make us a more cohesive and compassionate community. Not content to stop there and inspired by the needs she witnesses in the community every day, Adriana continued her education, earning her degree from St Vincent’s at Sacred Heart and becoming a licensed Registered Nurse in 2019. She is currently working toward her BSN.

Many in Stamford have come to rely on Adriana as an invaluable resource, including the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, the St. Joseph’s Parenting Center, DOMUS, the Boys and Girls Club, Saint Mary of Stamford Parish, B1C and the Bethel A.M.E. Church, among others. She is a frequent participant in charitable endeavors like backpack distributions, COVID testing and vaccinations, as a CPR/defibrillator instructor with Stamford EMS, and as a mentor in the Girls Leadership Program.

Police Chief Tim Shaw said that when they were starting the Behavioral Health Unit “there was only one Sergeant that we were looking to spearhead it. Adriana is the consummate professional and due to her dedication and drive our BHU has received over one million dollars in grants in support”. Her immediate supervisor, Captain Tom Barcello said “when a situation is developing or doesn’t have a standard response, we give it to Adriana…if she touches it, she finishes it to a proper resolution.”

COTY is proud to honor Sgt. Molina this year but this is hardly the only recognition she has deserved or received. She was the 2015 Stamford Police Association’s Officer of the Year and was named one of the Fifty Most Influential Latinos in Connecticut by Latinos United for Professional Advancement that same year, nominated by State Senator Bob Duff. She was recognized as one of three 2023 Community Outreach Officers in 2023, presented by Mayor Caroline Simmons and sponsored by Synergy 1 Holdings and the Black Road Auto Club.

Mayor Simmons said “Sgt. Molina exemplifies selflessness, compassion, service to others and is a role model to many. She is always going above and beyond the call of duty and I want to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.” Cathy Ostuw, a former COTY and chair of the Selection Committee said “Adriana Molina has spent decades of her life making Stamford a safer and more welcoming place for everyone. An immigrant herself, she is a beloved ambassador to the City’s immigrant community, working with churches and nonprofit organizations to break down barriers and increase understanding. She is very well deserving of the title of Citizen of the Year.”

COTY Adriana Molina still lives in Stamford where she raised her three proud children, Marci, Danny and Victoria Molina, who have together given her seven grandchildren. And speaking of proud, her mother Luz lives here too, where Adriana and her sisters still find the time to remain a close family.

The COTY selection committee and the Jewish War Veterans are proud to honor Adriana Maria Molina as our 2024 Citizen of the Year. Two upcoming events will celebrate her. The first is when her name plaque is added to those previously honored at The Government Center, and the second is at the 2024 Stamford Citizen of the Year dinner which will be held this spring.