STAMFORD — Seniority has its own special reward in the Stamford Police Department.

At a ceremony in the Community Room at police headquarters, Assistant Police Chief Tom Wuennemann presented the department’s first five silver badges to its longest-serving patrol officers.

In the reshuffle driven by retirements, Officer Ed Rondano, 64, who already had Badge 2, moved up to the first spot after more than 39 years in the department. Officer Mark Kane had held Badge 1 until his retirement last November.

Officer Alan DeLuca joined the department on the same day as Rondano on Nov. 10, 1980. But his name appears below Rondano on the hire list, and DeLuca was given Badge 2.

Officer Terry Lauf, who took over Badge 3, joined the department on March 26, 1984. Officer Joseph Rainone joined on May 5, 1986, and was given Badge 4. Michael Duffin rounded out the top five — having joined on the same day as Rainone — and received Badge 5.

Patrol officers carry badges with numbers; those holding the rank of sergeant and above receive gold badges without numbers.

Rondano also made department history as the first to serve for three decades in the crime scene investigation unit.

Wuennemann, who conducted Monday’s ceremony, said the badge tradition dates to 1894 when Stamford first organized a formal police department. At that time, Officer Arnold Kurth, who rode a bicycle, was awarded Badge 1.

“This is a very long standing tradition for the department,” Wuennemann said.

Police Chief Tim Shaw, who began his police career eight years after Rondano, was happy with the honor for Rondano.

“For his dedication to this department, for all these years and for all the work he has done, I’m very happy for him. It’s an honor. Badge 1 has a lot of significance to it throughout out the department, and I could not be happier for him,” Shaw said at the ceremony.

“Ed has always been willing to help out. Working in the crime scene unit all these years, where there are a lot of horrific crimes to get called out on, do not take place at the best of hours. But he always answers the call,” Wuennemann said. “We have been able to solve a lot of good cases over the years, because of his good work.”

Capt. Richard Conklin, who signed up on the same day as Rondano along with 17 other officers, said that many in that class are still working in the department.

“Ed has been here, and it’s certianly a very proud moment to be Number 1 for him as you can see with his family and everyone assembled here,” Conklin said.

Rondano said that when he first came on and met colleagues with 20 years on the job, he found it hard to believe. “Now I’m coming up to 40,” he said. “I never thought I was going to get Badge 1. After 30 years with the crime scene unit and almost 40 years on the job, it feels really good.”

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com