HARTFORD —— Acting Police Chief James Rovella's appointment as permanent chief has been delayed because some aspects of Rovella's background check have yet to clear, Mayor Pedro Segarra said Friday.
Segarra last week named Rovella the city's police chief, effective July 18. He said then that the delay in the appointment was due to a background check, which hadn't yet been done on Rovella.
The mayor said he has asked for updates on "some pieces" of the background check, which should be given to him Monday. Once the review is complete, Segarra said, he'll submit a resolution to the city council appointing Rovella the chief. The council must formally approve the hiring.
"We're still on schedule to do that," Segarra said of the appointment, adding that it would likely be done during a public ceremony.
Rovella has not yet signed a contract with the city. The mayor said the length of the contract was still being negotiated.
Rovella has been leading the police department since February. He succeeds longtime police Chief Daryl K. Roberts, who retired at the end of 2011. Assistant police Chief Brian Heavren served as interim chief throughout January and part of February, prior to Rovella taking over.
Segarra picked Rovella over three finalists chosen by a recruiting firm that the city had hired to do a national search. Although Rovella did not apply for the job, the mayor said he selected him because Rovella was best suited for the position.
Rovella previously served 19 years with the city's police department, starting as an officer in 1981 and working his way up to homicide detective. He has worked as the chief inspector for the chief state's attorney's office and as head of the Hartford Shooting Task Force, a group formed last year to help quell city gun violence.
City Council President Shawn Wooden has said some council members expressed concern over the police chief search process, and that the panel would schedule a meeting so it can ask Rovella questions about his background.
The council has 60 days from the time that the mayor's resolution is submitted to consider the appointment.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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