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New Police Chief Still On Hold


By Jenna Carlesso

July 25, 2012

Two weeks after Mayor Pedro Segarra named James Rovella the city's permanent police chief, city officials said they are still working to complete a background check before Rovella can be appointed.

Documents related to Rovella's background check was expected to be sent from the corporation counsel's office to the mayor late Tuesday or early Wednesday, said Jared Kupiec, Segarra's chief of staff. The mayor must review them prior to appointing Rovella, who was an officer and homicide detective at the department for 19 years before leaving and returning. He served as head of the shooting task force for about a year before being named acting chief.

The mayor could appoint Rovella, the police department's acting chief, as soon as Wednesday, Kupiec said. Segarra originally had named Rovella the permanent chief effective July 18.

"We're going to have all the contractual issues resolved in the next day, day and a half," Kupiec said Tuesday. "By week's end we hope to have a resolution to the city council."

The council must formally approve the hiring. Once the mayor submits a resolution, the panel has 60 days to consider Rovella's appointment.

Council President Shawn Wooden said he has notified the mayor that he hopes to schedule a public meeting with Rovella for Monday at 6 p.m. During that meeting, members of the city council would question Rovella about his background and plans for the department.

"For me, it's really important to understand his vision for the department and his strategy with respect to engaging the community and reducing violence," Wooden said. "We certainly have a sense of his very good work with the Hartford shooting task force and we're starting to get a sense of him as acting chief, but I feel we haven't seen an articulation of his vision for the department overall."

Councilman Kyle Anderson, chairman of the panel's quality of life, public safety and housing committee, said he is concerned that Rovella didn't participate in the formal search process.

"We want to let folks know how he's going to be policing this city and his particular course of action," Anderson said. "We've seen some of that with the shooting task force, now we want to see how he can incorporate that with the regular policing of the city."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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