November 18, 2005
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer
Hartford Assistant Police Chief Mark R. Pawlina has accepted the top cop's job in Chatham, Mass., he confirmed Thursday.
Pawlina, who was Hartford's acting police chief before the city hired Patrick J. Harnett as chief in June 2004, said he was offered the job as chief of the Cape Cod town on Tuesday.
Chatham's town manager, William Hinchey, has recommended that the board of selectmen approve Pawlina as the town's new police chief. If that board does not reject Hinchey's recommendation within 15 days, Pawlina has the job.
Pawlina, 47, who joined the Hartford Police Department 22 years ago, said he won't resign until his hiring becomes official; he said he expects to leave by Christmas.
"I haven't made a formal announcement," Pawlina said. "I told the chief and the mayor. It's tough to leave a place you love and you put your heart into."
Pawlina made his mark in Hartford by the way he reached out to people, even strangers, in different parts of the city.
The Rev. Patrice Smith, who works with at-risk children, had high praise for Pawlina.
"I got burned out twice. He was there," Smith said. "He's closer to me than my brothers and sisters. That man has come to my rescue numbers of time."
"He was the kind of officer who wants to be out there," she said. "Every time I would call him, he would go out of his way. That's a real officer, who comes out of his busy schedule to say, `What can I do for you?'"
One of Pawlina's finest moments, Smith said, occurred four years ago when she was serving coffee and donuts to homeless people on Park Street. He showed up to help with Smith's children in 20-degree weather.
"I'm going to miss him," Smith said. "It's a real loss to the city. He has showed me that there are caring people, and it doesn't matter what color you are."
"That is my chief," added Hyacinth Yennie, a longtime Pawlina fan who heads the Maple Avenue Revitalization Group.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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