The day after residents of Hartford met with the three men who have been fighting for the very important job of Hartford police chief, the mayor of Hartford has chosen the interim chief for the job.
Interim Police Chief James Rovella did not apply for the job, but Mayor Pedro Segarra said he was still being considered. On Tuesday afternoon, Rovella was named as the chief.
The announcement came just hours after finalists faced some tough questions from the public on Monday at the Hartford Public Library.
When Segarra announced the finalist choices last week, many people were concerned because the candidates weren’t from Connecticut and residents wanted someone local running the Hartford Police Department.
Rovella leads the shooting task force and has served as the Chief Inspector for the State’s Attorney’s Office. In December, Segarra selected him to serve as an assistant to the mayor.
Rovella previously worked at the Hartford Police Department for 20 years as a patrol officer and detective.
Roberts served nearly 30 years as a police officer, the last five years as the chief.
The mayor said in December he had begun to look for a firm to oversee the search process for a new chief. Segarra said the search cost about $50,000 and it was worth it.
After hearing what the finalists for the job had to say on Monday, some people changed their opinions and liked the candidates.
“My goal is to make me accessible to you 24 hours a day,” candidate Irving Bradley Jr. said.
The finalists stated their case on why they’re the right man for the job.
“I see Hartford as being the next step for me,” candidate William Heim said.
For the first time, they were asked by the people who they could be potentially hired to protect how they planned to cut down on crime in the city.
“I think there needs to be a seamless relationship between the community and police,” candidate Frank Straub said.
Most people who attended the question-and-answer session liked what the candidates had to say.
“I think they were great. I think they were all great candidates,” Flora Parisky said.
“It’s too bad they can’t hire all of them,” Earline Shelton added.
The finalists took a tour of Hartford on Monday and all of them agreed that cleaning up blight was key.
“It will make a tremendous difference in the safety of the city,” said Heim.
They also said it’s imperative that police put more emphasis on the city’s youth and more officers on the streets would be critical.
“You need that as a deterrent to the crime and also to make people feel safe,” Bradley explained.
The other three men who were considered for the job have a strong law enforcement background.
Heim is the police chief in Reading, Pennsylvania. Bradley is the former Newark, New Jersey police chief. Straub just resigned as the public safety director in Indianapolis.
Records showed morale was low during Straub’s leadership and word is that he mismanaged money. This is something he adamantly denies.
“We will close out this year with no deficit, so there’s no mismanagement,” Straub explained.