Borough begins interviews for next police chief

Naugatuck Police Chief Christopher Edson. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — As Police Chief Christopher Edson’s contract nears its end, borough officials are ramping up their search for his successor.

Last July, the borough and Edson agreed to a contract that runs through March 31, which is unusual because employment contracts typically run at least through a full fiscal year, from July until the following June.

At the time, Edson said he hadn’t submitted any intention to retire to the Police Commission or the borough.

However, Edson said last week he’s planning on leaving the position by the end of his contract.

“My contract expires March 31. So that will be my last official day of work, unless I leave earlier,” Edson said.

The borough began the process of searching for the next police chief in December by posting the job opening and description internally at the Naugatuck Police Department.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the job was posted just internally, instead of conducting a larger search, because officials felt there are a number of strong potential candidates within the department. He said three internal candidates applied for the job and interviews were expected to begin last week.

“We believe that there are several qualified internal candidates that are deserving of interviews and a chance to prove themselves. We feel that internal is the way to go in this instance. We want to encourage our officers to work hard and be rewarded for excellent work,” Hess said.

The job description included 11 qualifications for candidates, including a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in police work with a minimum of four years at the rank of lieutenant or above, and living within an 8-mile radius of the police station or be willing to relocate to Naugatuck within one year of being hired.

“I want every Naugatuck employee, whether it is in the school system, fire department, police department, or town hall, to have a real connection and feeling for Naugatuck. It doesn’t mean they have to live in Naugatuck, but there should be a real connection and passion for the town,” Hess said.

The description also states that a master’s degree in public administration, business administration or equivalent is preferred.

Hess declined to name the three candidates the borough planned to interview.

According to the department’s website, there are seven officers, aside from Edson, that hold the prerequisite rank to be chief. They are Deputy Chief Joshua Bernegger, Capt. Steven Hunt, Lt. Bryan Cammarata, Lt. Derek Vostinak, Lt. Dan Norck, Lt. Colin McAllister and Lt. Brian Newman.

Hess said if none of the internal candidates pan out for the job, the borough would have no choice but to extend the search to outside candidates.

Correction: The version of this article published in the Feb. 14 edition of the Citizen’s News identified Stephanie Savoy as the chair of the Naugatuck Police Commission. Savoy, the former chair, is still listed as chair of the commission on the borough’s website, but Ralph Roper was recently elected the commission’s chair.