Board appoints new deputy police chief

Lt. Colin McAllister of the Naugatuck Police Department, left, and Cheshire Officer Kevin Zaksewicz, right, both members of the Naugatuck Valley Collision Investigation Team, show off a new laser mapping instrument last June at the Naugatuck Police Department. McAllister was recently appointed Naugatuck’s deputy police chief. –REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN ARCHIVES

NAUGATUCK — The construction of a new leadership hierarchy at the Naugatuck Police Department continued in May with the appointment of the borough’s next deputy chief.

The Board of Police Commissioners voted, 4 to 2, during a special meeting May 23 to appoint Lt. C. Colin McAllister as deputy chief.

Board Chairman Ralph Roper Jr. said in a subsequent email that the commission vetted two, highly-qualified candidates and felt McAllister was the best one to fill the role.

“We look forward to him working with our new chief (Steven Hunt) in leading the department into the future,” Roper said. “Colin is committed to the chief’s vision of implementing community policing programs into the department. He understands that his role is to support the chief, is fiscally responsible and has a great deal of experience in labor relations having served as union president.”

McAllister, a 34-year-old Middlebury resident, started his career as a police officer with the Southbury Police Department in 2005. He joined the Naugatuck Police Department in 2008, working his way up the ranks to become a lieutenant and commander of the third shift in 2018.

“I’ve been humbled that the borough has placed its confidence in me to take on the additional responsibilities and role,” McAllister said. “I’m looking forward to working to advance the department and the community.”

McAllister has a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from Boston University and a Master of Science in criminal justice leadership from Northeastern University, according to his resume. He’s also earned certificates from the University of New Haven, Henry Lee School of Forensics and the School of Police Staff and Command at Northwestern University. He’s working on a Master of Public Administration in emergency management from Post University.

Hunt said McAllister is well-educated and has a great deal of experience as a supervisor and patrol officer.

“He’s a really smart guy who shares the same vision for our department that I do, so we’ll work well together,” Hunt said.

McAllister’s deputy chief contract was under negotiations as of last week. After the contract is finalized, he will officially be sworn in.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess and commissioner Joanne Allison voted against the appointment, according to the minutes of the meeting. Hess favored Naugatuck police Lt. Brian Newman, the other candidate for the job.

“Colin McAllister is an excellent addition to our management team at the Naugatuck Police Department. I am very excited that he has decided to move to Naugatuck, but I remain disappointed that we are losing an excellent, passionate lieutenant in Brian Newman. I wish Brain all the best,” Hess said in a subsequent interview.

Newman, who has been with the department for 21 years and oversees the Detective Division, submitted his retirement letter to the borough five days after the vote to appoint McAllister. In the letter, Newman wrote that he anticipates his last day will be July 12.

“I would like to thank the town for bestowing their faith and trust in me to perform this important function, and wish everyone the best of luck with their new endeavors,” Newman wrote. “I will forever (be) grateful for the experiences and opportunities I have had with my employment at the Naugatuck Police Department.”

Hunt said Newman’s retirement is a big loss for the department. Hunt said Newman conducted a lot of training with the officers. He hopes the officers take it to heart to carry on the example Newman set.

“He has a wealth of experience,” Hunt said. “He’s deeply committed to the community, and it’s going to be a big void for us to fill.”

The deputy chief appointment continues a year of change at the police department. Former Police Chief Christopher Edson retired in early March and the commission appointed Hunt, who was the department’s captain, as chief. Former Deputy Chief Joshua Bernegger subsequently resigned to take a job with the Watertown Police Department, leaving that role vacant until McAllister’s appointment.

With McAllister’s promotion and Newman’s impending retirement, that leaves two lieutenant positions and the captain position to fill in the department’s Administrative Division.

Hunt said the department is in the process of testing candidates within the department to promote. He expected to have a list of candidates to present to the commission within the next couple of weeks.