NAUGATUCK — For the past 15 years, Naugatuck police Det. Sean Simpson has played an instrumental role in almost every major case the department has investigated.
From drugs to motorcycle gangs and murders, Simpson has been one of the main men behind the scenes, working sources to develop leads and take down criminals.
Now, after two decades as a Naugatuck officer, Simpson is calling it a career.
Simpson, 44, worked his last official day in Naugatuck on Jan. 3. He has given 20 years to the Naugatuck Police Department. Per a new department policy, he is able to retire after 20 years with an annual pension worth 70 percent of his best three years worked. The pension review board has to officially approve his pension, so his exact pension figures could not be calculated as of press time.
The department has lost a large number of veteran police officers over the past three years. The borough offered early retirement to some employees and gave officers more retirement incentives to retire after 20 years, rather than 25.
Lt. Bryan Cammarata, department spokesman, said Naugatuck has been able to lure many qualified applicants, but said it is hard to replace experience.
“Someone like Sean has built a rapport with informants over a number of years; he has built a trust with them over years and years, and that’s obviously not something you are going to attain overnight,” Cammarata said.
Simpson was one of the lead organizers of the “Operation Save Our Streets” undercover effort in June 2006, in which police rounded up dozens of suspected drug dealers in Naugatuck. It was one way in which the department tried to combat a drug problem that had claimed the lives of at least 10 local young people in the matter of a few years. Simpson and several other officers won a New England police award for that program.
Capt. Todd Brouillette, former head of the detective bureau, said Simpson was one who never said no to a work assignment and always gave 110 percent effort.
While there has been much turnover among department brass, especially in the detective bureau, Brouillette said he is comfortable with the changes.
“The chief started a program some time ago where patrolmen rotate in and out of the bureau to give them a taste of what it’s like and to give the supervisors a chance to see how they work,” he said. “That seems to be working well.”
Lt. Gregory Dean, current detective bureau head, said Simpson is tough to replace because he worked hard and knew his job well.
“At the same time, though, I think the guys we have in the bureau now are doing an excellent job,” Dean said. “I’m excited about the staff we have.”