By Elio Gugliotti, Editor
NAUGATUCK — When Naugatuck Police Chief Steven Hunt started his career as a police officer almost 30 years ago, other local officers would always tell him his father, former Naugatuck Deputy Police Chief Thomas J. Hunt, was a “cop’s cop.”
“That’s probably the highest compliment you can give a police officer,” said Hunt, noting it means an officer does the job right and with integrity.
Thomas J. Hunt died May 3. He was 77 years old.
Thomas J. Hunt started his law enforcement career in 1965 — three years after graduating from Naugatuck High School — as a supernumerary police officer with the Naugatuck Police Department. He spent the next 45 years dedicating himself to the department, retiring in 2010 as deputy police chief.
“He was so proud, so proud,” Hunt said about his father. “Throughout his life family came first, then it was the Naugatuck Police Department.”
During his career, Thomas J. Hunt was chosen by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, which is now the Drug Enforcement Agency, to serve as an instructor. He also went uncover for three months as part of a narcotics operation in the Virgin Islands. He was chosen for the assignment by the attorney general of the Virgin Islands.
“For a local officer, that’s quite an accomplishment,” said Hunt, adding law enforcement wasn’t about accolades for his father, rather the job was about helping people.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Hunt’s three sons — Thomas, Ronald and Steven — all went into law enforcement careers. Thomas Hunt retired as the director of the Community Release Unit for the state Department of Corrections. Ronald Hunt retired from the Naugatuck Police Department as a detective lieutenant.
Steven Hunt said his father never wanted his sons to follow in his footsteps.
“We were so proud of him and his career, we wanted to be in the field,” he said.
He added, “To my brothers and I, he was our hero growing up.”
A statement issued by the Naugatuck Police Department commended Thomas J. Hunt for his 45 years of service to the department, “which is reflective of his dedication to Naugatuck as a life-long resident.”