NAUGATUCK — Six borough police officers will be promoted next week to fill vacancies left by former colleagues who have retired in recent months.
“It’s an entirely new command structure that’s being put in place,” said Joshua Bernegger, deputy chief of the Naugatuck Police Department. “It’s going to be an exciting change, and I have full faith and confidence in everyone that’s being promoted, that they’re going to do their job well and move this department forward.”
Lt. Todd Brouillette, who has headed the detective bureau for the last 15 years, will assume the rank of captain, which places him in charge of the patrol division. He will be responsible for 40 patrol officers, five sergeants and three lieutenants, as well as the borough’s animal control facility. He replaces Capt. Jeremiah Scully, who took the borough’s early retirement deal and left in February.
“I feel great,” said Brouillette, a 25-year veteran of the department. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to work with the administration and make some positive changes.”
Sergeants Brian Newman and Bryan Cammarata will be promoted to lieutenant and Lt. Gregory Dean will take over the detective bureau, Bernegger said. Officers Derek Poundstone, John Hutt and Peter Bosco will become sergeants, taking over for Newman, Cammarata and former Sgt. Laura Harrison.
The promotions were announced at the Police Commission meeting Tuesday, but they will take effect June 27 after a swearing-in ceremony, Bernegger said. Under the police union contract, the promotions were awarded after oral interviews, written examinations and a “performance score” calculated from factors such as seniority, disciplinary actions, education and sick time.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a deal with the police union last year that gave eight officers incentives to retire early in exchange for a defined contribution pension plan for new hires. Those early retirements, which began last November, contributed to the turnover within the department, but officers have also recently retired or resigned outside of the early retirement program.
Only two officers in the early retirement program are still working. Training officer Theron Johnson will retire July 3 and Det. Marcus Jacoboski will assume his duties, Bernegger said. A replacement will have to be found for Lt. Robert Harrison when he retires at the end of the year.
To fill in the ladder’s bottom rungs, the borough has hired five new patrolmen who are in the state police academy now and two who will start next month, Bernegger said.
“There’s no question that we are very short on personnel right now, but that does not translate to fewer officers on the street,” Bernegger said.
The police department still has to staff each shift at minimum levels outlined in the contract, and has been paying overtime to fill vacancies, Bernegger said. Some officers that had been assigned to state and federal task forces were recalled to keep overtime low, Bernegger said.
Steven Smith, chair of the Police Commission, said overtime increased about $15,000 from April to May, but he did not have last year’s figures for comparison.
“Summer overtime always goes up, and this looks like a typical summer spike,” Smith said. “I would anticipate that the shortage of officers would cause some overtime, but the department is trying to mitigate that.”