New chief named in the borough

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Commission promotes captain to police department’s top spot

Naugatuck police Capt. Steven Hunt is pictured at the Naugatuck Police Department on Wednesday. Hunt has been named Naugatuck’s next police chief. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Starting next month, there will be a new police chief in the borough.

The Police Commission Tuesday night unanimously approved promoting Capt. Steven Hunt to become the next chief for the Naugatuck Police Department.

“I look forward to working with you and making our department even better than it is,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess, who sits on the commission, told Hunt during the meeting.

In a subsequent interview, Hunt, a 45-year-old Naugatuck native, said he was honored to be named chief.

“I’m extremely humbled by this,” Hunt said.

The commission chose Hunt as the new chief after an internal job posting produced three candidates, who were interviewed earlier this month, from within the department for the position. The borough didn’t perform a wider search.

“I am very happy that we made a decision to go internally. We had great candidates. I was very happy with everyone who participated,” Hess said.

Hunt will replace Police Chief Christopher Edson, whose last day with the department will be March 2. Hunt will take over as chief on March 3.

“That eliminates the need to name an interim chief,” Police Commission Chairman Ralph Roper said.

The borough hired Edson as chief in 2007. Last July, the borough and Edson agreed to a contract that runs through March 31. The borough began its search for his successor in December.

Edson announced his intention to retire as police chief in a Feb. 15 letter to Hess and Roper.

Edson was not at the commission meeting Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.

Hess said officials are working to finalize the details of Hunt’s contract as chief. Hunt is expected to be sworn in during a ceremony in early March.

Hunt has worked as a police officer for 24 years, the first six in Waterbury and the rest in Naugatuck. He was promoted to captain in 2014.

Hunt said becoming chief has been a dream of his since he was young.

“It’s been a lifelong goal of mine since I was a kid,” Hunt said.

Hunt said he became a police officer because of his father, Thomas Hunt, who served as an officer for 45 years and retired from the Naugatuck Police Department as deputy chief.

“I always admired him. He was my hero,” Hunt said.

Hunt lives in Naugatuck with his wife Johnna Hunt, who is the principal of Hillside Intermediate School. They have three daughters: Taylor, Jordyn and Sydney.

“We are both very committed to Naugatuck. We love Naugatuck,” Hunt said.

During the meeting, Commissioner Stephanie Savoy thanked Edson and Deputy Chief Joshua Bernegger, who submitted his resignation Thursday and is taking a job with the Watertown Police Department, for their service to Naugatuck.

“Their service over the last 12 years really transformed this department. The members of this department are incredible, but their leadership really took this department from one level and brought it to the next,” Savoy said.

Savoy also wished Hunt luck as he takes the reins of the department.

“New Chief Hunt, your success will be the borough’s success. I wish you the very best,” Savoy said.

Roper said Hunt will help move the department in the right direction.

“I think we still have a lot to go and a lot to grow. You are the guy I think can definitely take us to that next level,” Roper said.