NEW MILFORD Interim police chief named
NEW MILFORD — A state police veteran with more than 20 years of experience will take over the department once the chief’s contract expires Sunday and a permanent search begins.
Lt. Jeff Covello was sworn in as the interim chief Friday. He will replace Chief Shawn Boyne, who led the department for eight years. Sgt. Katherine Massicotte was also sworn in as acting interim lieutenant.
Mayor Pete Bass said he trusted Covello and Massicotte to lead the department and appreciated them stepping up to assume the rolls.
“I, as well as our public, feel very confident in our police department’s efforts to keep the community safe,” Bass said.
Covello, 46, of Plymouth, joined the New Milford department in 2016 after serving 22 years with state police, including a decade with the State Police Western District Major Crime Squad. During his time with state police, he investigated more than 300 death cases.
Shortly after joining the New Milford department he was promoted to oversee the detective division. He used that experience to train the department and bring skills up to a higher level.
It’s rare for a local department to handle a homicide without assistance from the state, but the New Milford officers were able to investigate the double homicide in April alone. In that case, a North Carolina man shot and killed two people in a pickup truck before turning the gun on himself.
“To have that skill-set and be able to bestow it on the workforce is rewarding,” Covello said, adding this raises the whole department.
Bass said he chose Covello to serve as interim because he had been helping to lead the department during the transition.
The new chief will be announced Monday afternoon. Bass said he has three finalists, all from Connecticut.
He expects the interim positions to be needed for about a month.
Bass told Boyne in July that he was not renewing his contract this fall. He said Boyne has been professional throughout the entire process.
Boyne could not be reached for comment.
Covello described Boyne as a friend and mentor. The two worked closely and took on extra responsibilities as the department lost people to attrition.
Five new officers started last week and are now patrolling with their training officers. The department has 48 officers, two civilian clerks and two civilian dispatchers.
Covello said he‘s been able to accomplish so much in his short time with New Milford because of all of the people in the department.
Covello comes from a family of law enforcement. His father and two brothers all worked with state police and one brother is still there. His father also instilled a desire to further his education, and Covello has earned several degrees in law enforcement.
He said this and his 28 years of law enforcement experience equip him for the job, though he acknowledged the responsibility needed to lead a department.
”I definitely can do it — but it’s a daunting task,” he said.
Covello said he visited New Milford before to investigate homicides with state police, but has enjoyed getting to know the community through his regular policing.
Massicotte, 34, of Brookfield, will celebrate her 13th year with the department Tuesday.
“I’m so excited and honored to be entrusted with this position,” she said.