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Ansonia police commission to discuss police search Wednesday

December 31, 2018

ANSONIA — The city’s five-member police commission will start the search for both an interim and permanent police chief when they meet Wednesday.

’It’s been such a long time since the commission has had to do something like this that we will need to discuss the procedures and process to follow,” said Michael Rinaldi, a commission member and retired Monroe police lieutenant.

The meeting is set for 5 p.m. in city hall.

Chief Kevin Hale’s announcemed late Friday that he is retiring Feb. 15 after serving 18 years as the chief and 29 years as a department member.

The city currently has three police lieutenants — Andrew Cota, Patrick Lynch and Wayne Williams — all of whom are expected to be considered for the interim chief position.

Cota’s father, also named Andrew, served as police chief in Derby.

The commission will begin with an organizational meeting and elect officers from among Rinaldi, Paul Heon, Ann Marie Pitney, Bruce Goldson Sr. and John Tar, a Greenwich police sergeant who is a new member.

“That was a real surprise to me,” Mayor David Cassetti said Monday of Hale’s retirement. “I thought he was all geared up to work on the renovation of the new police station downtown. He dropped a bombshell on us.”

The city is putting together bid requirements for work that will transform a portion of the 85,000 square foot former Farrel corporate headquarters on 65 Main St. into a new police headquarters. It is expected that bids will be solicited in February.

Plans call for the department to be on the top floor and use 28,000 square feet. Already, the city has begun removing ceiling tiles from all three floors to allow the eventual contractor access to electrical wiring.

Sheila O’Malley, the city’s economic development director, said she anticipates the renovation will be completed this summer.

The 45-member department has been headquartered in the crowded 122-year-old Larkin School for the past several decades.

Hale, the son of the late Lester Hale, who served from 1967-69 as the city’s mayor, and whose brother is former State Sen. Gary Hale, has a job lined up in the private sector, sources said.

“Police officers truly know when its time to retire,” said Rinaldi, a retired Monroe police lieutenant who is now a field representative with the New England State Police Information Association. “You’ve got to do what’s best for you and your family.”

Rinaldi said he was one of Hale’s instructors at the Connecticut Police Academy.

The 56-year-old Hale is a lifelong city resident. He and his wife are the parents of four children. Their three sons are all members of the U.S. military with two serving in the Army and the third in the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I think he has done a tremendous job as chief and I’m thankful for his years of service to our city,” Cassetti said.

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