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As Segarra Picks Police Chief, Some Question The Process

By Jeff Cohen

July 06, 2012

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra says that a months-long public process has produced three finalists for police chief. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Segarra also says he may still choose someone else.

The city has an acting police chief. His name is James Rovella. And his name isn't on the list of three finalists for the permanent police chief job. Why?

"He's not a candidate, because he didn't actually apply."

That's Jared Kupiec, Segarra's chief of staff. Rovella told the Hartford Courant that he didn't because he didn't want anyone to question his motives while on the job as acting chief. So, he's not a candidate. And that means Segarra won't consider him to be the next chief, right?

Not so much.

"If, after the public presentations on Monday and further deliberation and conversation with the finalists, he determines that (Acting) Chief Rovella is the most capable person to move the department forward, then he will appoint (Acting) Chief Rovella as the permanent police chief."

The city has committed to spend $50,000 to hire a consultant and conduct a national search for the job. Locally, there was a committee to help vet the candidates. Hyacinth Yennie was on it.

"Honey, I got to let you know, this is all a facade and we did not need to have to go through all of this."

For the record, Yennie thinks Rovella is the best guy for the job.

"So we waste all that money trying to find somebody who might be out there, or may not be out there, while we have somebody. All we need to do is give him the power to do his job...To be honest with you, I call it a sham."

Shawn Wooden is the city council president. He says that while Rovella has support in some areas of the community, it's unfortunate that the acting chief didn't participate in the vetting process if he is in fact being considered.

"Certainly, if someone is selected outside of that process, it does raise questions with respect to the process...I've already heard from people within the community, some who are happy and believe that (Acting) Chief Rovella will be appointed, and some that are unhappy because they believe the process was not a real one."

Segarra will announce his choice in the coming days.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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