Police Force Back At Full Strength

By John Murray

   With the addition of 33 new police officers the Waterbury Police Department now has 300 officers, a level that residents haven’t seen since 2008.

   “This is a really big deal,” Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo said.

   Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary administered the oath to the recruits and implored the new officers to follow the department’s values of honesty, honor, integrity and compassion. O’Leary told the recruits that they will work in a city of tremendous diversity and must respect different cultures and religions.

   The recruits now begin six months of rigorous training at the Waterbury Police Training facility and will be on the streets after successfully completing training.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary began his career of public service nearly forty years ago as a Waterbury police officer. He rose to the rank of police chief, retired, and was elected mayor two years later in 2011.

Taking the oath before a packed Veterans Hall in downtown Waterbury.

After watching the a grim faced battalion of recruits march into Veterans Hall,  O’Leary began his remarks by saying it’s okay to smile. “We do a lot of smiling around here,” O’Leary said.

Former Police Chief Vern Riddick worked closely with Cherrie Lamb in the Waterbury Human Resources Department to try and recruit a diverse group of officers.

After the oath Mayor O’Leary announced the recruits were now Waterbury police officers, and the audience showered the group with love and applause.