Monroe Police Commission prepares for first chief search in 24 years

MONROE, CT — John Salvatore is retiring as the town’s police chief after a 23-year-run, so it’s been quite a while since the job description has been updated. While preparing to search for Salvatore’s successor, the Monroe Police Commission is working on a document to make the description more relevant to the current needs of the department.

Daniel Hunsberger, the commission secretary, said the last search was conducted in August of 1997. First Selectman Ken Kellogg and Human Resources Director Craig Hirsch are also involved in updating the job description, which must be approved by the Town Council.

The opening may be posted internally first, to see if any of Monroe officers ranked as lieutenant or higher, with a minimum of five years experience, are interested in applying.

“We have multiple candidates for chief,” said Commissioner David Geismar. “I believe in this police department. That’s not to say someone from the outside would be bad. When you have somebody the union supports … I think it would be good to have a qualified candidate in-house.”

During the Police Commission’s meeting last week, Salvatore, whose last day is Feb. 25, suggested starting the search process in January.

Instead of voting to approve a draft of the chief’s job description at that meeting, some commissioners first wanted to have more input in the process.

“I saw more deletions than additions in here,” Commissioner Edward Deak Jr. said. “I think we should discuss this before sending it to the Town Council.”

Deak said he would like to see advertisements from other police departments who posted for their chief position, to discuss deletions and additions to Monroe’s job description document, and to see where other towns are posting descriptions for candidates.

“There needs to be a process and that process takes time,” said Commissioner Ronald L. Villani. “You don’t do it overnight.”

Villani and Deak was involved in the last chief search when Salvatore was hired in 1998. Villani said commissioners have to hire the best candidate for the job and the public has to know they did their due diligence.

“Let’s get the process in place, then the candidates, and not put the cart before the horse,” he said.

The commission agreed to have a special meeting on Jan. 5, where members will discuss the job description in executive session.

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