Crowd Attends Chief’s Swearing In


** The Swearing in can be viewed on Cable Channel 96 until 10 am on Tuesday morning. It lasts about 7 minutes.**

There’s a new chief in town.

A crowd of about 150 residents endured 90 degree heat as Neil O’Leary raised his right hand in taking the oath of office on the front steps of the police department Monday afternoon. Mayor Thomas G. Dunn and the new Acting Chief vowed to confront the police department’s troubles head on. “It is no secret that we have many problems within the Police Department. Many of these problems are old and have developed over time. The fact is that the nature of these problems have caused people to lose confidence in this department and when you lose confidence, you start to lose respect. And without respect, we undermine the affectiveness of the police department.” The Mayor then noted the new direction he wants the depatment and introduced the new Chief to the Crowd. Town Attorney Bryan Tynan officiated the oath.

“We have identified those issues, and if there’s more out there, we will identify them. But more importantly, we will fix the poblems. We will acknowledge the problem, we will get to the root of the problems, and then identify the measures necessary to fix the problems,” said Neil O’Leary.

Flanked by officers from Wolcott, Waterbury, Watertown and other area departments, O’Leary noted the ties he wants to bind the department to the community. As Chief in Waterbury, O’Leary put heavy emphasis on a concept called community policing. This often involves officers meeting with local neighborhood and community groups on a regular basis. It involves police visibility and approachability. One of his legacies in Waterbury was the enhancement of the Police Athletic League. He grew the organization from a couple hundred yongersters to more than a couple thousand with dozens of volunteers. PAL acquired a gymnasium on Division St. and a old school building which will be used as an academic facility. During the month of August, officers in Waterbury are going door-to-door asking residents about quality of life issues.

Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura noted the cooperation leaders between towns when dealing with public safety. “Whatever we can do… we’re in partnership as one whenever anyone tries to harm someone -we’re there to back each other up. I know you will be well served just as we were well served with Chief O’Leary.” Jarjura worked with O’Leary for years until O’Leary retired three months ago from Waterbury’s Department.

After taking the oath of office, O’Leary faced the Wolcott officers before him, noting their loyalty to the town they work in. “There are many dedicated and proffessional officers in this department. I believe that these officers have the motivation and ability to bring the department in the direction that the mayor and I would like to take it.”

He concluded by reminding the crowd of a vision he shares with Mayor Dunn in moving the Department forward. “There is a perception – that there is a disconnect between the Police Department and the community. I will promise you one thing – there will be NO disconnect between the department and this community in the future. My first and foremost goal is to reconnect the Department with the community. To earn the respect it so deserves and to serve the community which these officers are so willing to do. ”

Chiefs from the Fire Department, Ambulance, Town Councilmen, Board of Education leaders, Superintendant Macary, Rep. Mazurek, former mayor Ed Wilensky, and other community leaders past and present were in attendance.

Many Waterbury officers, including Acting Superintendant Gugliotti were in attendance to see their old boss off to his new job. Most of the crowd and officers then walked to Frisbee School to meet the Chief personally over refreshements.

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