Department History

Newington Police

Always There When You Need Us


In 1934, at the first Town Meeting, Constables were elected and a constabulary form of policing was established.

In 1934, there were 7 Constables and 1 Commissioner. Constables were paid $3 for an arrest that resulted in a verdict of guilty.

Constables - 1934

Constables 1934

Left to Right: John Walsh, Frank Chapman, Arthur Olesen, Mayne Pittsinger, Leslie Hale, William Halleran, Harold Whitney, John Kurtz


At a special Town Meeting on August 28, 1947, a Police Commission was established.

In 1947 Previously functioning as a constabulary, the Newington Police Department was established on August 28th, during a special town meeting held in the high school auditorium. Harold H. Whitney, Leslie N Hale, and Edward Ahlberg, were elected Newington’s first Police Commissioners. William E Halleran, was appointed Newington’s first Chief of Police. In addition, Andrew J. McCusker, Jr., Frederick Callahan, Jr., and Joseph M. Simichak, became Newington’s first Police Officers. The population of Newington was 5,449. The department operated one vehicle 24 hours a day and was equipped with a two-way radio operating through the Hartford Police Department.

During the early years the department maintained a fleet of 2 police cars. Patrols consisted of 1 cruiser assigned to a 24 hour patrol, and an additional cruiser assigned to a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. shift.


On May 29, 1965, Newington’s 1st Chief of Police, William E Halleran died.

Chief Halleran

On June 18, 1965, Andrew J. McCusker was appointed Newington’s 2nd Chief of Police.  On October 10, 1967, Chief McCusker retired from the department.  In January of 1965 the department’s first K-9 Unit was established by Chief Halleran.  Officer Robert Schatz and "Beau"  worked 1900 to 0300. Dog was trained by Hartford PD.  Officer William Cotter added a second dog "Ringo" as a public relations assignment and the department preformed many demonstrations for the public schools system and civic organizations.

Chief McCusker


On February 27, 1968, Philip R. Lincoln became Newington’s 3rd Chief of Police.

Chief Lincoln


In 1971, the Newington Police Department moved from the old Town Hall on Main Street into their new quarters on the ground floor of the new Town Hall (the renovated old High School).  With an estimated population of 26,000 citizens the department handled 655 motor vehicle accidents and investigated 1,469 criminal offenses.

Old Police Facility on Main Street

Old Police Facility on Main Street

In 1972 the department consisted of 38 full time sworn officers, 4 civilian, 14 supernumerary officers and 30 school crossing guards.

In 1973 the department joined the Statewide Information Access System. This computer system allowed the officers to obtain motor vehicle data within seconds.

In 1974 a federal grant allowed the department to hire a civilian court liaison and share the costs with the towns of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield. This was a new concept to the region and represents the first regional representation in the State Court system and the first civilian female to act in that capacity. This program enabled each town to return a sworn officer to police duty.

In 1975 Captain Paul Palmquist retired and the rank has not been filled since.

In 1978 the department management information system reveals that a crime is reported on average of every 4 hours and a call for service is received every 30 minutes.


In 1980 the department saw an increase in crimes of violence. These offenses, although small in number seem to point to a more violent future. Executive protection assistance was provided to the United States Secret Service and the Connecticut State Police during visits to Newington by President James Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy.

In 1981, Chief Lincoln resigned from the Newington Police Department to become the Chief of Police in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Thomas G. Ganley is sworn in as Newington’s fourth Police Chief. The squad system and formal in-service training programs are instituted in the department. The Community Outreach Unit is formulated as a result of the need to consolidate police services for juveniles and youth and to centralize the responsibility of public programming.

Chief Ganley

In 1982 the department establishes a formal system of personnel evaluations. The department’s Auxiliary Unit is disbanded and the Newington Police Reserves is formed.

In 1983 officers become qualified in advanced first aid and become the first responders in town.

In 1985 the department installs its first Intoximeter system which is a breath analyzer that measures the blood alcohol content of a subject when he or she blows into it. The sample is documented for court purposes.

In 1986 the Officer Friendly Program is stated in the elementary schools. The department also installs a new communications system into the dispatch center.

In 1987 the department installs an enhanced E-911 phone system which tracks emergency calls on a viewing screen, enabling dispatchers to retain the source of the call even if disconnected. The Department mobilized for Hurricane Gloria. On September 27 the full brunt of the storm hit Newington. All leave was canceled for department members and the department activated its emergency plan placing all officers on 12 hour shifts. Officers responded to many wires and trees down along with other emergencies. The Town Hall lost power and telephone systems during the storm.


In 1990, the department’s Emergency Response Team is formed as a result of a hostage incident where 2 people were shot. The team was selected from departmental members and consisted of 8 officers. The first Commander was Lt. William Cotter. The Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) Program was instituted at all five of the town’s grammar schools.

Emergency Response Team Old Picture With Ambulance 1990s

In 1991 the department acquired a second radio frequency for emergency communications.

In 1992 the department continued with National Accreditation on a full time basis for the first time.

In 1993, the Newington Police Department handled 3,634 criminal offenses, of which 1,717 were solved.

In 1994, Chief Thomas Ganley retires and Lt. Richard A. Klett is sworn in as Newington 5th Chief of Police.

The department consisted of 41 full time officers, 5 dispatchers, 1 animal control officer, and 5.5 civilian employees. The department installed a redundant radio system, which enables the dispatch center to be evacuated if necessary and operate all communications systems from Fire Company 1 on Main Street.

Chief Klett

In 1995 the department became part of the Mid-State Narcotics Task Force. The Task Force consisted of Berlin, Cromwell, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield police departments.

In 1995 the department K-9 unit was formulated and assigned to the Patrol Division as a support unit. Officer Alberto Higuera continued the K-9 program as the department’s handler with his German Shepard "Erst."

In 1996 a foot patrol was established in the center of town to provide positive interaction with the community. The department also added bike patrols to enhance the community oriented policing model.

In 1997 the department celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In 1999 the Monnier Training Room was dedicated in memory of the late Police Commissioner William Nottingham Monnier, Sr. The department was thankful for the generosity of Laura Monnier (wife) for funding the new carpeting, desks, chairs, room renovations, and audio and visual equipment. Later that year the department held its first Citizens Academy in the training facility.  

In 1999 the department received a grant (with six other towns) for the purchase of the Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) System and Records Management System (RMS) for the department. This upgraded computer system allowed the department to better track crime and calls for service.


Chief Richard Klett retires and Lieutenant Nicholas Miano is appointed Acting Chief of Police while the Town completes its selection process for Chief of Police.

Officer Ciara McDermott is assigned to the Newington High School as Newington’s first School Resource Officer (SRO) under a four year federal grant.

Detective Anthony Casasanta completes his K-9 training of "Kia" as a drug sniffing dog that was assigned to the Detective Division.

Officer Brendan Moon completed his K-9 training of "Kubo," a German Shepard, and was assigned to the Patrol Division.

The Newington Police Department consisted of 43 full time sworn officers, 6 dispatchers, 5.5 clerks and 1 supernumerary officer.

2001 to 2002 a new trunk radio system was brought on line that consolidated all radio communications through one system town wide. The system included all town departments and allowed inter-departmental communications for the first time.


In 2002, Chief Richard C. Mulhall was sworn in as Newington’s 6th Chief of Police. The Department consisted on 43 sworn officers, 6 dispatchers, 1 animal control officer and 5.5 civilian employees.

Chief Richard C. Mulhal

In 2002 the Police Department Renovation/Expansion Project Building Committee was formed.

In 2002 a 44th officer is added to the department to create a Community Services Unit. Officer John DiNardi was appointed the first Community Service Officer (CSO).

In 2002 the department accepted delivery of its new Computer Aided Dispatching System, Records Management System, and Field Reporting System (mobile data computers).


  • The department was awarded a Department of Transportation grant for increased traffic safety on the Berlin Turnpike. The grant was for three years and totaled $160,000. This allowed the department to add extra patrols during the summer season. The enforcement efforts of the offices involved in the Program had an immediate positive effect on calming the traffic issues.
  • Town residents voted to approve a new police facility.
  • The department fleet began the conversion to traditional black and white patrol vehicles. A motorcycle unit was also added.
  • The department conducted a review of the animal control program took place and the Town’s dog pound was closed and the boarding of animals was contacted out to Connecticut K-9 in Newington.
  • The department joined the Capital Region Chiefs of Police in agreeing to pool its Homeland Security funding and begin taking larger issues such as radio communications/interoperability, equipping, enhancing and coordinating the seven regional SWAT units and the development of shared information systems.


  • On December 30, 2004 Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery lost his life in the line of duty. He had responded to a domestic disturbance and was ambushed.  MPO Lavery was the first officer killed in the line of duty.
  • The department received a grant from the State Department of Transportation for two Ford Expeditions vehicles for DUI enforcement.
  • The department commits a sergeant and a detective to work full time on narcotic investigations as part of the Mid-State Narcotics Task Force (MSNTF). Rocky Hill Police Department also supplies a full time detective to the unit. The unit began operation from Newington PD. This is the first time a set of full time officers began to attack the local drug problem.
  • In October of 2005, the new Police Facility was officially opened and dedicated. The building was named "The Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery Law Enforcement Center" in his honor.

New Building

On September 1st, 2004 a ground breaking ceremony took place for the new police department.

The finishing touches are done on the new police department in August 2005. The building was completed and occupied in September 2005.

The new police department facility was officially named on October 15, 2005 in memory of Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery who was slain in the line of duty of December 30, 2004.


  • SRO Ciara McDermott was tragically killed in a murder/suicide incident at her home.
  • The department added a second Community Services Officer.
  • The department received a Department of Transportation grant for $36,000 for the purchase of a motorcycle and red light enforcement.
  • The department received upgraded ballistic helmets, communications equipment and other specialized equipment for its SWAT unit from Homeland Security Grants.
  • Wethersfield Police Department added a fulltime officer to the Mid-Sate Narcotics Unit. This brought the total number of full time officers assigned to the Task Force to four.


  • The department adds one sworn officer and a 7th Public Safety Dispatcher to the system.
  • The department took delivery of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). This allows the department to submit scanned fingerprints directly to the State Police and FBI for identification and wanted person checks. This system now allows responses in minutes rather than months.
  • Berlin Police Department adds a full time officer to the Mid-State Narcotics Unit bringing the unit’s strength to 5 full time officers. The unit was moved to Wethersfield PD in 2006.
  • Sergeant John Johnson was promoted to Lieutenant and Brendan Moon and Jason Saccente were promoted to Sergeant.
  • The AFIS fingerprint system was integrated into the department’s Records Management System.
  • The department added one officer bringing the total number of employees to 46 sworn officers, 7 full time dispatchers, 1 animal control officer, and 5.5 civilian employees.

The Newington Police Department consists of 47 full-time police officers and 13.5 civilian employees. Our officers maintain around-the-clock uniformed service to the community through marked patrol and community services deployment. Our commitment to the community is to preserve peace and public order, prevent and detect crime, apprehend offenders, and protect persons and property under the laws of the State of Connecticut and the ordinances of the Town of Newington. Our mission statement is:

“To protect and serve.”


The Newington Police Department consists of 48 full-time police officers and 13.5 civilian employees. Our officers maintain around-the-clock uniformed service to the community through marked patrol and community services deployment. Our commitment to the community is to preserve peace and public order, prevent and detect crime, apprehend offenders, and protect persons and property under the laws of the State of Connecticut and the ordinances of the Town of Newington. Our mission statement is:


The Newington Police Department consists of 51 full time police officers and 13.5 civilian employees. Officers maintain 24 hour uniformed service to the community in marked patrol vehicles and community services deployment. The department’s commitment to the community is to preserve peace and public order, prevent and detect crime, apprehend offenders, and protect persons and property under the laws of the State of Connecticut and the ordinances of the Town of Newington.