Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Police Chief, Resident, Named to Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council

Chief Vernon Riddick. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the appointment of 11 members to the Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Jonathan Slifka (we-ha.com file photo)

By Ronni Newton

Membership of the state’s Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) was refreshed as of Jan. 1, 2021, and Gov. Ned Lamont has announced that two individuals with ties to West Hartford are among the 11 members.

West Hartford Police Chief Vernon Riddick, who has served on the POST Council since 2018, has been reappointed to his position. 

Riddick, who was sworn in as West Hartford’s 10th police chief in May 2018 after spending five years as chief of the Waterbury Police Department, has been a member of the POST Council since 2018.

Jonathan Slifka has been newly appointed to the POST Council, and chairs the Subcommittee on Improving Interactions with the Disability Community for the Police Accountability and Transparency Task Force.

Slifka, a lifelong West Hartford resident, currently works in the state’s Department of Aging and Disability Services. He served as the liaison to the disability community during the administration of former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

A refresh of the membership of the POST Council was a requirement following the passage of the Police Accountability Bill by the state legislature in special session last summer. The council is a division of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which oversees training and certification of police officers as well as a mandatory police department accreditation program.

“The POST Council performs the critical task of holding all police officers and departments in Connecticut to the highest standards of public service,” Lamont said in a statement. “I am grateful to the outgoing council members for their years of important service to the state, and grateful to those who have volunteered to serve today. I am confident they will continue the important and complementary work of equipping officers for success, ensuring individual and community safety, and ending systemic discrimination in our criminal justice system.”

“The law enforcement landscape has changed, presenting many new directions and challenges for the POST Council,” Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella said in a statement. “This refreshed group of appointees represents many new respected experts, leaders, and broad perspectives. We look forward to cooperatively addressing the many law enforcement issues that will ultimately make our state a safer place for all.”

In addition to Riddick and Slifka, the following individuals have been appointed to the POST Council by the governor:

  • Keith Mello of Hamden as chair. Chief Mello has served as an officer in Milford since 1981 and as the police chief of the city since 2004. In addition to having served as chair of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, he has been a member of the POST Council since 2013 and has served as its chair since 2017.
  • Michael Freda of North Haven. First Selectman Freda has served as the chief elected official for the Town of North Haven since 2009. He has served on the POST Council since 2013.
  • Douglas Glanville of Bloomfield. Glanville works as a baseball analyst for ESPN and has been an advocate for racial and economic equity. He has served on the council since 2016.
  • Mike Lawlor of New Haven. Lawlor served as a state representative for East Haven from 1986 to 2011, and as chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2011. From 2011 to 2019, he was the Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning at the Office of Policy and Management. Currently, he works as an associate professor in the criminal justice department at the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences.
  • Patricia Rehmer of New Britain. Rehmer served as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services from 2009 to 2015. She is currently the president of Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network.
  • Roberto Rosado of Windham. Chief Rosado served as an officer in Willimantic from 1998 to 2020, as the police chief from 2016 to 2020, and became the police chief of Meriden in June 2020.
  • Fernando Spagnolo of Watertown. Chief Spagnolo has served as an officer in Waterbury since 1992 and as the police chief since 2018.
  • Jim Viadero of Newtown. Chief Viadero served as an officer in Bridgeport from 1985 to 2014, as the police chief of Middlebury from 2014 to 2015, and as the police chief of Newtown since 2016. He has served on the POST Council since 2018.
  • Ellen Zoppo-Sassu of Bristol. Mayor Zoppo-Sassu has served as the chief elected official for the City of Bristol since 2017.

Council membership also includes ex-officio members, including Commissioner Rovella, Commanding Officer of the Connecticut State Police Academy Lieutenant Mark Davison, Chief State’s Attorney Rich Colangelo, and FBI Special Agent in Charge David Sundberg, as well as appointees of legislative leaders.

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