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Velleca Named Chief In New Hampshire
by Paul Bass | Oct 9, 2013 2:03 pm
Posted to: Legal Writes
John Velleca is headed to New Hampshire on a mission he previously carried out in New Haven: revive and clean up a scandal-plagued law-enforcement crew.
Velleca took over New Haven’s narcotics unit in 2009 after a federal corruption bust shut it down. He rebuilt it from scratch and restored its reputation. (Read about that here.)
Velleca, who retired from New Haven’s force in December of 2011 after serving as its acting chief, has now been hired by the town Weare, N.H., to run its 16-member police force.
That police force, too, has had problems. Its previous chief resigned after the retirement of a top cop amid sexual harassment allegations, among other problems; and after his cops arrested citizens for video-recording their actions at a traffic stop. (Sound familiar?) Outrage over another former chief’s actions led voters to temporarily make the position elected rather than appointed. The town also considered having a private security firm police the city instead of a conventional police department.
The town issued a press release Wednesday stating that Velleca was chosen from among “over 50 applications and after an in-depth screening process” that produced three finalists. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to hire him. The statement praised Velleca’s “proven track record of effective management, strong leadership, and staff development at the executive level.” A New Hampshire firm called Municipal Resources, Inc. (MRI) conducted the search on behalf of the town.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of ground-level change,” Velleca, who is 44 years old, told the Independent. “We are going to be aggressive in outreach to the community. We’re going to establish a culture of integrity in the police department.
“I’m proud of my accomplishments at the New Haven police department, and am further impressed by the progress the department continues to achieve. I’m confident we that we can be just as successful in Weare.”
Another former high-ranking New Haven cop, Kenny Howell, retired and became police chief earlier last December in the town of Millbury, Mass.