Back in 1981, when moustaches were the rage, two young Branford detectives took a minute to pose for a photo. Detectives Bill Carroll (at left in photo) and John DeCarlo were good friends.
DeCarlo went on to get his PH.D in criminal justice, became the chief of the Branford Police Department and joined the professorial ranks at the University of New Haven.
Carroll went on to become the chief of detectives. Overall he had an extraordinary run at the Branford police department, where he supervised homicide, drug and organized crime investigations. When he retired on April 12, it was nearly 44 years to the day that he joined the police force. That day was April 14, 1969.
Carrroll told the Eagle he wanted to retire quietly. He told his colleagues at the department the same thing. But a few colleagues, former and current, came by to wish him well. Police Chief Kevin Halloran was one of them.
“I believe Bill worked just as hard on his last day of work as he did on his first,” the chief told the Eagle. “His loyalty and tenacious work ethic focused on solving crimes, along with a genuine concern for the victims of crime and the Branford community has gained him the respect of law enforcement professionals, citizens and even criminals. We will miss him and his institutional knowledge, but I am confident that he has developed one of the best detective divisions that will be able to carry on the tradition of excellence.”
DeCarlo, who worked at his side for years, said he knew Carroll wanted a low-keyed exit. DeCarlo described Carroll as his most important mentor.
“Bill Carroll, more than any other police officer I have known, exemplified what it is to be a hard-working, smart and ethical cop,” he said. “Bill and I served together as detectives and I learned a tremendous amount about the investigative process of policing from him. More than that, Bill taught by example what is was to never give up. He was indefatigable when he was on an investigation and set the bar in the use fairness and investigative technique. Whether he was working a homicide or a less serious case, Bill gave the same dedication and focus and had a deep conviction in the pursuit of justice and bringing criminals to account.”
Carroll’s retirement comes as the Branford police department undergoes “a huge transformation,” Chief Halloran said in an interview. In the last year, nine officers retired or left the force and another nine were hired. In a force of 50 officers, “that’s a lot,” Halloran said. Next year, a minimum of 9 more officers will be eligible for retirement, including those holding the top positions in the police department, some of whom are already eligible.
When an officer retires, another moves up. This is the new norm at the Branford Police Department.
The new chief of detectives will be Art Kohloff, (pictured) who joined the Branford PD on July 1, 1984, and has risen through the ranks over nearly 29 years of service.
Kohloff is now a lieutenant. Over the years he has held a number of positions, including patrol commander.
This month Sgt. Kris A. Hormuth became the first woman in the department to achieve the rank of lieutenant. As a lieutenant she becomes the agency’s first female commander overseeing the evening patrol shift.
Hormuth was also the department’s first female sergeant, a position she took on May 5, 2008. She was assigned as a patrol shift supervisor and stayed in that role until she recently took the lieutenant’s test, passed it and was soon promoted.
She came to the Branford police department on July 16, 1994. Hormuth, an Indiana native, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern Indiana and served in the Connecticut National Guard.
Detective Ron Washington is also retiring in June at the end of the school year. He has worked as the police department’s point person for the Branford schools for years. Officer Art Ferris will replace him; right now he and Washington are training together on a daily basis.
Like Kohloff, the new chief of detectives, Washington started his career at the police department on July 1, 1984. So did Sgt. Gary Verni. Now Verni and Washington will both retire at the end of June. Moving up into the rank of sergeant is Officer Jeffrey Beno.