Things may get a little confusing within the walls of the Naugatuck Police Department as there will now have two people who answer to the name Lieutenant Hunt.
Ronald Hunt, the brother of Lt. Steven Hunt, was also promoted to lieutenant recently. The promotion is another accolade in the storied history of the Hunt family at the Naugatuck Police Department. The Hunts’ father, Thomas Hunt, retired as deputy chief a few years ago.
Hunt's promotion from detective sergeant to lieutenant also is part of a changing of the guard, so to speak, within the rank and file at the NPD. After the borough offered early retirement incentives to officers two years ago, eight of them signed on and two others retired in the traditional manner. The final person to retire among the bunch did so on Dec. 31, when Lt. Robert Harrison, the department’s longtime spokesman, called it a career. The Board of Mayor and Burgesses recently approved Harrison’s pension: he will get $87,000 a year based on the police union contract, which pays 75 percent of an officer’s best three years.
Naugatuck Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi said Naugatuck lost a strong member of its emergency services crew when Harrison retired.
“He did so much good for this community,” she said. “I congratulate the guys who have been promoted as they are deserving. Still, we will miss those who have retired.”
Burgess Laurie Taf Jackson, burgess liasion to the police department, said Harrison worked closely with the Naugatuck Housing Authority to improve living conditions for seniors and was an asset to the borough.
Ronald Hunt’s lieutenant promotion fills the void of Harrison’s departure, while Lt. Bryan Cammarata has become the department spokesman.
The department has back filled all positions but still has a few vacancies left. There are about 300 applications already and Naugatuck is accepting them through the end of the month.
While losing hundreds of years of police experience is not ideal for a police department of roughly 60 members, there is also the exciting reality that it creates new opportunities within the department.
“I think we have a good core and strong leaders who will be able to mentor the young guys,” said Lt. Ronald Hunt.
Lt. Cammarata told the Republican-American that he worked under Hunt as a rookie officer.
“Ronnie’s a very capable person,” Cammarata told the paper. “Very knowledgeable, very caring of the people who worked for him.”
Capt. Todd Brouillette, who also was promoted after the retirement of former Capt. Jeremiah Scully, said officers are put through a solid and rigorous field training program where supervisors mentor them for a minimum of 12 weeks before they are eligible to go on their own.
“It’s a new time here at the PD with a lot of young and fresh faces,” Brouillette said. “They are eager to learn, and I do think they will be up for the challenge they will be facing.”
Harrison, 49, who is now spending time on his family farm in Southbury and considering another job in law enforcement, said a job in the Naugatuck Police Department is a great career.
"It's bittersweet. It was time for me to retire, but there is a big part of me that is going to miss it," he said. "I have no regrets as far as ever coming to the community. The borough has been nothing but good to me. It offered me a lot of opportunities for professional growth. But there comes a time when you have to go and let the next crew take over."