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Posted on: December 18, 2020

Mayor Curt Leng Announces Appointment of John Sullivan to Chief of Police

Hamden – Mayor Curt Balzano is very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. John Sullivan to the position of Police Chief for the Town of Hamden. Mr. Sullivan is currently serving as Hamdens Acting Police Chief since July 2020, following the retirement of former Chief John Cappiello. Mayor Leng announced the appointment today at 3:00pm inside the rotunda of Hamdens Memorial Town Hall, in a small, socially distanced ceremony. The Hamden Legislative Council will need to act on the appointment, per Hamden Town Charter. 

Mayor Leng remarked, Chief Sullivan is the right choice for Hamden. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated officer in John Sullivan, an officer who embraces and clearly understands both the responsibilities of his duty, but also the needs of his community. Sully”, as he is known to almost everyone, has been with Hamden for decades. His experience in community policing, internal affairs, operations direction and personnel management have culminated in the leadership roles of Acting Deputy Chief, Deputy Chief and most recently Acting Police Chief. These roles and experiences have allowed Chief Sullivan to become a student of the excellent public safety services and practices Hamden provides and keenly aware of the elements of the service that need reform and enhancement, which he has embraced and taken decisive action on. These experiences have allowed him to grow, and to craft a holistic vision for department wide community policing in Hamden, which we quite genuinely need.”

The Mayor continued, I have faith and confidence in Chief Sullivan to be the Chief that Hamden needs. Leaders across our community, from all backgrounds, have offered their support for and endorsement of Chief Sullivan and the leadership he has demonstrated. I am so greatly looking forward to working, hard with our noses to the grind, with Chief Sullivan in his new role and the command staff team approach he has developed. Our residents can always know they have a Police Chief watching out for every community, who demands equity and will continue taking action to enhance public safety.” 

Before to serving as Acting Chief, Mr. Sullivan maintained a long and distinguished career within the Hamden Police Department. Sullivan joined the Department in 1995 as a Patrolman and was steadily promoted throughout his 25+ year career, ultimately obtaining the rank of Lieutenant before being promoted to Acting Deputy Chief, and subsequently Deputy Chief and Acting Chief. Prior to selecting Sullivan for the position, Hamden had worked towards gathering community input through committee meetings lead by neighborhood leaders. Ultimately, these meetings provided guidance by identifying clearly the pillars of character that Hamden desires in its Police Chief. Mayor Leng thanks the committee, and especially Pastor Keith King, for their contributions to the process. 

Sullivan has been a proactive force in Hamden for the steady implementation of community policing programs and policies, spearheading Neighborhood Block Watch meetings, collaboration events with local businesses, public awareness campaigns and prevention measures, and Hamdens Neighborhood Initiative Unit. Sullivan plans to continue these endeavors when confirmed by the Legislative Council, with a Department focused on crime prevention and reduction through engagement and proactive policing.

Chief Sullivan commented on the announcement, “Having been a resident or an employee of Hamden my entire life, it is an honor and a privilege for me to be appointed to the position of Chief of Police for the Town of Hamden.  I would like to thank Mayor Curt Leng for having the confidence in me to take on this important and prestigious position. I look forward to going before the Legislative Council for their vote on Mayor Leng's appointment.”

Sullivan continued, “I would also like to acknowledge and thank my command staff, along with the men and women of the Hamden Police Department for their support and commitment over these past few months. Working together with all members of our community, we will continue our hard work to deliver professional police services for all Hamden residents.”

Concerning the appointment of John Sullivan, Hamden Fire Chief Gary Merwede said, “Chief Sullivan has been an invaluable partner in the delivery of public safety services since his appointment as Acting Chief.  I enjoy our working relationship and I remain extremely confident in his leadership, his commitment to the Hamden community and his unwavering professionalism. Personally, I wish him the best of luck in his new capacity as he guides the Hamden Police Department into the future.”

Ms. Kimberly Washington, Hamden Resident and President of Mothers Demand Action Against Gun Violence, also remarked, “I’ve known acting Chief Sullivan for over 15 years and throughout those 15 years, he has always been responsive to the needs of the residents and communities of Hamden. He is the type of Police Officer that puts serving the town of Hamden and its communities first and foremost. He has been a person that I can rely on to address any issues. I can say with all sincerity that he will make an excellent Chief of Police for Hamden.”

Mayor Leng is available for public comment or interview if desired, and can be reached at 203-400-4408.

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