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Police Commission members last week approved their annual evaluation of Police Chief James Viadero, giving him high marks in the job performance review.
Commission members unanimously approved the document at their November 7 session.
“I think, across the board…we’re very pleased to have you as chief,” said Police Commission Chairman Joel Faxon. Police morale and the police department’s operations have improved, he said.
Police Commission member Dan Rosenthal said that hiring Mr Viadero as police chief “was the right thing for the town,” adding that the chief actively investigates problems that occur. “I’ve watched a turnaround at the police department,” Mr Rosenthal said.
Mr Rosenthal, who was elected to the Police Commission in 2015, was elected as the town’s first selectman in the November 7 municipal elections. He is expected to resign from the Police Commission to serve in that role.
Police officers are “very motivated” under the leadership of Chief Viadero, said commission member Brian Budd.
Following the November 7 session, Chief Viadero said he thanks both the Police Commission and the police department for their confidence in his leadership.
In the job performance review, the Police Commission found that the police chief has made staffing changes and personnel decisions that have significantly improved the police department’s morale and aided in its goal of “policing excellence.”
Also, the relationship between police management and the police union has significantly improved, according to the Police Commission.
A harmonious, goal-oriented atmosphere at the police department has substantially reduced the number of grievances filed by police, according to the commission.
Investigations of felonies have been efficient and effective, according to the commission. Serous crimes were solved, with those people responsible apprehended and appropriately charged, it adds.
Also, the chief has worked well with other town departments to efficiently address public safety issues, the commission states in the job performance review. The chief seeks grants for officer safety equipment during a time of difficult budgeting, according to the document.
Chief Viadero, who formerly served as Middlebury’s police chief and as a captain with Bridgeport Police Department, started work as Newtown’s police chief in January 2016. As the town’s top law enforcement officer, Mr Viadero replaced Michael Kehoe, who joined the police department in 1978 and took over as chief in 1999.