NEWINGTON â€“ Three of the townâ€™s top-ranking, longtime police officers retired at the start of the year and were honored for their service by elected officials this week.
Sgt. William Jordan, Sgt. Jason Saccente and Sgt. Kenneth Oâ€™Brien received proclamations from the Town Council at its first regular meeting of 2021, held virtually Tuesday night.
â€śWith these three sergeants retiring, Newington loses a lot of knowledge, experience and dedication to our town,â€ť Majority Leader Tim Manke said. â€śI hope we can replace these three gentlemen.â€ť
Jordan has met many community members over the course of his 20 years of service in Newington, including 14 years leading the departmentâ€™s Stuff-a-Cruiser Toy and Gift Drive to benefit Newington Human Services. Jordan, who also served on the townâ€™s Youth-Adult Council and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), received many awards and commendations and was praised for his unwavering enthusiasm.
â€śThe community and I are very thankful thereâ€™s people like you who years ago decided to enter this profession and for 20-plus years continue putting on that uniform and coming to work,â€ť Deputy Mayor Gail Budrejko told Jordan.
â€śWhen they see an officer in uniform some people get nervous or scared, but you were always so approachable,â€ť Mayor Beth DelBuono added. â€śWhen you had that uniform on, your whole personality really shined through.â€ť
Councilor Mitch Page said his four children remembered Jordan in his capacity as a School Resource Officer, calling him â€śa fantastic human being.â€ť
Jordan was grateful for the recognition and thanked town officials for providing the department with necessary equipment to do their jobs safely.
â€śItâ€™s been a real honor and a privilege to work for the Town of Newington,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™ll always consider Newington home.â€ť
Saccente was hired as a Newington police officer in 1999 and served in many different roles over the last 24-plus years. He too received lots of awards and commendations from Newington Police and law enforcement agencies across the region.
â€śI appreciate all that Sgt. Saccente has done for our town,â€ť Manke said. â€śI wish him well in his retirement.â€ť
Oâ€™Brien has been a Newington police officer since 1997, serving in several capacities. Heâ€™s also been recognized with awards over the years, and was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2010.
â€śThank you, Sgt. Oâ€™Brien, for running toward danger when most of us are running the opposite way,â€ť Councilor Mitch Page told him.
Councilor Michael Camillo said he hoped the honorees would continue in law enforcement in some way, adding, â€śYou have awfully-big shoes to fill.â€ť
â€śThank you very much for all the kind words,â€ť Oâ€™Brien said. â€śIt was an honor and privilege to serve all the people of Newington. Iâ€™ll miss the town; Iâ€™ll miss the people I worked with.â€ť
In what has been described as â€śa historic police exodus,â€ť officer departures have surged on a nationwide scale the last few years, especially in major cities. A June 2021 article by the New York Times indicated that nationally, police retirements were up by 45% from April 2020-21 and resignations were up by 18% in that same time frame.
The Newington Police Department is currently hiring entry-level and certified police officers. Visit newingtonct.gov/2271/careers to find out more.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.