Milford names new police chief
The Milford Board of Selectmen announced that Michael Viola will replace Chief Fred Douglas, who retired on Friday after 34 years with the town. Viola will start work Aug. 1. In the meantime, Capt. Chris Nervik is serving as acting police chief.
According to a press statement from selectmen, Viola comes from a law enforcement family and began his career in 1989 as a patrol officer in Fort Myers.
In Fort Myers, a city of over 62,000 on the west coast of Florida's peninsula, Viola worked his way up through the ranks to become captain of administration, supervising 45 civilian staff members, three uniformed police officers, and overseeing everything from communications to hiring and recruitment to the department's computer systems.
Prior to becoming captain of administration, Viola served for four years as captain of operations, where he was in charge of supervising five lieutenants, 132 sworn officers, and eight civilians staff members.
While serving in this capacity, he was responsible for all patrol-related activities as well as specialized units ranging from community policing to the violent crimes task force, along with the department's marine unit and public housing unit.
In 2011, Viola received his master's degree in administration from Barry University. He received his bachelor's degree from Barry in 2004 in public administration. He's also a graduate of the FBI National Academy, according to the release.
Viola, his wife Holly, and their five sons will be leaving Florida and moving to Milford over next few weeks.
Town Administrator Guy Scaife said last week the new chief was chosen from a pool of 23 applicants. The board decided on Viola because of his extensive and varied experience.
“His experience and his background make him an excellent fit for Milford,” said Gary Daniels, chairman of selectmen. “He has a strong focus on wanting to get connected with the community, to get to know people, and I think that's what we need.”
Daniels said it's hard to replace a man like Douglas, who has been part of the community for so long, but he has faith that Viola will work to keep the morale of the department high while he settles in.