Weare goes to New Haven to find new police chief
John Velleca, a 20-year veteran of the police department in New Haven, Conn., has been hired to replace Chief Gregory Begin, who retired in May. Velleca, who lives in Durham, Conn., left college to began his career with the New Haven Police Department in 1992 and steadily climbed his way up through the ranks.
The new chief’s experience didn’t happen in the classroom but on the streets of New Haven, a tough city that taught him how to face the challenges of being a patrol officer, an investigator and an administrator for the 550-person department. He served as chief of detectives as well as assistant chief before retiring from the force in 2011.
“They need a cop as their chief,” said Velleca. “There’s a lot of frustration up there, but I bring both a fresh perspective and experience.”
Velleca will be moving to New Hampshire soon instead of trying to make a two-hour commute, but isn’t sure what his official start date is. He will be in Weare on Monday evening to meet members of the community and to be officially named chief of police, according to Thomas Clow, chairman of the board of selectmen.
Municipal Resources Inc. was hired in June to conduct the search for a new chief after Begin retired, and vetted more than 50 applicants to narrow the field to the top three, said Clow. The top candidates participated in two interviews in September, and in the end, Velleca had the right mix of experience and temperament to lead Weare’s department, Clow said. The board voted unanimously to hire Valleca.
“We still need to negotiate his contract and set a start date, but we’ll be doing that soon.”