The Meriden Police Department has a new leader, and we wish him well.
As of July 1, Chief Roberto Rosado, who is leaving as chief of the Willimantic Police Department, will be taking over from retiring Chief Jeffry Cossette.
Whenever the top leadership of an organization changes, there can be complications, and a period of adjustment is normal. This time, the transition will be even more complicated as the nation, state and city face the reality that some basic elements of police work are under reconsideration in the wake of the storm of protests over the recent deaths of black citizens at the hands of police officers.
In consequence, reassessing the role of the police — and police culture in general, and how officers are recruited, trained and disciplined — has risen to the top of the agenda in Washington, Hartford, and locally.
We trust, however, that Meriden’s Police Chief Search Committee has done its due diligence in selecting Rosado, a Meriden native, out of 44 applicants. Deputy Mayor Michael Cardona, who chairs the City Council Public Safety Committee and sat on the search committee, said Rosado's experience and his Meriden roots were among the qualities that ultimately led to his selection.
“Being a Meriden native was important,” Cardona said. “That does bring a unique level of perspective, having grown up in the city.”
That’s not enough, of course. But “Rosado has a passion for increasing diversity and improving relations with all community members,” City Manager Tim Coon said in a statement, and “has had extensive involvement in community outreach programs ...”
“It's something I'm looking forward to, to help the department grow and diversify,” Rosado said. “It's something I did in Willimantic.”
Whenever a new police chief is to be hired, the question arises of whether to bring someone in from the outside, who knows little or nothing about the local issues and personalities (“a new broom sweeps clean”), or to promote someone from within, who may know too much (“don’t rock the boat”). Meriden has tried both approaches, not always with great success.
But this is a new day, and Rosado can be seen as both an outsider and a native son.
We look forward to seeing the city rally around and work together to make his administration a success.