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Article Published July 8, 2020

Let’s Not Ruin It

By Phil Sengle

At a June 17 Clinton Town Council meeting, former first selectman Christine Goupil proposed a proclamation against discrimination that she hoped the council would approve. Chairman Chris Aniskovich did not place this on the agenda, feeling more thought and input was needed. This matter was thoroughly reported on in the June 25 Harbor News. Some counseled me to not get involved, but then where is the discussion?

First, the vast majority of Clinton, I believe, is against discrimination in any form, so the issue is what should a proclamation proclaim? My major concern is the condemnation of all police by those with the megaphones. We are painting the good with the same brush because of the bad actions of a tiny minority. Every organizational barrel, if large enough, has a few bad apples. But do we throw out the baby with the bath water? No, we change the water. Or in this case we find a way to remove the bad apples.

So what about the Clinton Police Department (CPD)? Having served on the police commission for seven-plus years, attended more than 100 commission and related meetings and participated in many hiring interviews, I do have a sense of CPD. Meeting after meeting letters would arrive praising officers for various actions, their professionalism and acts of kindness beyond their normal duties. This is community policing at its best.

How did CPD get here? First, the best officers were hired. Then we gave them great leadership. The commission hired Vincent DeMaio as chief in 2016. CPD has been climbing ever since. Most agree he is the best modern chief CPD has ever had. He is dedicated to good policing every day and makes sure it stays that way. CPD morale is good, so let’s not ruin it with thoughtless, broad-brush implications.

Phil Sengle
Clinton