James J. Heavey, a 25-year Greenwich Police veteran, was sworn in as the department's 17th chief during a ceremony that featured departmental pomp and circumstance and family.
Heavey, 50, told more than 200 people assembled in front of police headquarters that he "will do my best" as he leads the department into an "intelligence-based policing" strategy. "The big thing is that we will keep community policing but I want to give them the tools, get the technology to work smarter, not harder," Heavey explained after the ceremony.
He also said that he believes in promotion from within the department, creating a succession plan. "I want to make it a hard job for them (the Board of Selectmen) to pick a replacement for me." His plans include establishing a performance review and operational review program for all officers.
Heavey said he also would like to give graduates of the Citizens Police Academy the opportunity to become more involved in town by working with a Community Emergency Response Team and with the department's animal control division.
The 45-minute ceremony in front police headquarters was capped with Heavey announcing that his promotion will produce a series of departmental promotions. Come February, the department will have a new sergeant, lieutenant, captain and deputy chief, Heavey said.
Heavey was named chief in September, just three months after he was named deputy chief. He succeeds David Ridberg who retired Oct. 31. The Glenville resident was appointed a police officer in 1986, after working several years as a police dispatcher and special police officer
After being sworn in by First Selectman Peter Tesei, who also serves as the town's police commissioner, Heavey thanked the selectmen and his family for their support. In addition to his wife Kia and their children Anna and Jamie, there was a large Heavey family presence attending the ceremony. "I have 79 cousins, aunts and uncles here," Heavey said. One cousin, Michael Heavey, traveled from Ireland for the swearing in.
"I am in awe of the officers who work every day. I have the easy job. They have the hard job," Heavey added.