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Former Hartford police chief picked for public safety job

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s governor-elect has chosen retired Hartford Police Chief James Rovella to be next commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Gov.-elect Ned Lamont also announced Friday he’s selected Regina Rush-Kittle as deputy commissioner of the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Stavros Mellekas as the state police colonel. All three have lengthy law enforcement backgrounds.

Rovella retired from the Hartford Police this year. He started his career as a patrol officer with the department before serving 12 years with the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, where he eventually became chief inspector.

A release from the Lamont transition team said Rovella thanked the Governor-elect and quoted him as saying “My decades in public safety have been guided by a commitment to building trust between law enforcement personnel and the local communities in which they serve. That priority will remain a focus as I work to make this state a safer home for all of our residents.”

Rovella started as a patrol officer, then became a detective with the Hartford Police Department. Rovella then served 12 years for the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, where he eventually became Chief Inspector and oversaw all Medicaid fraud, financial, and statewide criminal cases for the state’s chief law enforcement officer. In 2012, Rovella returned to Hartford to become its Chief of Police. Rovella was recognized by President Obama and the White House for strengthening community relations in Hartford.

Rush-Kittle served 28 years with the Connecticut State Police. She also served 30 years in military reserves and received a Bronze Star.

Mellekas has served nearly 25 years with the Connecticut State Police.

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