Hale takes oath as chief in Ansonia
  Jean Falbo-Sosnovich, Register Correspondent   October 24, 2000

ANSONIA Sgt. Kevin J. Hale was officially sworn in Monday as the city's new chief of police.

Hale, 37, surrounded by over 100 of his friends, family members and fellow Ansonia Police Department officers inside the aldermanic chambers of City Hall, accepted the oath of office by Judge of Probate Clifford Hoyle. The Board of Aldermen unanimously voted in favor of Hale's appointment. 

"This is an exciting time," Hale said. "I have a lot of new ideas and am mostly looking forward to working with the officers ... we've got a terrific police department here." Hale said he plans to visit the city's neighborhoods in hopes of enhancing the quality of life and improving public safety. He also wants to beef up officer training and improve technology. 

Hale's appointment as chief, first recommended by Mayor Jim Della Volpe in late June, was put on hold since July due to a lawsuit filed by Lt. Michael Abbels. 

Abbels, a 20-year veteran of the force, alleged that Della Volpe relaxed the requirements for the chief's position, and favored Hale, who has 10 years experience with the department. 

A judge ruled last week that Hale's appointment was legal, and that the changes to the job description were legitimate. The city's labor counsel, Fran Teodosio, said Monday the lawsuit, however, is not over. 

"There is more to come, but it will not affect the chief's appointment," Teodosio said. 

Hale's fellow officers, including Police Union President Christopher Flynn, knew all along that Hale would become the next chief, replacing longtime Chief James McGrath. 

"It was inevitable," Flynn said. "We're very happy and good things are going to come from this promotion ... Kevin's young and full of ideas and will do a lot of good for this department." 

Flynn noted that morale will reach new highs with Hale's appointment. 

McGrath, 74, said he was happy, and a little sad, to finally be stepping down after 19 years on the job. He stayed onboard during the lawsuit, even though he had planned to begin his retirement July 15. 

"There's been nothing more satisfying to me than serving the public," McGrath said. "It was inevitable that someone like Kevin was going to rise to the top ... and the city is very, very fortunate to have a man such as him." 

McGrath said he and his wife, June, plan to relax with their 12 grandchildren and do plenty of traveling during retirement. 

Before officially signing off, McGrath managed to put in a plug for positions he said must be filled: a clerical secretary for Hale, two more sergeants and a training officer. 

Della Volpe said Hale was the best candidate for the job, and, in short, "has been a remarkably dedicated public servant." 

Hale and his wife, Carrie, have four children, Matthew, 7, Andrew, 5, and three-year old twins, Rebecca and Patrick, all who were on hand wishing their dad well.