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East Haven police chief ready to move forward

Published : Tuesday, 29 Nov 2011, 10:37 AM EST
Erin Cox

East Haven, Conn. (WTNH) - East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo announced today that Police Chief Leonard Gallo is off administrative leave and back at work.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, the mayor said Gallo was back on the job as of 9:30am Tuesday morning.

Mayor April Capone put Police Chief Leonard Gallo on paid administrative leave last year following a preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Justice investigating allegations of profiling and mistreatment of Latino residents by some East Haven police officers.

Maturo explained that "it is in the best interest of town to put Gallo back on the job in East Haven."

The Mayor said the investigation of Gallo has been a distraction and that the allegations don't ride to level for him to be on leave.

"If there is any other matter concerning the Chief or EHPD they will be faced at that particular time, but there is no reason in the world someone [would be] on administrative leave for a year and half with no charges," said Maturo.

Gallo spent the last year and a half on paid administrative leave.

Mayor Maturo also noted that he did not tell FBI he was bringing Chief Gallo back.

The FBI has been investigating Gallo following the accusations. On Nov. 17, three FBI agents , including a computer technician, visited the East Haven Police Department and gained access to Gallo's locked office.

Chief Gallo told the members of the press that he was glad to be back on the job, saying,  "It feels wonderful."

The conference came to a closed when Chief Gallo said "thank you everybody, thank you very much" and got a hug from Mayor Maturo.

East Haven's residents have mixed opinions about the top cop being back in charge.

"I think that if he did a good job, he did what he was supposed to do, than maybe he deserves to get his spot back," said Stephanie Charboneau.

"I guess he did a good job, but why not," said Louie, of East Haven.

"Just close that can of worms," said Cindy Rivera, "just let it be."

East Haven Police will hold an open house Saturday, Dec. 10 so residents can meet the Chief.

"We're going to heal up everything and go forward," said Gallo.

Fr. James Manship, Pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, released the following statement:

"It is astounding that Mayor Maturo has chosen to reinstate a police chief who presided over an institution that created a culture of impunity for harassment and abuse of Latinos. Law enforcement experts, from the Police Executive Research Forum to the United States Department of Justice, identified fundamental policy deficiencies within the East Haven Police Department under Gallo's watch. Many community members, myself included, suffered firsthand the consequences of these deficiencies.

The Department needs to change. East Haven deserves a Department that respects and protects all of its residents, not one that sticks to the failed policies of the past that eroded public confidence in the police." 




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