Mayor Begins Shake-Up Of City Police Board
By DON STACOM
The Hartford Courant
2:22 PM EST, November 17, 2011
NEW BRITAIN —
Manuel Reyes, a former city police officer, will return to the police board that he served on during three previous administrations, Mayor Tim O'Brien announced Thursday.
Reyes will chair the commission that oversees operations of the city's 150-member police force. The department this year has been plagued with internal strife and a series of troubles for its top administrators.
Neither O'Brien nor Reyes referred to the agency's problems in prepared remarks that were distributed at noontime. O'Brien met with beleaguered Chief William Gagliardi soon after winning election Nov. 8, but has not publicly talked about what they discussed.
Reyes replaces Michael Wanik, an appointee of former Mayor Timothy Stewart and supporter of Gagliardi's leadership. More changes are expected in the weeks ahead. The night he was elected, O'Brien said he'd ask for the resignations of all board and commission members so his administration could decide who should return and where fresh ideas are needed.
"I have known Manny for many years and know he'll hit the ground running and he will make an ideal chair," O'Brien said. "His experience as a law enforcement official, investigator with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and knowledge of disaster response make him an enormous asset to the city."
Reyes, a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and an Air Force veteran, was the second Latino hired by the police force when he joined in 1974, according to O'Brien's staff. He served in the Army National Guard and has done background investigations for the defense department.
Reyes was first appointed to the police commission by Mayor Linda Blogowslaski and reappointed by Mayor Lucian Pawlak and later by Stewart. In 1995, he was part of the commission that endorsed William Sencio to be chief.
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