In front of a large contingent from the Middletown Police Department, the common council unanimously approved hiring Michael Timbro as deputy police chief at Monday night’s meeting. Timbro is a lifelong city resident and has served in the police department for 18 years. In his question and answer session with council members, Timbro emphasized again and again that the police department will be successful only if there is stability at the top of it.
He gave an eloquent response when Councilman Thomas Serra asked why he wanted to be deputy police chief and about Timbro’s goals for the department.
“What you see is what you get with me,” he stated. I am going to tell you the truth, not what you want to hear. I have 18 years of experience and bring a knowledge and understanding of the city to the job. I would like to see the police department have stability at the top and look forward to leading that effort. I love this city and department and want to make a difference for both.”
Timbro has experience as a supervisor in the patrol, detective and street crime divisions, and was a swat team leader. He became a lieutenant in 2006 and was named an acting captain in late 2011.
The police department has a permanent chief and deputy chief for the first time since 2009, when former Chef Lynn Baldoni retired. Then-Deputy Chief Patrick McMahon was chosen to replace Baldoni, and served in the role until he was placed on administrative leave in 2011. McMahon was fired in 2012 after an investigation determined that he was drinking alcohol when wearing his gun and badge.
The council reacted by hiring Chief William McKenna in May. McKenna made it clear that his first goal was to put a permanent command staff in place, and then promote from within to fill additional supervisory positions.
McKenna and members of the council praised Timbro’s leadership abilities and continually commended his skills in handling financial and budgetary matters.
“Michael Timbro will keep the city’s best interests at heart,” said McKenna when endorsing Timbro for the job. “He demonstrated great crisis ability as a captain and showed very creative thinking with our fiscal budget and allowed the department to do more with less. I would have been nowhere near as effective this last 15 months without his daily help.”
“I watched you grow in every position you took on,” said Council Republican Minority Leader Phillip Pessina, who is a former
deputy chef with the Middletown Police Department. “You were dedicated in every single unit. I see how you and Chief McKenna work effectively as a team, and I know the statements you’ve made tonight come from the heart. Please take care of my family. You have my complete support, and I am very proud of you.”
You’re a known quantity for all of this and I am proud to be supporting your appointment,” said Councilman Gerald Daley. “I am impressed by the show of support you have gotten from your fellow officers tonight. I get the sense that there is a team atmosphere in the department that I haven’t seen in a while. The citizens will be the beneficiaries of this.”
Councilwoman Mary Bartolotta asked Timbro what he would do to change the culture of the department.
“The culture has to change from the top,” Timbro stated. “We haven’t had direction at the top for a while. We have to update the rules and regulations so that officers are completely aware of them, and establish firm policy and procedures.”
Timbro also answered a question about how community policing could be improved within the department.
“We need to get line officers more directly involved in the community,” he answered. “Our community has evolved over time, and there needs to be more of a connection at the basic level.”
Timbro was chosen as Mayor Dan Drew’s nominee for the position in January. He will be paid roughly $121,000 a year.