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Jenkins is Groton City's new police chief

Groton — Erick Jenkins, who has served as captain of the City of Groton Police Department and is its longest-serving officer, is the city's new police chief.

Chief Michael Spellman, who has been with the department since 2014 and chief since 2017, officially retired Friday from a more than 30-year law enforcement career.

With Jenkins' promotion to chief, Sgt. Patricia Lieteau has been promoted to captain and is the department's first female to hold that rank. Jenkins and Lieteau officially were sworn in during the mayor and City Council meeting on Monday, May 17.

Deputy Mayor Gweneviere Depot noted that Jenkins, who had been captain since 2018, helped the department get body cameras, and Depot said she's really happy to have a candidate who will provide a smooth transition.

"He served the city for so many years," she said. "He's the longest-serving police officer in the police department."

Jenkins said law enforcement has changed over the 32 years he has been with the department, "so we will continue to adapt and overcome anything that is coming our way to serve the community in the best interest that we can and keep moving forward and make the department and the city better in every shape and way we can."

"He is ready to be the chief," city Mayor Keith Hedrick said by phone. "He has the experience to be the chief, and he has the support of his staff."

"I have the utmost confidence in his ability to be the chief of police in the City of Groton," Hedrick added.

Hedrick said Jenkins has all the law enforcement credentials needed but the position description had a degree requirement, so he is being appointed as interim police chief to allow him two years to finish his degree.

First female police captain

Lieteau has served as police officer and as sergeant with the city since 2014. Hedrick said Lieteau — who served with the New London Police Department and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police before joining the City of Groton Police Department — has extensive experience.

"I am extremely pleased that for the first time in the City of Groton history, we have a woman who is second in command on the police force, and Captain Lieteau brings with her a tremendous amount of experience from other organizations," he said.

City Councilor Rashaad Carter, who is a state trooper, thanked Lieteau for her continued service. He said she brings a lot of expertise and is highly respected by the men and women of her department.

"I can't wait to see what you do and how far you go," he said.

"I've had an awesome opportunity here, and I look forward to doing the best I can here and serving the community and the great citizens of this city," Lieteau said.

An 'honor and privilege'

Spellman said it has been an "honor and privilege" to serve the City of Groton for nearly four years as police chief and said he will always have a "soft spot" in his heart for the people of the city.

Depot and Hedrick thanked Spellman for his service.

Depot said Spellman is easily approachable and residents felt comfortable asking him questions about the police department. He also has been a great advocate for the department and has saved taxpayers money by pursuing grants.

Hedrick said by phone that Spellman is going to be missed. Hedrick said he is forever grateful for what Spellman has accomplished for the city, including maintaining accreditation for the police department and moving forward with body cameras, autism awareness programs, de-escalation training, the Police and Community Together committee, continued community policing and the transition of the city police to the state radio system.

k.drelich@theday.com

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