Chief Brett Mahoney bids farewell to Waterford Police Department
Waterford — At 1544 hours, Chief of Police Brett Mahoney signed off his radio for the last time Friday after serving 26 years at the town's police department.
Fellow officers, community leaders and residents gathered at the Town Hall auditorium to recognize him for his achievements and celebrate his retirement.
"My heart will always be here," Mahoney said on what he described as an emotional day for him.
Mahoney, who announced his retirement Oct. 4, entered the department in 1995 as a patrol officer, was named a lieutenant in 2005 and chief of police in 2015. He also served as chairman for the town's Information Technology Committee since 2018.
Making a fresh start elsewhere, the 51-year-old said he will take a new position as deputy chief of the police department at the University of New Haven.
He said he and his family would continue to reside in Waterford, supporting the police department in any way he can.
Sitting in the front row in support of Mahoney were his wife, Michelle, and his two daughters, Marin and Clara.
Michelle Mahoney said she was proud of what her husband has done in his role as police chief and in the community. His daughters also said they were proud and Clara said she is excited to see what her father's next chapter will look like.
Interim Chief Marc Balestracci presented to Mahoney and the crowd a video featuring several employees and officers from the department who shared kind words about the chief and called him out on his sense of humor. It also featured photos of Mahoney when he was young, posed funny and interacting with kids in the community.
The police union gifted Mahoney a plaque commemorating his service and achievements, a reminder to hang in his new office and his retirement badge.
In his speech, First Selectman Rob Brule took a moment of silence to remember important Waterford figures who recently passed, former First Selectman Dan Steward, Board of Finance member Chip Jessuck and Mark Geer, before recognizing the town's sixth chief of police.
He said he would remember Mahoney as a "transformational leader" for the way he focused on ensuring and encouraging others' success.
"His main purpose was always to create a positive and valuable change, with the end goal of transforming those who worked in the Waterford Police Department," Brule said.
Since the start of his term as first selectman, Brule said he's gotten to know Mahoney really well, engaging in deep conversations and walks with him around the town's Civic Triangle Park.
The selectman thanked Mahoney for his years of service and wished him well in his new job.
State Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, who presented the chief with a state citation, said Mahoney has been an "exemplary" leader at the police department, creating a culture of community engagement and caring for the residents of the town.
Present in Waterford's police department for 25 years, Deputy Chief of Mashantucket Police Andre Parker returned to the town to see his friend retire.
Parker said Mahoney was always a good leader and he is certain Balestracci will keep the department's traditions and values going.