The Shelton Police Department has welcomed three new officers who bring with them a wealth of experience.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, with police Chief Shawn Sequeira at his side Tuesday, Feb. 4, swore in Kevin Stratton, Carlos Vinhais and Richard Van Tine, all retired state troopers with more than 20 years in law enforcement.

This brings the Shelton police force to 54 members, and Sequeira said the experience of these new hires brings a new level of flexibility to his staff.

“I have worked with all of them when I was with the state police,” said Sequeira. “All of these guys come with 25 years of experience each. They are versatile. The biggest misconception with the state police is that they are just highway patrol. These guys have been troopers, detectives, different ranks.

“They are fine additions to the department,” added the chief.

Stratton comes to the Shelton department after 23 years with the state police. Stratton said he had worked with Sequeira in state police major crimes, so when he had the chance to join the city’s force, it was an “easy decision.”

Vinhais started on the job in 1984 as corrections officer, then moved to the state police in 1994. He started in Troop G before moving to the state police traffic services, where he stayed for 21 years until his retirement in October.

“I grew up in the Stratford, Shelton area … I have always known Shelton,” said Vinhais, who owns rental properties in the city. “I am part of the community, so when I saw the opportunity, it was the right move for me. I enjoy law enforcement, which is why I came here.”

Van Tine was a state trooper for 25 years, assigned to the bureau of special investigations and handled cases dealing with narcotics, auto theft and public corruption.

“I excited to come here,” said Van Tine, a 22-year Shelton resident and Marine Corps veteran who served in the Gulf War. “This is my hometown. My kids go to school here. I’m invested in Shelton. This was a natural next step for me.”

Each new officer said they would serve in any capacity the chief sees fit, and Sequeira said their experience allows the department’s administration team to use them to fill any gap, from patrol to school resource officer, detective to instruction.

"The best thing about them is we can put them anywhere … they are trained in all aspects,” said Sequeira. “They have a background in the community, either having lived or worked in Shelton.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com