Rodrigues happy to return to Shelton PD as deputy chief

SHELTON — A familiar face has returned to be police Chief’s Shawn Sequeira’s second in command.

George Rodrigues, a 26-year member of the Shelton police force before retiring as a lieutenant two years ago, was named the department’s deputy chief Monday. A formal swearing-in ceremony has not yet been held, but Rodrigues is already on the job.

“He started today,” said Sequeira on Monday. “George is open-minded and will work with anyone. He prides himself on doing the right thing.”

Rodrigues said he “retired too early,” and he missed the job, so when the deputy chief position opened, he jumped at the chance.

“I still have a lot to bring to the table,” said Rodrigues. “I missed law enforcement ... I missed serving the people of this city. I feel lucky to be back. I am grateful to the chief and the mayor for giving the opportunity. I am home.”

Sequeira said Rodrigues returns knowing most of the personnel as well as being versed in virtually every aspect of the department’s operations, from training to traffic, arbitration to disciplinary processes.

“He was basically the No. 2 guy,” said Sequeira, who credited Rodrigues for supporting him as an outsider brought in as chief some five years ago. “He oversaw every division in the department. He was also instrumental in the accreditation process when I first arrived.”

Rodrigues said one of his primary roles will be helping establish partnerships between the police department and the community — something he says is “needed, especially today.”

The deputy chief position, which has remained unfilled during Sequeira’s five years, earns $115,000, according to Sequeira.

Rodrigues, a Shelton resident, also returns during what has become a contentious relationship between the chief and police union leadership sparked most recently by the closing of the lower level locker rooms and bathrooms and placement of portable toilets in the parking lot as an option for officers.

“Communication is important,” said Rodrigues about dealing with union members, most of whom he knows well from his days with the force. “We will sit down with the union ... we have to move forward, and that will be my role — to resolve issues and create a win-win for the union and the city.”

A union spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Sequeira said Rodrigues was among seven individuals he interviewed for the deputy chief post.

“They were all great candidates … their education, their knowledge … but George just stood out as the most well-rounded candidate. His training, his experience, his knowledge of the Shelton police department … all made him the right choice,” said Sequeira. “And we worked well together. He is the perfect fit.”