Shelton Police Department swears in 2 new hires; Academy training starts Thursday

From left, Mayor Mark Lauretti swears in two new recruits to the Shelton Police Department, Steve Kernstock and Lonnie Blackwell, at Shelton City Hall in Shelton, Conn. April 13, 2021. They are seen here with Police Chief Shawn Sequeira, right.

From left, Mayor Mark Lauretti swears in two new recruits to the Shelton Police Department, Steve Kernstock and Lonnie Blackwell, at Shelton City Hall in Shelton, Conn. April 13, 2021. They are seen here with Police Chief Shawn Sequeira, right.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — The city’s police force continues to grow.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, with Police Chief Shawn Sequeira at his side, swore in two new entry-level hires — Steven Kernstock and Lonnie Blackwell Jr. — at City Hall Tuesday.

Both candidates will begin their training at the Milford Police Academy on Thursday.

“These are great candidates,” Sequeira said. “We are excited to have them join the department. We really feel they will fit in well based on their backgrounds.”

The salary for an entry-level officer in Shelton is $61,000, with an increase to between $64,000 and $66,000 once their training is complete and they are officially hitting the streets in the city, according to Sequeira. The pair should be ready for duty in some eight months, the chief said.

These hires bring the department to 51 members.

The department has also posted for certified candidates, and the chief says that “many individuals have applied for the lateral testing process.”

“That doesn’t mean ‘need,’” Sequeira said about the roster size. “We would want another six, but we are making adjustments all the time.”

Kernstock, a 2011 graduate from Fairfield Warde High School, was a member of the United States Air Force from 2011-16, where he was honorably discharged.

He attended Sacred Heart University, graduating with a degree in criminal justice. Kernstock is currently enlisted in the Connecticut Air National Guard as Aircraft Fuel Systems Craftsman. He holds the rank of an E6 Technical Sergeant.

Blackwell graduated from Notre Dame of West Haven, then attended Southern Connecticut State University where he received an undergraduate and then a masters degree in exercise science.

During his time at SCSU, Blackwell was a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach. He also interned as the Yale strength and conditioning coach.

The pair will spend some seven months at the police academy then 12 weeks of on-field training before officially joining the force.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com