Shelton police welcome five officers to ranks

SHELTON — Five new police officers were sworn in Monday as the department replenishes a force that had been depleted by terminations and retirements over the past several months.

Mayor Mark Lauretti, in the City Hall auditorium, swore in John McMahon, Dominick Muoio, Michael Dinihanian, John Cannata and Timothy Greene as officers, bringing the ranks up to 49 overall.

A sixth hire has also been made, according to Chief Shawn Sequeira, but that individual will not begin until later this month, at which point another swearing in ceremony will be held.

“I’m excited for them ... excited for us as a department,” Sequeira said. “This will help us have more visibility in the community. And this is just the first wave. More hires will be made.”

These hires come after six officers were terminated — resulting from two separate internal affairs investigations — and two retired. The six terminated officers have filed grievances which have yet to be heard by the labor board.

Sequeira said while the department lost some 10 percent of the force, patrol coverage was never impacted. The arrival of the new hires, he said, will allow for opportunities for more school resource officers, expanding crime prevention programs and DEA and task force coverage.

In all, Sequeira said 77 individuals applied for department positions. The city operates under a merit system through which only people ranking in the top 10 can be hired.

All five officers come with law enforcement experience. Since these are lateral moves, Sequeira said all five can start immediately as patrol officers.

New police officers earn $64,940 a year.

Three of the new hires — Greene, Dinihanian and Muoio — were with the Bridgeport Police Department. Cannata and McMahon have worked with the Stratford Police Department.

Muoio, whose experience includes time as a Navy Seal as well as other jobs with both the Department of State and the Department of Defense, has spent the past four years as a Bridgeport officer.

Dinihanian, a graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a degree in criminal justice, has been with Bridgeport some four years.

Greene was with the Bridgeport Police Department until 2020. He presently works at Yale New Haven Hospital in the Children’s Psychiatric Inpatient Service. Sequeira said Greene remains a certified police officer through January 2022.

Cannata, who has experience as an outreach worker for community-based adolescent services, has been with the Stratford Police Department for some four years. McMahon, formerly a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, has been with Stratford for three years.

“These officers come from places that experience high crime rates, like Bridgeport and like parts of Stratford ... it is a far different job being in Shelton there then being in those places,” Lauretti said. “It is nice to have individuals with a unique perspective on police work and diversity involved in police work.”

Sequeira said the each new hire aced the application process, which ended with interviews with himself and Lauretti. Sequeira, adding that he had not met or even crossed paths with any of the new hires prior to the interview process, said each were exceptional.

“We’re happy to have them on board,” Sequeira said.

“Patrol remains the backbone of the department,” he added. “That has always remained strong. But these new guys will make the department function better in other areas. Overall, this will enhance the department and reduce crime.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com