Nearly 40 Middletown police officers, most in full uniform, gathered in the department's community room Wednesday to support Capt. William McKenna, 41, who was named acting chief.
For six months, McKenna has been deputy chief of the department, moving up after Deputy Chief Patrick McMahon was promoted to acting chief. On Monday, , placed him on a 30-day paid administrative leave and for chief after McMahon admitted to drinking alcohol while in uniform.
“Regardless of the circumstances that brought us here today, I am honored to accept the position,” McKenna said stoically. Thanking Mayor Giuliano, the 16½-year officer pledged, “I will not let him down, nor the city, nor the members of this department.”
Reporters were told no questions about McMahon would be answered. McKenna said the internal police investigation into the former acting chief's conduct had not yet begun.
Also Monday, Giuliano called for an internal police investigation into McMahon's actions. The mayor also withdrew his support of a Nov. 8 ballot initiative asking voters to approve McMahon's confirmation as chief. However, the city's attorney, Timothy Lynch, told town clerk Sandra Russo-Driska Tuesday the question should remain on the ballot.
McKenna acknowledged the events of the past few days had left both he and the officers and staff in a whirlwind, but he looked forward to focusing on moving the department forward.
Calling himself a “lifelong resident and stakeholder in this community,” McKenna said he graduated from Xavier High School, then received a bachelor of arts degree from Western Connecticut State University in business administration with a concentration in human resource management.
As deputy chief, he ran the police department for eight weeks this past spring when McMahon attended the FBI Academy in Virginia.
“I have a commitment to this city and its residents and most of all, the 100-plus sworn officers of this department as well as the 30-plus civilian staff,” he said.
“But it’s not about me, it’s about the men and women of this department who come to work every day and put on the Middletown Police uniform,” McKenna said.