New Milford police beef up major crime investigations
NEW MILFORD — The Police Department is raising money to buy a new major investigations vehicle as part of a larger effort to revamp its detective division.
While officials said their detectives have always done stellar work, the addition of Lt. Jeffrey Covello, who spent more than a decade with the State Police Western District Major Crime Squad, is a unique opportunity to create a world-class division.
“It’s a phenomenal asset for us to have someone like Covello, who has a wealth of knowledge in crime-scene investigation,” said Lt. William Scribner. “There are only two officers in Connecticut who have that kind of experience, and we are lucky enough to have one in our department.”
The department hired Covello last summer, and within months he was put in charge of the detective division. During his time with the State Police, Covello worked on more than 300 death investigations, including the Anne Le homicide at Yale University and the Sandy Hook shootings.
“In my role with the state police, I had the opportunity to collaborate with the New Milford Police Department on several occasions,” Covello said. “When I heard they were looking to restructure their detective division, I jumped at the chance. I know good work when I see it, and there is a lot of good work being done by some talented people in the department.”
For more than 13 years, the department has been using a refurbished ambulance as its mobile crime-scene unit and command center.
“My ongoing vision for the agency requires modernization, training, mentoring and updating the platform that we use as our mobile command post, emergency-communications vehicle and mobile accident, crime-scene processing unit,” said Chief Shawn Boyne.
Scribner said the department is looking at a specially outfitted Ford Transit, which is expected to cost around $60,000. Within the past month alone, the department has raised $16,000 through private donations.
“Members of the community have always been wonderful supporting us in the past, and we are always asked by residents what else they can to do help the department,” Scribner said. “By raising money from the community, we felt purchasing the vehicle could be a collaborative effort.”
Scribner said Covello designed the interior of the van based on his experience in terms of what works and what doesn’t. The van will include a variety of equipment detectives would need to process a crime scene. Much of that equipment is stored in bags around the department.
Covello said knowing what to look for and properly processing a crime scene is crucial to any criminal investigation.
Besides the new vehicle, Covello said the department is working on providing advanced training in crime-scene processing including blood-spatter analysis, trajectory training and death-scene investigation.
“I’ve always said the van doesn’t process crime scenes. People process crime scenes,” Covello said.
Anyone interested in donating can call the police department at 860-355-3133. Donations are tax deductible.
CORRECTION: This article was updated at 2 p.m. Tuesday to correct the spelling of the police chief’s last name.