Citing an “anomaly” with his retirement, Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Reuben Bradford informed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy early this week that he would be retiring in February.
Bradford has served for the past three years as the head of the state agency that includes homeland security and the state police. He was the state’s first African American public safety director and an early appointment by Malloy, who announced his decision to appoint Bradford just before taking office.
A press release from Malloy’s office praised Bradford’s efforts over the past three years.
“Commissioner Bradford did an exceptional job of leading the state’s first responders through a period where they were tested time and time again,” Malloy said.
In a letter to Malloy dated Monday, Bradford cites a problem with his retirement. The issue to which he was referring was not immediately clear Thursday.
“After learning of an anomaly with my retirement and much soul searching, I reluctantly tender my resignation effective February 1, 2014. When I accepted your gracious offer to serve as Commissioner almost three years ago, I did so knowing there was a shelf life to the position,” Bradford wrote.
In his resignation letter, Bradford urged Malloy to keep his department’s current leadership intact after he leaves. He asks Malloy to consider leaving State Police Col. Danny Stebbins in his role as the top state police official and keeping William Shea on as deputy commissioner of his department.
“As you have mentioned on numerous occasions ‘change is hard’ and maintaining the momentum we have established with the State Police in the area of consolidated dispatch, and with [emergency management and homeland security] on school safety and storm mitigation is extremely important,” he wrote.
The consolidation of state police dispatch centers Bradford mentioned has been a controversial effort over the past few years and is an issue lawmakers may look into during the next legislative session.
Last year, members of the Connecticut State Police Union took a symbolic vote of no confidence in Bradford and Stebbins in large part because of the consolidation of the dispatch functions throughout the state. The union recently held press conferences in Colchester and Danielson to announce objections to the continued merger of the centers from 12 statewide to five.
While union officials and some lawmakers argue the consolidations delay state police response times and hurt public safety, the agency has argued that the consolidations are needed to maximize efficiency within the department and to save the state money.
In his resignation letter, Bradford also asked Malloy to ensure the state bonds money to complete the dispatch consolidation effort. He also asked the governor to maintain his agency’s other priorities, like hiring more state troopers and 13 more civilian dispatchers. He said many state cops could be retiring soon.
“Approximately 300 sworn personnel will be eligible for retirement at the end of 2014. Additionally, considerable agency resources have been expended to produce eligible candidates for a CSP training class in the spring of 2014,” he wrote.
Bradford also makes a personal request of Malloy, asking him to consider nominating Steven Spellman, his chief of staff and legislative liaison, as a judge.
“Steven has been a loyal and trusted confidant during my tenure as commissioner . . . He has also taken on the most challenging assignments of our legal affairs unit and performed flawlessly,” Bradford wrote.
Bradford spent more than 20 years as a state trooper and worked as the head of security for the National Football League before returning to state service as commissioner.