There are a few new faces in law enforcement around town.
Middlefield has been assigned new resident state troopers and Durham has gained a summer shift trooper.
Resident state troopers are members of Troop F in Westbrook.
The troopers formerly assigned to Middlefield and Rockfall were replaced in April. Brendan Rea retired and Timothy Kendrick was transferred to a Major Crime Unit, according to Connecticut State Police officials.
Troopers James Bria and Alexander Cintron took over, with Bria on day shift and Cintron covering evenings.
Bria, 32, graduated from the police academy in 2014 and is a former Comcast lineman.
A desire to help people brought Bria to law enforcement, he said.
“Right now I’m more than happy where I am,” he said. “I think this is a great town.”
As the daytime trooper, Bria is a visible face in the community, on duty when businesses are open and people are out and about.
“When you’re the resident trooper and you work in a town, you’re the community contact,” Bria said Monday.
That helps foster community policing, he said, which is knowing people and creating a rapport, versus reactive policing when officers show up when something bad happens.
“It’s something I can work on as opposed to just arresting people,” he said.
Middlefield lies in the northwest corner of Troop F’s territory. There’s a patrol trooper on duty assigned to the whole district, but it’s Durham’s resident state trooper, Larry Morello, whom he works with most closely.
“It’s a partnership,” Bria said. “We have to work together because our towns are so joined at the hip… We have different concerns up here than Durham does, but our communities are still very much linked.”
Cintron, 29, majored in psychology and cognitive science at the University of Connecticut and worked at Rushford in Middletown as case manager.
He graduated from the police academy five years ago, and said he found overlap in the two areas of work.
“Especially in today’s world,” Cintron said, “we don’t have a lot of mental health places and rehab places, so (police are) usually the folks that go out and respond and try to deal with those issues.”
He said he finds a difference between being in a big city or on patrol, with lots of people coming and going, and being able to get to know a community.
“When you’re the face (of local police), people are going to come to you with issues and want you to give your best to look into them,” he said.
It requires being more than just the random officer responding to a call.
“I think that’s a challenge, I think it’s a good challenge,” he said. “Once you can do that well, you can find success in a town such as Middlefield.”
Meanwhile in Durham, Trooper Mark Hesseltine began as summer shift trooper earlier this month.
Hesseltine’s salary was included in Durham’s latest budget.
A summer shift trooper provides Regional School District 13 with an option to employ the trooper as a school resource officer during the school year.
The Board of Education has not decided whether they want an SRO or entered into a memorandum of understanding with the state.