MERIDEN — Deputy Police Chief Timothy Topulos retired from the department Friday after 35 years with the city.
Topulos has been the department’s second-in-command since 2008 and was recently responsible for leading a lengthy, arduous process to obtain state accreditation.
“I am truly satisfied with the direction of my career and very grateful to those who have provided me with opportunities to achieve my fullest potential,” Topulos wrote in an email Monday. “I have lived out a boyhood dream to protect and serve my community as a police officer.”
Topulos, 56, said he decided “it was time to pass the torch to the next generation of leadership.” His retirement came a little more than a month after the departure of former chief Jeffry Cossette, whom Topulos served under for 12 years.
“I know that the Meriden Police Department is in very good hands under the leadership of Chief Rosado and his very capable Command Staff. They are all truly dedicated people,” Topulos wrote.
Topulos started his law enforcement career with the East Haven Police Department in 1984, and transferred to Meriden as a patrol officer in 1985. He held a number of posts while rising up the ranks to deputy chief, including patrol officer, training officer, sergeant, investigator in the Internal Affairs Unit, lieutenant and captain.
He said he’ll miss the everyday challenges of the job and having an opportunity to make a difference.
“Sure, bringing the bad guy to justice was rewarding too, but knowing that someone’s life had been positively impacted because of what I did or could do for them, meant more to me,” Topulos wrote in the email.
Police Chief Roberto Rosado said Topulos’ retirement is a “huge loss.”
“Any time you lose 35 years of experience, it’s a lot of knowledge that we’re losing here at the Police Department,” he said.
Rosado said Topulos agreed to stay on after Cossette retired June 30 to help him transition. Rosado, a city native, worked in the Willimantic Police Department for 22 years, including four as chief, before coming to Meriden.
“It was a tremendous help. He’s helped me kind of understand the way we operate here in the city internally,” Rosado said, adding he also had the luxury of being able to “bounce things off of” Topulos when the city saw a spike in gun violence last month.
Rosado said he wants to move quickly to fill the vacancy. He plans to exclusively post the position internally and promote from within.
Rosado also wants to internally promote someone to fill a second deputy chief position that the department is budgeted for but hasn’t filled since Mark Walerysiak left in early 2019.
Cossette created the second deputy position a few years back by eliminating a sergeant position. At the time, he said the second deputy position would allow someone to oversee daily operations and free up Topulos to work on the accreditation process.
After Walerysiak left, city councilors debated whether to give Cossette funding to hire a replacement when putting together the 2019-20 budget before voting 9 to 3 to provide the funding for a second deputy chief.
Like his predecessor, Rosado also wants to have two deputies — one to focus on accreditation and another to focus on operations. Even though the department just received state accreditation, Rosado said the new police accountability bill recently signed into law may require the department to also receive a separate accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
“We might have to start that entire process all over again, which is timely and requires funding,” Rosado said. “I need someone dedicated to that, and having a deputy chief that could do that and not be interrupted with the daily operations of the Police Department will allow that individual to focus on (accreditation).”
Rosado hopes to fill both positions at the same time.
“I think if we move forward with two right away, we can move the department in the way we want to,” he said.