MERIDEN — The police department gained a new K9 and three officers were able to attend executive leadership training after receiving scholarships and funding from a local foundation.
The J. Allen Lamb & Edward Pocock III Foundation recently covered the cost for three members of the police department to attend an executive leadership training course in Louisville, Kentucky. The foundation also donated the money needed to purchase and train a new K9 for Officer Jason Degumbia.
“We all have a vested interest, this is our community,” Edward Pocock said on Wednesday.
The foundation is “dedicated to police marksmanship, especially in the area of rifle marksmanship; accredited higher education police command training, as exampled by the Southern Police Institute accredited higher education justice administration/criminal justice scholarships, as exampled by the University of Louisville; vocational training scholarships; and other educational scholarships as determined by the Foundation,” according to their company profile.
Lieutenants Christopher Fry and John Mennone and Capt. Nicholas Sherwood all attended the Southern Police Institute’s Administrative Officer course. Fry attended in 2019 and Sherwood and Mennone attended earlier this year. The cost of the course was about $6,100 per officer and was covered by a scholarship from the foundation. Fry, who was having trouble finding executive leadership training, took a suggestion and visited the foundation website, where he applied for the scholarship.
“You come to realize that he is the only person, and his foundation is the only one in this area offering an opportunity for administrative officers in police departments for the type of advanced training that the public really wants us to have,” Fry said. “Otherwise the expense is at the detriment of training dozens of other officers for dozens of other reasons.”
Pocock, who retired after 25 years with Southington police, said Meriden and Southington police departments have a particularly good relationship. The training involved police leadership, research skills, how to analyze different aspects of policing, how to measure whether a program or strategy is successful. Sherwood noted there was a lot of networking involved with agencies across the country. He said they were able to learn what did and didn’t work in different areas. Mennone said learning the “why and how” aspects of the job was critical.
“It really opened up your eyes to why do we do these things that we do,” Mennone said. “At the end of the day our job is to give a service to the community … It really hammered home the why’s and how’s quite a bit.”
Degumbia has been with the new K9, Onyx, for about five months. The dog, an all black German Shepard from Slovakia, is just under two years old and is trained in narcotics and tracking. The dog cost $8,000 and the 10-week training for Degumbia and Onyx cost another $8,000, all of which was paid for by the foundation. Degumbia said having Onyx has been “awesome” and added the dog is very energetic and great with adults and children. Degumbia said he recently did demonstrations at Hanover Elementary School and the kids loved the event.
Chief Roberto Rosado said the training is a great benefit for setting the department up for the future.
“Law enforcement’s always evolving,” Rosado said.
“It seems like every five years we’re up against a wall with the new reforms or new ideas … the training is perfect because it brings back current events to the agency, to the state.”