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Chief Halloran: Almost a Postman

Branford’s newest Police Chief talks about his road to the big seat, what he plans to do different and what will still exactly the same.

It was a good thing that North Branford native didn’t get accepted as an employee by the United States Post Office. In his early twenties, Halloran took the civil service test for the post office and said he thinks he didn’t do so well. “I don’t know what I got, I just know I wasn’t hired,” he laughed.

Sitting in his as Branford’s 11th Police Chief, Halloran explained his father, Edward Halloran was a United States Post Office employee and he thought he might follow in his footsteps. But he added, “I really didn’t want to work in the same place my dad did.”

After graduating in 1982 from , Halloran went to the Connecticut School of Electronics and entered a burgeoning technical field as a computer technician. Halloran stayed in the field doing a three-year stint in Pittsburgh before returning home with an industry change of heart in the late 1980s. When the post office gig did not work out and his career as a limo driver left him feeling less than fulfilled, Halloran said he started thinking about his childhood dream to become a police officer.

“What I think happens for a lot of young men who are interested in becoming police officers – I think it's one of those few jobs that few people get to do and it’s a job of integrity and morals. That’s how I envisioned it and still do,” commented Halloran.

In 1989 Halloran was officially sworn-in as a Branford Police Officer and he’s been with the department ever since.

Halloran’s first day on the job, he recalled, he was assigned to work the Branford Festival. Paired with another officer whom he became separated from, Halloran said a small child tugged on his crisp uniform to tell him there was a man with needles in his arm. Halloran reported to the scene – the church steps in the middle of the festival action – all alone to find a man passed out with a heroine needle in his arm. Green as can be, Halloran said he mustered the courage to stand the man up and walk him the police mobile booking station. With the man handcuffed, Halloran said he passed his superior who asked what he was doing. He recalled his response: “I think I just arrested a guy.”

Halloran has held various posts with the Police Department over the years (see list below) and was instrumental in evolving the police department CompStat process with his extensive computer background. CompStat is used as “hot spot policing” to target where potential crimes will occur based on trends and statistics.  Branford Police, recalled Halloran, had estenisive crime data reports but no way to use them. He was able to develop a system where officers could track future crimes based on existing data.

When Halloran first introduced some of the crime analysis reporting to his fellow officers, he told them: “I am going to be able to predict geographically, where and when the next theft is going to occur.” He laughed, “They all looked at me like I had a third eye.”

As Halloran settles into the job – a title he’s held less than one month – Patch poses a few important questions to the Chief:

Branford Patch: The night of your induction, your father Edward Halloran said everything came tough for you growing up. Is that true?
Kevin Halloran: When I was in school, it always seemed like I had to put extra effort in. I always worked diligently and put in the extra effort to get the places I’ve gone.

Branford Patch: The night of your ceremony you mentioned the department will continue to be transparent. How so?
Kevin Halloran:
I think the transparency we’ve had in the past is a good relationship with the media. We serve the community so they need to know what’s going on. It interests the community to know what the PD is doing.

Branford Patch: Can you briefly explain what CompStat is?
Kevin Halloran: It is a management accountability tool. We use computer statistics to track crime and crime trends and use those statistics to direct officers to hot spot areas to mitigate the problems we’re seeing. The ultimate goal isn’t always to make an arrest but to reduce crime.

Branford Patch: Is there anything you want to change about CompStat?
Kevin Halloran: We got really good at focusing on hot spot crimes. What I think happened is we were focusing on short periods of crime trends. How I want to change that is to become more preventative. The project right now is to work on a two to five year period [of crime analysis].  Instead of waiting for the crimes to occur, we have to get ahead of the crimes. If I can strategically place our officers in the [place of the] highest probability of crime, we will be successful.

Branford Patch: What are you not going to change?
Kevin Halloran: The Traffic Division.

Branford Patch: You mentioned during your appointment speech that you will focus on the shrinking police budget. Can you explain?
Kevin Halloran: I think the predictive policing is going to assist us in reducing the budget. I think predictive policing is going to make us much more effective.

Branford Patch: As you and the two other potential police chief candidates waited for the Board of Police Commissioners to make their decision, you must have been nervous. What was your plan B if you didn’t get the job?
Kevin Halloran: My plan B was to continue doing what I was doing. I loved my job – what I was doing before – and I love my job now. I would have been supportive of whoever got the job.

Branford Patch: What are your education plans and your timeline for staying with Branford?
Kevin Halloran: God willing I’ll be here until my son graduates high school (eight to 10 years; four-year contracts). I plan on continuing my education in the criminal justice field. I’ve applied to the University of New Haven doctoral program.

Branford Patch: With such big shoes to fill and the popular belief that former left the department in good shape, do you still have the itch to change things and start fresh?
Kevin Halloran: I am constantly  thinking how we can do this better and more efficient. I think we’re becoming a learning organization. If we just stay and don’t continue, we are going to be right back to being a traditional, reactive police department.

Kevin Halloran’s Branford Police Department Career

Branford Police Officer

Field Training Officer

Sergeant leading the Training Division, Management Information Systems, Communications, Grant Writing and Records Division

Lieutenant serving as Patrol Commander

Captain where he held the position of Administrative Commander

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