To paint a picture of the kind of experience the man has, Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia pointed out Friday morning that, since its inception, the Stamford Police Department has had 14 chiefs before today.
"The person I'm about to introduce very shortly has served under 8 of those chiefs," Pavia said, introducing Stamford's 15th Chief of Police, 32-year veteran Jon Fontneau. "He's my choice, I will be submitting his name to the Board of Representatives for affirmation."
Pavia gave Fontneau, former Chief Robert Nivakoff and the entire department praise for the reinvention and evolution of police work in the city to skyrocket Stamford's safety far beyond city's of similar size. Pavia said many of the people in the room were known in Washington, D.C. for the operations and initiatives spearheaded here.
"This individual has served recently under Chief Nivakoff and helped him put the bricks in the wall toward the rebuilding and improvement of the Stamford Police Department," said Pavia of Fontneau. "He's intimately familiar with every aspect of the Stamford Police Department and how it works, it's personality. His DNA is the City of Stamford."
Fontneau said his years serving with the upstanding members of the Stamford Police Department have helped him become the person he is today. His time spent in the various neighborhoods, corporate sectors and schools of Stamford have allowed him to become intimately familiar with the cityhe is sworn to serve.
"It has been my privilege over the last 32 years, it has been my honor, to work at this police department," Fontneau said. "Throughout my career, I've had the fortunate opportunity to work and to learn and to train with very excellent police officers."
He thanked Robert Nivakoff, who named Fontneau as his best friend, confidant, most trusted colleague and desired successor, and said Nivakoff was a crucially influential in helping him develop as a police officer. Nivakoff's official final day on the job was September 30.
"I'm most grateful to Chief Nivakoff in helping to prepare me to assume this job with its daunting tasks and responsibilities," Fontneau said. Chief Nivakoff has left some very big shoes to fill."
Fontneau also thanked the mayor for his endorsement to serve with the best police department the nation.
"I love Stamford. Stamford is where I was born and is home to my family and friends," he said. "I've enjoyed working with the police department these last 32 years, and I certainly look forward to proudly serving as its next police chief."
Among the speakers of the day was Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski, who said he has gotten to know Fontneau after working closely with him on several occasions and said he's been impressed with the man on every occasion they've crossed paths.
"What I have discovered is Jon is very progressive in his policing and I know he's going to put forth all his strategic police initiatives we've been working towards," Jankowski said. "[He'll] bring new ideas and initiatives into the department. I am totally confident in Chief Fontneau."
Fontneau said one of his first initiatives as chief would be to continue developing the Stamford Police Department as a community-oriented organization and help expand their current 269-man roster through new hires, saying at one point, the department was slated for 315 officers.
"One of our first and foremost [short term goals] is we're going to be hiring more police officers," Fontneau said. "We're going to be going on a hiring blitz. That being said, we're going to be working to maintain and stay within our budget, which is a daunting task in and of itself."