Capt. Edward Pocock III has accomplished more in his career than most decorated veterans would dream to achieve in their lifetime.
The lifelong Southington resident and latest captain to the has earned numerous honors as a sharpshooter, was instrumental in helping update and monitor the town’s police technology systems and earned accolades as a member of the department’s Emergency Response Team – all while serving the community he grew up in.
But Pocock, who also serves as the chairman of the , isn’t satisfied with simply sitting back and reflecting on the past and said Monday that he is excited to be part of a team that will soon look to take the police department to new heights.
“This is an exciting time to be a Southington police officer. I have been in law enforcement for 24 years and to me, this is a great honor and opportunity,” Pocock said. “I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”
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Pocock, 44, was selected Friday to replace Capt. Greg Simone, who retired officially on May 1 following a quarter century on the job. Steve Pestillo, chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners, said the decision came after the department reviewed three applications of highly qualified candidates.
The applicants were “pretty evenly matched,” but Pestillo said Pocock’s experience at the department and understanding of the town helped set him apart as the best candidate for the job.
“This was our guy,” Pestillo said in a phone interview Monday evening. “He has a knowledge of the town through his volunteer activities that brings an added edge to our administration and we are excited to have him aboard.”
Police Chief John Daly said he was completely in favor of the hiring and is not just happy to have Pocock, but excited to work alongside him and administrative team that will soon include two new lieutenants and two new sergeants as well.
“The commission makes the final decision, but this one came with my full recommendation,” Daly said on Monday.
A Southington High School graduate, Pocock joined the department in 1989, then barely 21-years-old, as patrol officer. It was a dream job for Pocock, who watched his father, , serve the community growing up and knew from a young age that it was something he wanted to do.
“I got a chance to watch what he did every day and how he fixed problems. It was something I’ve always enjoyed and that was a big factor for me,” Pocock said. “I wanted to make Southington a better place. It’s a calling. There were opportunities to make a lot more money, but this was what I always wanted to do.”
It didn’t take long for Pocock to find himself contributing to the department, not just on the streets, but as a successful sharpshooter with the department’s rifle team.
The team won an unprecedented seven straight Colt Cup competitions from 1991-1997 and Pocock was one of the members who enjoyed opportunities, earning awards and ranking in the top tier of performers on a national and international level even after the regional Colt Cup competition was no longer hosted.
Pocock began shooting an AR-15 shortly after Colt stopped and assisted in establishing the sniper unit with the department’s SWAT team, a unit that tied with Mississippi Grove Narcotics to receive the top prize in a North America competition in Mexico in 1998.
A year later, he took the title of New England Top Gun and along with Mike Kahn, he helped the team finish fourth in 2005 during an international competition in Hungary. Pocock also placed fourth in individual competition at the same event.
“He has always been a motivated and dedicated individual and I really am looking forward to having him be an integral part of my administrative team,” Daly said.
Pocock is also expected to receive his bachelor’s degree in law enforcement administration from the Florida Institute of Technology in September – something that the department’s latest captain said he could not have done without the support and encouragement he received from Daly.
Most recently, Pocock served to help run the department's technology division and helped with .
Although Pocock has many accolades and accomplishments in his file, his time at the department hasn’t been without some controversy either. In 2010, he was accused of insubordination after allegedly sharing information outside the administrative team despite being told the information was confidential.
The police commission, after an internal investigation, decided not to take any disciplinary action following and simply issued a letter to Pocock requesting he refrain from any similar discussions in the future, a request which he took to heart as constructive feedback.
Rather than dwell on the incident, both Pocock and Daly said Monday that they used the situation to create a stronger bond and help strengthen the relationship as a whole. Daly compared the incident to an argument between brothers and said they have been friends for years and have only become closer since it happened.
“The bottom line is, you learn from the task and move on. It’s one of the things that predicates a sign of a healthy relationship,” Pocock said. “We both judge how you come out of adversity, not what happens during it and we came out stronger in the end.”
Pocock said with the right technology in place, the promotion behind him and a lot of tasks on their plate for the future, he is looking toward being a key leader in a department with “a bright future ahead.”
It didn’t take long to be thrown into the fire as Pocock was among the administrative team negotiating a new union contract behind closed doors on Monday. The contract, which would serve for a three-year period, remains in negotiations and officials could not discuss the matter further on Monday.
Pestillo said the department will review candidates this Friday and could have a team in place, including the new lieutenants and sergeants, by the start of next week.
Daly said with the selection process well under way, he is preparing a new set of goals and initiatives that will help the department provide better service, be more active in the community and prepare for a promising future.
“I plan to be here another 7 – 10 years and I am extremely excited about what the future will bring,” Daly said. “Right now we are focused on going from good to great and with the candidates we have for these positions, this is a goal I am confident we will achieve.”
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