HARTFORD — A New Haven native and former longtime member of the New Haven police force has joined the Hartford police ranks as an assistant chief.
Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody announced the hiring of Assistant Chief Kenny A. Howell on Wednesday.
Howell, a finalist in New Haven’s search for a police chief in 2019, will spend the next two weeks undergoing a variety of required training. He will begin working in full capacity as assistant chief during the first week of January.
He has 24 years of law enforcement experience, including more than two decades with the New Haven Police Department and three years as police chief in Millbury, Mass.
“I grew up in a community like Hartford, and that’s at the root of why I pursued a career in law enforcement,” Howell said in a statement.
He said he grew up in tenements with his mom and five siblings.
“I saw a lot of injustice in my community, including some injustice perpetrated by police,” Howell said. “I distinctly remember that there was a group of cops in my neighborhood who had a reputation as the ‘Beat Down Posse’ because of how they acted.”
Howell said he had positive experiences too, including talking to an officer who came to his house after he was beat up one day.
“That officer listened to me, made me feel safe, and helped to develop the dream that I might one day become a member of law enforcement,” Howell said. “My road wasn’t easy.”
“Kenny’s deep experience in a community similar to Hartford, both growing up and serving in the police department, will help him hit the ground running and I am looking forward to having him part of our senior team at the Hartford Police Department,” Thody said in a statement.
Howell said he attended a technical high school and took culinary classes, eventually working as a cook at McDonald’s and Wendy’s fast food restaurants.
He graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a Bachelor’s Degree; he earned master’s degrees from Western New England University and Harvard University. He earned a law degree from the Massachusetts School of Law.
He said he worked as a security guard before making the transition to police officer.
During the two decades he spent as an officer in New Haven, Howell said he went to college and got a law degree, passing the Connecticut Bar exam on his first try.
“I am looking forward to serving the people of Hartford because I know I will be able to relate to the life experience of the community I will serve, and because my experience in law enforcement over the last two decades will help me work with Chief Thody, Assistant Chief (Rafael) Medina and the rest of the department to bring about positive change,” Howell said.