Officer becomes new EMS captain
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
Your dreams and aspirations at age 14 are much different than they are as you grow older, but one Enfield police officer is finally achieving his teenage dream just a few years later, at age 51.
Enfield Police Department Sgt. Chuck Grasso will be stepping down from his duties in the police department, but will not be moving away from public services, as he joins the town’s Emergency Medical Services Unit to serve as a captain. When Grasso becomes captain on March 4, he will have the second highest ranking position in the department, behind Director Gary Wiemokly.
“I’ve been involved with the police department and EMS here for many years, and it’s a different world,” Grasso said. “I am going to realize that I no longer will have a gun and a nightstick, but instead a stethoscope and a blood pressure pump. Dealing with people will be the same, whether they are police officers or patients. I am extremely excited; it’s a new challenge and a new chapter. I am going to learn a lot as I go.”
Grasso’s career in the public safety field was inspired by his father, who was a police captain in Hartford. His background in the field began when he was 14, as he signed on to be a junior firefighter in South Windsor when his father signed on to be a volunteer firefighter. He took an interest in the rescue side of the job and knew that is what he wanted to do when he grew up. When he was 18, he became a firefighter and emergency medical technician in South Windsor. He also volunteered as a dispatcher in Enfield at the time.
Grasso became a constable in Ellington in 1986, his first position in law enforcement. Because the force was so small, with only seven members, he was not allowed to volunteer as a firefighter in town. He joined Enfield’s force in 1995, serving in every department and just about every role imaginable - from dispatcher up to his current position - including patrol, traffic, school resource officer and community policing. Grasso said that he has always been eager to learn and wanted to know about every possible part of the force, investing at least a few months with every department to learn and understand their assignments.
“I am really dedicated to the town of Enfield. I love working for the town and want stay working for the town,” Grasso said. “What better opportunity than to bring it full circle where I was as a teenage boy? It’s a challenging job, it’s a hard job, but I am achieving what I have always been interested in.”
Grasso was promoted to sergeant in 2007 and serves as traffic division coordinator, as well as commander of Metro Traffic, a 10-town accident reconstruction team. He also serves on multiple committees with the Department of Transportation, while being the primary grant writer for the department, bringing in $1.16 million in grants over the last four years.
In his new role as EMS captain, Grasso will be in charge of day-to-day operations, responsible for the budget and payroll, as well as supervising lieutenants, medics and EMTs. He intends to have a hands-on approach within the department, going out on ride-alongs and calls. He also hopes to be able to earn his paramedic license, to take an even more hands-on approach.
Grasso said that the role as captain in the EMS is equivalent to the deputy police chief in the police department. He is particularly ecstatic about the new position bringing his childhood dreams full circle, because it gives him one more thing in common with his father. Grasso’s father retired with the rank of chief and Grasso said that if he were alive today, he would have been proud of the achievement.
“Knowing his success with the police department, we think he will bring that same sort of success here,” said Wiemockly. “We’re excited to have him. It allows us to have a seat at some of the tables [commission and boards] that we have not been able to have a seat at purely because we just haven’t had the additional administrative staff to make that happen. I think that the transition should be fairly smooth. With the leadership and management abilities that he already possesses, he will not have any issue making adjustments when we move that towards an EMS focus.”
“He has done a tremendous job here in his career at the police department,” said Police Chief Carl Sferrazza. “He has a very diversified background. He’s the kind of guy that likes a challenge; he’s a very bright individual. It’s not like we lost him to the private sector. I think he’s going to do a great job for EMS. We’re going to miss him, but we anticipate because he works for the town and will be just a few miles away that we will still be able to tap into him.”
Grasso will be replaced by Sgt. Mark Squires, who has been with the Enfield police for about 15 years, according to Sferrazza.