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June 13--NEW HAVEN -- Police sergeants James Grasso and Marco Francia were honored at the weekly police CompStat meeting Thursday after they announced their retirements this week.
Grasso, a 22 1/2 -year veteran of the department, most recently was head of the Shooting Task Force, a unit tasked with investigating both new and old incidents of gun violence. He also served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"I'm deeply honored to have been a New Haven police officer and to serve the citizens of New Haven," Grasso said.
His supervisor, Lt. Al Vazquez, presented him with a plaque and said Grasso was always someone who could be counted on to step up to the plate.
Francia, a 26-year veteran, was a sergeant in patrol. He was promoted to sergeant in early 2013 and previously was part of the department's motorcycle squad. Fellow officers described him as someone who could be counted on to show younger officers the ropes of being a cop.
Police Chief Dean Esserman said both sergeants won the respect of fellow officers and the community and that they will both be missed.
The two sergeants are part of a recent wave of retirements in the department. Assistant chiefs Thaddeus Reddish and Denise Blanchard also will be retiring by the end of the month.
Many officers and firefighters have cited coming changes in the retiree health insurance package as a reason for retirement.
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