Robert Tusino is new Milford Police Chief
New Milford Chief of Police Robert Tusino was appointed in September. Tusino previously served as Deputy Chief of the department. Photo courtesy Milford Police Department
Former Deputy Chief appointed unanimously
By Scott Calzolaio
After a national search process, the Milford Police Department found its new chief right at home. Former Deputy Chief Robert Tusino was appointed Police Chief by a unanimous vote of the Select Board on Sept. 25.
The longtime Milford officer and resident was one of three finalists. He is taking the place of retiring Police Chief James Falvey.
Tusino is the fourth chief to take the badge since 2019, but notably the first hired after the thorough national search process.
The job is exactly as he expected, “no curveballs,” he said in an interview.
“You have to know the town and the area you’re serving,” he said. “I was very proactive as an officer, as a sergeant, as a deputy chief, and none of that is going to change.”
After graduating from Milford High School, he soon began his career as an EMT in the 1980s. In July 2001, he joined the New York City Police Department, where his training was interrupted, and he was sent to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks. He remained in New York City for six years before coming home and planting his roots at the Milford Police Department.
After 10 years as a patrol officer, he became a sergeant, before making deputy chief last year.
Now, a full-time police chief for a nearly city-sized town, Tusino still finds time to work part-time as a paramedic for UMass Boston. He carries his decades of paramedic experience with him every day on the job, quite literally.
In the past, his Milford Police vehicle was adorned with the words “Special Unit.” The words have since been removed, but the lifesaving equipment is still inside.
My car is still outfitted for paramedic calls, and I still respond to them,” he said. “I wouldn’t be interested in being a chief that doesn’t have that ability. I like being on the street, I like going to calls, I like seeing everybody interact.”
Having spent a good chunk of the last 30 years in the back of an ambulance, and being among the first in Massachusetts to keep Narcan on his belt, Tusino said it’s his job to keep his boots to the ground, stay present, and not develop “ivory tower syndrome.”
When it comes to areas of improvement, Milford traffic is top of mind.
“I joke with my friends from New York that I’d rather drive over the Brooklyn Bridge than go through Milford at 4 p.m.,” he laughed.
The answer to this problem, and others the department is facing, he said, all boil down to one thing: more manpower.
Tusino said there have been the same number of officers in Milford for nearly 30 years. There aren’t enough on-duty officers at a time to handle both calls and traffic, he said.
“At the end of the day, we’re not providing a good service unless we can get those resources to everybody,” he said.
Tusino said that policing has changed so much over the years, and for the better. He said he would much rather be helping someone out of a rut, than making their day worse.
“Everyone always tells me that my problem is that I’m a very liberal cop,” he laughed. “I tell them that I’m a paramedic at heart, I can’t help myself. I love taking care of people, it’s my passion. Kicking in doors is not, that’s just the truth.”