Former ballplayer turns to police work
NEW CANAAN — At age 25, Robert Rizzitelli has already been a student, a baseball player and a recruiter. But now the Monroe native is about to add another title to his resume: police officer.
“It goes back to family ties,” he said. “I wanted to see how far I could go with baseball, but in the back of my head I wanted a position where I could do good. I think this is more fulfilling.”
Rizzitelli comes from a law enforcement family. His grandfather and uncle worked for the Bridgeport Police Department. His father is a detective with the MTA and his cousin is an officer in Trumbull. On Dec. 20, his family was on hand when he was sworn in as New Canaan’s newest police officer in front of his fellow officers and town officials, including First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectman Kit Devereaux.
Rizzitelli was one of 79 candidates who applied to the department and was chosen after a written exam, physical agility test, interview, polygraph, psychological evaluation, background investigation, medical exam and interview with the Police Commission. The application process began in September.
Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said he’s confident Rizzitelli will help the department as they tackle whatever challenges the future may present.
“With men like Robert joining the ranks, I see great success,” he said.
Before joining the department, Rizzitelli worked as a clinical recruiter for MEDPath Partners. Prior to that, he played professional baseball for a season as a pitcher for the Whitesands Pupfish in the Pecos League in New Mexico. Rizzitelli has a bachelor’s degee in English from Pace University.
Training Sgt. Brian Mitchell, who helped with the recruitment process, said Rizitelli’s former supervisor at MEDPath spoke highly of him and his ability to handle his responsibilities with dedication. He also said Rizitelli’s family history equipped him with a good understanding of what is required of him in his new position.
“His heritage has instilled in him the morals and values integral to his profession,” Mitchell said.
Rizzitelli said he looked into other departments when applying to policing jobs, but wanted a more residential area. New Canaan quickly became his top choice.
“As soon as I came here, I fell in love,” he said.
Rizzitelli will begin training at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden on Dec. 29. After an expected June graduation from the academy, he will undergo at least 400 hours of field training with New Canaan police.