Conn. Officer to Begin Training for Iraq Mission

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A police officer whose decision to train police officers in Iraq raised the ire of town and police officials is preparing to leave Monday to begin training.

Officer Bob Nappe said he has drafted a retirement letter to the department. The 19-year veteran has not submitted the letter because of the possibility he may not make it through training, he said.

A farewell party was scheduled for Saturday.

Mayor Joseph Maturo, Police Chief Leonard Gallo and the Police Commission opposed his decision to leave, saying repeatedly that East Haven needed his service and his leaving would strain the department. Nappe's request for a one-year leave of absence was denied.

Nappe said he will ask department supervisors to reinstate him to active status when he returns from Iraq.

The program, which is part of the effort to rebuild Iraq, is run by the U.S. State Department and is administered by a private contractor.

Nappe said he has spent much of his last few days taking care of last-minute details and spending the holidays with family. He said he and his wife had dinner with his two stepdaughters on Friday.

"I'm more anxious than nervous," Nappe said.

The native of North Haven has spent his entire career in East Haven. He leads the department's dive team, and has been a member of the SWAT team. He is also trained as a paramedic. Nappe also volunteered at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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