Reuben Bradford, first African American commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, dies at 75

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Former Connecticut state trooper and former commissioner for the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Reuben Bradford died Wednesday morning at the age of 75.

“Commissioner Bradford was a loyal public servant, and someone who cared deeply about our state and its residents,” Gov. Ned Lamont said. “He had decades of distinguished service with the Connecticut State Police, and then continued his service to the State of Connecticut as the commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. He was tough, devoted, and someone who the people of our state depended on. I send my deepest condolences to his family.”

Bradford, who served as a state trooper for 22 years, first entered the police academy in 1974 and retired as a major in the late 1990s. He went on to become the head of security for the National Football League before returning to Connecticut in 2011 where he served as the commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection until 2014, when he retired.

Bradford was the first African American commissioner for the department.

“His groundbreaking rise through the ranks and service as commissioner continues to be an inspiration to us all,” James C. Rovella, the department’s commissioner, said. “Commissioner Bradford led our department through many presidential emergencies, as well as our state’s response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. He was a true leader to all those who served under him. We mourn the loss of a great person.”

The state will lower its flags in at all of its Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection buildings throughout the state.

Jessika Harkay can be reached at jharkay@courant.com.

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