Wethersfield police chief put on administrative leave amid investigation

Steven Goode, Hartford Courant

Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran has been placed on paid administrative leave.

It was not immediately clear when or why Cetran was placed on leave, but his job status was confirmed by Town Manager Gary Evans.

Evans did not elaborate other than to say the chief had not been suspended, but placed on “paid administrative leave.”

“Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the Chief as we are undergoing a further review and/or investigation of this situation,” Evans said in an email Monday.

Efforts to reach Cetran Monday were unsuccessful.

Mayor Michael Rell also declined to comment on Cetran’s status, saying that it is a personnel matter.

Cetran, a 46-year veteran of the department, was named chief in 2003 after serving in the position on an interim basis.

In recent years he and the department have come under criticism for several incidents, including the 2019 shooting death of an 18-year-old man during a traffic stop.

The shooting happened on the Silas Deane Highway during an attempted traffic stop after an officer discovered the license plates on the car Anthony Jose Vega-Cruz was driving belonged to a different vehicle. Vega-Cruz was shot and killed by Wethersfield Police Officer Layau Eulizier when Vega-Cruz tried to evade officers and drove the car toward the officer.

Eulizier resigned in April, less than a month after Hartford State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy ruled the April 20, 2019 shooting of Vega-Cruz justified.

The department has also come under criticism for allegedly racially profiling minorities during traffic stops and for its use of hidden cameras in the women’s locker room in an effort to determine if someone was stealing female officers’ belongings. Cetran has said that the officers were aware of the plan to use the cameras, but were not told when or where they would be in use.