The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
‘Home for me’
City swears in 6 new officers, including 4th- and 3rd-generation cops
MIDDLETOWN — As the police department swore in six new officers last week, it was a particularly momentous occasion for two longtime law enforcement families.
Among those who joined the department on Friday was Kelsey White, 22, daughter of Sgt. Brian White, and granddaughter of the late former officer
Douglas White. He retired in the early 1990s after 20 years on the force, and died in July 2020.
Brian White is a 22-year veteran of the department. His sister, officer Brenda White, retired this year after serving 34 years with the force.
“I tried to steer her toward state police because there’s more opportunity to go to different divisions,” Brian White said.
“She didn’t really show any interest,” said White, who believes his daughter may have been nervous about his reaction to her joining the local force. “I told her, ‘If that’s what you want to do, I fully support what you do.’”
Kelsey White earned a four-year scholarship and studied criminal justice Le Moyne College in New York.
“Learning about people who come from different social backgrounds, learning that law enforcement is a big part of the community, and having that relationship between community and police officers is very important,” she said.
She tried to keep her desire to work for the MPD a secret from her father.
“It is home for me,” she said about choosing Middletown. “I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
She said becoming an officer is “nerve-wracking,” but she’s ready for the challenge. “I’ve got some big shoes to fill, but I can do it.”
Mayor Ben Florsheim praised all six new officers for their “commitment to service at all costs.”
Four officers are lateral transfers from other police departments: Thomas Ganley, Jared White, Brian Murphy and Joseph Degoursey.
Thomas Ganley’s father, who shares his son’s name, has spent 10 years with the MPD. The junior Ganley, who was formerly with Hartford police, comes from a long line of law enforcement members. His greatgrandmother, Katherine Ganley, was a matron with the Hartford police in the 1950s, when women were not referred to as police officers, the elder Ganley said.
Women weren’t issued guns back then either, the elder Ganley said. “My grandmother ran the lockup in the jail at the time. She got all these duties the men didn’t want to do,” such as filing or “gophering.”
His grandfather, Capt. Thomas Ganley, was Hartford’s police chief.
The junior Ganley said he felt “awesome” and excited.”
“It’s going to be a switch coming from a huge city like Hartford,” he said. He is eager to join a smaller force and get to know the residents.
He realizes there’s a lot of pressure on him for being the fourth generation of officers. “Having a chief in the family, you feel like you’ve got to do something great.”
“I’m very proud — relieved,” the elder Ganley said. “In our family, it’s also ‘the normal.’ A lot of people who we talk to in the business have a tough time relating to this is the way we grew up,” he said. Family cousins and uncles are also in the field.
Michelle Franks and Kelsey White will attend the police academy in Meriden this month.
Franks was born in Germany, where her father was stationed in the U.S. military.
She graduated high school in 2009 and attended law school at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. She later graduated from the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.
Jared White, who grew up in the Branford area, attended the University of New Hampshire, Southern State University and Post University.
Murphy, a standout athlete in high school, grew up in Wallingford and earned a scholarship to attend the University of Hartford. In high school, he was selected to the allstate football and baseball teams.
Degoursey grew up in Orange. He graduated in 2016 from the University of New Haven, and was part of the men’s hockey team. In 2016, he was hired by Torrington police as a patrol officer. He comes from HPD.
Ganley grew up in Newington and attended Western Connecticut State University, graduating in 2017, where he made the dean’s list every semester. In his senior year, he was captain of the lacrosse team.