Chief of Police Watertown Police Department
Chief Bernegger is a twenty-six year law enforcement veteran, beginning his career with the Naugatuck (CT) Police Department in 1997. As a patrol officer, Chief Bernegger served in several capacities, including assignments as a bicycle patrol officer, emergency response team member, hostage negotiator, accident reconstructionist, emergency medical services instructor and field training officer. Chief Bernegger was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2003 and served as a patrol supervisor before being promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 2006. As a lieutenant, Chief Bernegger served as a Shift Commander and is proud of his part in forming the very successful Naugatuck Valley Collision Investigation Team in 2007 with the Naugatuck, Middlebury, Watertown and Wolcott Police Departments. Chief Bernegger was selected to serve as the Naugatuck Police Department’s Deputy Chief of Police in 2010, during which time he promoted police transparency through the early adoption of Interview Room Recording Systems and Body Worn Cameras. Chief Bernegger also applied for and received a federal grant to purchase a Regional Mobile Command Post which is utilized by area police departments for serious accident investigations, major crimes, large events and DWI checkpoints. Chief Bernegger holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Eastern Connecticut State University and a Masters of Business Administration from Post University. Chief Bernegger is a proud graduate of Session #255 of the FBI National Academy, and holds Municipal Legal Traffic Authority certification through the Connecticut Transportation Institute. The Watertown Police Department hired Chief Bernegger in 2019 to serve as Deputy Chief of Police under Chief John Gavallas, and served as Acting Chief of Police from March of 2020 until his appointment as Chief in early 2021. During his time as Acting Chief, Chief Bernegger navigated the Department through a worldwide pandemic and unprecedented social unrest. Chief Bernegger and his wife Mary have two children, Ella and Garek.