Family of woman murdered and Hartford police chief share special - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Family of woman murdered and Hartford police chief share special bond

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Hartford Police Chief James Rovella and the mother of Laverne Terry (family photo) Hartford Police Chief James Rovella and the mother of Laverne Terry (family photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Tensions are running high in many communities between law enforcement and the community they serve, but there are some positive signs out there of how it could be.

On the surface, Hartford Police Chief James Rovella and longtime Hartford resident Laverne Terry would seem to have little in common, but they share a bond that goes back 25 years.

It was a bond that was formed out of a tragedy.

“He’s like family, he's really like family,” Laverne Terry said. “He was a detective and my sister Carla Terry was strangled."

It was 1991 when 28-year-old Carla Terry, a mother of two, was murdered, believed to have been a victim of a serial killer.

The suspect was released from custody, which was devastating to the Terry family. That’s where Rovella comes in.

“We told them we weren't going to stop, ever give up,” Rovella said.

He kept his word, and eight years later, Carla’s killer was convicted. That relentless pursuit of justice started a relationship—one that stands to this day.

"The family sort of adopted me. When I came back as chief they were the first ones at the door, welcoming me back,” Rovella said.

Stories of conflict between police and the community they serve are making headlines, but Terry said Rovella is an example others can look to.

"He’s like a guardian angel, he's been there for us through a lot of hard times,” Terry said.

"I’ll tell you that there is hundreds and hundreds of these relationships, just in my police department that we don't often talk about, we are not standing in front of camera talking about them, but they exist,” Rovella said.

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