Gov. Dannel P. Malloy offered effusive praise Friday of Col. Danny Stebbins, saying he did not seek or encourage Stebbins’ recently announced retirement as the commander of the Connecticut State Police.

“I want to be very clear I have tremendous respect for Danny and I enjoyed working with him,” Malloy said. “Let me be very clear: I did not seek his retirement.”

Stebbins was the subject of a no-confidence vote by the State Police Union, in part over a controversy stemming from the consolidation of police-dispatch functions that left some troops unmanned at night.

The governor, a candidate for re-election, downplayed any connection to the election, saying he believes the union is remaining neutral in the race.

Malloy said he had a strong personal connection with Stebbins. The two spent hours together in the immediate aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre.

“Danny and I shared what I think he would say was one of the worst days in his life,” Malloy said. “Certainly it was one of the worst days in my life and many other people in Connecticut.”

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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