April 10 2018

Long-Time Police Dept. Members Honored on Eve of Retirement

By: Rich Hosford

Two long-time members of the Burlington Police Department who have announced they are retiring were honored at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

Deputy Chief Thomas Duffy and Detective Lt. Steven O’Meara have both said they are retiring and before naming the new appointee to replace Duffy during the meeting Chief Michael Kent took a couple of minutes to speak about the two veterans.

Kent said O’Meara had been with the department for 35 years and while he is retiring at the rank of Detective Lieutenant, he had during his career held all the positions leading up to that rank. Kent said he went through his record and saw that O’Meara had several commendations.

“I always knew that when I gave Steve something to do it would be done thoroughly, compassionately and professionally,” Kent said. “He’s a man of few words but when you give him a job to do it will get done. He will be missed. It will be tough to replace 35 years of internal knowledge.”

Kent said Duffy has been with the department for 33 years. He was promoted to Captain in 2011 and in 2015 became the department’s first ever Deputy Chief. Kent said he had numerous commendations and letters of appreciation and was the first member of the Burlington Police Department to attend and graduate from the FBI National Academy.

Kent said he was a great choice to be the first Deputy Chief and that he relied upon him to help run the department.  

“From a personal standpoint having Tommy in next door over is a comforting feeling every day,” Kent said. “He really is someone I’ve relied on. Pretty much every decision that has been made have been a cooperative effort between he and I. He’s been an asset to the Town of Burlington and the Police Department. He’s going to be missed and he’s heading off to his boat and enjoying retirement.”

Kent said Duffy was also viewed as a leader by the other members of the department.  

“When he walks through the hall you can see he gets the respect of all the officers,” he said. “He doesn’t ask anyone to do anything he hasn’t done.”

Town Administrator John Petrin wished both men well in retirement and said they are leaving big shoes to fill.

“That’s 68 years of service we are losing,” he said. “Lt. O’Meara has shown a lot of dedication to the town and the department. Also I think it was a great decision to create the position of Deputy Chief and to have someone as solid as Thomas Duffy appointed to that position. We always knew we had someone in second of command we could trust and rely upon.”

Members of the Board of Selectmen added their own thoughts, thanking the two men for their many years of service.

“It’s been a pleasure to be on the Fire Department and grown up with these two gentlemen,” Selectman Mike Runyan said. “I’ve worked closely with them over the years and they will be missed.”

“I’m known them for 35 years or more and back then none of us had gray hairs,” Selectman Joe Morandi said. “It’s a sad day but a proud day and I couldn’t be happier for you. From the bottom of my heart thank you for all you’ve done.”

“I worked as a town employee with this department and all of its members,” Selectmen Bob Hogan, a former Veterans Services Director, said. “I hear it all around the state - people speak highly of this department and that starts at the top. Thank you two for your years of service.”

Board Chairman Chris Hartling said he was sad to see good people leave but happy that the department was hiring highly-qualified talent to fill its ranks.

“Good people are going out and fortunately for us good people are coming in,” he said. “It should be good for you to know that you are leaving behind a great legacy. Thank you for that.”

Finally, Selectman Jim Tigges, also a member of the Burlington Police Department, offered his thoughts.

“It’s been a pleasure of working with these guys for over 30 years,” he said. “In all honesty these are two of the most professional, knowledgeable officers this town has.They are a big part of the reason the Burlington Police Department has the reputation it does. We are where we are due to gentlemen like these.”

Photo caption: Detective Lt. Steven O'Meara, Deputy Chief Thomas Duffy, Chief Michael Kent, newly-appointed Deputy Chief Thomas Browne.


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