Berlin Police chief to retire

Chief William Wolfe says an increase in anti-police sentiment around the country contributed to decision
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 8:08 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
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BERLIN, Vt. (WCAX) - The Berlin Police chief of 12 years says he will be retiring in September.

"There is no doubt that after consultation with my family, it's time, it's time to step away," said Chief William Wolfe.

After 34 years of police service in Vermont, including eight as chief in Waterbury and 12 as chief in Berlin, Wolfe announced on Facebook that he plans to hand in his badge this September. He says it’s something he has been considering for over a year.

"I think every first responder at some point asks themselves, has the time come to step away? have you seen enough? And for me, after 34 years that answer is yes.

And part of what got him to yes is what he calls an increase in anti-police sentiment around the country. "There is no doubt that the recent events have added to the stress of this profession," Wolfe said.

And he’s not the only Vermont chief retiring this summer. Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos retired in June and Essex Police Chief Rick Garey stepped down earlier this month.

"I really can't speak to the individuals as for their reasons for their retirement," said St. Johnsbury Police Chief Tim Page, who also heads the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police."I think the atmosphere today has part to do with it, but I can't say for certain I can't speak for those gentleman."

He points to recruitment challenges, an issue facing departments for years. But he says all departments are working to evolve and meet the needs of today. "Demands on policing has become such that we need an indivual that is well versed in a lot of areas," Page said.

But he says he isn’t seeing a wave of officers seeking early retirement. “I don’t have any other chiefs reporting to me that they are experiencing mass exodus from their departments,” Page said.

As for Chief Wolfe, he reflects positively on his time in service. “I want to say that I am very proud of my police officers. I am proud of the strong relationships and ties that we have with our community,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe says he is still figuring out what his future plans hold.

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