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Chief expresses gratitude, says goodbye

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Frederick Ryan, chief of police, released this statement to the community on Monday, Jan. 7, days before retiring. It is dated Jan. 4. 

Town Manager, Adam Chapdelaine invited Arlington staff and residents to thank Chief Ryan for his service and wish him well at his retirement celebration, held Jan. 10. 

As I depart Arlington Police Department after two decades as Arlington's chief of police and 33 years total years as a police officer, I have experienced a crescendo of emotions. Leading this police department, in my hometown, has been a high honor and a great privilege; my first and most enduring emotion is gratitude.

Arlington is a truly special place, and community policing is the cornerstone of a modern and progressive law enforcement agency. The principles of community policing, however, cannot take hold without the meaningful involvement of community members. Therefore, the successes of the Arlington Police Department over these past years are owed not only to the police officers, but also the residents, visitors, business owners and workers who make Arlington what it is.

Community trust touted

With earned community trust and support, the police department can flourish by partnering with the people to creatively address issues of crime and disorder while ensuring the civil rights of all, no exceptions. In that regard you have not only supported me as chief of police, but you have held me accountable.

During my tenure, the career of policing has changed drastically from a law-and-order watchman mentality to an educated, complex and intellectual endeavor. Nothing fills me with more pride than hearing about the programs we have championed in Arlington expanding to not just other cities in the region, but across our nation.

The Town of Arlington and its police department have modeled the municipal response to mental illness, domestic violence and substance-use disorders. We have ushered in the restorative-justice era and embedded a civilian crime analyst and civilian healthcare practitioners into the police department. While we are proud of these past accomplishments, it is my hope that this commitment to the most vulnerable residents among us establishes a foundation for further advancements in modern policing.

We have also formed lasting partnerships with Arlington Health & Human Services, the Human Rights Commission, the Rainbow Coalition, the clergy, the ADL, the NAACP, the schools and state and federal agencies. These partnerships have not only improved our day-to-day outlook, but they have better prepared us to respond to hate, violence and unspeakable tragedy. 

Motto: 'Proactive and Proud'

I will never forget the Boston Marathon bombings, where we lost an Arlington resident. The mobilization of communities and law enforcement alike to respond to these cowardly acts, to catch those responsible and to heal and repair the damage together was simply awe-inspiring. Even after decades in law enforcement, it shows that we can never lose our faith in humanity, even as we face our toughest tests.

I also hope I have been a responsible steward of the women and men of the Arlington Police Department to the community. I leave office mindful of the extraordinary challenges faced by sworn municipal police officers every day.

During my time we have responded to homicide, teenage suicide, sexual assault, natural disasters, domestic violence and bank robberies. We have been violently attacked and forced to fire shots in the line of duty. Each time there is a crime or tragedy, I ask you all to be ever- mindful that another human being who wants nothing more than to serve their community with honor and go home at the end of their tour of duty is given but a split second to respond to someone else’s worst decision.

Horrific scenes

Our officers have had to be witness to horrific scenes that no human being should have to
observe. They have had to tell families, sometimes parents, about the loss of a loved one, or support families providing care to a family member who is in the final moments of a battle with a terminal illness. APD officers have continually risen to the occasion, and will continue to do so, conducting themselves with the utmost professionalism.

Please continue to hold your police department accountable, but in doing so, continue to foster trusting and supportive relationships with Arlington's finest. This will undoubtedly pay dividends in terms of enhancing the quality of life in Arlington.

As chief of police, I serve as a member of the town manager's team of department heads, and what a team it is! The town manager, deputy manager, assistant manager, superintendent of schools and the entire lineup literally work around the clock to ensure delivery of quality services.

I'll miss those late- night phone calls in the midst of a crisis when I hear, "Fred, what can I do to help?" Arlington is fortunate to have each and every one of them, and we are especially fortunate to have Adam Chapdelaine as our town manager, as well as a dedicated Select Board working for a better Arlington - a board that until recently included the Honorable Kevin Greeley, who this year was taken from us far too soon.

So, I bid you a professional farewell, and as I close out this missive to the community, with emotions running high, I say thank you for affording me the distinct privilege of serving as your chief of police. APD’s commitment to fair and impartial policing during my tenure has been unwavering, and I did the job to the best of my ability every day that I served. I only hope that I left our corner of the world a little bit better than I found it. 

Dec. 11, 2018: Police Chief Ryan retiring to private sector after leading force since '99

Town manager's statement, Dec. 11, 2018
Globe, Dec. 11, 2018: Arlington police chief to retire
July 10, 2015: OPIOIDS: Police chief among 3 authors of U.S. standards for care
March 25, 2016: Defaced 'black lives matter' banner gets Holy Week repair
May 5, 2018: SLURS: Police report reveals some facts, a source some others
Nov. 7, 2018: Town takes issue with on-leave officer 'seriously,' manager says

This statement was published Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong

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