Police Chief Robert Crosby

BREAKING NEWS Jan. 11, 2017, 2:45 p.m.–Wilton Police Chief Robert Crosby announced he will be retiring from the Wilton Police Department on April 3, 2017. He began his career in July 1983, and has been with the department for more than 33 years. Crosby, who grew up in Wilton, was named Chief of Police in Sept. 2015.

Crosby is reportedly relocated to Virginia to be with family in the area there.

In a press release, Crosby released the following statement:

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the Town of Wilton and its Police Department for over 33 years. It has been a pleasure working with the Department’s officers, town government and for Wilton residents.”

He also thanked the Wilton Police Commission for granting him the opportunity to serve for two years as Chief of an exemplary police department. “It has been an unforgettable experience.”

Update, 4:45 p.m.:  Wilton’s first selectman Lynne Vanderslice expressed her sadness and disappointment at the news that Wilton was losing its police chief.

“Chief Crosby will be missed. He has been a valuable member of the department for 33 years. He is respected and appreciated by the community. Personally, I have a great deal of respect for Bob. I have appreciated his counsel and enjoyed working with him over the last 13-plus months. I certainly had hoped to have him serve longer as the chief of the department but I certainly understand why he’s made the decision to relocate. He’s been a huge asset and we’ll miss him, but support him in his decision. I wish him and his family the best.”

She adds that the department, now at full staff, is well equipped to maintain the level of service that has been established under Crosby’s aegis.

“Once Bob leaves in early April, we’ve got a strong department and I’m confident they will be able to continue to do the great job they do until Bob is replaced,” she says.

As for plans to find a successor, Vanderslice says that the Police Commission is developing next steps. “The commission will form a committee, the committee will recommend to the commission, who will recommend to the Board of Selectmen.” The BoS has the ultimate say over hiring the next chief.

The Police Commission learned about the Chief’s plans a mere three days ago, on Monday, Jan. 9 during their last commission meeting, so they’re only in preliminary stages of next steps. Given that they have three months to complete a search, the commission is hoping to find someone in that time and hopefully not have to rely on finding an acting chief unless they have to.

“It’s very early, so the process is in the early days of putting our collective plan together to move forward and putting someone in that position,” says Donald Sauvigne, chair of the Police Commission. “If we have not completed our decision process by the time he leaves then we would appoint an acting position. But our plan is to move out quickly and find an appropriate and right person for that position and offer it in a timely manner, so we wouldn’t need an acting for a long time, if at all.”

Nonetheless, the disappointment at losing Crosby is universal, says Sauvigne. “He’s done an absolutely fabulous job in the last two years, stepping up as the chief, and he’s done very good. We were very pleased with his progress and we’re going to miss him. But that’s what life is.”