It was a very large crowd that came to Wilton Library on Monday afternoon (April 3) to witness Capt. John P. Lynch get sworn in as Wilton’s new Police Chief–so large that the doors from the Brubeck room to the courtyard had to be thrown open so additional rows of chairs could extend outside. Thank goodness the weather was balmy, but it didn’t even matter because the overflow crowd was warmed by the upbeat, sunny ceremony inside, watching as Lynch took the oath and then gave heartfelt, personal and often humorous remarks to family, friends, town officials and colleagues.

Lynch told a story about being a fix-it guy at home, but knowing when to call in someone for the tougher jobs–installing crown molding for instance. “I tell you that because I realize I can’t do everything by myself. I need a team to help.”

As a 32-year veteran of Wilton’s force, and a long-time resident of the town, he is the epitome of the men and women who protect this town. Selfless and quick to credit the entire force, he saved the department’s officers for last in his thank-yous.

“In the lobby of our building, there’s a plaque that’s been there since it was built in 1974, that says, ‘Inside these doors are police officers as fine as any in the country.’ When I first saw that as a rookie I said, ‘Aw, that’s a nice thing.’ But over the years it has incredible meaning. Not only will I challenge anyone, they are the best anywhere. Wilton is a top, safe community; last year we had the most contact with the community. It’s a great town and our officers really step up and are a part of it.”

He also thanked the many town officials and fellow first responders who attended, including those from Wilton’s Fire Department and Volunteer Ambulance Corps as well as members of the New Canaan Police. He thanked Wilton’s former police chief Michael Lombardo and just-retired chief Robert Crosby, as well as former first selectman Bill Brennan. He said he saw so many faces from people he knew from every stage of his life–family, friends, and fellow Wilton residents.

“Looking around and seeing everybody here is so special.”

Lynch is well known by many, from the regulars at Connecticut Coffee, to the churchgoers at Our Lady of Fatima (where he faithfully directed Sunday traffic for years), and residents he volunteered with over the years. He’s often one of the first to arrive at an accident or crime scene even when he’s off-duty because as a resident, he lives close enough to lend an extra hand–and because he cares very much about the work and this town.

What’s clear is he will be a chief that takes everything about his job to heart.

“They all gave me advice. Bob [Crosby] gave me the best advice just recently [when] I said to him, ‘I wake up at 5 a.m. now and then I start thinking about work, and I can’t go back to sleep.’ His words of advice were, ‘Get used to it!'”

One of the best things about the swearing-in ceremony was that it allowed all seven of Lynch’s children to get together, as Lynch told the crowd that it had been a long time since all seven had been together. “Between the service time of the three boys, school, and everybody being so busy, I’m so proud to stand here today with my family all here in one place. I couldn’t have done this without them.”

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