Just a few months shy of his sixth year as chief of the Wilton Police Department — and what would have been his 38th year with the department — John Lynch will be retiring, effective Feb. 1, 2023.

Lynch will be leaving to become the police chief in New Shoreham, RI, which is the town on Block Island, RI. The New Shoreham Town Council will discuss and vote on Lynch’s hiring at a Thursday, Jan. 19 special meeting. According to the agenda for that meeting, Lynch’s hiring is dependent on him receiving certification from the state of Rhode Island.

Lynch, a 22-year Wilton resident, began his career with the Wilton Police in July 1985 as a dispatcher and auxiliary officer. He rose through the ranks, working in nearly every capacity of the department.

Long a proponent of community policing, Lynch started Wilton’s first Community Bike Patrol in 1996. When he became the chief, Lynch told the Police Commission that continuing and strengthening the department’s efforts in this area was a primary goal.

“Community service, maintaining that strong community contact and connection — we’re going to keep that going and try to capitalize on it,” he said at the time of his promotion to chief.

Another area Lynch prioritized was focusing on the aging physical condition of the current police headquarters, which had far outlived its capacity for personnel and advancements in policing techniques. It was in large part due to his advocacy and management that plans to build a new police facility were approved by town officials and, later, town residents.

Lynch was also named Emergency Management Director during his tenure as chief, overseeing operations anytime emergency situations arose, including during storms and severe weather.

One of the most taxing (and unexpected) responsibilities in the role was during the COVID pandemic when he co-led the town’s response with Wilton’s First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and Health Director Barry Bogle. He was also one of the first town employees to receive a COVID vaccine at the first town-run vaccine clinic in January 2021.

Lynch, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and a Masters in public administration, also graduated from the prestigious FBI National Academy in 2011.

At the time he was named chief, Lynch told GMW that being a Wilton resident added depth and dimension to the way performed his job.

“To me, it’s worth it. I’m out of the house in an instant, if I hear something on the radio. I’ve been referred to as the fourth patrolman sometimes. If there’s a bad accident I show up to be an extra set of hands, whatever they need. I really try to be active,” he says.

During his years as a resident, Lynch also served as a Board of Trustee member of the Wilton Historical Society, a Georgetown Fire Department volunteer, a previous Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corp volunteer and an A Better Chance of Wilton supporter, among other positions.

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8 Comments

  1. Hey Chief, Thank you for everything you’ve done for Wilton and best of luck with your new assignment – we hate to see you go!

  2. It is a big loss to the town of Wilton. Chief has done a sensational job for our town. We were fortunate too have had him over the last six years particularly with all the challenges posed by Covid. He will be greatly missed.

  3. Congratulations John on your new venture! My family will miss seeing you. You have been such a positive influence in our town. Hopefully Block Island will appreciate the fine man they are getting!

  4. Chief John Lynch is such a dedicated public servant! He will be sorely missed in Wilton! Thank you and best wishes to you and your family in your next chapter!

  5. Really sorry to see him go, and so soon! Pleasure working with him via CERT deployments. He’ll be sorely missed, and I suspect he’ll miss Wilton. That said, how often does the opportunity come along to be police chief on Block Island! Can’t blame him for jumping on that, pronto!

  6. Chief Lynch, Best of luck in your new position…and thank you for your past dedication to Wilton…
    Kevin and Marianne Hickey

  7. Dear Chief Lynch-

    On behalf of the League of Women Voters, I would like both to congratulate you on your new position in New Shoreham; and also to express our deep gratitude to you for your years of service to the town of Wilton. Your personal leadership and commitment to community-based safety has been foundational to our town’s stability and growth over your 38 (!) years of service. We partciularly thank you for your steadfast and collaborative leadership through the last several years as the town has managed our response to the COVID pandemic.

    We wish you well in the next chapter of your career and personal life. We will miss you.

    Tina Gardner / Wilton League of Women Voters

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