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.