One day after announcing his plan to retire from the Wilton Police Department in three months, Chief Robert Crosby is definitely a little wistful. After 33 years on the job, all of them here in the town where he grew up, Crosby is undeniably a Wiltonian through-and-through.
“I’ve gotten a lot of texts, phone calls, emails from people saying how sad they are to see me go. As an individual that makes you feel good. Sometimes you’re doing a job and you’re not sure it’s a job the town appreciates. Being part of this town and growing up here helped me realize what a person from Wilton looks for in a police department and in an officer. That’s what I’m most proud of, that my personality has gone through the ranks on how we treat the public,” he explains.
That was one of the things that Crosby wanted to implement since he made his mark two years ago after he was named acting chief and then chief.
“One of my goals, which the Police Commission requested when I first became chief, was being more transparent, and to increase community policing. From the day I was a youth officer, I was very into this community. Part of it was that I grew up in Wilton. I felt that our police department should be like that,” he says.
Crosby says that approach needs to start in an officer even before day one working here. It’s that special something that he looked for in new officer candidates.
“We interview a lot of officers who say, ‘I could go here, I could go there.’ We’re choosing ones who say, ‘I want to go to a community like Wilton.’ We’ve chosen some really great ones, and you can see that.”
He specifically points to the younger, newer officers who are eager to get involved with the community through community policing efforts.
“I thought we could do more with community service, and that’s why I started pushing for more of it. People we hired, we handpicked the officers would be the best fit. We got some younger officers who loved the fact that they could go out there and do community service and be part of Toys-for-Tots, and Tip-a-Cop, and all the wonderful stuff we do. They love what we do and they’re happy to work in a community like Wilton.”
That’s why he’s confident that from the Captain on down, he’ll be leaving the town in good hands.
“I thank the Commission for the opportunity to become a chief here, it was great to start my career here and end it here as a chief of police.”
Though people are sad to see him go, Crosby does remind everyone that he has done his fair share, and then some. “I put in 33 years, that is a lot of time,” he laughs.