Following last week’s retirement announcement by current Chief of Police John Lynch, the Wilton Police Commission named Wilton Police Department’s Executive Officer Capt. Thomas (Tom) Conlan as the next chief, effective Thursday, Feb. 2.

A press release issued late Friday, Jan. 20 said the promotion was “in recognition of Capt. Conlan’s impressive professional accomplishments and demonstrated leadership qualities, which made him more than qualified” for the job. 

Conlan, who also serves as Wilton’s Deputy Emergency Management Director, will be the town’s eighth police chief.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue to serve the residents of Wilton as their police chief. I would also like to thank the members of the Wilton Police Commission and First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice for their continued confidence in my leadership. Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank the members of the Wilton Police Department for all of the hard work that they put in day in and day out to make Wilton a great place,” Conlan said.

Conlan began his Wilton career in 2000, starting as a patrol officer and working his way through the ranks: sergeant in 2008, lieutenant in 2013, captain in 2015, and executive officer in 2016. He earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s Degree in criminal justice from the University of New Haven, and graduated from the FBI National Academy for Law Enforcement Executives at Quantico, VA in March 2019. 

The Commission also promoted Capt. Robert (Rob) Cipolla to Deputy Chief, also effective Thursday, Feb. 2, “in recognition of the excellence of his performance in his capacity of Captain since his promotion to that rank in 2017.”

The press release also noted that the Deputy Chief position is replacing the existing Captain-Executive Officer role, “reflecting the importance of this second-in-command role and the outstanding level of professional achievement required to attain this rank.” 

Cipolla also started as a patrol officer in Wilton, in 2005, and was awarded the prestigious Samual J. Luciano Award as the top graduate of his Connecticut Police Academy class. Cipolla was promoted to sergeant in 2012, lieutenant in 2015 and captain in 2017, and he holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, with a minor in business administration and a Master of Public Administration, with a concentration in ethical leadership. He also leads the department’s efforts on the Domestic Violence Task Force.

Both Conlan and Cipolla have received numerous citations and awards while serving in the department. 

Police Commission Chair Chris Giovino explained why the search for a new police chief was conducted internally.

“The police department’s cadre of patrol officers, detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, and captains is remarkably deep in requisite skills, management and quality personalities. The Commission is excited for the future of the department and has full confidence in Tom Conlan and Rob Cipolla’s ability to lead the department,” he said. 

Vanderslice offered her support and congratulations to the officers, noting that she has worked closely with both Conlan and Cipolla since they were each promoted to Captain.

“Tom … ha[s] the knowledge, the executive/leadership skills, and importantly, an approachable demeanor, which will allow him to be a successful next Chief of Police. And thank[s to] the Commission for recognizing [Rob’s] multiple talents and his performance with his promotion to Deputy Chief,” she said. 

Vanderslice declined to say who she will appoint to be Emergency Management Director until a formal announcement is made, but said she will make the announcement before Lynch, the current director, leaves.

The town will release further details of a swearing-in ceremony when they are available.