Norwich Police Chief Doug Robinson to Step Down

Submitted a month ago
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Rob @ Story Kitchen

Norwich Police Chief Doug Robinson told the Selectboard last night that he's submitted a letter of resignation to Town Manager Herb Durfee. "It's time," he said during the board's public comments period.

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Robinson has been the town's chief for 14 years; he served three years as sergeant before that, under the late Steve Soares. Robinson expects to retire officially on April 12, 2019.

During his time as chief, Robinson was known for his empathy and the diplomatic way he handled sometimes tough situations. He encouraged his officers to serve the town, not just enforce the law. "Chief Robinson has been a rock of stability, safety and decorum in Norwich for most of the last 20 years," Selectboard Chair John Pepper said in an email. "His will be tough shoes to fill. I know we will all miss him and wish him well in his retirement. Stay safe on that bike, Chief!"

In an interview just after he made his announcement, Robinson said that he and his wife last year bought a 12-acre, 82-site campground in Orford, NH, and that he'll work on running it full-time from May to October. "We’ve been camping there for years," he said. "The opportunity came up to purchase it."

Robinson's likely replacement was sitting next to him at the Selectboard meeting. Sergeant Jen Frank, who came to Norwich eight months ago from Windsor, was hired specifically with Robinson's retirement in mind. "I talked to the town manager and said, 'Why don’t we look for a sergeant -- I’m not going to be here forever -- someone who can succeed me,'" Robinson explained. "We brought her on board with the intention of her succeeding me."

Robinson was wistful at last night's meeting, telling the Selectboard that his announcement was harder to deliver than he'd expected. But after 34 years of policing full-time, he said afterward, it's time to do other things. "I’ve seen things that most people don’t want to see. It’s been probably the most honorable career, I couldn’t see myself doing anything different. There’s some days you come home and you hate your job, there’s other days you love it," he said. "This wasn't easy. I'll miss it."

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