My day as a civilian observer (a ride with the Police chief)

Yes it was a long day for him but a real treat for me

A day on patrol with Chief Douglas Robinson started in his office as he was getting his reports and answering phone calls. I reported after my shift at the crosswalk. I reached out to the Chief a few days ago and asked if I could do a ride along. He was working a double shift which gave me the opportunity to ride with him in the morning and then after my crossing duty I took another ride in the early evening.

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His list of things to do included several property checks that needed to be performed, along with normal patrol duties.


Here is a sampling of our day together:

We performed several checks and also checked in on a dog that was left in unattended in a vehicle (yes! he was fine).  The below schedule is from my watch and not any actual police report so times may be approximate.

9:00 AM--- We set out to start a routine patrol that was to include checking residences of people that might be away etc.

9:17 AM --- As we patrol on Route 5 south I checked the outside temperature which was  -1 degrees  F.  We continued our patrol and property checks.

9:45 AM--- We investigated what appeared to be a disabled vehicle. Driver was outside and looking for help.  We helped get his vehicle to a location where he could get enough gas to get him to Dan and Whit's for the real thing.

10:14 AM--- We are back on the road after helping person who ran out of gas

We continued to drive to properties that are on the list to be checked.

12:00 Noon -- I finished my morning ride a long

(see you later down the page for my evening shift)


As I was leaving to get back into my car I recalled how many times in our short time together that Doug had to get in and out of the car to perform his daily routine.  I was curious about all the extra weight a Police officer has to pack on in addition to their uniform. “It's probably 25 to 30 extra pounds.” Police carry a lot of gear. Police departments typically give their officers some options, but most equipment is required. Below is a list of required items:

Equipment commonly carried on the belt includes: handcuffs, radios, baton, hand-held protection devices such as pepper spray, firearms and ammunition, taser, flashlights, batteries, gloves, pens, pencils, keys, multi-tool, window punch etc.

This extra equipment carried around day in and day is part of the job but , I get tired just thinking about it.

While out on our patrol, I had an opportunity to interview Doug for this story

Here is his story:

In 1982, Doug became a part time police officer for the Windham County Sherriff's office and two years later became a full time officer. 

In 1986, He transferred to the Springfield Vermont, Police department where he served as a full time Police officer for 10 years. While serving with the Springfield Police Department, he was assigned to the Vermont Drug Task Force as an undercover officer.

Doug accepted a position with the Hartford Police Department as a patrolman in 1996.  He became the first school resource officer for the town of Hartford and served for four years, along with an assignment on the ICAC , Internet Crimes against Children Task Force.

He accepted the position of Sergeant for the Norwich Police Department in 2002 , and two years later in 2004, Doug was selected to be the new Police Chief, replacing Chief Steven Soares, who became the Norwich Town Manager. Doug not only embraced community policing for Norwich, but went on to lead by example and has made a huge impact on the town and it's residents.
The principles of community policing in Norwich are seen on a daily basis by me and many others and I have written about them on several of my "about Norwich" articles. 

He will be retiring on April 12 with 34 years of service as a Law enforcement officer and 14 years as Chief of police in Norwich.
I asked Chief Robinson 2 questions :
1. Why did you want to be a police officer?
1. Friends and their families were a big help in my deciding to be a law enforcement officer, as my friends in High school had parents on the police force. 
2. What makes this job so unique and different than any other position?

2. Every day is different, in that you never know what the next day will be like.
It may start out as just another normal patrol day and then all of the sudden, you have a major crisis to deal with.

He went on to say "you meet some really nice people in your daily interaction with the community as a police officer, and that makes  the job worthwhile in itself.  Some aspects of the job are a bit difficult to deal with at times, but you just do it to the best of your ability, and know that the next day will be a better one".

"Overall it has been a very rewarding experience".

He has really enjoyed his 17 years in Norwich and 14 as Chief and stated that he has seen a lot in his 34 years, mostly good, but also some bad. You will never forget the things you  have seen and experienced. " it just stays with you".

Doug has plans for retirement, as he has many hobbies which are, Hunting, Fishing, Hiking/Camping, and Travel. Last but not least, he asked me to not forget his Motorcycle.  He has always driven a Harley and enjoys riding whenever he can. 

Thanks Doug for this opportunity to see first hand the service that is provided to Norwich residents.  There will be another day soon, that we can officially thank you for your service.

Always ready when needed

This one is nice and clean and not the one we used

Coming up to a vehicle to investigate a concern

Chief Robinson talks with the driver on Union Village Rd. to find out what's wrong

10:14 AM We are back on the road after helping person who ran out of gas

We continued to drive to properties that are on the list to be checked.

Back in the office to process paperwork

Received a call from someone with vehicle trouble at Parcel 5 off of Beaver Meadow Rd

Photo taken of Cruiser at the scene

Arriving on scene

Vehicle diagnosis 101 

Chief Robinson hooks up the Battery Jump starter unit

Giving owner some good advice

8:50 PM finished the disabled vehicle call at Parcel 5

Much to my dismay, there were not any doughnuts but I did get a cup of coffee and yes I had coffee with a cop.

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