One of Randolph’s police officers for nearly 20 years, Loretta Stalnaker will step into a new role as Royalton’s chief of police on Monday, July 9. Royalton has been without a chief since Jim Beraldi resigned in 2017, after one year on the job.
The best part of being a police officer, says Stalnaker, is being out in the community. She is now getting to know Royalton, is really looking forward to working there, and hopes people will come forward to introduce themselves.
“I’ll need to learn the roads,” she said, and looks forward to building a rapport with the community, by having breakfast at the diner, for one thing.
The worst part of policing is “anything involving kids, it breaks your heart.”
Stalnaker has a solid history of working with and for kids, having been involved in the LEAD (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) program for years, of which she is one of three instructors in the state. She was also a panel member of the Senior Project program at RUHS.
She hopes to bring the LEAD program to WRVSU, and to continue working with driver’s education classes. She would welcome being invited to any class to talk to students, she said.
She is also a child safety seat technician, open to helping anyone who wants to learn about installation and use, even arranging for free seats for the needy. Many people don’t know that the materials can wear out, she informed the Herald.
“Anything that’s been in an accident should be thrown out, even autos should have the seat belts that were in use during an accident replaced,” she said.
Originally from Texas, Stalnaker and her husband moved to Vermont when he landed a teaching job at VTC in 1993. While working security part-time at VTC, her supervisor encouraged her to become a cop, telling her she had a good way with people. To “boost that up” she joined the National Guard, serving with the post military police. A 20- year member retiring this year, she was deployed twice with the Tennessee National Guard—to Iraq for 18 months beginning in 2005, and to Afghanistan for 12 months in 2010.
After attending the Vermont State Police Academy for part-time certification she joined the Randolph Police Department under Chief Phillip Mollitor, then attended VPA for full-time certification, becoming a full-timer at RPD in 2000. She is currently a deputy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as well, usually working the Tunbridge Fair.
When Royalton first advertised for a Chief of Police, Stalnaker didn’t apply. She was comfortable in Randolph and hoping for advancement within the RPD, she said.
Advancement in Randolph didn’t pan out, and eventually she was approached by search committee chair Gidget Lyman, asking how to get more candidates to apply in Royalton. After Stalnaker spoke with the Royalton committee, they asked if she would apply.
Commuting to Royalton won’t be much different from her East Randolph home, she said, anticipating a day-time schedule, with some nights on call. The population of Royalton isn’t much different from Randolph’s village either, but she foresees working with the VSP more in Royalton.
At this time, Royalton has only one part-time officer, and now a chief. Stalnaker is looking to hire one full-time officer, and possibly more part-timers.
“Royalton has been through a bad spell,” she said. “We have to make sure to have a good set of policies for officers to follow, make sure they aren’t liabilities to the town, and have transparency with the people of the community.” “I’m really looking forward to working here,” she added. “It’s been fabulous, and everyone has been very welcoming.”
-- JO LEVASSEUR