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Stonington police Chief J. Darren Stewart announces retirement

Stonington — Chief J. Darren Stewart, who has led the police department for the past 13 years, has announced he will retire next year

Stewart, 58, has been a member of the department for the past 38 years, starting when he was just 19. He is the longest-serving chief in the department's history.

After being named to succeed former Chief David Erskine in 2008, Stewart said Tuesday he had a list of goals he wanted to accomplish as chief and he has checked them off his list.

Some of the department's many accomplishments during his tenure have been joining the state radio system in 2018, which allowed the department to become the first to communicate with state and local police departments and other agencies on the same system, implementing the police chaplain and K-9 programs, acquiring a new police boat and upgrading the infrastructure of the police station.  

"Everything is running well. Nothing needs any immediate attention. So it's a good time to retire," he said. "Thirty-eight years. I figure that's a good run."

Stewart said he has been blessed to have the support of the Board of Police Commissioners, the Board of Finance and "great officers who care about this community."

"I'm extremely proud of what our officers do every day that never make the paper," he said, pointing out the work they do in the schools, providing emergency medical care or helping people get social service assistance. "Our cruisers say we are partners with our community. We have never lost our focus on that."

Stewart, who has a master's degree in business administration, also has taught at both the University of Connecticut and Salve Regina University. He is the past president of the Law Enforcement Council of Eastern Connecticut and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.

He said he plans to assist the department in a transition to a new chief and depart by July 1, 2022.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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