County VSP commander leaving; new leader eyed

NEW HAVEN — Vermont State Police Lt. Bruce Melendy on Friday will conclude a two-year stint as commander of the VSP’s Addison County barracks in New Haven in order to take the helm of the department’s Derby headquarters.
State police officials plan to fill the Addison County position by early February; in the meantime, senior staff will manage operations at the VSP’s New Haven barracks on Route 7.
Melendy, 49, confirmed his transfer to Derby — effective Jan. 18 — during an interview with the Addison Independent on Tuesday. Melendy explained the transfer gives him the opportunity to return closer to his home and family in Danville, where he lived for many years prior to his promotion and assignment to the New Haven barracks.
“If this (Derby) opportunity hadn’t presented itself, I was probably going to retire in June and move back to Danville,” said Melendy, who turns 50 in a few months and will have enough service time to qualify for retirement.
It was in January of 2007 that Melendy officially took over for former New Haven barracks commander Lt. Thomas Noble. Melendy grew up in Barre, graduated from Williamstown High School, and joined the VSP in 1983 after serving a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.
He was originally assigned to the VSP’s Middlesex barracks. In 1991, Melendy was promoted to sergeant and was transferred to St. Johnsbury as a patrol commander before assuming the duties of public information officer in 1995. In 2003, Melendy transferred to the Bradford barracks as a patrol commander and remained there until he was promoted to lieutenant and transferred to Addison County. Here, he supervised a staff that includes three sergeants and nine troopers.
The past few years have seen Melendy and his spouse reside in Bridport while continuing to own a house in Danville.
Danville has proven to be a powerful family magnet in recent months, Melendy noted, given the circumstances of two of the couple’s three children. A daughter recently settled with in Danville with her husband and new baby; and a son has transferred to a college in Maine and is returning on weekends to the family home.
“We have found ourselves pulled back to Danville more than we thought we would,” Melendy said.
The Melendys were given a chance to return to Danville sooner rather than later when Lt. Russ Robinson, commander of the VSP’s Derby barracks, received the OK for a transfer to Bradford.
“I was approached and asked if I was interested in going to Derby,” said Melendy, who quickly agreed to the switch. He noted the move will also considerably shorten his wife’s work commute, as she currently travels back and forth from Bridport to Montpelier.
Melendy expects to be at the Derby barracks at least until June.
“I am still enjoying the job, putting on the uniform and serving the people of Vermont,” Melendy said.
While his two-year stint in Addison County was brief, it was eventful. After only a few weeks on the job, state police investigated a high-profile, destructive teen drinking party at the former Ripton estate of Robert Frost. Not long afterward, VSP joined Middlebury police and other authorities in investigating the disappearance of Middlebury College student Nick Garza, another case the drew statewide and national headlines.
Melendy will leave Addison County with positive thoughts.
“I heard a lot of great things about Addison County, and they were all true,” Melendy said. “I enjoyed the relationship I tried to develop with other law enforcement agencies in the county.”
The Addison County barracks vacancy will probably be filled through the promotion of a sergeant or a lateral move by a current VSP lieutenant, according to Melendy. The application deadline for the post is Jan. 21.
“I think by the end of January you’ll probably have a person here,” Melendy said.

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