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Police chief nets regional title

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley last week received a significant bump in rank, one that will extend his law enforcement influence far beyond Addison County’s shire town.
Hanley on Sept. 14 was elected president of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police (NEACP), an organization through which law enforcement agencies from throughout the Northeast collaborate on training, management and crime-solving techniques.
“It’s interesting, and I am glad to be going in at the time I am going in,” said Hanley, who has been involved with NEACP since 1991 and joined its board of directors in 1998.
NEACP was founded in 1926 to, among other things, foster a better working relationship among police managers in the New England states, to share new scientific technology and techniques to catch criminals and prevent crimes, to raise the standards of police service, and to “uphold the honor and integrity of the police profession.”
As the organization’s president, Hanley will help set policy to aid the hundreds of police managers throughout New England better lead their respective forces.
It is a role that is not expected to cut into Hanley’s job as Middlebury chief. Hanley will need to attend four NEACP board meetings during the next 12 months, with perhaps some occasional ceremonial duties. NEACP’s executive director and handful of other staff oversee the day-to-day operations of the organization.
“It will have virtually no effect on my position here,” said Hanley, though the NEACP role will probably give Middlebury some prestige by association.
“Any of this kind of work brings a lot of credibility to the community,” Hanley said. “You can get regional and national attention. And it is good attention.”
Hanley became an active member of the NEACP board in 1998. Each of the six New England States appoints two delegates, and a vice president, to the NEACP board. Board members gain leadership seniority as vice president, and ultimately are in line for election as president after six years. Hanley is the first Addison County chief to lead NEACP in recent memory. The last Vermont chief to serve as the organization’s president was South Burlington’s Lee Graham, in 2004. Prior to that, Montpelier’s Doug Hoyt led the organization in 1998.
As is usually the case, there were no hitches in Hanley’s appointment to the NEACP top spot.
Hanley’s promotion was confirmed at an organizational gathering in South Burlington, attended by, among others, the Middlebury Police Department’s Honor Guard. To his surprise, Hanley received some unsolicited letters of endorsement from, among others, Gov. James Douglas of Middlebury and Vermont Human Rights Commission Executive Director Robert Appel. The latter credited Hanley with, among other things, “creating Vermont’s first bias-free policing policy in Middlebury.” That policy, which Hanley drafted in the wake of the influx of foreign migrant farm workers, calls for officers to be criminal profilers and not racial profilers, according to Appel.
Hanley’s plans during the next year include reinvigorating the NEACP and strengthening its programs. It’s major program — in partnership with the Justice System Training and Research Institute at Roger Williams University of Bristol, R.I. — is the New England Institute for Law Enforcement Management. The institute’s programs are designed to expand training and education, particularly in specialized management and leadership principles for law enforcement supervisors, command officers, managers and administrators.
Hanley is pleased to have some firm goals to accomplish during his term.
“I would hate to go in as a lame duck with no work to do,” he said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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