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Vermont State Police barracks in New Haven gets a new leader

NEW HAVEN — Vermont State Police Lt. Charles Cacciatore found himself doing something on Monday that he has already done several times during his eventful 25-year career with the department: Gazing upon a stack of boxes that he will soon unpack to put his personal touch on a barren office.
And in this case, the nomadic state police administrator is preparing to settle in Addison County for a second time, as he assumes command of the VSP’s New Haven barracks. Cacciatore previously served in this county as a sergeant from 2004 to the start of 2007.
Cacciatore, 48, is taking over for Michael Manley, recently promoted to captain and Southern Troop Commander for the agency’s New Haven, Rutland, Shaftsbury, Royalton and Westminster barracks.
Originally from New Jersey, Cacciatore decided at an early age to pursue a career that would allow him to both drive and help people. He graduated from Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., in 1990, having majored in political science and minored in history.
“I knew I wanted to live in Vermont,” Cacciatore added, a sentiment shared by his young bride, Lisa. The couple has a daughter and a son, who will be attending Middlebury College this fall.
“I wanted something structured. I was a clean slate.”
It was while walking around the Champlain Valley Fair around 27 years ago that he had an epiphany about his potential career path.
“I saw a bunch of state troopers at their booth,” he recalled. “I was very intimidated, so I didn’t want to talk to anyone, but I took a (Vermont State Police) brochure.”
He began his application process for the VSP after graduating from Hartwick. Approximately a year-and-a-half later (in 1991), he became a trooper, assigned to the Rutland barracks.
While in Rutland, he served a four-year stint (2000 to 2004) as school resource officer at Mill River Union High School. He enjoyed establishing a rapport and trust with the young people he was charged with protecting and supervising.
“I was the first school resource officer in the state of Vermont,” Cacciatore recalled. “It was a great experience.”
In 2004, Cacciatore was promoted to sergeant and assigned to the Addison County barracks — then located on Route 7 in Middlebury. He was among the troopers who made the transition in 2006 from the small, outdated headquarters in Middlebury to the new spacious and modern barracks in New Haven.
Ever nimble, Cacciatore again uprooted at the request of his bosses, this time to the VSP’s Castleton outpost in January of 2007. He served there until November 2010, whereupon he returned to the Rutland barracks — this time as its commander, after having been promoted to lieutenant.
The department then reached out to him early this month to take over for Manley in New Haven. Cacciatore agreed. Manley will continue to maintain an office in the New Haven barracks.
Cacciatore leads a New Haven barracks that, when fully staffed, will include 15 unified personnel: 10 troopers, four sergeants and himself. He wants those troopers to fully develop their respective talents — whether it be criminal investigations or managing accident scenes — and then pooling those skills for the overall good of the barracks and its service area.
“One of my goals here is customer service, how we are treating the public,” Cacciatore said. “We don’t want carbon copies of police officers. We want people to have a myriad of interests, and that makes for a stronger barracks.”
Cacciatore is also a big proponent of various VSP barracks collaborating on investigations. For example, he noted the Addison and Rutland county barracks recently joined forces in a probe of a recent string of burglaries in Shoreham, Orwell, Benson and Sudbury. He specifically praised Troopers Adria Pickin and Kaitlyn Knight-Armstrong for their work on that case.
Arrests are pending in the case, but the VSP would still appreciate any tips in the from the public.
In addition to encouraging collaboration among troopers, Cacciatore is a big proponent of having law enforcement actions serve as a means of changing illegal behavior in people that can also jeopardize public safety. Troopers, he said, really don’t enjoy giving out tickets.
“When you are making a traffic stop, you are doing whatever you feel is necessary to change that person’s behavior for the future,” he said. “If it’s a written warning or ticket, it’s whatever you need to do at that time for the situation that’s presented.”
Cacciatore also vowed to work closely with the municipal police forces in Middlebury, Bristol and Vergennes.
“The name of the game, to me, is relationships,” Cacciatore said. “You can depend on each other and you’re working toward the same goal — to help people.”
And he is also hoping to build a solid relationship with the people he and his troopers are serving.
“We are not solving crime without input from the community,” he said of the importance of public input and tips.
There are times when Cacciatore misses being on the road, providing direct aid to people. But there are still occasions when he gets to be of service in the field.
“When I go home and get to help someone who has run out of gas, backing up a trooper at a call, or whatever, it’s rewarding,” he said. “You never forget what these troopers are going through.”
Cacciatore will qualify for retirement in around 20 months. But he’s not circling the days, at this point.
“This law enforcement job has been very fun and rewarding, and we’ll see where it goes,” Cacciatore said.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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