DOVER -- After serving on the department for 36 years, Dover Police Chief Bob Edwards will retire this month.
But he won't be leaving the Deerfield Valley any time soon.
"It's been a great career," said Edwards. "It's certainly had its share of challenges but I have no regrets. I feel it's time."
Edwards plans to continue working with Twin Valley High School students who are interested in video production, which has been one of his passions. In recent years, he has assisted with overseeing projects that students have produced.
"I hope to spend more time working at the school," said Edwards.
On Nov. 1, he will be stepping down and Randy Johnson will be replacing him.
Johnson has been working alongside Edwards for more than 30 years. They both share the mindset that the department remains a community-oriented police department.
It was announced at Town Meeting in March that Johnson would replace Edwards.
"We had a great transition period," said Edwards. "It's been a nice and smooth transition. And I'm still here if (Johnson) has any questions. He's pretty much got it figured out."
Edwards began his career with the Dover Police Department in September 1977. In April 1981, he became chief of the force. It was the first and only police department he has served on.
"Working in a community I grew up in was quite rewarding," said Edwards. "As a result, the department has been able to do a lot of things to really help a lot of people."
When he first started as an officer, Edwards said the town was very small.
"It pretty much grew up over the last 30 years. There's definitely more people living here," he said. "They've added thousands of housing units. Everything grew up."
Edwards' last day as chief will be Oct. 31, which is also his birthday. A retirement party was planned with colleagues and friends for Nov. 1 at the Grand Summit Hotel at Mount Snow from 6 to 9 p.m. The price is $25 per person and includes hors d'oeuvres, pasta dinner, salad and light dessert with coffee and tea.
The public is invited, but reservations are needed. Call Michelle Man at 802-464-8722 or e-mail her at Michelle.Mann@state.vt.us.
"The town has treated us really well," he said. "There's been a good administration, which has been very supportive and that makes it a lot easier to last that many years."
Dover Town Clerk Andy McLean told the Reformer that he wishes Edwards the best of luck.
"The town of Dover and myself are very grateful for his long service to the town of Dover, his implementing of the policing philosophy here and working with the kids in Wilmington and Dover," said McLean.
Dover Selectboard Chairman Randy Terk also noted Edwards' service as chief and work within the community.
"He's done a great job. The town appreciates all his years of service and as a continuing member of the community since he's not going anywhere," said Terk. "We're looking forward to his continued involvement in the community."
Although his work on the department has come to an end, Edwards still plans to contribute as much as he can around the Valley.
"I still have a lot of ideas for community things that can be done," he said. "It's been a great experience. Dover's been a great place to work and what has been particularly good is that I've had a good crew of people."
The challenges that Edwards faced over the years stemmed from Dover being a small town.
"You're dealing with a lot of people that you know," he said. "Everybody has a crisis in their life at some time. I think the advantage of being in a small town and having a community-oriented police department is that we're able to make a difference and help a lot of people through these times."
As far as Johnson taking over, Edwards has no worries or concerns that the department will change in terms of the way it handles crime.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.