MANCHESTER — The Manchester Police Department will be losing three officers in the coming weeks.
Officers Dontrelle Royal, Sean Madigan and Cpl. Jason Thomas will all be leaving the department soon. All three police officers are leaving to pursue other options and there are no disciplinary reasons related to their departure, said Lt. James Blanchard.
MPD Chief Patrick Owens said it’s going to take some work to cover shifts until the department can hire replacements and be back to full staff.
“It’s going to be a lot of overtime,” Owens said. “Prefer to have every position filled so people are going to be filling extra shifts on their days off.”
Owens said it wasn’t a good idea to have fewer officers on during a shift for officer safety.
The three officers are each leaving for personal reasons, Blanchard said.
Thomas is looking for a change of career, Blanchard said. Thomas joined the MPD in 2011 after working with the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department. Among many awards Thomas received was an accommodation for assisting Vermont State Police at a shooting in Arlington for “going above and beyond and knowingly putting his life in danger to serve the community.”
Sean Madigan recently suffered a death in family and will move to Florida.
Officer Dontrelle Royal moved to the area from Virginia a couple of years ago, but his wife’s job was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and she recently was hired by a company in Washington, D.C., where the couple will be moving.
Blanchard said that while losing three good officers will impact the department, there are already works underway to replace them.
“I don’t want to jinx this but I think we’re in good shape,” Blanchard said.
One new hire is in progress with two more in the pipeline.
The new hire, Ronnie Taylor III, will start Nov. 6. Taylor is a full-time officer with the Granville (N.Y.) Police Department, and is full-time certified in New York but part-time certified in Vermont.
Blanchard said the department will request a waiver for full-time training for Taylor. If not granted he’ll have to go through the full-time academy, which is an 18-week program.
“We hope they accept the waiver,” Blanchard said. “He can do 90 percent of things, but there are some crimes he won’t be able to investigate.”
Blanchard said recruiting for new officers has been a challenge as police agencies have come under fire in recent years due to a number of high-profile incidents where police have not followed rules, laws or procedures. He said there are not as many applicants today as there would have been a few years ago. Owens said it’s not just a problem in Vermont but across the country.
“Nationwide, there’s a shortage,” Owens said. “You don’t see a lot of people wanting to get into this profession.”
Owens praised the departing officers.
“They were great officers to work with,” Owens said. “I understand they have other things and they’re moving on. We’re going to miss them.”
Blanchard said the MPD is in good shape.
“We’ve been fortunate in our community,” he said. “We have a very supportive community. We’ve been lucky.”