HUBBARDSTON — After more than 16 years of community service and nearly four decades in law enforcement, Police Chief Dennis Perron has decided to make it a career.
Perron’s last day on the job was July 15, when the job of top cop in town was given to the sergeant. Ryan Couture.
“I think I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish, and I think it’s time to head south and enjoy the good weather 12 months a year,” Perron said.
But Perron said he will always be proud of his accomplishments as a top law enforcement official in the community, especially leading the city through challenges such as the city’s financial troubles. , recessions, ice storms, changes in government and COVID-19.
“And to be able to stay on budget every year and best serve the people of Hubbardston, I think I’ve done that with honor, respect and humility during my time here,” he said. “And I did everything I could for everyone who walked through my door.”
Perron, 60, began his law enforcement career as a patrolman in his hometown of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, in 1985. After rising through the ranks in the department, he retired as a lieutenant. -detective in 2006. In March of that year, Perron was chosen to lead the Hubbardston Police Department.
“I started on March 26 and have been here ever since,” he said.
Becoming the head of a department is an accomplishment to which almost all police officers aspire, admitted Perron.
“It’s always been my dream to have my own department and take the things I’ve learned from the many leaders I’ve worked for – good and bad – and apply them (as) police chief here” , said Perron, adding that the importance of community policing has been one of the most valuable lessons he has learned from his many mentors throughout his career. “I still believe strongly in community policing, the humble cop who interacts with the public in a pleasant way because, unfortunately, on many occasions we were not in a situation where it is a happy day for the family or the person we are dealing with. .”
Hubbardston, Perron added, was the ideal city to implement his community policing strategy.
“It’s a small town, and I think (community policing) has worked and I think it will continue to work,” he said.
Couture, who has been a member of the department for 21 years, will serve as interim chief for six months while the city’s select council searches for a new chief. Perron said he’s spent the past few years showing Couture the ropes in budgeting and managing the department’s day-to-day operations.
“I think he did everything he could to prepare himself to be a very effective leader,” Perron said.
During his time at the department, Couture served as a detective, patrolman and dispatcher, officials said. As interim leader, he will lead the department, develop goals, and evaluate members on their suitability for future leadership positions.
As his retirement date approaches, Perron said he is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. He said those cards, letters and emails meant a lot to someone who spent the first decades of his career in a relatively big city.
“Coming from a city, where there is a different relationship with the community than here, there is obviously a much more personal connection,” he said. “So the good wishes and the cookies that I’ve received and everything that’s been dropped has meant a lot to me – and that says I must have done something right over the 16 and a half years, and the people really care.”
As Perron prepares to head south to Florida to begin enjoying his retirement, one thing he will remember fondly is the 10 years he spent helping students cross the street to get to school every morning and every afternoon.
“I will miss interacting with the kids, meeting the classes, seeing their faces and giving them stickers – it really meant a lot to me,” Perron said.
And were there any aspects of his work that Perron would remember with anything less than fondness?
“I really won’t miss the weather,” he said.