- Associated Press - Monday, June 26, 2017

DERRY, Mass. (AP) - In a story June 26 about long-time Police Chief Edward Garone, The Associated Press reported erroneously that he was in Derry, Massachusetts. Garone is police chief in Derry, New Hampshire.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Police chief celebrates 45 years of community service

74-year-old Derry Police Chief Edward Garone is celebrating 45 years on the job as the department’s chief

JULIE HUSS

The Eagle-Tribune

DERRY, N.H. (AP) - He’s been a police officer for 53 years, 45 of those years leading the local force as its chief.

Derry Police Chief Edward Garone is celebrating his 45th year as the department’s chief. He was honored by Town Council during a meeting June 20 with a proclamation naming June 2017 as Edward B. Garone Month in Derry.

The Council’s proclamation described the chief as someone who has served Derry with honor and distinction not only as police chief, but as a municipal leader.

Garone, 74, spoke last week from his office at the police department, reflecting on his long tenure in town and why the position continues to be so important to him.

The Vermont native began his career as a police officer in Lebanon in 1964, working his way through the ranks to eventually become captain.

His police career eventually led him to Derry, taking the top job as chief as a 29-year-old, ready to become a part of his new community with wife Blanche and two young children Vicky and Michael.

“I was one of the youngest and might now be currently the longest serving chief,” Garone said.

In the May 11, 1972 issue of the Derry News, Garone was featured on the front page after being named Derry’s new police chief, starting off at a yearly salary of $14,000.

He started the job on June 1 of that year with the local newspaper calling the chief “an experienced officer with a lot of skill.”

Those early years had challenges, Garone said.

“It wasn’t easy in the early 1970s,” he said, noting challenges like street drug use, problems in local parks, and varying levels of crime facing his department.

That early police force had 16 members; now Garone leads a department of 73.

Garone, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, went on to be named Derry’s Citizen of the Year in 1984 and has worked hard on many projects in town as a Rotarian, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Derry leader and many more community roles.

For Garone, it’s been a great experience, and made all the more important because his family has stayed close and supportive.

“And the belief is, I can still make a difference,” he said.

Garone said he has no plans to step down from the top job anytime soon. And it helps to be surrounded by a crew of great men and women in the department, noting his staff has done yeoman’s work to keep the operations moving smoothly and successfully.

Garone said he never tries to “micro-manage” his department, but allows everyone to shine and attain their highest level of commitment for the job.

“We hire the best people, put them in the highest level and let them do their jobs,” he said. “It’s not Ed Garone, it’s the Derry Police Department.”

Challenges now topping the list, Garone said, include the opioid crisis, not just here at home, but across the state and on a national level.

“It’s someone’s daughter, son, sister, mother, father, senseless deaths have a rippling effect,” Garone said, “and that impacts a lot of people.”

Domestic violence is also a key concern, the chief pointed out.

“These two issues gnaw at the core of our society, our family unit gets disrupted and it’s a major problem,” Garone said.

The chief also said it’s often difficult to staff police rosters. With police issues often topping national news, it can be a problem throughout the industry.

But in Derry, the news seems to be more positive when it comes to showing local police support.

“I can’t remember a time when someone hasn’t been in here to drop off cookies, thank-you notes,” Garone said. “That’s refreshing, especially when it is in such contrast to what you see or read or hear about law enforcement. We are very fortunate to be in this area and to have the citizens we have here and respond.”

The community and its residents also make up the fabric of longtime success and continuity for the chief.

“It’s been a profession and career I’ve enjoyed immensely,” Garone said. “And the townspeople have been very supportive of the department for my entire tenure.”

Garone said his many years in Derry have been rewarding and if ever he contemplates retirement, he will know when the time is right.

“There is nothing I would rather do than what I am doing,” the chief said. “There have been some bumps in the road, but it’s a wonderful thing to be able to help people.”

Online: https://bit.ly/2tci0NL

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