Town makes first police department promotions in decade

Two Williston officers make rank of sergeant

By Michelle Edelbaum
Observer Staff

The Williston Police Department promoted two officers, Brian Claffy and Scott Graham, to sergeants last week.

The promotions, effective Sept. 12, are the first in the department since Detective Sgt. Bart Chamberlain was made a sergeant in 1994. Four officers applied for the promotions, said Chief Ozzie Glidden.

Funding for the positions was included in the 2005-06 municipal budget, following a study to assess the need for additional supervisory positions and discussions with Town Manager Rick Maguire and the Selectboard. The positions provide a much-requested rank structure in the department, which has only two ranked officers — Glidden and Chamberlain.

“We’ve been in need of a deeper rank structure for some time,” said Chief Glidden. “There was no way for people to move up … this should help in our retention and give our officers something to look forward to. We’ll definitely have more supervisory positions in the future.”

Claffy and Graham will have additional job responsibilities including training new officers and serving as shift supervisors. Currently there are no supervisors on the night and late nights shifts, Glidden said. The new sergeants will supervise the 3-11 p.m. shift and the 11 p.m. – 7 a.m. shift. Glidden and Chamberlain will continue to supervise the day shifts.

“This will give the guys someone to answer their questions and will decrease liability issues for the town,” Glidden said.

For years, the Williston Police Department lobbied the Selectboard to include a rank structure. The department said the lack of advancement opportunities contributed to high turnover. The Selectboard finally agreed to budget money last year for the promotions.

Claffy has been with the Williston Police Department for seven years. Prior to joining the department he was stationed with the Burlington Coast Guard for eight years. Before that he performed search and rescue operations with the Coast Guard in Long Island and in Alameda, Calif. Claffy said he looks forward to having more input into training new officers.

Graham has served as a Williston patrolman for five years. Prior to joining the Williston Police Department, he retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after 21 years. During his enlistment was stationed in Burlington for five years and before that in Sandy Hook, N.J.