‘I Was Meant To Be Here For a Reason’: New Canaan Police Capt. Vincent DeMaio To Retire At Month’s End, Begin as Clinton PD Chief

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Growing up in Stamford, Vincent DeMaio’s dream had always been to work for the Connecticut State Police with the agency’s Troop F in Westbrook.

New Canaan Police Capt. Vincent DeMaio. Credit: Michael Dinan

New Canaan Police Capt. Vincent DeMaio. Credit: Michael Dinan

A 1985 Westhill High School graduate (he had spent three years at Wright Tech) who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut, DeMaio only took the New Canaan Police Department test 27 years ago because he had a buddy who didn’t want to sit the test alone.

“He prodded and prodded, and finally I gave in and did it,” DeMaio recalled Wednesday afternoon.

In the end, though his pal didn’t end up getting hired, DeMaio landed a job as a New Canaan police officer. That was in 1989, and he’s been serving the department ever since.

Capt. Vincent DeMaio of the New Canaan Police Department at the Sept. 11, 2014 9/11 memorial ceremony. Credit: Michael Dinan

Capt. Vincent DeMaio of the New Canaan Police Department at the Sept. 11, 2014 9/11 memorial ceremony. Credit: Michael Dinan

“I’m a firm believer that God always knows where he wants you to be,” DeMaio said. “And I was meant to be here for a reason.”

The comments came moments after Police Chief Leon Krolikowski—who himself started in ‘89 with DeMaio—announced that Capt. Vincent DeMaio would retire from NCPD at month’s end to assume the position of chief at the Clinton Police Department, exactly 56.9 miles up the Connecticut coast from New Canaan’s South Avenue police headquarters (originally built as the town’s first high school).

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski and Capt. Vincent DeMaio

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski and Capt. Vincent DeMaio

“He and I have been together since the beginning,” DeMaio said of Krolikowski. “To sit 1 and 2 now, and seeing where we started, no one would ever have thought that back then, I’m sure. It’s just a testament to what we have dedicated to this profession, wholly, and we worked really hard and that is another reason why we are where we are.”

DeMaio, who additionally holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Haven, has served in a multitude of roles with the New Canaan Police, including patrol officer, dispatcher, patrol sergeant, training officer, detective in the investigative division, patrol lieutenant, investigations commander and captain of operations, according to a press release issued by the chief.

He has overseen the department’s successful re-accreditation on-site examinations by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, and serves as that group’s assessor, evaluating other agencies’ fitness for accreditation. He’s also a member of the executive board of the Police Association of Connecticut, and last year attended the 260th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.

Krolikowski recalled that he and DeMaio graduated from the Police Academy around the same time and came on at NCPD within a group of about six people.

Asked what Clinton Police are getting with DeMaio, the chief said: “A well-educated, experienced police executive who knows best practices for policing and is not afraid to take on challenges and make things better. There’s no doubt in my mind that he will make the Clinton Police Department a more professional and productive agency as a result of his leadership.”

Asked for his own thoughts on parting professionally from a career-long colleague, Krolikowski said: “For sure, he is going to be missed. He’s an integral part of the department and it is hard to replace that knowledge. But it’s good for him, his career and his family so we cannot do anything but support him, because it’s a great thing. I don’t recall anyone in the last 25 years retiring from our department and becoming a chief somewhere else in Connecticut—that in itself is an accomplishment and a testament to his leadership and abilities.”

Police Commission Chairman Stuart Sawabini echoed Krolikowski’s praise.

“He has done an outstanding job in service to the department and we are sad to lose him,” Sawabini said. “W are also extremely pleased that he has accepted a chief’s position in Clinton.”

DeMaio said his career in New Canaan has been marked by many ups and downs and that on the whole “it has been very rewarding.” Summarizing a letter he issued to fellow members of the department, DeMaio said, “If I am remembered as somebody who tried to do the best he could and make those around him better, if I leave with that accomplishment, then I’m feeling pretty good.”

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