Norwegian police chief Robert Federico retires after 26 years in the police
NORWAY — When his son participated in a Police Explorer program with the Boy Scouts in the 1990s, Robert Federico got to know several local officers.
He was 38 years old and worked in the plumbing industry. The money was good, but Federico knew that with a wife and five children, it was time to look for a job that offered better health insurance and retirement benefits.
“I hadn’t decided what I wanted to do, but I knew if I was going to do something, I had to do it soon,” Federico said.
A few of the officers involved with her son’s Explorer group suggested that she accompany them on their shifts.
“I went out and rode with them a bit,” Federico said. “Afterwards, I said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ This is where it all began.
A career that began with him as a part-time officer in 1996 ended on Wednesday when he retired as chief after a 26-year career with Norway‘s police department. The select committee is expected to approve the appointment of investigator Jeffrey Campbell as a replacement at Thursday’s meeting.
Federico quickly rose through the ranks. He became a full-time officer in 1997. He was promoted to patrol sergeant a year later and became a detective in 2003 before being promoted to chief of police the following year.
The work has never been trivial and Federico’s passion for the police has never wavered.
“I enjoyed every day that I came here for work,” he said. “I look forward to coming to work every day. Not once did I say, ‘I don’t want to come in today.’ It’s pretty phenomenal these days.
He admits there is a certain excitement at work and that every day is different. He said the job is “just as exciting as the first day”.
The chance to help people is perhaps the most important factor that fueled his passion.
“I just wanted to help people,” Federico said. “You really do. You feel good if you were able to do someone good for that particular shift. It makes you feel good, especially after they shook your hand after you stopped someone and they said, “Thank you for treating me decently.” That’s satisfying.
In a town of just over 5,000 people, Federico has developed resources and specialties among his officers not often seen in a small police department. His department has its own K-9 unit. It also has two investigators and a school resource officer.
“For me, that’s a lot for a small town,” Federico said.
“Other departments have school resource officers,” he added. “But we are the only one that is entirely taxpayer funded. The school pays nothing for the program (School Resource Officer).
While enforcing laws, keeping the peace and helping people have remained the primary focus since his early days, the biggest change he has seen in his 28 years in the force is the enormous increase in calls about mental health issues. Not much has changed, he says.
Federico backed a bid in 2012 to merge the police departments of Norway and Paris. Norway overwhelmingly approved the plan, but a vote in Paris resulted in a tie, causing the plan to fail.
“At the time, a lot of people were worried about the tax hike,” Federico said. “I think they were concerned about an increase in service calls in both cities. The leader of Paris and I sat down and discussed how we could help each city individually and together. I thought we had found a pretty good program.
“Now I’m not sure those things are the same,” he added. “I don’t know how I would feel then.”
Federico plans to relax in retirement and spend time at his camp in Woodstock. He said he had a “group of grandkids” they wanted to hang out with. He also plans to travel, especially in the winter to escape the cold temperatures.
“I know every organization needs a little change from time to time to reinvigorate the organization,” Federico said. “I think now is the time for the Norwegian Police Department. New leadership and new ideas to shake things up a bit, not a lot, but a bit.
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Oxford County Arrest Log: August 3, 2022