Darien Police Lt. Ronald Bussell, commander of the detective division, and his wife, Nancy, a clerk in the records division, will both retire from the department in the next few months.
“This is a little bittersweet here,” Police Chief Duane Lovello said. On the one hand, he wishes the couple a great retirement, he said; on the other, the department will lose a lot of acquired experience Lt. Bussell acquired over the years.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody that works harder than Ronald Bussell,” Lovello said. “He really has been an absolute tremendous asset to this department, but he’s put in a lot of years. He’s been the commander of the Detective Bureau for a long, long time.
“I would say he’s probably the best boss I ever worked for here,” Lovello continued. “He’s just a hard-orking guy. He really sets the bar high. So this will be a big loss for the department.”
In a resignation letter dated April 5, Bussell wrote: “I have always enjoyed working for the Town of Darien and the Police Department. the department’s members are amongst the finest group of officers in the state, and I am proud to have worked with them.”
Bussell’s announced retirement takes effect on May 31. The retirements have become public about a month after Police Capt. Gary Pavia’s retirement from the department. Pavia headed up the patrol division, where most of the sworn officers of the department worked. Police officials have said they expect a number of retirements this year, and examinations have been scheduled or are planned for most ranks within the department.
The retirements were discussed briefly Wednesday afternoon at the Darien Police Commission meeting (neither of the Bussell’s were present). As a sworn member of the department, Ronald Bussell’s retirement was subject to approval by the commission, which was given in a 3-0 vote.
Commisson Chairman J. Paul Johnson said he moved to accept the retirement “with great regret” and joked that it was a lucky day for criminals that Bussell was leaving, “but not for long, because we’ll have a great replacement.”
Nancy Bussell, who has worked in the records division for 20 years, would be retiring as of June 30, the commission was informed. Under a union agreement, other workers within the department will be eligible to apply for her job first, then others may apply if no hiring is made, Lovello said.
Other Personnel Developments
Promotional examinations for the positions of sergeant and lieutenant have been scheduled for June 10. BadgeQuest, a Massachusetts consulting firm that previously conducted examinations for the department, has been hired to perform the same function again, Lovello said. The Board of Finance and Board of Selectmen recently approved a transfer of about $34,000 to pay for the various examinations, he said.
Examinations for entry-level patrol officers are scheduled to start June 4 with a written test, and about 40 candidates have applied so far, but only five or fewer being police officers already certified, and that includes some out-of-state certified officers, Capt. Don Anderson said. “I expect a few more to come in,” he said.
Examinations for the Police Department dispatcher position have been scheduled for this Saturday for 10 candidates, and another two more are taking the test at another time because the test time conflicts with their present jobs, Anderson said.
It will be up to the commission to figure out how many candidates will then be interviewed for the next steps in the hiring process, he said. Interviews will be set up with not only with people from the Police Department participating, but also with the local fire departments and Darien EMS-Post 53, Anderson said. The department is moving as fast as possible to hire a dispatcher, he said.
At the recommendation of Lovello, the Police C0mmission designated Anderson the “Executive Officer” in the department, responsible for decisions whenever Lovello was not available. That role has always been filled by one of the department’s two captains, and Pavia had filled it before his recent retirement.
“I have full confidence that he’ll discharge that very well,” Lovello said. The commission voted to name Anderson to the position, which doesn’t involve any other change of duties (or extra pay).