Introducing a new police chief and a new police captain at the same time is a rare occurrence, so the Suffield Police Commission held their official swearing in on Thursday evening, January 6, in the high school auditorium, allowing a bit of extra ceremony and giving the expected audience the opportunity to avoid crowding, if they wished. Close to 100 attended,
Former Suffield Police Chief Richard Brown, who has just retired after 25 years with the department, served as master of ceremonies and called for the Suffield VFW color guard to march in with the U. S. flag. After the National Anthem (recorded, but effective), the flag was set in place and the traditional Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Chief Brown welcomed everyone, including representatives from the State Police and from police departments in eight different towns. Brief comments from First Selectman Colin Moll followed.
Then down to business. Town Clerk Kathy Dunai came on stage, along with new Suffield Police Chief James Canon, Jr. It took only a moment for Kathy’s recitation, “Do you swear,” etc. and the chief’s “I do.” For Mrs. Canon to properly pin the new badge on her husband, the task took a little longer. Chief Canon had joined the Suffield Police Department as a captain in September 2019. He had previously served as the head of internal investigations and security for the Hartford Public School system. Before that he had retired as a lieutenant colonel after over 20 years with the Connecticut State Police, where he had commanded the Bureau of Professional Standards and Support. His hiring in Suffield was associated with a recommendation of the 2019 Daigle Report, which encouraged the improvement of operational standards and procedures for the Suffield department. Chief Canon holds a BS from Westfield State University and a JD from Western New England University in Springfield.
In Chief Canon’s brief comments after being pinned, he said he has been very pleased with what he has learned about the town and the department. He looked forward to a good future here.
Captain Robert Palmer, who had been hired in October last year and had just completed his Connecticut certification training, appeared next on stage for his swearing in and pinning. He, like Chief Canon, had served many years with the Connecticut State Police; as a sergeant, he was on staff at the State Police Training Academy when he was promoted to lieutenant in 2015 and became the commander of the academy. He said he had learned about Suffield when he lived in Windsor Locks and was happy to come to work here. Capt. Palmer holds a BS in criminal justice.
The ceremony ended in just a half hour after a brief Sousa musical interlude, but most everyone stayed for another half hour of socializing in the high school Commons. There were two tasty birthday cakes, along with beverages and some very nice cookies, as well as pleasant background music played by volunteer pianist Matthew Legg, a SHS sophomore. Many were able to congratulate the chief on his promotion and welcome the new captain.