He’s not usually an emotional guy, said retiring Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee on Friday, September 14, but those who’ve worked alongside all these years can attest to his sincerity.
As Rochester gave a fond farewell to its chief of 15 years, it also welcomed its new chief, Sergeant Robert Small, Jr., a veteran of the Rochester Police Department for 21 years.
Magee hailed Small for “stepping up to the plate” when Magee announced two years ago that he would retire on this day, and for investing his time and energy into learning the ropes of the chief of police.
“I tell you folks, the countless hours and the dedication Bob put in from that point forward for the department – hundreds and hundreds of hours of his own hours to learn the job, to learn budgeting and all the things that we did, meetings, classes,” said Magee.
Turning to Small, Magee said, “You’re gonna be a great chief and I could not be more proud, and I could not be more confident to step away and leave the department to you, so I wish you the best.”
Magee had some advice for Small as he officially takes on the role of Rochester police chief.
“And I tell you, please remember where you came from,” Magee said. “Don’t ever forget what it was to be a patrolman, and when you make your decisions make them for the right reasons and stick to them.”
Then Town Clerk Naida Parker administered the oath of office to Small, followed by the pinning performed by Small’s three daughters and girlfriend.
After wishing Magee a happy birthday, Small thanked him for his help in preparing Small to take over as chief and for offering him his years of knowledge and experience.
“He’s gone way out of his way also to do that,” said Small. “I couldn’t sum it up in a brief period of time other than to just say thank you, Chief.”
After 21 years on the job, Small said he still loves being a police officer.
“I get up for work every day with a purpose,” Small said. “I know that what we do matters and that we have an impact on the community and I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue that.”
The promotional process has been both exciting and humbling, Small admitted, and he thanks the Town, his family, the officers from the surrounding towns who turned out to the Council on Aging that day to watch him take his oath, and especially his fellow Rochester officers, all of whom took up the first two rows to watch their “acting” chief become official chief.
“[Thank you] for what you guys do every day,” said Small. “A lot of people may not necessarily see it, but we have a lot of officers that go above and beyond what’s required of them … and it makes me proud to be a part of this department and this profession.”
“The Board of Selectmen is very excited about our new chief and very happy for our retired chief,” said Selectmen Chairman Greenwood “Woody” Hartley.
And as for Magee, who has relocated to North Carolina with his wife to enjoy his retirement: “I’m living the dream.”
By Jean Perry