Deputy Chief of Police Richard A. Riggs retiring from SWPD after 34 years

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
South Windsor - posted Wed., Jul. 31, 2013
Deputy Chief of Police Richard A. Riggs will be retiring in August after 34 years with the South Windsor Police Department. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Deputy Chief of Police Richard A. Riggs, a veteran of the South Windsor Police Department since 1979, will retire in August.

Riggs’ long history with the department is peppered with many job descriptions, but notably, Riggs has been a leader in the truest sense of the word since the beginning. He has served as a patrol officer, patrol agent, sergeant and lieutenant. He executed the professional roles of division commander of patrol operations, served as a patrol officer with the Capitol Region Emergency Planning Committee and as a security liaison with Mass Dispensing Area for the Public Health Department.

“Deputy Chief Riggs is a consummate professional,” said South Windsor Police Chief Matthew Reed. “His knowledge of Connecticut statutes and police procedure is remarkable. His tenure in South Windsor has been exemplary.”

“I made a lot of good friends,” said Riggs. He shared that, professionally speaking, he has been able to be mentored by a multitude of seasoned officers who taught him many important things about law enforcement and even the history and inner workings of South Windsor. “I have had a lot of good mentors,” he said.

Riggs said he will remember most the time he spent investing in the officers who were new to the department. “The fact that I was a field training officer for a number of years and really had the opportunity to basically mold the future officers of tomorrow,” said Riggs, is his most memorable achievement. “Many of those officers are now agents or sergeants in the department.”

Riggs feels the most important thing he taught the new officers was ethics. “Ethics, ethical leadership,” he said, “…doing the right thing, for the right reason, at the right time, with the hopes of getting the right result.”

As for his longevity in the SWPD, Riggs attributes that to the town’s support of the department. “I saw that the town was very committed to having a professional police department,” he said. “Other towns have not made that commitment. South Windsor took that step in the late 1960s to have an organized police department. They were very supportive of the department and always have been,” said Riggs. “That tends to breed loyalty. It provided a good place to develop professionally. The citizens really want a high level of police service from the police department, and the men and women of the department are very loyal,” said Riggs.

Although Riggs has been vital to the department, he likes to think that there won’t be too much of a vacuum created upon his departure. “One of the things that is important, and what we have done here as a department, is that we trained people to take over these leadership roles,” said Riggs. “We share the information. You’re training that cadre of leaders for tomorrow to take over,” he said. “I am an important part of the organization, but when I leave, there should be a smooth transition.”

Riggs broke the news to ReminderNews first that he has officially accepted a position to lead in the Salem State University campus police department in Salem, Mass. He plans to move north with his wife.

Riggs’ last day on the job in South Windsor will be Aug. 9.

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