There is a new person in command of the Coventry Police Department, well starting Friday.
After just three years as chief, Col. Ronald DaSilva, chief of the Coventry Police Department has decided to retire.
DaSilva said that although he was chief for only three years, he does have 22 and a half years invested in the department and that “it’s time for a change.”
“I am 43 years old, I was hired onto this department when I was just 20 years old,” DaSilva said. “I have spent more than half my life here and it has been wonderful and the people I’ve worked with and for and the town itself has all been wonderful to me, but I just think that it is time for a change.”
His replacement has already been selected…Capt. Bryan Volpe also of the Coventry Police Department. Volpe will be sworn in as the new chief of the Coventry Police Department on DaSilva’s last day, this Friday.
DaSilva said that since he formally made his announcement he last month he has slowly begun clearing off his desk, tying up loose ends, answering many other community leader’s questions and inquiries, and training his successor in the details of the job.
Although DaSilva’s successor has over 20 years of experience in the Coventry Police Department and currently holds the position of Det. Commander, DaSilva said that there are many administrative ends of the chief’s position that need to be explained.
DaSilva said that he too remembers those first few days on the job as chief and how having the prior experience on the department was incredibly helpful, but how he still had to learn the details of the job.
DaSilva said that in his experience he has found that many departments, Coventry for example, has a tendency to hire for the chief’s position from within the department simply because of this fact, but is not required to nor always does.
“You know it really depends, some departments do hire from within and others don’t,” DaSilva said. “Bryan [Volpe] will be the fourth chief that this town hired from within the department, but it really just depends on the situation; whether or not the department has someone who wants and is qualified for the position or not.
“But, from my standpoint, of course I think that it is helpful when you do have someone who is familiar with the department, I know that it certainly helped me,” he said.
DaSilva said that having that prior knowledge of the department helped him to outline a plan of attack for when he accepted the position as chief. He said that he had already established a set of goals for the department and had developed plans for accomplishing them before his first full week as chief was over.
Since that time, just about three years ago, DaSilva said, he is fairly pleased with what things on that goals list that he did manage to get accomplished, but said that like in any job, he was not able to check everything off. He said that he will be leaving some things behind for his successor to follow through with and hopefully someday soon complete.
He said that one of his goals was developing a training center, which has been done, and is located in the Coventry Town Hall Annex building, the old middle school across from the town hall building on Route 117.
That facility is used for a variety of purposes by the department as well as other departments for police training purposes.
DaSilva said that he had also wanted to make the department more “in touch and in tune” with the community, a feat which he said he feels they have also achieved.
He said that he is thrilled that the department was able to secure the grant funding it needed to transfer the department over from its prior radio communication system to its current interoperable state-wide wide which allows Coventry Police Patrol officers to communicate with officers from departments across the state. This was, DaSilva said, a very big expense, but one that fortunately, the department did not have to bite off alone.
DaSilva said that he was also able to increase the manpower on the department, a goal he wanted to implement right off the bat. Currently, DaSilva said that he has five officers on during the day and evening hours and then goes to three in the overnight hours. This, he said, is an increase from before his rein as chief.
Unfortunately, DaSilva said, one of his big goals was to be a part of the department’s transition into a new bigger facility that however, has not happened.
“Over the years we have defiantly outgrown this building, which is why we have had to utilize office space and rooms in other parts of the town, like the training center space in the annex for example, but, unfortunately because of budget constraints, we were not able to make any permanent changes in terms of our home building, but I still hope and I am confidant that my successor will continue to work with the town manager on that and together I think that they will move forward with that goal,” DaSilva said. “”I would also like to see a strategic plan for the police department with more defined guidelines for our authorized strength, but I know that these are all items that my successor will continue to address.”
DaSilva said that having worked as closely as he has along side Volpe, who has been a member of his command staff for the duration of his tenure as chief, will also help in the transition. He said that he is confidant handing the reins over to him when he leaves the building for the last time as chief of the department on Friday.
He said that he is sure Monday morning will bring some trepidation.
“It’s defiantly bitter sweet,” DaSilva said.
Waking up on Monday morning with no where to be, no department to run, no uniform to put on, and no weaponry to strap on are all things that will be major change for the veteran of the department.
DaSilva said that since he joined the department nearly 23 years ago he has held the position of patrolman, detective, Sgt. Lt, and finally chief. He said that he handled many number of cases, some harder than others, but always loved what he did.
“You know I don’t want to say that you become immune to it, but you just sort of begin to accept it as what you do for the people of the community,” DaSilva said. “There were definitely some cases that I dealt with, especially while I was a detective that really stuck with me, like death cases, but especially tragic children’s deaths and fatal accidents which we also see, but you do just begin to accept it as part of the job. It’s never easy.”
Because of his current age, DaSilva is still only 43 years old; he said that he is “absolutely” not retiring in terms of no longer working, although he said he is not certain about what his immediate future holds. He said that he and his family, he has two children, ages 12 and 15, and a wife, who he said that he has to consider in terms of what he wants to do in terms of a second career, but said that taking an extended vacation is likely “out of the question,” but he said, after living in Coventry his entire working life, the family is considering a residency change.
He said that he is “excited about trying other ventures,” is pleased that he feels that he is “leaving the department better than when he took it over,” and looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.
DaSilva will continue to hold the title as chief only until Friday at which time the name plate on the chief’s door will be pulled and his successor’s Bryan Volpe’s will be slid in its place.