By John Murray

Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick has accepted the position of police chief in West Hartford and will begin his new job on June 4th. Riddick sent out a message to police officers this morning telling them of his decision, and waterbury mayor Neil O’Leary confirmed that Chief Riddick has decided to move on. Chief Riddick has served as chief of police for six years.

O’Leary was not surprised by the development. “Vern has reached the age where he is eligible for retirement and can collect a pension,” O’Leary said. “With his new position and his pension he will now go from making $130,000 a year to $220,000 a year. That is a significant increase. This is a very typical move for police chiefs to make.”

O’Leary said in the past two years he had been approached by a big city mayor interested in hiring Riddick, but Riddick had no interest. “Vern has had other offers and hasn’t been interested,” O’Leary said. “Now he has two kids in college and the opportunity to be police chief in a town half the size of Waterbury, with less crime, and he’ll make a lot more money. Vern was born and raised in the Waterbury Police Department and he has done a good job. I’m happy for him. It’s time he took care of himself and his family.”

The Observer is trying to obtain a copy of the message that Chief Riddick sent out to his officers today, and will follow-up this story with interviews with Chief Riddick in the days to come. The following is information about Chief Riddick from his biography on the website of the Waterbury Police Dpartment.

Police Chief Riddick is a graduate of Kennedy High School in Waterbury, CT. He attended Tufts University in Massachusetts, where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Political Science. Chief Riddick also has a Master of Public Administration Degree from Post University.

Chief Riddick was hired by the Waterbury Police Department in December 1994 and he was assigned to the Patrol Division where he worked on the afternoon shift. During his time in Patrol, Chief Riddick served as a Field Training Officer. In January of 2000, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and assigned as a supervisor in the Patrol Division. In May 2004, Chief Riddick was promoted to lieutenant. He briefly worked in the Patrol Division before he was reassigned to the Internal Affairs Division. In July 2006, Chief Riddick was promoted to the rank of captain and served as the evening shift commander. In 2009, he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Police and in January 2013 he was appointed Acting Chief of Police. Chief Riddick was promoted to Chief of Police on October 4th, 2013

Chief Riddick has successfully completed numerous training classes in Police Management, Internal Affairs investigation and SWAT Command. He is a graduate of the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association’s Command Institute (LEEDA) and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute of Police (SMIP). Chief Riddick is the former commander of the Department’s Emergency Response Team (SWAT) and is a former three-term Executive Board member of the Waterbury Police Union. He is a certified police instructor for the state of Connecticut and currently serves a vice-president for the Waterbury Police Activity League. Chief Riddick is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Connecticut Police Chief’s Association (CPCA), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). Chief Riddick is a lifelong resident of Waterbury and serves as a Deacon at his church.