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A 12-year veteran in the department, Pat Tracy was appointed to deputy chief of the East Haven Police Department in September 2019. (Photo courtesy of Pat Tracy )
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For as long as he could remember, Pat Tracy has wanted to be a police officer. Growing up, he watched his family work in public service as his mom was a nurse and his uncle was a longtime officer with the Stamford Police Department.
“I don’t remember wanting to do anything but this—it’s always been a passion of mine to be able to help people and make a difference in the community that I serve,” says Pat. “I remember that my uncle was always in uniform at the holidays when I was growing up and was a role model. Becoming a police officer was my lifelong goal.”
Pat has not only realized the goal of becoming a police officer, but he has now worked his way up through the ranks at the East Haven Police Department. This past September, he was appointed to the role of deputy chief.
“Basically I’m responsible for all operations of the department under the direction of the chief—so anything and everything under the sun that happens,” says Pat. “It’s been great being here from the beginning. Learning the job as a patrol officer and gaining the experience and the knowledge from the supervisors I’ve had pleasure to work for. Then becoming a supervisor myself and taking that role as a mentor for others has been rewarding.”
Pat grew up in Stratford and with a goal of becoming a police officer, he attended Post University in Waterbury, graduating in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. That same year, he was hired by the East Haven Police Department and went through the Connecticut Police Academy.
He began working with the South Central Connecticut Traffic Unit (SCCTU) in 2009, eventually being named unit commander. When Pat started with the SCCTU, there were three towns. With him as the commander, it grew to include two more and now there are six in the unit.
“The SCCTU is a regionalized accident reconstruction team that investigates serious and fatal accidents,” says Pat. “When I was selected by the area chiefs to run it, it showed they had the trust in me to do that.”
Over the years, Pat began to become more involved in the department. He has been a field training officer and then a supervisor of the field training program. Pat also spent time in the detective division as well as heading the administration and training division. Pat also served as a Connecticut Police Officer Standards and Training instructor.
“When I first started, I didn’t have the aspirations to move up the ranks, it was just something that developed over time as I got involved in different aspects of the department,” says Pat. “Once I realized this was something I did want to do, I went back to school to get my master’s degree to assist me in my leadership role.”
While working full-time as a patrol officer, Pat earned his master’s in public administration from the University of New Haven and also attained a graduate certificate in human resource management. He was promoted to sergeant in 2013 and two years later, he earned the rank of lieutenant.
In 2017, Pat attended a 10-week FBI academy at Quantico, Virginia. He graduated from the 268th session of the FBI National Academy and Senior Management Institute for Police.
“There’s only a small percentage of law enforcement agents who have been able to graduate from the FBI Academy, which has a special connection with local enforcement to provide the best training that law enforcement leaders can go to,” says Pat. “It’s specifically designed for law enforcement with the most up-to-date training with top-notch instructors.”
Pat is not only grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the academy, but he says he also is grateful for his wife, who took care of their two-year-old while she was pregnant with their youngest while he was away. Pat and his wife now have a four-year-old and a two-year-old and much of his free time is spent with his family.
Pat also gives back to the department through the East Haven Police Athletic League (PAL), which began at the EHPD in 2016 under Sergeant Justin Brochu. The goal of PAL is “promoting interaction between community members, especially young people, and East Haven police officers through recreational and educational activities.”
PAL offers activities such as karate and boxing. It also sponsors local youth sports teams. Registration for the spring session of karate and boxing is underway on the PAL website tshq.bluesombrero.com/easthavenpal.
“Programs like this that provide us the opportunity to have positive interactions with our youth, provide them with a good role model, and hopefully inspire some young kids to be involved with sports,” says Pat. “Ultimately if they are interacting with us as officers, they’ll have a positive experience and maybe one day consider going into this line of profession.”
In order to fund these activities, fundraisers are held throughout the year. The next fundraiser is Bingo Night on Friday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the East Haven Senior Center. Admission is $20. There will be cash prizes and snacks available for purchase.
Pat is also proud of the his work supervising the accreditation manager, Kershen Bissette, in the department’s application for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The department achieved its first accreditation in May 2019.
“It’s an external body that evaluates our department to make sure we’re in line with 21st century policing practices,” says Pat. “Nationally, only about five percent of law enforcement agencies are CALEA accredited. It was a huge undertaking.”
Now Pat is focused on his new role as deputy chief and continuing the department’s community policing efforts. He has seen the challenges of policing in 2020 and
“Being able to interact with the public and being able to be trusted by the public is paramount to our ultimate success in keeping the community safe and that they feel safe as well,” says Pat. “It’s part of our responsibility and part of our mission and part of why we became police officers in the first place.
“The community policing efforts like PAL and other interactions we’ve been a part of create new relationships in the community and strengthen existing ones with the youth,” adds Pat. “In 2020, policing is a very challenging and dynamic profession that requires a well-rounded individual, so I’m really proud of all the hard work the men and women of the department do on a daily basis.”
For information on East Haven PAL, the spring program registration, and Bingo Night, see the “Important Links” tab at www.easthavenpolice.com.
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