To the Community,
It is with bittersweet emotions that I report to you that Police Chief Frederick Ryan will retire in early January, ending a 33-year career in law enforcement that includes the past 20 years as Arlington’s police chief.
Chief Ryan is a fixture in our community. Born and raised in Arlington, he was appointed police chief in 1999 and departs a very different law enforcement agency than he found 20 years ago in a community that has experienced enormous growth and change over the same time period.
A generation of Arlington residents have only known one police chief, and we are all better off having lived and worked here during Chief Ryan’s tenure.
Under his leadership, the Arlington Police Department has become a national model of the modern, community-focused, progressive agency. Chief Ryan’s leadership led to APD achieving full state accreditation for the first time in 2008. Chief Ryan has made community policing a cornerstone of his administration and has ushered in new approaches to crime, addiction and recovery, mental health and procedural justice. Arlington was one of the first towns to bring a mental health clinician into the police department, and Chief Ryan’s work with the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative has directly led to sweeping change at hundreds of police departments in almost every state in the way police serve those in the grip of a substance use disorder.
Arlington is one of the most desirable places to live, learn and work in New England, and that is in no small part a function of our police department’s efforts to improve the quality of life here each and every day.
On a more personal note, Chief Ryan has been a true friend to me during my time as Town Manager. He is a natural leader, a powerful force for Arlington, and one of our nation’s truly great law enforcement voices. He will be deeply missed in Arlington, and I would like to be the first of what I am sure will be many people to say thank you to Chief Ryan for his years of service and for the work he has done that will impact Arlington for many more years to come.
In the coming weeks, I will be developing and announcing both an interim strategy for leading the department along with a plan for recruiting a new permanent police chief.