Capt. Jeff Rose retires from the West Hartford Police Department on Friday, May 4.
By Ronni Newton
Capt. Jeff Rose took part in roll call Friday morning on his last official day as a member of the West Hartford Police Department, and later in the morning attended the first of what will be several celebrations honoring his dedicated service and lengthy career.
“It’s such a reckoning,” said Rose Friday morning as he gathered in the Training Room with his fellow department members for cake and coffee.
“With retirement you listen to people, you hear about experiences, get advice, but it’s a very individual process,” Rose said. “I feel that this is a time, an opportunity, just the right time for me to retire and move on with my life.”
Rose shared a photo of himself with his wife, Katie, at West Hartford Police headquarters on the day he graduated from the police academy – Feb. 21, 1990. On Wednesday, they posed for a photo in the same place, more than 28 years later.
When asked what his favorite thing about his job was, Rose said, “My favorite thing about my job is putting on my uniform and coming to work.”
Rose, who is rarely speechless, could not hide the emotion from his voice as he addressed the crowd gathered in the Training Room on Friday morning.
“Thank you for coming for the cake. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing this day,” Rose said. “I love this department. I love these guys.”
Rose said that he was a 23-year-old guy working at the Marriott in Boston, having a great time, when he got a call from Mike O’Connor at the West Hartford Police Department back in 1989. He had recently taken the test to become a police officer, and O’Connor was offering him a job. “I said yes,” Rose said. “What if I had said no?”
He arrived at headquarters to start his new job, and entered a smoke-filled room. Rose, who never smoked, recalled that he thought, “How am I going to ever fit in?”
And he shared that his first assignment, which had absolutely nothing to do with being a police officer, was recording a copy of the movie “Pet Cemetery” from one VCR tape to another. He and another rookie officer were told they had to watch the movie to make sure that the recording didn’t stop.
Rose will be honored at the West Hartford Town Council meeting on May 8, and in a ceremony on May 11 which will also celebrate the promotion of Lt. Michael Perruccio to the rank of captain. Perruccio will be taking over for Rose as head of Support Services, which includes the Traffic Division.
Rose said that family, friends, and his career with the West Hartford Police are his top passions, but right behind those he loves baseball.
Rose has been working as a “herder” – a member of the security team for the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium – and will continue in that role. “It’s such a neat environment,” he said.
“This guy is the absolute best,” said Tom Nagle, who retired from the West Hartford Police in February after more than 20 years of service. Nagle is also a herder with the Yard Goats, and will get to continue to work alongside Rose. “Nobody has put more of their heart and sole into the West Hartford Police Department.”
Assistant Chief Dan Coppinger and Rose both joined the department in 1990. “He’s so passionate for the town and for his officers,” Coppinger said, and that’s what has always differentiated Rose. “When citizens call in he makes their problem his problem. He’s always doing what’s right for the community.”
In addition, Coppinger noted that Rose has singlehandedly brought in more than $1.3 million in grant money to the department, funding efforts like distracted driving patrols, DUI patrols, and programs for high school students.
“He’s irreplaceable,” Coppinger said. “His whole personality, he’s just a great fit for Support Services captain.”
Rose also has a photographic memory, Coppinger said. “He always remembers birthdays.”
Lt. Mike Alquist, who has been a member of the West Hartford Police Department for more than 17 years, said that Rose will receive a proclamation from the Town Council next week. “Really it should be ‘Jeff Rose week,'” he said. “You don’t see this kind of devotion from the younger generation. I bet he would do this job for free.”
“Friday, May 4, will be my last day of work at the West Hartford Police Department. I hope that I have made the most of my opportunities and relationships over the past 28 ½ years,” Rose wrote in an email to his press contacts later Friday morning.
“I hold my relationships with press in high regard. I may only know some of you by phone or email but I have had the good fortune to know most of you in person. I wish all of you the best in the future and I look forward to your future work. Please keep writing and reporting – you all are the most important cog in our learning machine. Thank you for being a great part of my life and career!”
Those of us who have had the privilege to work with Rose are grateful for his passion, his service, and his ever-present smile and enthusiasm. We thank him for everything that he has done to make this town a safer and better place.
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!