Police promote two veterans to captain

Murtie and Garey are part of Essex chief’s succession plan

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By Colin Flanders
The Essex Reporter

The Essex Police Department has announced the promotion of two lieutenants who will take over as captains in the department’s effort to restructure its hierarchy.

George Murtie and Rick Garey assumed the rank of captain on July 1, maintaining their previous duties while inheriting new responsibilities.

Along with continuing to supervise the detective unit, Murtie will be supervising the patrol unit, as well as the “general oversight of the department and the way we do business on a daily basis,” he said.

Garey’s title will now be the administrative captain, which includes oversight of emergency management, training requirements, community outreach and resource officers, while continuing to supervise records, animal control and maintaining his role as head of Information Technology for the town and the department.

In the past, the department had two captains, but got by with one after one captain left in the 1990s, according to Police Chief Brad LaRose.

LaRose served as captain from 2008-2011 before being chosen as interim chief. When he officially took over ash chief in 2012, the captain’s position remained open.

“Structurally we were flat toward the top; I had 10 people reporting to me and that got to the point where it really wasn’t working well, struggling a bit to move the department forward,” LaRose said.

LaRose said over that time, Garey and Murtie were instrumental in making up for the vacancy.

“I saw them develop. There was no doubt the work ethic, integrity and core issues I’d be looking for were there,” LaRose said.

LaRose said discussions with town manager Pat Scheidel made it clear the department’s succession plans — what would occur in the case something happened to LaRose — needed to be addressed.

“I thought that I’ve got talent right here, so lets tap into that talent, restructure and get the organizational chart to be more of a pyramid rather than a plane,” LaRose said. “The promotions and restructuring has made that [succession] plan better.”

Murtie, who has been with the police for 31 years, grew up in South Burlington, working in construction and studying for the ministry for a couple years before joining the department as a patrol officer in 1984.

He said the promotion to captain was a goal he had set for himself a few years ago.

“Working from the bottom up in this community — my entire law enforcement career has been with Essex — I know the community and I know the department. I feel like those two things together really contribute to me doing the best job possible for the department and the town,” Murtie said.

Garey grew up in St. Johnsbury, earning a business degree in marketing management from Thomas College in Maine. While changing jobs in 1989, he joined the department as a part-time dispatcher.

He is now in his 27th year with the Essex police. After graduating from the police academy in 1990, he served in the detective bureau for a combined 12 years — split up by a two-year stint in the patrol division — before eventually working his way up the ranks to his current position.

“I’m very proud to be an officer here serving the community. It shows hard work, dedication and putting in your time ends up reaping rewards. I’m heading toward the end of my career and it’s going to be a good way to finish it out. I’m looking forward to challenges in the next few years,” Garey said.