MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano on Tuesday announced his retirement from the Manchester Police Department after nearly 25 years.
In a letter delivered to Mayor Joyce Craig on Sept. 1 Capano said he would be retiring effective Sept. 30 – about six months shy of his 25 years.
“I have had a very rewarding career with the Manchester Police Department for the past 24.5 years, but I have decided that it would be best for me and my family to retire,” wrote Capano, saying the decision was a difficult one.
“Overall, this has been an incredible journey and a time in my life I will never forget, in fact, I’ll likely miss the job each and every day in my retirement,” Capano wrote. [Read Capano’s full resignation below].
Upon the news of his retirement, Mayor Joyce Craig released the following statement:
“For nearly twenty-five years, Chief Carlo Capano served the City of Manchester with distinction. In his time as Police Chief, he has lead the men and women of the Manchester Police Department with honor, addressed challenges head-on, and proved time and time again the safety of our community was his number one priority.
Throughout his distinguished career, he worked to make our police department and our community a better place, implementing body cameras for all officers, increasing the police complement, adding more community policing officers downtown and advocating for increased training opportunities.
In my time as Mayor, I feel fortunate I had the opportunity to work closely with Chief Capano and will miss his candor and good humor. I want to thank him for his dedication to the City of Manchester. I wish all the best to Chief Capano, his wife Brenda, and their two sons, Cole and Caden, during this new chapter in their lives.”
Scott Spradling, who serves as Chair of the Manchester Police Commission, called the announcement “bittersweet.”
“Chief Capano served our city with strength, dedication and grace and his retirement leaves a bittersweet moment. The Chief was respected among the rank and file because he came up through the ranks and knows what it’s like to work the street, a task he still performs in order to remain connected to his people and to his community. He will be missed but his legacy of public service won’t soon be forgotten,” Spradling said.
Alderman Bill Barry, who serves as chairman of the aldermanic Public Safety, Health & Traffic Committee, and has been in law enforcement for more than three decades, said he was surprised when he got an email with the announcement early Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve known Carlo for quite a long time, more than 20 years, and he’s one of the nicest guys, non-political and professional, just a pleasure to work with. Anytime I ever needed assistance on an issue I’d contact Carlo and he got it done instantly,” Barry said.
After 34 years in law enforcement, Barry also understands the pressures of the job.
“Right now we’re actually losing police officers. I took office in 2014 and there were 198 sworn officers. We voted for, and I supported, getting the complement up to 250, and after seven years we finally go there. But as I was talking with Assistant Chief (Ryan) Grant yesterday, coincidentally, he told me that our numbers are down again,” Barry said.
He was prompted to reach out to Grant after hearing an advertisement on a local radio station seeking candidates to take the police officer training test.
“I was surprised to hear that on the radio. I thought we were getting quite a few candidates, but it turns out they’re continuously leaving to go into the private sector. Honestly, I think it all comes down to respect, or lack thereof,” Barry said.
Reflecting on a culture that once held parents, teachers, coaches, and people in authority in high esteem, Barry says that has changed, which has made the job less than appealing for many.
“Unfortunately we’re losing that respect – and it goes both ways. Anyone involved in law enforcement, they need to respect the people in the community as well. Our job isn’t just to go out and arrest bad guys, but when we do we should arrest them with respect,” Barry said. “If you want respect you have to give respect.”
Capano was sworn in as Chief of Police on June 29, 2018, after the departure of former Chief Nick Willard, who left the job to accept an appointment by the Trump administration as a U.S. Marshal.
The job will be posted internally and a new chief will be appointed by the mayor, with approval from the Board of Aldermen.