Officer William Veras Interview
This is Jean McMillen. I am interviewing Officer William Veras. He is going to talk about his background, his police career and his job of Resident trooper for Salisbury. Today’s date is March 30, 2022. This is file #8, cycle 5.
JM: What is your name?
WV: William Veras
JM: What is your birthdate?
WV: Oct.21, 1989
JM: Where were you born?
WV: Torrington, Ct.
JM: Did you always want to be a policeman?
WV: I did. I wanted to be in the military ultimately. When I was 18 I tried to enlist two times, but because of some underlying health conditions I had, it was not possible for me to join the military. That was upsetting because I wanted to serve my country first and foremost. When I was not able to do so, I had to reach out in my thoughts and see where else I could serve so law enforcement was the next best step so I could serve my community in a similar capacity.
JM: We are glad to have you.
WV: Thank you.
JM: Believe me; we are glad to have you.
WV: I am glad I am here.
JM: Where did you get your police training?
WV: I was hired in 2013 by the Connecticut State Police. After going through the whole hiring process, if you make it through, they send you to their academy. It was a thirty week long academy where you are physically, mentally, and academically challenged. Upon completion of that training, I graduated with a certificate of being a Connecticut State Trooper.
JM: Where is the academy located?
WV: It is in Meriden, Ct.
JM: Now the program is only 28 weeks.
WV: It fluctuates.
JM: Where did you do your 6 weeks of field training?
WV: At Troop B in Canaan, Ct. That is where I was assigned right out of the academy.
JM: You have some specialties!
WV: I do.
JM: They are?
WV: I was on our tactical unit our SWAT team for 3 ½ years, first and foremost I was with my canine partner. I have been a canine handler for 5 ½ years. Again I had the SWAT experience and I was also on the Canine Search and rescue team for about 1 ½ years.
JM: What is the name of your canine?
JM: What is Dexter’s breed?
WV: He is a German shepherd.
JM: He is residing in your vehicle.
WV: Yes, he is watching the vehicle right now.
JM: Oh good. He is a good watch dog.
WV: He is a very good watch dog.
JM: When did the idea of becoming a Resident Trooper first surface?
WV: A sergeant who has since retired had proposed the idea to me for another town, Barkhamsted. The gentleman who had position for13 year was retiring. I was approached by a supervisor that I should put in for it. I had spent my entire career up to that point on an evening shift which is 3PM to 11PM. It is the shift where all the action happens, domestics and all sorts of things. I was very comfortable on that shift. I was very competent in what I was doing. I am a creature of habit so I wasn’t really ready to leave that. I did not go out for the Barkhamsted Resident Trooper position. It was not long after that, probably a month or two after I had turned that down that I had reached my limit with working that shift. That shift is very taxing and is right in the middle of your day. Friends, family and relationships pay the toll. I was very career oriented, and I still am. But for my entire career, I have put the career first. I had pros and cons. It would pay dividends career wise. It took me to that point to realize that I have to put in 25 years to retirement and I can’t do 25 years of just giving everything I have. I wanted a better balance in my career. My eyes became opened to that idea of being a Resident Trooper. I heard that Salisbury was opening up. I was good friend with the previous Resident Trooper (See Christopher Sorrell’s interview) who was here for 9 years.
JM: He was wonderful.
WV: I spoke with him about it and other people. Everything that this positon entailed, the caring of the people it sounded exactly just what I needed for a change.
JM: In the process of becoming a Resident Trooper did you have to apply?
WV: I did.
JM: Did you have an interview?
WV: It was kind of a weird circumstance with me. Usually these positions get no fewer than 5 or 6 applicants that come out for this position; whether it is Barkhamsted, North Canaan or any Residential Troop position. Generally there are a minimum of 5 people who put in for it. When Salisbury had opened up, initially there were probably maybe 3 or 4 applicants, including myself. As it got closer to the closing date and the date of the interview, others started withdrawing their application. I liked that. I was fairly confident that I was high priority.
JM: Top of the heap anyway, with your experience.
WV: Just because I wanted this so badly. I was studying up on the town; I was learning the population and geographical things. I was doing my homework because I wanted this position.
JM: You were preparing.
WV: I was preparing myself to come out #1. Even if all 5 people had stayed in, I had a good feeling. Ultimately with every one withdrawing from the process, it left only one. Because of that it was I got this by default.
JM: No you got it because you were the best man for it.
WV: Definitely, but it was a pretty different process.
JM: That is OK.
WV: I am not opposed to it.
JM: You were interviewed by the Barrack’s Commander?
JM: And the First Selectman of Salisbury (Curtis Rand see his interview)
WV: Yes separately, usually in the normal process there would be a panel, but because the circumstances were different, I met with both parties individually.
JM: Well, you are special absolutely
WV: That’s for saying that.
JM; When did you actually come as Resident Trooper?
WV: October of 2021
JM: Do you still monitor the Marine Constables or are they going out?
WV: That program with the constables is being dismantled. With the way of the world right now with liability and everything, the guys that were in the program, it just didn’t make sense logistically to continue that position as a police officer. The Marine Program is in the process of being revamped and reassessed. There are just a lot of things going on with that. They will be out there this summer. (Presently he is the Marine Officer as well. Ed.)
JM: It is just Twin Lakes.
WV: Just Twin Lakes; that is where the boat is. Obviously we have other guys if there is a water incident in Salisbury and Lakeville. Those don’t get as much attention. The good news is on Wononscopomuc, that lake always has eyes out there. It is smaller. You have a lot of people, the town‘s people that work there, and the citizens of the town too. The community helps the police in that way.
JM: Oh yeah, they watch everything.
WV: Even though the boat may not be out on that lake, we definitely hear about it and the incident is addressed.
JM: What about Long Pond?
WV: Long Pond, that one,
JM: It is sort of isolated
WV: It does not get a lot of attention.
JM: It used to when The Cedars was there, but not now. (See Stratton & Yarnell interview about The Cedars)
JM: Technical, policing has changed. When you solve a crime, it is better to do it by technology or just talking to people, or a combination of the two?
WV: It is done by a combination. You can’t beat word of mouth, especially in this town. Everyone knows something, if you are investigating something.
JM: oh yeah
WV: Somebody knows something about someone it is a combination, definitely of social media aspect and technology as well as the old school just speaking with people.
JM: You are young enough that you have the technological background as well as the social skills.
JM: Is there a term limit for Resident Trooper?
WV: There is not.
JM: So you can stay as long as you chose.
WV: I plan to. I want to stay as long as I can.
JM: Good! I have already asked you, are you required to live in Salisbury?
WV: You are not. It used to be but things change.
JM: I know if I ask you about your responsibilities, you are going to say “Everything!”
JM: But can you pick out 2 or 3 big ones?
WV: The big difference between being a typical or standard trooper that covers and patrols an area: in Troop B specifically a patrolman covers three towns which I did for 8 ½ years on the evening shift as I mentioned before. The role as a Resident Trooper is definitely way more community-related, and a little more political. My job functions are the same. Obviously I am here to prevent crime, and handle the crime when it does come in as a standard trooper would. As a Resident Trooper now I am more engaged with the community. I am not assigned a different town every night when I come in I am assigned the same town every day. I build relationships with the public.
JM: You are building those relationships all the time.
JM: You need to.
JM: A tax-payer question: your vehicle is usually running outside and there is a very good reason for that.
WV: There is. My partner is inside the vehicle. It is a climate controlled vehicle.
JM: Dexter is happy.
WV: We need to keep him around as long as we can.
JM: How old is Dexter?
WV: He is 7 1/2.
JM: That is a medium age for a German Shephard.
WV: It is. He is healthy knock on wood. My plan is to work him for about another year before I retire him. I want him to have a good quality of life after his retirement. So I don’t want to work him right up to the point where he is slow.
JM: That is sensible. He can have an early retirement.
WV: He will be missed.
JM: What do you like best about your job?
WV: The job in general or the job as a Resident Trooper?
JM: Resident Trooper
WV: I love the community aspect of it. I always felt like I was very good with speaking to people and building relationships with people. The public, the town’s people have been so welcoming to law enforcement and my position. Something I learned in the canine world is what you put into your dog with the effort and time and everything, ultimately it makes your dog better. It makes him more proficient at what he is required to do. You see that immediately in feedback. When I first got him, everything that I put in, you were seeing the results, the engagement. That pays off 5 ½ years later: he is on autopilot. If we go out looking for a missing person, I will tell you within the first 10 to 15 minutes of the search, if the person is even out there or not. So the same thing translated into this job as a Resident Trooper. The more I put in to this community, the more I get back. Everyone is different, like you hear different stories about past and present trooper. Troopers are different. Everyone does things differently, over time you learn what works and what does not. I take that as well and try to apply it in my position. I get that immediate feedback. The more that I give, I get back so I just want to give more.
JM: Salisbury is like that. They do welcome someone with open arms. That is the way it should be. Now we are going to go off on some personal things. You have some hobbies.
WV: I do.
JM: They are?
WV: I am a musician.
JM: I think you mentioned cars as well.
WV: Yes, I love cars. The museums, the car shows, the meets all that.
JM: Do you have a special kind of car that you really like?
WV: I am into the muscle cars of no certain time frame. I kind of respect them all whether they are from the 1960’s or more recent ones. I am definitely a “gear head” and appreciate all of them
JM: I haven’t heard that term in a while. Now you are a musician and what do you play?
WV: I play everything. I started play guitar when I was 7 years old. I picked up on the bass guitar which is a lot like the regular guitar, then piano, drums singing actually and then I got into recording my own music so I can pretty much do it all. I am a one man band.
JM: Wonderful. Do you have anything that you would like to add to this interview that we have not discussed?
WV: I just appreciate that you wanted to interview me and be a part of the history of this town. I guess that kind of falls into how when I first got here in October, the town welcomed me with open arms. I appreciate you doing the same thing, wanting to include me in the town’s history already. It is very much appreciated.
JM: Thank you.