Thursday April 12, 2018
Deputy Chief Paul A. Edwards, who has served the community and city for nearly three decades, has announced his retirement from the South Burlington Police Department (SBPD). Police Chief Trevor Whipple describes his deputy as a “cop’s cop,” and said, “The South Burlington Police Department has been fortunate to have someone with his motivation and leadership. His retirement will leave a void that will be a challenge to fill. Paul can be proud of his legacy as a skilled and respected law enforcement executive. He has been my right hand and a trusted executive officer.”
Edwards, who began his career as a patrol officer, rose through the ranks. Known for his professionalism and dedication, the deputy chief has received various department recognitions over the years including a Heroism Award, a Distinguished Achievement Award, several Unit Citations, several Service Awards, and multiple Physical Fitness Awards.
Noting his whole-hearted commitment to the community and appreciation of the support he has received, Edwards said, “Police work can be a thankless and turbulent occupation due to fickle and often negative public perception, but I rarely felt that way here in South Burlington because of the support of our citizens and business people, who always showed that they wanted a great group of professional and well-trained officers to work for them. They regularly acknowledged that they had our back, in nearly all situations. Although police work is the same everywhere because people are the same, my experience here in this community was unlike any other due to that community support and belief in us.”
After beginning his career in 1989 as a police officer in Milton, Edwards moved to the SBPD in December 1990. While in South Burlington, he served as a patrol officer, detective, corporal, patrol sergeant, detective sergeant, support services lieutenant and currently serves as deputy chief. A news release from the city announcing Edwards retirement notes his numerous achievements as a true leader, helping to mentor and train younger officers. Serving in 11 different training roles over the years, he has shared his knowledge and experience to help other officers advance in their careers.
Deputy Chief Edwards created a plan for the implementation of a national women’s self defense program, Rape Aggression Defense (RAD), and was the first instructor for the course at SBPD. He helped direct TASER implementation - guiding the transition from mace to pepper ball and pepper spray, the Expandable Baton program, and the Stinger tire deflation system. The Deputy Chief taught at the SBPD and at the Police Academy as a use of force instructor in baton, ground fighting, OC, and defensive tactics. Edwards also served as a Department Field Training Officer.
Throughout his career, Deputy Chief Edwards has been influential in the greater community. He was one of the first two investigators from SBPD to be part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, he participated in various undercover internet investigations and in the county Heroin Interdiction Team (HIT). Recognized by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont and the New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, Edwards helped develop the community engagement and problem-solving model that SBPD uses today. He will be remembered for having a solid focus on getting the best possible outcome for the victims of criminal activity.
While his career achievements tell the story of a dedicated public servant in the city, the Deputy Chief, concurrently, served the state and nation in another role. In 1981, he chose to serve the country in the U.S. Army National Guard, where he continues to serve to this day. As an infantryman, Edwards has deployed to Iraq, Jordan, and Afghanistan. He has been awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and two Bronze Star Medals. Edwards currently serves as the Command Sergeant Major of the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division.
When City Manager Kevin Dorn received Edwards’ resignation, he replied, “I received your letter, with very, very mixed feelings. You are a great Deputy Chief and leader and we will sorely miss you. But you have also given 27 years of your life to this community. It is time we let you go a new direction.”
SBPD Deputy Chief Paul Edwards will retire from the department May 15, 2018.