Police Chief James Warden suspended for three days

Shelburne Police Chief James Warden File photo

UPDATE: Thursday, July 27 –

Deputy Shelburne Police Chief Aaron Noble has been named interim head of the Shelburne Police Department. In a memo to Police Department employees dated Wednesday, Town Manager Joe Colangelo said: “Dep. Chief Aaron Noble is the Acting Police Chief of the department until further notice.” When asked for more details today, Colangelo said he no further information to share at this time.

Longtime Shelburne Police Chief James Warden received a recent three-day suspension from the town for unspecified reasons, according to public records obtained by the Shelburne News.

“I have been placed under suspension by the Town Manager for three days, July 19th through the 21st. During this period of suspension Deputy Chief Aaron Noble will be in charge of the department,” Warden said in a memo dated July 18.

The memo entitled “My Suspension,” was directed to “all police department employees.” It is signed with what appears to be Warden’s signature.

Repeated attempts to reach Warden this week by the Shelburne News were unsuccessful. Warden did not respond to multiple phone and text messages. He was taking a sick day Wednesday, according to a Shelburne emergency dispatcher that morning.

Town Manager Joe Colangelo said he was limited about what he could say because he considered it a personnel matter which would be confidential.

A public records request by the newspaper yielded Warden’s memo and the town’s payroll for last week showing the chief was paid only $616.

Warden, who is 78, has been chief in Shelburne for 30 years. Warden told the Shelburne News last month he was unsure when he might retire. He said he still loved his job and the community. Warden made those comments as the town announced it had elevated Noble to the newly created post of deputy police chief.
Then-Cpl. Noble, 49, was selected from four in-house candidates. Noble is a 29-year police veteran, including 25 years in Shelburne. He spent two years each with Chittenden County Sheriff’s Department and the University of Vermont Police.

At the time of Noble’s promotion, Colangelo said the move was part of an effort throughout government operations in Shelburne to develop leadership, succession, and organizational planning throughout all departments.

Warden also said he supported the choice for deputy chief. The other candidates were Sgt. Allen Fortin and Officers Josh Flore and Mike Thomas.

Warden also is well-known in Shelburne as a longtime instructor for dog obedience classes. Prior to being hired in Shelburne, Warden served as police chief in St. Albans City for more than 10 years.  He began his police career in Pennsylvania where he worked as police chief for two departments.

Shelburne Police is authorized 12 full-time officers, including the chief. The department also has four part-time officers, seven full-time emergency dispatchers and three part-time dispatchers.

9 Responses to "Police Chief James Warden suspended for three days"

  1. Krsig Richard   July 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    About time this sleezeball was brought to justice. Im guessing he pissed off someone who mattered with despicable behaviour. After permitting ongoing harassment of our family by neighbors he then authorized covert surveillance of us and our home to make sure I was mowing my lawn within the letter of the law. This guy is part of those old boy politic networks where groups like the Masons would rule over small towns across America.We are more modern now…right? Whats most surprising is the town manager growing a pair big enough to do this. My bets are on viagra provided by one or more board members who generally sit on their thumbs in these matters. Its not who you know its who you….

  2. David Emmons   July 27, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Sorry to hear, not sure what happened, however Chief James Warden and Sgt Allen Fortin have done a great job for not only Shelburne, but surrounding communities. Please don’t let the comments of Krsig Richard even say any reader…it is very clear by that actors statements…should be under surveillance and probaby locked up. Stand tall Chief, you got this

  3. Julie Morley   July 28, 2017 at 7:32 pm

    I have known Chief Warden for years and I can honestly say he is one of the finest people I ever met. I have seen my share of people in law enforcement with huge egos and bad attitudes, and this guy is the complete opposite of that. His love and treatment of animals should also prove what is in his heart, and Shelburne is very fortunate to have him as the police chief. You don’t find down to earth, truly generous and capable people in those positions very often and I hope he is able to retire on his terms.

  4. Robbie   July 29, 2017 at 12:16 am

    It’s nice how you guys print what you want the public to see. Hey, don’t want to print what I sent Ya! Class act!!!

    • Shelburne News   August 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Our posting rules require a first and last name.

  5. Red Muir   July 29, 2017 at 9:22 am

    It’s pretty sad when a town manager with no law enforcement background what so ever thinks he can run the police department. This guy wants total control. He appointed a deputy chief and directed him to answer directly to him and not the chief. This to me is a guy with an agenda and that agenda is to push the current chief out. Anyone who knows Jim Warden or “the Chief” knows he is a level headed down to earth stand up guy. I’m proud to have him as a neighbor and a friend. The people of Shelburne should be proud to have him as their chief and should be contacting the chair of the selectboard and all board members voicing their support for the chief.

  6. Wadi Sawabini   August 2, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    I have known Chief Warden since I first returned to Vermont in 2000. I am proud that he is the Chief of the Police Department that protects my family and friends. He is a consummate professional. I have met thousands of Police Officers and law enforcement leaders in my nearly 27 years of work as an Instrctor, none finer than Jim Warden.

  7. Julienne Lambre   August 4, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I don’t like how this has gone down. People who have given as many years of community service deserve better treatment and our genuine respect and appreciation. I know Chief to be kind and upstanding person.

  8. Robbie Mazzoni   August 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I want to thank CHIEF JAMES WARDEN for making me a better police officer but most of all a better father, husband, brother, uncle and person. As a young police officer, Jim wasn’t only my police chief, he was like the father I never had. Jim was not only in command of a police department he was also a teacher of young police officers. I started with Jim in Pennsylvania prior of coming to Vermont. Like Jim, I found myself tangled in small town politics where they look for a reason (and not a good one) to excuse you without just cause. It’s amazing that the politicians of these small towns know nothing about police work nor were they ever trained in this type of employment. But they will tell you how and when you should perform your job. And they do this without putting themselves in harm’s way. That’s just great. If the media decides to make you a hero, the politicians take credit for it. And if the media decides to unjustly prosecute you you find yourself standing alone and the politician siding with the media to take the heat off of them. The media try to create a negitive article you have a good chance of loosing your job even if you were clearly justified. The officer that makes that split second decision must act to save his/her life or the life of a innocent bystander. This on the shoulders of that officer. The officer trained to act, then must wonder if the made the right decision after his actions had occurred. When the officer believes they conducted himself in good faith, and if he’s lucky, he won’t have to worry about the local media trying to make a story out of a incident where it would damage or even end his career. Our media of today became very lazy. And by that I mean, they now make news instead of reporting news. The media don’t care who they hurt, who’s lives they damage, what reputation they destroy or even if It’s true. They just want to be the first to report it even if they know it carries no weight. I think we all could agree we know someone that has fall victim of this so called poor journalism. Because they are protected by the fourth amendment and cannot be sued. They don’t even have to revile their source of information. It’s about creating a story that has no merritt! It’s hard being a police officer. I’ve been a police officer for over 30 years. I worked mainly in the field as a undercover county detective where my position included homicide investigations, no knock warrants, purchasing of illegal drugs, controlled buys, confidential informants, crackhouses, opiate (heroin) overdoses, enrty team, S.W.A.T., autopsies ect. If anyone thinks this job is easy you should do what I have done in my career. This position like most police positions is a thankless job. You see, police love doing their job knowing they made a difference in someone’s life. We don’t enjoy handing out traffic tickets, putting drug users (unlike dealers) in jail, DWI ect. But We know if we don’t there will be that careless driver who would take a life of one of our loved ones. And who is there to not only observe the horrific tragity of a fatality but has to live what we observed and how death affects after we clock out. All I have to say is that your Town Manager does not see this. It is the police officer that does. But the Town Manager of Shelburne, like most politicians believe because of the sheepskin he earned in higher education gives him the God given right to hire and fire as he pleases. I will say this, I have a higher education degree but none of that prepares you for the law enforcement road ahead when your dealing with a young Joe Colangelo who thinks his sheepskin is above and beyond a 30 year veteran of your police department. I’ve worked with people who had extensive educations. And believe me, I wouldn’t want some of them doing a entry on one of my search warrants. Street smarts, experience and a having your partners back cannot be taught. Your either born with it in your blood or you simply don’t have it. All the education in the world cannot teach you about survival. My reward was getting a drug user help and making him or her turn there life around giving them self worth. This is the thinking of a good police officer. Jim Warden has this gift. No police officer wants to go out like Shelburne’s town manager is forcing Chief Warden out. And what’s the reason? Because he believes Jim’s time is up! Knowing Jim, all I believe needed to be done was Colangelo should of sat down with Jim and said, “I Would like to bring in a new Chief”. A deal could of been worked out without degrading, insulting and embarrassing a great man who gave so much to his community. All the hard work this man has done and this is the thanks he gets from a town manager that had his job go to his head! Well if karma exists Mr. Colangelo I hope you feel the pain you has instilled on the former Chief of Police of Shelburne. I hope the town’s people (and i mean “The Town’s people” not the town manager’s town) of Shelburne take a stand on this issue. Town Managers are a dime a dozen but a man like Jim Warden comes along once in a lifetime!!


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