It’s been a good month for a senior member of the Shelburne Police Department.
Allen Fortin, 53, has been promoted from the rank of sergeant to lieutenant and he recently was honored at a Vermont Statehouse ceremony for his efforts in Child Passenger Safety.
Fortin joined Shelburne Police in 1989 as a patrol officer in the uniform division. Six years later, he was promoted to sergeant – the second-highest rank in the department until recently.
The Shelburne Selectboard recently heard a report on the town’s governmental organizational structure that calls for the police department to have two lieutenants. This promotion makes Fortin the only lieutenant so far.
Fortin’s duties and responsibilities as a supervisor will remain the same at this time, according to the department’s announcement of his promotion. The announcement said Fortin’s new rank was effective Sept. 15.
Beyond the local department, Fortin has been a leader in traffic safety efforts, receiving numerous awards and other accolades for his work. The most recent came in Montpelier on Sept. 18 as part of National Child Passenger Safety week.
The Vermont Department of Health, which oversees the Child Passenger Safety Program in the state, named Fortin the “Law Enforcement CPS Technician of the Year” in recognition of his dedication and service among all police agencies in Vermont.
Fortin has been active in child passenger safety since 2000. He has been a senior technician assisting other, less experienced specialists throughout the state and helping organize events for parents to have their seat installations checked.
Focusing on helping parents of young children get the safety seat right is a rewarding part of the job, Fortin explained. “That’s your most precious cargo,” he said.
He recalled going to an accident scene with a rolled-over SUV and a shaken mother outside the vehicle, her child buckled inside upside down. “I reached in, unhooked the little one and he was fine,” Fortin said. “To me, that’s what makes me continue this effort. If one child leaves (a safety inspection) safer than they came in, it’s worth it.”
In addition to special events, Fortin said the Shelburne Police Department and many others as well have trained officers available to inspect a child seat during regular hours. Parents only need to call to make an appointment to ensure an officer is available, he said. It takes about 30 minutes, he explained, “so we can teach the parents so they can take them out and put them back again.”
A Hinesburg native, Fortin moved to Monkton and graduated from Mount Abraham Union High School in 1982. He served in the U.S. Army for a couple of years before returning to Vermont, where his family opened a restaurant in Hinesburg in the mid-1980s. Fortin became the Hinesburg Town Constable in December 1987.
While working at Shelburne Police, Fortin was named to head the new part-time Hinesburg Police Department when it was formed in 1989. Hinesburg hired its first full-time chief, Chris Morrell, in 1995 and Fortin agreed to stay on as a part-time lieutenant. Fortin resigned from Hinesburg in July 1999 to devote more time to Shelburne.
Fortin also worked as a deputy game warden for 24 years. He and his wife, Anne, are parents to three sons.
Shelburne News reporter Lisa Scagliotti contributed to this report.