Police chief named

Aaron Noble

A stop at rank of deputy chief for Shelburne Police lasted only seven months for Aaron Noble, as the 30-year law enforcement veteran assumes his new role as chief today.

Shelburne Town Manager Joe Colangelo made the announcement Wednesday.

Noble told the Shelburne News he was honored by the promotion. “It is an honor to serve the residents and businesses of Shelburne. There is a reason I have been here 26 years. I love the community. I love the people,” he said.

Noble, 49, and his wife, Gennifer, who works at Shelburne Farms, live in Shelburne.

Noble succeeds former Police Chief Jim Warden, who served Shelburne for 30 years until an apparent falling out with the town manager last summer.

Colangelo suspended Warden for three days in mid-July for undisclosed reasons. The suspension was later withdrawn after Warden signed a retirement agreement that kept him as a “consultant” through Jan. 31. The town paid him about $80,000 a year.

Noble, who has been acting chief since Warden left, has high praise for his predecessor. “We hope to build on the foundation that he built,” Noble said. “Jim took a chance on me and gave me several opportunities and he supported me. He is a cop’s cop and a great people person.”

The circumstances of Warden’s departure sparked public reaction. A small rally on the village green last summer in support of Warden was evidence that Warden was a prominent figure in the community, well-liked and respected by many. Noble included.

“He was part-time mayor and full-time police chief,” Noble said. “He could talk to anybody.”

Noble’s background
A native of Colchester, Noble graduated from Champlain College with an associate degree in criminal justice in 1988. He began his law enforcement career with the Chittenden County Sheriff’s Department for two years and worked for the University of Vermont Police for two more years.

Noble joined Shelburne Police in 1992 and was named a corporal in 1995.

He was promoted last July 1 to deputy police chief – a new position created by Colangelo.

At the time, Colangelo said the promotion didn’t mean Noble would automatically become the next chief. He said time would tell how Noble performed in the demands of the new job.

Writing about choosing Noble, Colangelo said he thought Noble as deputy did an excellent job, which was one of the reasons he decided to promote him without conducting a wide search for candidates.

“If you consider the past six months as one extended job interview, he couldn’t have done better,” Colangelo wrote. “Simply put, Chief Noble performed at the highest possible level during his time as Acting Police Chief.”

Noble will be paid $90,000 a year, a figure Colangelo said he arrived at after checking with other area law enforcement departments. Unlike with Chief Warden, Colangelo said Noble will not be assigned a specific “chief’s cruiser” in his position.

Noble’s salary was bumped to $79,000 when he became deputy chief on July 1. After six months, that was increased to $81,500, Colangelo said.

Among those happy to hear about Noble’s promotion is Vermont State Sen. Dick Mazza, D-Colchester/Grand Isle, the chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, which frequently deals with law enforcement issues.

As a teenager, Noble worked as a meat cutter at Mazza’s General Store on Lakeshore Drive. “Aaron was a serious young man. Very dependable. He really was dedicated and he took his job seriously. He was always on time,” Mazza said.

Vermont’s senior senator noted Noble is his second former employee serving as a Vermont police chief. St. Albans Police Chief Gary Taylor also worked for Mazza while a student growing up in Colchester.

Noble said he was unsure what will happen with the post of deputy chief. One organizational chart for the police department shows the creation of two lieutenants and no deputy chief.

Selection process
As part of the selection process, Colangelo created a private advisory committee to help him fill the police chief post. The committee had one 90-minute meeting in January in which members discussed several issues, including whether to promote from within vs. having a public search to attract more interest.

Last summer, Noble was one of four in-house candidates for deputy chief. The others were Sgt. Allen Fortin, a former police chief in Hinesburg, and Officers Josh Flore and Mike Thomas.
The latter two served on the recent hiring committee. Others in the group were Chris Boyd, a former selectboard member and fire chief; Peter Gadue, former police officer and member of the town ethics committee; Capt. Mike Major of the Chittenden County Sheriff’s Department; Colchester Police Chief Jennifer Morrison, president of the Vermont Police Chiefs; and Samuel Jackson of the Vermont chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Other town representatives were selectboard Vice Chairman Jerry Storey and Director of Administration Ann Janda. Colangelo also attended.

Both approaches to hiring are commonly used. Milton and Williston both recently advertised to hire new police chiefs. Milton chose its acting chief; Williston opted for a veteran police chief from outside. Essex recently named a new chief by promoting from within without advertising the position.

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