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    Sudbury, MA 01776

Fadgen says itís been an honor to work for Sudbury

In 1982, when Patrolman Peter Fadgen transferred to the Sudbury Police Department from his native town of Clinton, Sudburyís population totaled about 13,500.

A driving range stood next to Sudbury Farms. Across the street, a bar, the Sudbury House - which was later replaced by the Rugged Bear Plaza. The fire station was located in the back of Town Hall. Sperry Rand had a presence on Rte. 117, and Rte. 20, not built up as it is today, had many open fields.

Times have changed in Sudbury, but the element of caring remains the same, said the chief.

"What we stress here is nothing is too small," said Fadgen, who decided to transfer to Sudbury after a patrolman friend said it was a great place to work. "If itís a problem to the residents, then we address it in a caring way."


Fadgenís career got it start three days after his 18th birthday in 1968, when he enlisted and served with the U.S. Army Infantry. Returning from two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1972, he took part in a program in Kansas acclimating troops back to civilian life.

During the program, Fadgen worked with the Manhattan, Kan., and Junction City Police Departments, going on ride alongs. Police work piqued his interest.

When he returned to Massachusetts, he decided to pursue a career in criminal justice. He took courses in law enforcement at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. In 1973, Fadgen took the civil service exam. A hiring freeze due to a pending civil court case delayed his acceptance on the force for a few years. Finally, in 1980, Fadgen was hired as patrolman with the Clinton Police Department.

After working as patrolman in Sudbury for five years, Fadgen was promoted to sergeant. He made lieutenant in 1999, and in January 2004, he was appointed chief.

"I wanted to advance," he said. "I feel fortunate the openings were there."

While he advanced, he attended college. Fadgen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Westfield State College and a Masters of Arts in criminal justice from Anna Maria College, in Paxton, MA.

Reflecting on his 26 1/2-year career, the chief thinks about the cards residents have sent in the past few weeks thanking him for helping a family with a problem, dealing with a child, or a domestic issue with a spouse.

"Thatís what Iíll take with me," said Fadgen. "The personal level of satisfaction for helping someone."

The chief recalls the most tragic cases during his tenure - two homicides that affected the community and everyone in the department, he said.

In the first homicide, David Azar was arrested in November 1988, and charged with murder in the death of his infant daughter and sentence to prison. Fadgen was a sergeant in charge of the night shift at the time. The case was appealed and it was knocked down to manslaughter.

"Itís tragic," he said. "It gets to you. It was the first homicide in a long time."

The chief also recalls two years ago when 15-year-old James Alenson, a freshman at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School was killed, allegedly by another student.

"It was a trying time for the community and the department," said Fadgen, whose department worked closely with the state police. "People think it doesnít affect us. We donít show it, but weíre human beings. Everyone has family and they can relate to every situation. A lot of people think police are detached, but they relate."

The chief thinks about the people in the department he has worked with in almost three decades and how he will miss them.

"In every situation, they have given 110 percent and conducted themselves professionally," he said. "I will miss the people in the department. Iíve brought on most of them. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here. In 26 years, Iíve spent more time here than at home.

"Iím going to miss the town," he added. "I enjoyed the citizens, the boards Iíve worked with including the senior management team."

After thinking of retiring 1 1/2 years ago, Fadgen now knows the time is right. "It was a tough decision," he said. "Itís time to try something new."

Something new includes pursuing work involving security in the private sector.

"Iím not ready for a fishing pole," he said. "I still feel thereís something I can contribute and Iím looking forward to pursuing it."

Fadgen, who has been married to his wife, Kathryn, for 36 years and has two grown children, Megan who works in high tech and Timothy who works in the attorney generalís office in American Samoa, officially retires March 8.

"Itís been a honor and a privilege to serve Sudbury in different capacities," he said. "I would like them to know how dedicated and professional every member (of the police department) is. I couldnít be prouder. I would like to give a special thanks to the Board of Selectmen and the town manager. Itís been a learning experience working for Maureen Valente in the senior management team. Maureen is the reason why a lot of things work."

And Valente has enjoyed working with Fadgen, too.

"I enjoyed working with somebody who has two characteristics which come to mind," said the town manager. "One, integrity and two, a sense of humor and both have just been critical parts of his job and in his role on the senior management team. Iíve come to rely on both."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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