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Candee Settles Into Role as Easton's Police Chief

EASTON, Conn. – It's been only days since James Candee was promoted to chief of the Easton Police Department , but he's already facing his first challenge: budget season.

The new chief, a 39-year member of the department, says he expects there will be a learning curve in his next few months, adding: “I think the budget process will be my first hurdle.”

The department lost two positions in the past year – one officer retired and Candee’s captain's post will not be filled – and Candee says returning the department to its previous strength will be on his wish list. “We went from 16 to 14 positions, and that is something that I would love to see built back up within the department.”

As for other changes, Candee said he doesn’t foresee anything drastic. “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”

Candee joined the force in the spring of 1972 when he was a 22-year-old just back from a four-year hitch in the Navy. “I was pretty much a hell-raiser back then. I joined the Navy because I decided that I was through with school. I had no plans of going to college, so I ended up chasing Soviet subs in the Mediterranean and North Atlantic,” he said.

When he returned to his hometown, Candee said he needed to find a job, and when he heard the department was hiring he put in an application. “I thought it was something I wanted to do, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Candee's career has been a long, steady ascent through the ranks. He started as a patrolman and was promoted to sergeant in 1985. He was promoted to captain in 1999 when former Police Chief John Solomon expanded the rank structure of the department to include a lieutenant and a captain.

“I have to say, he is an asset to the department and the community," said Solomon. “He’s going to do great. He was always a very, very loyal executive officer. He is a very loyal soldier.”

Solomon announced his plans to retire last spring, and Candee said he was quickly offered the job. “[The Police Commission] came to me and asked if I wanted the job, and I accepted. I believe it is the first time the commission has taken someone who has come up from the ranks,” he said.

“I am very proud of that, and I am hoping that that is something they will continue,” Candee said.

Candee will be sworn in as chief on Friday, Jan. 6, at 3 p.m. in the Community Room of the Easton Public Library . The event is open to the public.

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