Guilford’s New Police Chief ‘Excited to Lead’ Department

Guilford Police Chief Christopher Massey. (Guilford Police Department)


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GUILFORD – Christopher Massey reported for duty at the Guilford Police Department on Monday like he has for the past 15 years – except this time as the town’s new police chief. 

The Board of Selectmen ratified Massey as chief on June 23, with the job officially starting July 1.

“I’m excited,” said Massey from the seat of his new office. “It’s a great opportunity, early in my career, to step into the role of chief. I’m excited to lead a department full of personnel who are passionate about the job, very dedicated, and work well as a team.”

The 38-year-old has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Marist College in New York. After graduating from the Connecticut Police Academy, he joined the Guilford Police Department in 2008 and completed his master’s degree in public administration at Marist as well. 

“I started out working patrol,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in the center of town on the evening shift, walking around, getting to know the business owners and really enjoyed that aspect of policing and engaging with the public.”

Over the course of his career, he became a field training officer and started working in crash reconstruction, getting more investigative experience than most other patrol officers. In 2015, he said, he was promoted to sergeant. 

“I ended up on the evening shift again, which is my preferred shift,” said Massey, who also joined the regional crash reconstruction team covering North Haven, North Branford, East Branford and Madison.

“You got a lot more investigative experience by the increased call volume,” he said. “You got to respond out to all the different towns versus just here in Guilford.”

While a sergeant, Massey was promoted to the role of field training coordinator. Training new officers is a passion of his, he said. 

“We take pride in our approach to law enforcement here in town,” he said, lauding the teamwork of the officers and staff in the department. “When something happens, everybody jumps in. Everybody takes on as much work as they can possibly do and they work together really well. This is their career. It isn’t just their job.”

An important mission for Guilford police, Massey said, is community engagement.

“The officers here treat the public like how they want their family treated,” he said. “That’s an important approach that we try to instill in all the officers getting hired here, bringing up through the ranks,” he said. “We have a function to perform law enforcement, but we are also the most visual form of government. When the public is interacting with the government, typically law enforcement is in the forefront of that. We want to continue to build a level of legitimacy .… They’re not just seeing us as a government entity, but someone who truly is out there trying to protect the public, trying to keep everyone in town safe, happy, and able to have a quality of life we value here in the town of Guilford.”

In 2020, Chief Jeffrey Hutchinson retired and Warren “Butch” Hyatt took over the position, promoting Massey to deputy chief.

“It happened to coincide with the pandemic,” Massey said. “While everyone else was working remotely, we had to keep coming in. It’s difficult when you have to socially distance and wear a mask. We worked through it and everybody stayed as positive as we could.”

One of Massey’s primary focuses as chief is recruitment, retention and training of officers. The department is currently budgeted for 39 officers, but there are multiple vacancies. 

“I need police officers, but I need folks that can meet our high standards to work here,” he said. “That is something we’ve had a lot of discussions on. It’s something I’m looking forward to working hand in hand with the police union, with the Board of Police Commissioners, the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and figure out how to attract and also retain the talented officers we want to have here, and continue to have a team that we’re proud of.”

He also hopes to continue fostering a healthy relationship with the community.

“The way we approach law enforcement has been and continues to be attractive to me because of that community approach and that element,” he said. “Not every police department has the opportunity to do that. … I’m very happy to be in a position where my career brought me to a role where I can be a chief and build upon a culture that has already been established here.”

At 38 years old, Massey acknowledged he’s on the young side for being a chief, but said he’s ready for it.

“I had fantastic mentors my entire career,” he said. “Most recently, Chief Hyatt was an amazing person to work for. He was humble. He was an open book. Any questions I had, he would answer them. He would give historical context as to why things are a certain way. …  I can’t thank him enough. He did so much for me. It’s difficult to even put it into words.” 

As for law enforcement issues, Massey’s biggest concerns are auto theft and vandalism. 

He said he is exploring additional outreach efforts to remind the public to safeguard their vehicles and valuable possessions within.

“The message we’re trying to get out to the public is please lock your cars, take your keys with you and also don’t leave valuables in plain view,” he said. “There was a grant that we were recently awarded for auto theft work. We’re going to be working on some patrol plans, as well as plans to support the investigative follow-up. On the patrol side, we’re going to obviously try to stop these things from happening, by increasing patrols and targeted patrols.” 

He said the department is looking to invest more into auto theft investigations and get a resolution with arrests. Massey also said the public needs to do their part as the eyes and ears of the town.

“We need them to call us when things are happening and get us in the area,” he said. “That’s the way they can really support our mission the best. You see somebody going through the neighborhood and going through cars, get us on the phone, we’ll get out there and we’ll do what we have to do. It’s a big town. When we add the public in … we can do great things.” 

Massey isn’t sure how long he’ll stay in the role, saying he prefers to take the job one day at a time.  

“I’ve had a lot of people coming in to congratulate me, and I appreciate that, but in my mind I have to earn this job every day,” he said. “My plan right now is to be here as long as I can be here, but a lot of that is contingent on the support of the men and women who work here and the residents of the town of Guilford.”