Hinesburg duo retires from police department

Right: Shelburne Police Chief James Warden recognized longtime police officer Chris Morrell and his partner, Buck, both of Hinesburg, for their years of service to the department. The pair officially retires this weekend.

Police officers Chris Morrell and Buck, partners for 10 years, were recognized for their years of service to the Shelburne Police Department at a Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, June 24.

“Chris, you are a man of integrity and honesty and Buck is a very good police dog,” praised Selectboard Chair Gary von Stange to those in attendance. “Both of you have meant a lot to this town. It’s been a pleasure to work with you,” von Stange added before the presentation of awards: an honorary lifetime dog license, a certificate of appreciation, and dog bones for Buck and a plaque for Morrell.

Morrell was hired as an officer by the town’s police department in 2010 after a 16-year stint in Hinesburg. On Tuesday night Shelburne Police Chief James Warden commented, “Chris is a well-regarded and skilled police officer. His transition from chief of police to police officer was as smooth as glass.”

Former Selectboard member Lynn Gardner of Hinesburg made the trip to Shelburne to comment, “Chris is an asset to all of our communities. I am proud to call Chris and his wife, Jane, friends.”

Following the presentation, Morrell, one of the oldest patrol dog handlers in the nation, thanked everyone he worked with as well as the residents of Shelburne for his tenure. “I can’t say enough about the great people of Shelburne,” he commented. “It’s been a very positive experience.”

After his final shift this Sunday, Morrell, his wife, and Buck will relocate to Malta, N.Y. where he grew up, “We will probably leave in about a month,” Morrell offered. “One of my goals in retirement is to write a book about law enforcement and police dogs. It will be a human interest story.”

Morrell made his way from New York to Vermont when he was hired as Hinesburg’s first chief of police in 1994 after 20 years as a deputy sheriff in upstate New York. He first ran the department out of a small office with no phone, firearms, or working typewriter, and no full-time employees.