Incoming Officer Jeff Baur swears in during a ceremony last week at Colchester Police Department. (Photo by Michaela Halnon)

Incoming Officer Jeff Baur swears in during a ceremony last week at Colchester Police Department. (Photo by Michaela Halnon)

Colchester police have added a new officer to its ranks.

Chief Jennifer Morrison welcomed 24-year-old Jeff Baur to the department in a ceremony last week, assigning him badge number 195.

Baur’s addition brings the total number of sworn personnel on the force to 28 and ups the full time staff positions to 37.6, according to Morrison.

Baur will head to the Vermont Police Academy shortly, Morrison said, after which he’ll complete 16 weeks of field training. It will likely be about eight months before Baur assumes solo patrol duties, Morrison estimated.

The Georgia, Vt. native came to CPD by way of the Marine Corps, Morrison said, and continues to serve as a member of the Vermont Army National Guard. His father, retired Burlington police Sgt. Bob Baur, is Morrison’s longtime former colleague.

At the swearing-in, Morrison noted the PD’s retention rate. Officers tend to make a career in Colchester, she said, not use the medium-sized department as a launching off point.

Though she couldn’t be certain, Morrison largely credited the trend to an emphasis on work-life balance, opportunities for advancement and supportive residents.

“I think it’s a beautiful community where people actually support the police,” Morrison said. “They will stop and say thank you; they appreciate the work we do. That is not always the case in every community around the country.”

“We are now your family,” town manager Dawn Francis added. “Your work family.”

Francis called police and military service the highest calling and said Baur’s career choice spoke to his character.

Policing is a people business, Morrison went on to say, calling on Baur to treat people with dignity and respect – and to expect to wear many hats.

“From this point forward, every time you encounter someone, your words and actions will reflect upon CPD,” she said. “Choose your words wisely, treat people kindly and represent this department honorably.

“Wearing the CPD uniform means that we trust you to safeguard the public’s trust in us,” Morrison said. “It is an enormous burden and is one that should remain at the forefront of your mind every day of your career.”

Those present were encouraged to enjoy donuts on hand – an act that would make Baur an official police officer, Morrison joked.

Baur thanked town officials for the warm welcome, shiny new badge in hand.

“I hope I can serve the community to the best of my ability,” he said.

“We know you will,” Morrison replied.