Ridgefield police union president, former school resource officer retires after 20 'dedicated' years

RIDGEFIELD — The town's police department said goodbye to one of its longstanding officers this month as Chris Daly retired after two decades of service. 

“We would like to thank Officer Daly for his 20 years of dedicated service to the Ridgefield Police Department and to our community,” said Chief Jeff Kreitz of the Ridgefield Police Department in a post on the Ridgefield CT Police Department Facebook page. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Before joining the Ridgefield Police Department, Daly, 52, served with the New York City Police Department from 1997 to 2003. Daly said he was assigned to Midtown Precinct South and was in New York City during 9/11.

“I was working like most police officers on 9/11,” Daly said. “Clearly, that day makes you look at life and family in an entirely different way.”

Daly also recalled, in November of 2001, envelopes with Anthrax were being sent to people at businesses. He said if a suspicious package or envelope came into a business, he would go to that business to pick it up and deliver it to the New York City Department of Health.

Daly said it was at that point that he realized he was “a number for the city.”

“I felt that the city did not care about our safety and I felt transferring to a Connecticut police department was a good option,” he said.

Daly was hired by the Ridgefield Police Department on Feb. 28, 2003. He said going from New York City to Ridgefield was “100-percent completely different” since he was dealing with different types of crimes like traffic violations and small property crimes.

Daly said working in Ridgefield was also a lot less stressful and a lot safer.

During his tenure with the department, Daly served as a patrol officer from 2003 to 2014 before becoming a school resource officer, or SRO, in 2014. He served as an SRO until 2021 when he retired to patrol.

“During his time as an SRO, Officer Daly was instrumental in expanding the program, building relationships with the school community and creating a safe learning environment in our schools,” said Kreitz on the Ridgefield CT Police Department Facebook page. “Officer Daly was a well-known DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) instructor, educating countless youths on internet safety, how to stand up to bullying and the dangers of drug use and addiction.”

Kreitz said Daly was also an active member in the Ridgefield Police Union, serving as union president from 2007 to 2022, and that he helped coordinate and manage the Annual Richard Ligi Memorial Golf Tournament for many years, “bringing it to a new level of success.”

In terms of what’s changed in the Ridgefield Police Department since he started his tenure, Daly said he was there for three different police chiefs, otherwise “not much has changed.”

"I do know that our manpower within our department is a little less than when I started, but nothing else has really changed in those 20 years,” he said.

While he said working with kids was one of the most rewarding aspects of his job, he said the time spent away from his family was the most difficult part since officers work on rotating shifts, sometimes working on weekends and holidays.

Formerly a Ridgefield resident, Daly has since moved to Arkansas with his family. His last day on the force was Dec. 6. Now that he’s retired, Daly said he wants to travel. 

“Scotland is definitely on the bucket list,” he said, “and living in the middle of the country where I am, there’s things I was never able to go see.”