The Ridgefield Police Department has its new chief.

Capt. Jeff Kreitz was named the department's top official Friday, Oct. 26.

Kreitz, who was named Officer of the Year in 2016, joined the department in 2003. He has served as the department's public information officer for the last five years.

Kreitz replaces long-time Chief John Roche who passed away in late August.

He beat out Maj. Steve Brown, who has been serving as the department's acting chief for the past several months, and Capt. Bryan Terzian.

"We had three of Ridgefield’s top police leaders interview for the position of Chief of Police for the Ridgefield Police Department," said Charles Knoche, chairman of the Ridgefield Board of Police Commissioners. "The Commission was very impressed with all three, yet had to make the difficult choice of selecting only one to be the next chief. We see each of them — Major Steve Brown and Captain Bryan Terzian, along with Chief Kreitz — continuing to lead the department from their leadership positions. Ultimately, the commission felt that Jeff Kreitz is best suited overall to serve as Ridgefield’s next Chief of Police.

"We congratulate him and look forward to our work with him in the next years ahead," Knoche added. "We always feel after conducting promotional interviews, how fortunate the Town of Ridgefield is to have such high quality, knowledgeable and professional officers in our department."

The Police Commission had announced its search earlier this month, indicating it would start from within the department before extending the job out to external candidates.

The commission, satisfied with its interviews of internal candidates on Oct. 22, decided to move forward with Kreitz earlier this week.

Kreitz is married to Ridgefield High School teacher Molly Kreitz.

He will take over a department of 49 police officers, detectives, and dispatchers.

“I’m very pleased to hear that Jeff has been promoted to the position of Chief of Police,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi. “He was a hustler, he worked very hard … any adjective you can think of that would be best for a chief, Jeff exhibits.”

Read more in next week's Ridgefield Press — on newsstands Thursday, Nov. 1.