MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — There will be a new voice for the Connecticut State Police. Lieutenant J. Paul Vance, the media relations commander, has been abruptly reassigned to traffic. He is, without a doubt, the highest profile police officer in Connecticut, gaining national and even international attention as the face of the tragedy at Sandy Hook in 2012.
Vance has been the face and voice of the state police for the past 16 years. Some younger reporters have never known anyone else. He already had a very high profile in the state when two years ago he was frequently on every channel and network dispensing information, in the disciplined and respectful way he always had, following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, for which he has been duly praised.
“Sandy Hook was terrible and it was very, very difficult… but a great deal of pride with all the people that pulled together and got the work done,” said Vance at his office at the Department of Public Safety Headquarters in Middletown.
ORIGINAL STORY: State police spokesperson Lt. J. Paul Vance to be reassigned
It came as a shock to those in the media and elsewhere that he was being abruptly transferred to the State Police Traffic Unit.
“This was not my decision,” said Lt. Vance. “This was decided for me and I was instructed that I would take this new assignment.”
The collection of media memorabilia from every local TV station on a bookshelf in his office attests to his longevity and the respect we all have for him. He made it clear he didn’t want to leave the job.
“I would have liked this position until my retirement, but, you know, the leaders of the department felt otherwise,” said Vance.
He says communication with the public is very important to the department he has served for more than 40 years.
“I have a great deal of pride when I’m able to stand up and speak about the work that these people do every single day, some of it heroic beyond belief, and I’m going to miss that part of it,” said Lt. Vance.
The state police is a military organization and these kinds of transfers of top officers are no that unusual. Vance is a good soldier and taking it like a trooper.
“I’m going to move to this new assignment and I’ll do the best possible job I can until it’s time to hang up my spurs and ride off into the sunset,” he said.