Old police station officially decommissioned

The Duxbury Police Department held a decommission ceremony at the West Street police station on Saturday morning, April 13, honoring retired and deceased officers and praising current and future members of the department.

Police Chief Matthew Clancy welcomed attendees to the ceremony as residents gathered on the front lawn of the old police station early Saturday morning. While most of recent hype has revolved around the new police station, Chief Clancy said Saturday’s ceremony was all about the old station.

he flag was raised at the police station on West Street on Dec. 9, 1967 under the watchful eye of late chief Henry McNeil. Chief McNeil took over as chief after the sudden loss of late chief Lawrence Doyle, who had pioneered the project to build the West Street station. Chief McNeil presided over the dedication ceremony of the station in 1967 in mem- ory of Chief Doyle.

Chief Clancy introduced Carolyn Doyle Schofield, daughter of the late Chief Doyle, as one of the guest flag bearers at Saturday’s ceremony. Clancy presented Scho- field with the plaque that had adorned the lobby of the station since the dedication ceremony in honor of her father and thanked her for attending the ceremony.

Chief Clancy presented Bettie McNeil, wife of the late Chief McNeil, with flowers and thanked her for agreeing to be a guest flag bearer at the ceremony. The final guest flag bearer was retired officer Robert Byrne, the senior-most surviving member of the Duxbury Police Department. Byrne was an active member of the police force from 1954-1994.

“It goes without saying that it is an honor to have Bob here today with us,” Clancy said.

Clancy also recognized Sergeant Dennis Symmonds, the senior-most active member of the police department, as one of the flag bearers for the ceremony. Also in attendance at the ceremony were selectmen Shawn Dahlen and Ted Flynn, State Representative Josh Cutler representing Representative Thomas Calter and Senator Robert Hedlund, and public safety building committee chairman Andre Martecchini.

Dahlen spoke on behalf of the selectmen and thanked the Duxbury taxpayers who voted twice in support of the project.

“It is through the perseverance of the members of the police department, building committee and Duxbury tax payers that we are here today,” Dahlen said. “They did a phenomenal job.”

Rep. Cutler spoke on behalf of his peers who represent Duxbury in the state legislature and also thanked Duxbury residents for their support.

“It is never easy to vote yourself a tax increase, even a temporary one,” Cutler said, evoking laughs from the crowd. “In the end we got a better, more cost-effective building than even we had expected and we are proud to be here in support of the new station." 

Jared Valanzola, representing Senator Hedlund, presented Chief Clancy with an official citation signed by the president of the state senate in recognition of the public safety enhancements done by Duxbury and extending best wishes for success in the future.

The last speaker at the event was Patrol Officer James Tougas, who Clancy said he like to call his "contrarian."

“In each organization you have that guy or gal who always has to see things the other way,” Clancy said. “He always sees the human side of every issue he encounters.”

In his speech, Tougas reminded listeners that officers’ family members share their stresses.

“I have great respect for the men and women who have worn this uniform,” Tougas said.

A call went out over the police radio calling for the final lowering of the flag at the West Street station, signaling the official decommission of the station. The flag bearers lowered the flag and folded it. Chief Clancy then asked guests

to follow the procession to the new station at 155 Mayflower St., where they would raise the flag.

After the flag was raised at the new station, signaling the station was officially in use, Chief Clancy welcomed guests to a reception and tour of the new building. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in June.