Chief deputy retiring after 32 years in law enforcement

by Tony Reaves, Staff Writer Sun Journal Aug. 8, 2012

PARIS — A well-known face in law enforcement is stepping down in two weeks. Chief Deputy Darrell “Dane” Tripp, a 20-year veteran of the Oxford County Sheriff's Office and a 32-year veteran in law enforcement is retiring.

Dane Trip retires
Chief Deputy Darrell "Dane" Tripp stands in his office at the Oxford County Sheriff's Office, where he's already begun taking down photos and military honors. He's retiring after 20 years with the department.

“I've got mixed feelings,” said Tripp, 67. “I've been in this uniform for so many years. It's just going to seem funny to not be adorned with all this apparel.”

On the other hand, he said he's looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Brenda.

I've patrolled every town in this county, and I've met a lot of people, good and bad,” Tripp said. “I don't know if I'd even call them bad, just misguided.”

Tripp, who served two tours in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine, has had a reputation for neatness and keeping fit. He said he expects his legacy will be “that I wear the same size trousers I did when I graduated.”

He said that's partially due to his U.S. Marine training, partially the need to be tough when he entered law enforcement at 35 years old after a career installing insulation. He knew there would be young criminals who thought they could outrun or overpower an older officer. At 40, he placed fifth in New England in a bodybuilding contest.

Coming up first through the Paris Police Department, and later the Sheriff's Office, professionalism became Tripp's brand.

Tripp recalled one man he arrested for operating under the influence after a car crash. He pleaded guilty in court, saying, “My mother said if Dane Tripp picked me up, I'm guilty.”

“That's good advertising, I guess,” Tripp said with a laugh.

Tripp was first hired for the Paris Police Department by then-Chief Lloyd “Skip” Herrick, who later became Oxford County sheriff. Tripp instructed on the use of the side-handle police baton when local departments first began using it. He later taught chemical agent safety, and has taught self-defense for the police academy.

He worked his way up to detective in the Paris department before moving to the county.

Sheriff Wayne Gallant appointed Tripp chief deputy soon after his election to sheriff in 2006. Before that, he was a corporal in the department and worked as school resource officer at Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram.

“I just thought he was a good fit,” Gallant said. “He was respected by a lot of people.”

“He called me and asked me if I'd consider being the chief (deputy)," Tripp recalls of his hiring to the position. “I said I'd give it the best I can. He hasn't fired me.”

Gallant said Tripp will be missed. “He's been a model of an officer. He represents the agency and the badge well.”

Gallant said he has a replacement for Tripp in mind and will announce a name later this month.

Tripp said he's a social person, and he'll miss talking with his co-workers and with people around the county. “I'll miss that kind of camaraderie.”

That's not to say he's retiring completely. Tripp still teaches self-defense at hospitals and other venues in the area and expects he'll pick up a part-time job to keep busy.

He'll miss the uniform, too. He said some people don't recognize him when he wears civilian clothes. “This uniform has been kind of my nameplate.”

Like Gallant, Tripp still wears the uniform so other deputies will know that his position as deputy doesn't put him above police work. “It shows that I'm available for call just like everybody else.”

His last day of work is Aug. 23.