New state police leader emerges from undercover
MIDDLESEX — There’s a new Vermont State Police commander in town, and he brings plenty of experience with him to help fight crime in central Vermont.
Lt. Matthew Nally became the Middlesex station commander in December after former Lt. Paul White was promoted to captain of Troop A, overseeing the Middlesex, Williston and St. Albans barracks.
Nally, a native of upstate New York, has been in law enforcement for 24 years. The father of five who now lives in Cabot started his career as an officer in the Brattleboro Police Department in 1990 and joined the state police at the Rockingham barracks in 1998.
In 2002, Nally was assigned to special investigations, where he worked undercover on drug crimes in the southern part of the state and in the Northeast Kingdom for a total of six years. After that, Nally worked as a fire investigator for six years.
As station commander, Nally oversees the day-to-day operation of the barracks, making sure the troopers get what they need to do their jobs and that the barracks runs smoothly.
Besides keeping the barracks on track, Nally wants to take advantage of his new position to get to the heart of the investigations his troopers are conducting. In terms of crime, Nally said central Vermont is seeing “a piece of all the pies” with assaults, burglaries, property thefts and drug abuse, which usually leads to the property crimes. In addition, he said, Interstate 89 serves as a highway for contraband both into and out of the state.
“Instead of looking at the broader picture, I’d like to focus on case by case,” Nally said. “Something is making these defendants act the way they do, and I’d just as soon get a snapshot of their life and see what’s making them do what they do to maybe get to the root cause.”
Coming from a background that includes undercover work, Nally said he has a different perspective to offer his troopers, showing them a way of looking at a case that they may not have considered.
“(Undercover work) was a different experience than what normal uniform guys are used to,” he said. “It certainly opened my eyes to what goes on out there and what drives people to do what they do.”
Nally said his job is made easier by the troopers he supervises and the way they handle their jobs.
“A lot of the troops we have coming onto the job now are extremely intelligent,” he said. “They think outside of the box. They get stuff done. I’d like to channel all that energy into closing each case. … By closing (the case) you’re going to get more customer satisfaction, which is the public, Vermonters.”
White, a Worcester native, said he wanted to choose someone for the job who would be as deeply invested in the Barre-Montpelier area as he is. White didn’t want an outsider who would commute to work, do the job and then leave the community to go back to his or her life elsewhere when the workday was done.
“I wanted somebody who was going to be invested in the local community and involved in the local community, and (Nally) certainly fits that bill,” White said.
White acknowledged that one factor against choosing Nally was that he had never supervised troopers at the road level and his strengths aren’t in highway safety. Even so, White said, the experience Nally does bring will be a benefit for the troopers and the area because the barracks will be better equipped to solve the burglary and assault cases.
“He will be able to coach them on their investigations and show them different investigative techniques that they might not have been exposed to if they had a different leader,” White said.
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