After 38 years on the job, Stamford Police Chief Jonathan Fontneau announced he plans to retire this spring.
Fontneau has served as Stamford’s 15th Police Chief since Oct. 2012. As one of the longest-tenured chiefs in Stamford history, Fontneau leaves a legacy of modernizing the department, emphasizing strong community policing and dedication to transparency that contributed to Stamford’s reputation as the safest city in New England.
“Stamford’s community is very fortunate to have had Chief Fontneau as their Police Chief,” Stamford Mayor David Martin said. “He is a professional who brought significant improvements to our police force and a strong leader who’s respected both inside the department and outside in our diverse community. He has respected the challenges confronting the police department in our era.”
Fontneau was chosen for the Distinguished Chief Award by the Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut in 2015 for his exceptional community relations and innovative policing strategies.
He has also been commended by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for youth leadership programs and the Downtown Special Service District for his role in making Stamford and the downtown area a safe area to live, work and play
“It has been a privilege to serve as a Stamford Police Officer and an absolute honor to serve as the Police Chief," Fontneau said. "These past 38 plus years employed by the City of Stamford Police Department was really never considered a job but rather a calling."
Under his tenure, Fontneau oversaw the implementation of modern policing measures including body-worn cameras, improved surveillance around the city, and an anonymous rewards tip line. As well as community liaison programs such as Coffee with a Cop, multicultural community liaison groups, and training programs like Undoing Racism and Fair and Impartial Policing.
The department has also increased their work with other law enforcement programs such as the DEA and FBI, regional institutions and other first responder agencies – notably improving active shooter response procedures.
“Chief Fontneau is a man of honor and integrity who has dedicated his life to law enforcement, the department, and the Stamford community for more than 38 years,” Director of Public Safety Thaddeus Jankowski said. “He has demonstrated extraordinary leadership throughout his career. His experience, leadership, and dedication are impeccable. I thank him for his years of professionalism and hard work – I wish him the best in retirement.”
Fontneau is a Stamford native and graduate of Stamford High School who attended Southern Connecticut State University. He spent his entire law enforcement career in the Stamford Police Department.
He started with the department in 1980, rising through the ranks as a patrol officer, sergeant, and lieutenant. He was promoted to Assistant Chief in 2010, and later to Police Chief in 2012.
He was named Police Officer of the Year with only two years in the department, and is a multiple recipient of the U.S. Justice award for excellence, attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Academy and is a Yale Fellow in Child Development.
He has been very successful with initiatives such as community policing, juvenile mentoring and the federal prosecution of violent offenders. The Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit under his command were very successful averaging over one thousand arrests per year.
Throughout my career I’ve worked alongside so many wonderful people both within the police department and in the community," the chief added. "I have truly been blessed to have been given this opportunity to have served the City of Stamford as its police chief for the past several years. I have worked alongside such wonderful, dedicated professional police officers that risk their own safety day in, day out to keep the rest of us safe."
During retirement, Fontneau said he plans to enjoy life in a new way, and do the 1,001 things he has always wanted to do but never had the time. He said he's also looking forward to spending quality time with his "beautiful" wife Heidi, and his son and daughter and his grandchildren.
"I was born and raised in this great City, Stamford will always be a special place for me.”
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