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Stephen Tavares sworn in as Eastern’s police chief

Published on September 01, 2021

Stephen Tavares sworn in as Eastern’s police chief

Police Chief Stephen TavaresStephen Tavares ’96 was sworn in as Eastern Connecticut State University’s chief of police and director of public safety on Aug. 27. The swearing-in ceremony took place in the Betty R. Tipton Room and included representatives from police departments across the state; former police chief Jeffrey Garewski; members of Tavares’ family; and Eastern officials.

Tavares is a 1996 Eastern graduate whose return to campus follows a distinguished 26-year career with the Bristol Police Department, where he started as a patrol officer in 1995. Over the length of his career in Bristol, Tavares moved on to such roles as detective, patrol sergeant, lieutenant and deputy chief. He also held specialized positions including narcotics officer, K-9 officer, crisis negotiator and domestic violence liaison.

“I am most excited about being a part of a community that means so much to me,” said Tavares. “I attended Eastern and was a residence assistant on campus… Now many years later, I am blessed to come back in the role of chief of police.”

Tavares mentioned that safety is a campus-wide effort, involving staff and students from offices and entities across the university. “My intention for the Eastern Police Department is to continue to strengthen our relationships within the campus community as well as the Willimantic community,” he said. “Campus Police will collaborate with student organizations and clubs and continue to be a resource to all members of our community. As an agency we will constantly examine ourselves, meaning reviewing our policies and procedures to provide the best level of service.”

“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez, in introducing Tavares. “We have many tools and resources at Eastern to ensure that our campus is safe — none more important than the brave and trusted members of our campus police department. Finding the right person to lead the department going forward is critical to the success of our campus police force, and I am very pleased that we now entrust Stephen Tavares with this important leadership role.”

Vice President for Finance and Administration James Howarth added that Tavares “understands the importance of supporting students and other members of our campus community through the development of programs that promote health and safety, as well as prevention programs in related areas.”

Núñez said that that as an alumnus, Tavares understands the culture and values of Eastern’s campus community. “In Chief Tavares we have a veteran officer and administrator and a highly respected member of his profession. I am delighted he is returning to Eastern in this vital position.”

Written by Michael Rouleau