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Eastern Police Chief Tavares honored at ‘100 Men of Color’ gala

Published on August 23, 2022

Eastern Police Chief Tavares honored at ‘100 Men of Color’ gala

Tavares at swearing-in ceremony
Tavares at Eastern's swearing-in ceremony in August 2021.

Stephen Tavares ’96 of New Hartford, chief of police at Eastern Connecticut State University, was honored at the “100 Men of Color” Black-Tie Gala and Awards on Aug. 12 at the Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center.

Presented by the June Archer & Eleven28 Entertainment Group, the ceremony is named for musician, author and motivational speaker June Archer, and recognizes the contributions of men in business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment and service throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. During the ceremony, the city of Springfield, MA, declared Aug. 12, 2022, as “Stephen Tavares Day" in his honor.

In 2017, the Bristol Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also named Tavares as one of the “Most 25 Influential African Americans in the City of Bristol.” In Bristol, Tavares also was a trailblazer—the first Black officer in the history of the Bristol Police Department to earn promotion in 2005. To date, Tavares is the highest-ranking Black administrator in the history of the City of Bristol.

Tavares had a distinguished 26-year career with the Bristol Police Department. He started in 1995 as a patrol officer and later detective, before moving on to roles including police sergeant, detective sergeant, lieutenant and completing his time there as deputy chief. During his career, Tavares has held specialized positions, including narcotics officer, K-9 officer, crisis negotiator, and domestic violence liaison.

Tavares and Wilmot
Stephen Tavares at the gala with Kemesha Wilmot, Eastern's interim dean of students. 

“Being inducted into the 2022 class of the 100 Men of Color is a tremendous honor that comes with great responsibility,” said Tavares. “I am being recognized for the work that I have done in the community, and it is my obligation to represent the 100 Men of Color class of 2022 and the June Archer Group and Foundation by remaining present for men in our Black and Brown communities.”    

At Eastern, Tavares continued as a trailblazer, as an alumnus being appointed as police chief. As a former student, Tavares understands the importance of supporting students and other members of the campus community through the development of programs that promote health and safety, as well as prevention programs in related areas.

“Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Eastern President Elsa Núñez, in introducing Tavares last year. “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. In Chief Tavares we have a veteran officer and administrator and a highly respected member of his profession. I am delighted he has returned to Eastern in this vital position.”

Written by Dwight Bachman