Veteran Randolph Officer to Lead Royalton Police Department

  • Randolph Police Officer Loretta Stalnaker, left, and administrative assistant Gayla Tierney, take part in online training in Randolph, Vt., on Nov. 9, 2011. Stalnaker serves in the Vermont National Guard and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News — James M. Patterson

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/9/2018 12:41:51 PM
Modified: 5/9/2018 11:37:12 PM

South Royalton — A veteran Upper Valley police officer with prior experience as a chief will take over the helm of the Royalton Police Department this summer.

The Selectboard announced on Wednesday that it formally selected Randolph Police Sgt. Loretta Stalnaker to became the town’s next police chief.

“She has lived in the area for a long time so people in Royalton probably already know her,” said Gidget Lyman, a Selectboard member who was chairwoman of the Police Chief Search Committee. “We think it will be a great transition, and we are really excited.”

Similarly excited is Stalnaker, a 47-year-old East Randolph resident who has worked for the Randolph Police Department for about 19 years.

“I very much look forward to the opportunity they are giving me,” Stalnaker said in an interview on Wednesday.

The Royalton Selectboard has been waiting for this day for some time after a series of events left the town with a diminished police force.

Royalton has a population of about 2,800 and is home to the Vermont Law School.

A community-oriented person with a solid reputation and prior leadership experience was what the search committee looked for. And they found that in Stalnaker, Lyman said.

Stalnaker has served as interim chief in Randolph three times, most recently in February 2017.

“That was a plus for us,” Lyman said.

Stalnaker has held the rank of sergeant in Randolph since 2015.

Perhaps most impressive, Lyman said, was how much Stalnaker has immersed herself in the Randolph community throughout her time there.

“I like to get out into the community and get people to know me,” Stalnaker said. “I look forward to bringing a community-oriented police department into Royalton.”

Among her achievements is partnering with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to bring the Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) program into areas schools. The program entails sending an officer into several schools — including those in Randolph, Brookfield, Braintree, Bradford and Chelsea — for an hour a week for 10 weeks to teach students good decision making skills.

She hopes to expand that to Royalton, she said. Stalnaker also is co-chairwoman of the restorative justice program in Randolph, which is a model aimed at repairing harmed relationships between an offender and a victim.

Stalnaker is an active member of the Army National Guard, but is set to retire this summer after 20 years. She has completed two tours — in Iraq and Afghanistan — in which she served as a military police officer.

Stalnaker moved to the Upper Valley from Texas and settled in East Randolph in 1992. She was hired at $65,000, and is slated to start on July 9.

For a long time, the town of Royalton had consistency in police chief Bob Hull, but that was lost when he retired in spring 2016. The board hired Sharon resident James Beraldi in May 2016, but they parted ways 11 months later.

That prompted Royalton Police Officer James Breault to step in as interim chief while the board conducted another search, but the town soon found itself in the midst of an FBI investigation. Breault resigned in mid-September, just days before agents raided the station and charged Breault with stealing evidence. (Breault this March pleaded guilty to a felony charge related to providing heroin from the Royalton department to a former high school classmate. He has yet to be sentenced.)

Not long after Breault’s arrest, the search committee, in December, offered the police chief position to an applicant from Weathersfield, but that person declined the job for compensation and other reasons, sending the committee back to the drawing board one final time.

The latest search yielded at least 30 candidates, Lyman said, and the committee narrowed it down to two.

The town still has a contract with the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department, which has been providing coverage to the town since it found itself in a bind. Lyman said she wasn’t sure just when that contract would end.

The Royalton Police Department currently has one part-time officer. Once Stalnaker takes over, she will be left to decide just how many full-time or part-time officers she needs to effectively manage the department, Lyman said.

“It has been a long time,” Lyman said. “I am glad the community held in there and we were able to get a great candidate.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at or 603-727-3248.

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