WEST HARTFORD — On July 17, 39 years to the day he joined the West Hartford Police Department, Assistant Chief Robert T. McCue will retire.
He was a patrol officer from 1980 to 1985, then a Detective from 1985 to 1989. Then in 1989 he held his first supervisor position as Sergeant. He became Detective Lieutenant of the Special Investigations Division in May 1993 and, finally, Assistant Chief of Police in 1996, a position he has held for 23 years.
McCue comes from a long line of family members who have served the Town of West Hartford in the public safety sector. McCue’s father, Robert Ryan McCue served from 1954 to 1991, retiring as Chief of Police. His grandfather, Martin McCue, joined the department as a Supernumerary in 1929, became a police officer in 1930, and retired in 1959 as a Detective Lieutenant. McCue’s uncle, James McCue, served as patrol officer from 1955 to 1966.
Even his aunt Alice McCue, now 91 years old, was an auxiliary patrol officer during WWII for the police department, making her the first women to join the force. Her job was to be on the lookout for enemy planes from her perch on top of Town Hall.
“All combined, the McCue’s served on the West Hartford Police Department for over 115 continuous years.” said McCue. “As my dad likes to say, “We have more years on the department, than the department has years!”
McCue has been involved in many significant cases and incidents that have occurred in West Hartford over the last 39 years. These have included the rash of synagogue and home arson fires that occurred in 1983, the Operation Rescue takeover of the Summit Women’s Center in 1989 when 261 protesters were arrested, the October 29, 2011 snowstorm that left West Hartford without power for ten days, and multiple high profile criminal investigations.
During McCue’s tenure, he was instrumental in creating programs to better the police department as well as working behind the scenes in creating ordinances that improved the quality of life in West Hartford. As an assistant chief, he was responsible for locating and obtaining grant funding for the first School Resource Officers in the high schools.
When asked to reflect on his 39 years at the police department he replied, “I have had the great privilege of working in the best police department, in the best town, with best men and women in law enforcement,” McCue said.
As McCue winds down his final week, town officials offered words of appreciation.
Town Manager Matt Hart said, “I greatly admire A/C McCue’s dedication and work ethic and it’s going to be impossible to replace his institutional knowledge of the PD and town affairs. Whenever I have a question about something that happened in the past, he has an answer readily available and the background to go with it. I’m going to miss having Bob as a member of our leadership team and wish him all the best in retirement.”
Police Chief Vernon Riddick, Jr. said, “Assistant Chief McCue’s career has spanned nearly four decades. His institutional knowledge and ability to provide a historical prospective regarding why certain policies and practices are in place has been vital in assisting me during my transition as Chief this past year.”
“From the first time we met, Chief McCue welcomed me with open arms and has been a tremendous asset to the organization and the community. What has impressed me the most was his work ethic. Even after 39 years of service, Chief McCue did not take his job for granted and considered it a privilege to be a West Hartford Police Officer — he worked hard every day. I salute his service and I will miss his assistance,” Chief Riddick said.
Assistant Chief Dan Coppinger said, “When I was first hired in 1990, Bob was my supervisor. I have had the opportunity to work for him and with him as an Assistant Chief. He has a tremendous amount of energy and vision that I have seen him use toward advocating for our community as well as our police officers. Most citizens and our police officers don’t get to see all of the diligent work he does for them behind the scenes. He is passionate about our town and the history and reputation of our police department.”
“He’s been my partner for many years. I’ve learned a great deal from him and I’m going to miss him. The citizens of West Hartford, as well as our police department, have been very fortunate to have such a huge advocate in keeping our community safe,” Coppinger said.
When asked, “What will you do next?” He replies “I am open to all sorts of possibilities that may come my way, but first I’m going to paint my garage.”