Shawn Boyne's new office at 49 Poplar St. was still rather empty late last week.
Yet the just retired state police commander has been a bit too busy to spend time thinking about his wall decor.
From Thursday to Sunday, New Milford's new police chief retired from the job he started just out of college; swore his new oath of office at a New Milford ceremony before 200 people, including law officers from across the state; married Kim Maher, a Winsted police officer; and led the police response to a significant fire at the Kimberly-Clark mill.
Monday at 6:30 a.m., the 46-year-old native of Lee, Mass., arrived for duty at the NMPD office. He was busy from the get-go.
With plans to "sooner than later'' appoint a second-in-command, Chief Boyne wasted no time plotting a restructuring plan to address the unprecedented retirements of seven officers this summer, including his predecessor, Colin McCormack, a 29-year NMPD veteran.
The new chief said he intends to look first at the talent within the department and then begin reviewing other promotional and hiring opportunities.
Impressed with some of the current programs, such as the police dive squad, the accident reconstruction team and canine patrol, Chief Boyne said he wants to enhance those offerings, even seeking community help to raise needed funds.
The new chief said he will encourage more officer training, noting a week's training could enrich an entire career.
An immediate change initiated Monday was to rely less on the automatic answering system. He wants to offer personal service such that routine business calls are answered with a live voice rather than by a machine.
The chief pledges to be as accessible as possible to those who wish to speak with him directly.
A believer in community policing, Boyne said he intends to deploy officers where they can make the most difference, whether that's in the high school or on the Village Green. He wants the police engaged in community conversation about public safety issues.
The new chief's career is natural for him. Chief Boyne said he can't remember a time when he didn't want to follow in his father's footsteps. His father, John, was the chief in his hometown.
Chief Boyne's state police colleagues claim New Milford has gained a winner.
"Strict, but fair,'' he is a leader ever ready to lend his expertise to resolve a community issue or assist with a criminal investigation, said Master Sgt. James Dolan at Troop L in Litchfield.
"And he has a fantastic sense of humor,'' Sgt. Dolan said. "He can take a tense situation, whether it be among personnel or the public, and through his personality lighten up the mood and bring whatever situation to a logical conclusion where both sides are pleased with the outcome.''
State Police Lt. Paul Vance was similarly complimentary.
"He's a wonderful human being, and he's going to be a great asset to that community,'' Vance said. "There is no doubt in my mind he will be a well-liked, and very approachable chief.''
"I think it's going to be a fantastic marriage between the new chief, the mayor and the town of New Milford,'' New Milford resident Crawford said.
New Milford Town Clerk George Buckbee administers the oath of office to NMPD Chief Shawn Boyne last Friday at the Community Ambulance facility.