The timing of Watertown Police Chief Edward Deveau’s retirement announcement, coming just weeks after the trial of the Boston Marathon Bomber wrapped up, was no coincidence.
Deveau announced last week that he will retire after 14 years as chief and 32 years on the force.
“I would have started to think about (retiring) if April 19 (2013) didn’t happen,” Deveau said.
That day will loom large in the minds of all Watertown residents, but Deveau had as close a view to what happened as anyone who was not part of the shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers. After the firefight, which included homemade bombs, Deveau was part of the team making decisions during the subsequent manhunt and capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a boat on Franklin Street.
“I always made a commitment that I would stay until everything was over,” Deveau said. “I wanted to make sure (the officers) were OK. They all went through counseling. I also wanted to get through the trial.”
A Boston Federal Court jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all counts and sentenced him to death.
Deveau still speaks with pride about the events around the Watertown Shootout and Manhunt.
“After they found the brother in the boat, and the streets were lined with people waving American flags and cheering us on, was my proudest day,” Deveau said.
That is not the only thing he will look back on with pride. The collaborations with the schools, including the Cops for Kids and school resource officers have been good programs, Deveau said. He noted that the middle school will get a school resource office next year.
Also, he helped move the Police Department into a new home.
“The Police Station is now five years old. Most people think it is brand new,” Deveau said. “In Massachusetts it is second to none.”
Watertown’s involvement with NEMLEC (the Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, has also been a good resource, including when help was needed during the search for the Marathon Bombing suspect.
Deveau knew early on he wanted to be involved with law enforcement.
“When I was graduating high school I knew I wanted to go to college and study criminal justice,” Deveau said. “I really wanted to be a police office and an officer in the town that I grew up in.”
He still works with two members of his Police Academy class – Capt. Ray DuPuis and Officer Bobby Knell, and Lt. Eddie Kasabian joined he WPD just after them.
His 14 years makes him one of the longest serving Police Chiefs in Watertown, and the longest in modern day Watertown.
Deveau said he will do some work after he leaves the Watertown Police, but he hopes to spend more time relaxing, spending time with his family, and perhaps do some traveling.
“It has really, truly been an honor to be chief in Watertown,” Deveau said.