BY ANGELO LYNN
BRANDON — After 29 years in police work, David Kachajian has achieved one of his career goals: serving as police chief for a town he wants to call home.
Prior to this week, he had served as Lieutenant at the Swanton Police Department, but Tuesday, Jan. 11, was his first day on the job as Brandon’s Chief of Police.
While excited, his first reaction has been to get down to business to accomplish another lofty marker. “My goal,”’ Kachajian said, “is to see how we can make this the best police department in the state. That’s the goal; to be the premier law enforcement department and make Brandon the safest community. That’s what I hope my legacy will be; that will be mission accomplished.”
Kachajian, 49, spent the past almost five years as lieutenant in Swanton, having served the previous 11 years as a police officer in Montpelier and a couple years prior to that with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department. He received his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston, and his masters degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Western New England College in Westfield, Mass. His wife, Jennifer, works in the state’s department of public health and is an epidemiologist by training.
With a current crew of three full-time police officers and two more set to graduate from the Pittsford police academy in late February or early March, Kachijian said he’d ideally like to rebuild the police force to a team of 8-10. There are currently five officers set to form the department’s nucleus, plus the chief and a new lieutenant to replace recently retired Rod Pulsifer; that’s seven. With eight officers, he said, he could provide full-time police coverage of the community 24-7, another goal he’d like to see realized in the not too distant future.
Ideally, he said, he’d like to reach 10 members in the department, which would include a detective to tackle the investigative work required of today’s police departments.
“Gone are the days when things are simple,” he said, explaining that many of today’s crimes involve investigation and detective work. Kachajian is also an advocate of police canines, which he says are great for sniffing out drugs, but also for finding people who are lost or missing, as well as being a great tool for community outreach. “It’s a great way to create connections with the schools and school kids,” he said.
Town Manager Dave Atherton noted the town has had eight-to-nine officers in the recent past, but not for a couple of years.
Asked what drew him to apply for the position, Kachajian didn’t hesitate: “A big part of the attraction was the recent construction,” he said. “Just knowing that the people of Brandon were really invested in their community, and were willing to endure four years of that to make themselves better says a lot. It’s easy to see Brandon is an up-and-coming community and I wanted to get on the ground floor and help the town grow and succeed.”