Police Chief Scott Sansom lands his “dream job”

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Granby’s new police chief brought his family to his swearing in ceremony on Oct. 23. From left, Chief Scott Sansom, his wife Cindy and daughters Emma and Arden. Courtesy photo

Unlike many little boys, Scott Sansom did not dream of being a police officer when he grew up. The South Windsor native earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Central Connecticut State University and landed a job with Aetna.

“When I was at Aetna, I was fast tracked, making a lot of money, but I wasn’t happy,” Sansom says. It wasn’t long before he made a decision that has not only guided his life but has made him happy.

“I went to Hartford PD and never looked back,” says Sansom, who spent 20 years in Hartford, retiring as deputy chief. Big city policing is dangerous and stressful. While running the major crimes division in Hartford, Sansom earned a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

“I did that because I didn’t want to be hardened by my work with hardened criminals,” he says. “When you’re at the administrative rank, you move around. When I was leaving Hartford, I planned to be a patrolman in Glastonbury.”

But life had other plans for Sansom. “A headhunter called me about the chief’s job in East Hartford where no one in the department was ready to be chief,” Sansom says. “There was no community policing, no chaplain corps, no school resource officer program. There was work to do.”

Never known to turn down a challenge, Sansom reversed course, accepting the job, rolling up his sleeves and getting down to work. “For the last 10 years, I’ve worked 12-, 14-, 16-hour days, but I always made sure I didn’t miss anything with my kids,” Sansom says.

Sansom and his wife Cindy, a medical risk management specialist, have two daughters, Emma, who is studying criminal justice and political science at Northeastern University, and Arden, a high school senior who hopes to be accepted into Sacred Heart University’s nursing program.

In East Hartford, those long workdays earned the city national accreditation, a solid community policing program, a chaplain corps and a team of school resource officers specially trained to work with middle and high school students.

“We had a good run,” Sansom says. “We brought in body cameras, dash cameras and a town-wide camera system, and we were very transparent about where they were placed. It reduces the footprint of the police department, especially in an urban town of 55,000.”

Under Sansom’s leadership, East Hartford PD obtained federal grants to launch Project Safe Neighborhoods. “It’s pro-active policing that seeks to arrest the bad guys while supporting youth with programs that keep them on the right path,” he says. “We built our community programs in conjunction with the schools. My plan with our SROs was to keep the officers out of disciplinary actions, and it worked.”

With so many responsibilities drawing on his time, what does Sansom do for fun?

“I’m a New Englander,” he says with a big grin. “I like antique fire trucks, covered bridges and old barns. I love hometown fairs and parades, and I go with Cindy and our girls. I love the antique tractor pulls. I’m right there with a hot dog and a soda.”

In June, Sansom attended his niece’s graduation from Granby Memorial High School. “I looked around me, and I thought, this is like a Hallmark movie. Then, my mother leaned over and said, ‘Granby is where you should be.’ Not long after that, I got a call from a friend in Granby saying, ‘Carl [Rosensweig] is retiring, and the captain doesn’t want the job. You need to apply.”

The rest is, well, history. And it makes perfect sense. Sansom’s Wheaten terrier Tucker is named after the Hallmark movie Christmas with Tucker.

“Here in Granby, we’re a service-based department,” Sansom says. “We’re peacekeepers. There’s not a lot of serious crime, and we want to keep it that way. I listen to people and appreciate their advice and suggestions.

“I love what I do,” Sansom adds. “I have never worked a day in the last 30 years. This is my last stop as chief of police. Granby is my dream job. I did big city. Rural is capping off my career.”