After three years as a patrol officer with the Milton Police Department, Officer Nicholas Hendry is now Detective Hendry, giving the department a second detective for the first time in years.

A Milton Police cruiser is pictured at the department last week. Officer Nick Hendry was promoted to the squad’s second detective spot on June 13. (Photo by Tom Marble)

As of June 13, Hendry’s responsibilities shifted primarily from traffic and public safety duty, to cases that require long-term attention, such as drug investigations, fraud, burglaries, property crimes, death investigations and paper crimes.

As a patrol officer, Hendry said he began to handle some more extensive casework in the months leading up to his promotion, but Detective Cpl. Frank Scalise, the department’s only detective at the time, would usually close the cases.

Hendry said he’s now looking forward to following through on investigative cases from start to finish.

“I now have more of handhold on some of the bigger cases. That’s my favorite part, is just being involved,” he said. “That’s what I’m probably mostly interested in – just being able to know what’s going on and have a helping hand in it.”

For the department, deploying Hendry in his new capacity will allow the cases to be completed more thoroughly, because he and Scalise will now split the caseload – around 50 to 60 a year – and can team up on more in-depth cases, Scalise said.

At the beginning of the month, a few days prior to his promotion, Hendry worked alongside Scalise on investigating a potential meth lab in Milton, a case the Independent reported on June 4.

“I needed to send him over to the police department to meet with some people to interview while I stayed continued to do investigation on scene,” Scalise said. “He’s pretty adept at casework already, and he had the ability to tell me, ‘Yeah, I can take it.’”

Although he has some experience with detective work, Hendry is scheduled to take part in more extensive trainings, particularly focusing on death investigations. With the drug trade escalating in Vermont, he will also undergo higher-level traffic stop training.

Hendry will also learn how to work with other agencies. As a former patrol officer who worked mostly on Milton cases, he said that might be a bit of a challenge at first.

Because detectives work cases that more often than not involve other towns and even other states, they sometimes rely on a state police agencies like the Vermont Intelligence Center to compile information they cannot immediately access.

“Basically, we work with them when we need any data that’s not located in Milton. We see a lot of that with missing persons and with crazy drug trends,” Hendry said. “We’ll work with them when we have any cases where we just don’t have anything to go off.”

Outside of giving MPD more investigative resources, Hendry’s promotion was also timely for the department, making them the only police department in Chittenden County that is technically fully staffed, Hendry said.

Officer Noi Jones, the newest officer to join Milton Police, graduated from the police academy in May and is currently finishing his post-basic training. Once that is complete, he’ll be ready to step into Hendry’s previous role on the road.

“It takes a long time in Vermont to get a police officer certified,” Hendry said. “It’s almost a year-long process to get some else on their own. He’ll basically fall right into where I was, so it’s worked out perfectly.”