TUPPER LAKE - Village police Chief Tom Fee is set to retire next month after more than three decades with the Tupper Lake Police Department and almost seven years as chief.
The village board accepted his letter of retirement at its meeting last week. Fee's last day in uniform is Feb. 22, though he will technically be employed until Feb. 27, and the first day of his retirement is Feb. 28.
"I just feel it's time for myself to retire," Fee told the Enterprise Tuesday. "I do like the job. I like the mayor. ... I like working with this board. But it has been 34 years."
That's 34 years with the TLPD. Before that, he worked as a police officer in New Hampshire.
Fee said he made the decision to retire last summer. He said he has a tentative offer for work after he retires, but first he wants to spend more time doing things with his nine grandchildren, his children and stepchildren, and his wife, who happens to be retiring from Sunmount on the same day.
He also wants to spend some time in the woods.
"I would like to really spend some time hunting and fishing," Fee said.
He said he's looking forward to being able to cut the cord from the department and to be unreachable when he feels like it.
"I've been tethered to this cell phone for six years now, almost seven," Fee said.
He used the example of when a brawl broke out two years ago on Memorial Day weekend, when he was in Plattsburgh with his wife.
"She wasn't exactly the happiest camper in the world when we were heading back to Tupper Lake at 4 o'clock in the morning," Fee said.
He had to start to pay attention to his wife's wishes, he said.
Fee said he will probably miss the work. He's definitely enjoyed his time with the department.
"I've enjoyed every minute of being a cop," Fee said. "I met a lot of good people."
Village Clerk Mary Casagrain told the Enterprise the board asked Fee to get from the county a preferred list of people who have taken the civil service exam to be chief, which means the village plans to promote from within. Casagrain said two or three people currently with the TLPD have taken the exam.
The department has two sergeants, the next rank below chief in the TLPD. Sgt. Eric Proulx has been with the department the longest, 19 years, and has passed the chief's exam in the past.
When the board accepted Fee's resignation at their January meeting, village Mayor Paul Maroun said the board will be meeting in executive session to talk over who will be Fee's successor. He also said the board will honor Fee's service to the village at its February meeting, Fee's last as chief.