Litchfield News

Dodgie Doyle, a Litchfield legend, ends his long career (03-31-12)

Litchfield Police Cpl. Roger (Dodgie) Doyle ended his long career with the town on Friday, when fellow town employees threw him a farewell party. BZ photo
It was the end of an era on Friday in Litchfield when the institution known as police Cpl. Roger (Dodgie) called it quits after 46 years of faithful service to his hometown.
Doyle was feted during an afternoon luncheon held by town employees at the Bantam firehouse. The gathering marked the end of a distinguished career in law enforcement for the Litchfield native who grew up wanting to be a police officer and once he was one, never wanted to be anything else.

"I'd to thank all of you for your willingness to help me," Doyle told his fellow employees. "It made my job so much easier."

In retirement, Doyle plans to put his real estate license to work in assisting his wife, Sue, a Realtor with Sotheby's International Realty in town. He is holding onto his badge and gun, too, as he has agreed to work as a constable during events such as the Memorial Day parade and the Litchfield Hills Road Race. That means he'll assume his usual position in the pace car at the head of the race field.

First Selectman Leo Paul Jr., Resident Trooper Jim Holm and others have described Doyle as the consummate police officer with his ability to investigate crimes and deal with the public. His knowledge of Litchfield, Holm said, is unparalleled and has helped solve many crimes. It will be greatly missed, Holm added.

As a police officer, Doyle had an uncanny ability not only to solve crimes, but to deal with the public in a fair, common-sense way. There were many times he could have arrested people or given out a traffic ticket but didn't, preferring to teach them a lesson with some choice words instead.
Dodgie Doyle and his wife, Sue, take in the festivities during Friday's farewell luncheon at the Bantam firehouse. BZ photo

Billy Neller, a Litchfield native, described the easy-going Doyle as a police officer willing to provide nothing more than a slap on the wrist when perhaps a greater penalty was warranted.

"I was 16 and had just gotten my driver's license when one day he pulled me over for rolling though a stop sign," Neller, now 59, recalled. "He just warned me, but I was afraid he'd tell my parents. He never did, in fact he never ratted on anyone. He'd lecture us and make sure we knew we were out of line."

Neller also recalled when he and his friends used to sneak into the high school gym on weekends to play basketball. Doyle, on patrol, would often cruise by the high school and see the activity in the gym, but wouldn't take action.

"He knew we snuck in, but he also knew we were safe, so he was fine with it," Neller said.

Neller went on to be a co-founder of the Litchfield Hills Road Race and would work closely with Doyle on crowd control and security measures. The road race's organizing crew quickly became Doyle's favorite organization in town to work with.

"The thing they cared about first and foremost was safety," Doyle said. "I got along great with them from the beginning. And you know what, we've never had an injury during the race. I'm proud of that."

Former First Selectman Craig Miner was another local who developed a great relationship with Doyle, despite their first meeting. It was in 1984 and Miner, new town, was heading on home on East Street and passed Doyle, who was running radar near the entrance to Lourdes Shrine on East Street.

"I must've been doing 60 and Dodgie was there smoking his cigar and reading the Bargain News," Miner said. "All I remember was seeing a cloud of smoke coming from his car. He came after me and pulled me over, and gave me a warning, probably for burning his Bargain News."

The warning Doyle gave Miner that day was one of many the corporal handed out.
"There are a lot of people in town who are now in their 30s and 40s and older who have learned the same way I did without incurring a record," Miner said. "A lot of them are thankful for Dodgie and will probably say he changed their lives for the better."

Below, town employees, from left, Nancy Southard, Carol Goslee, Kathy Brown, Joanne Zipoli, Roxanne Carroll and Stacey Dionne serenade Cpl. Doyle during the luncheon. BZ photo