Monroe Detective Nicole Buckley: ‘Her dedication will be missed’

Monroe Police Chief Keith White presents Detective Nicole Buckley with her retirement badge on her last day on the job Friday.

MONROE, CT — Nicole Buckley grew up in Southern California and specialized in electronics and communications, while serving in the Navy. She volunteered for a part-time security position in 2001 and was taking her final exam on September 11, 2001, the fateful day when members of al-Qaida attacked the United States on its own soil.

“It changed the entire military and how they did security,” Buckley recalled. “I was raised to full-time security for eight months. It really opened my eyes to the law enforcement environment.”

Buckley went on to put in 19 years as an officer for the Monroe Police Department, where she was promoted to youth detective specializing in youth crimes and domestic violence. She retired last Friday.

“She was an asset to the department and the town and she was available to anyone in need,” Chief Keith White said. “Her dedication will be missed by the department.”

White said Buckley worked closely with The Center for Family Justice and other local agencies, youth groups and Monroe Public Schools.

She and her husband, Sean, a conservation officer for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection who grew up in Monroe, live in the area with their two children, a daughter, 15, and a son, 13.

The couple met when Sean helped the instructor of an advanced scuba diving, underwater search and rescue class Buckley was taking.

‘A great case’

During Buckley’s retirement party, held with a cake inside the conference room with fellow police officers, dispatchers, other staff and public officials, the chief presented Buckley with her retirement badge.

White asked Buckley the first thing about police work that pops into her head.

“The Rite Aid case was fun,” she said with a smile.

“That was a great case,” White said. “I believe it was one of the best arrests we’ve had here in probably a couple of decades or so. I’m glad something that positive stuck out in your head, because that was a true victory for both the department and the town. That was a job well done.”

A police investigation into the robbery at Rite Aid, 508 Monroe Turnpike, was still underway at 5 p.m. on July 13, 2022.

Buckley was awarded a Meritorious Service Ribbon for her role as lead investigator of the robbery of the Rite Aid on Monroe Turnpike that took place on July 13, 2022.

Four suspects in an out-of-state rental car entered the store. One stood lookout, while the other three went behind the counter and demanded employees open the safe. The robbers made off with $32,000 worth of prescription painkillers with a street value of $133,000.

Detectives processed the scene for digital and forensic evidence and submitted it to the state lab. Buckley identified the rental car used in the robbery, tracking it to a rental business in New York.

She and Detective Kyle Stevens processed the vehicle for evidence and obtained surveillance video from the neighborhood, showing a party matching the description of one of the suspects exit the rental car with the same duffle bag he used in the robbery.

Buckley obtained court orders and search warrants to identify the man who rented the car. On August 29, 2022 results from the state lab identified two suspects from fingerprints Buckley obtained from the vehicle, as well as a third suspect from a DNA hit from an item left inside the vehicle.

Using resources from the NYPD and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, Buckley located three suspects, all from the Bronx, N.Y., who were taken into custody at Rikers Island Prison.

A fourth suspect has been identified, but is being held in New York on unrelated charges.

Sorely missed’

Monroe Police Detective Nicole Buckley, left, and Officer Kyle Stevens drop off toys at The Center for Family Justice’s Bridgeport headquarters in 2020.

Capt. Gregory Smith said Buckley was good at dealing with the youth in town and at working with CFJ. “She leaves a big void and we will miss her,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Sheila Casinelli attended Buckley’s retirement party.

“Thank you Nicole for your years of service helping the schools,” Casinelli said. “You’ve always been such a great partner with the school system, keeping us up-to-date as to what’s going on with families at home and on weekends — things we wouldn’t be aware of otherwise. We couldn’t do what we do without you, so thank you.”

First Selectman Terry Rooney, who also attended the retirement party, said he’s known Buckley going back to his days as a Town Council member.

“She was an outstanding school resource officer,” Rooney said. “I can’t tell you how many people complimented Officer Buckley. She is a good officer and a good human being. She will be missed.”

Reached for comment on Sunday, Debra Greenwood, president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice (CFJ) praised Buckley for the work she did with the center.

Attending CFJ’s Celebrating the Faces of Hope dinner two years ago, from left, Monroe Police Detective Nicole Buckley, Capt. Greg Smith, outgoing chair Kathryn Maiolo, Chief Keith White and Debra Greenwood, president and CEO of CFJ.

“Detective Nicole Buckley has been an incredible ambassador to our community in Monroe, especially as an educator and mentor to our youth,” Greenwood said. “At The Center for Family Justice she’s been an experienced advocate for individuals and youth affected by abuse and has worked side by side with our staff in classrooms, helped with our children’s advocacy cases and beyond.”

“Her support over the years has brought her expertise for positive outcomes,” Greenwood said, “and it’s been a privilege to work together over the years as she will be sorely missed. But she’s been training and working with her replacement, so we know Nicole’s leadership will carry on!”

Coming to Monroe

Monroe Police Detective Nicole Buckley participated in community events, including the school district’s annual Celebration of Reading.

In the Navy, Buckley served on the U.S.S. Detroit for the last two years, while doing security jobs on the side, and when her enlistment was over, she decided to move on and pursue police work.

Buckley applied for a police officer opening in the town of Trumbull, when Monroe was not hiring yet, and ended up taking a part-time dispatcher position with the Monroe Police Department.

When an officer Monroe was training had quit, Buckley slid in, being hired as an officer in May of 2005.

Buckley said noticing a lack of good role models to steer some wayward children in the right direction influenced her decision to work with young people and families affected by domestic violence.

“I’ve always believed our youth are our future,” she said. “It takes a village to raise a happy, healthy community.”

“The Detective Division was like working with a group of brothers,” Buckley said. “Some days it was fun and jokes and other days it’s like siblings not getting along. When work needed to be done, we came together and got the job done.”

An evolution

Buckley remembers a male police detective in her neighborhood, while growing up.

“It was never a childhood aspiration,” she said. “Most of the girls wanted to be teachers, maybe a dispatcher, but you never heard anyone specifically want to be a police officer — and I didn’t think about it until after 9/11.”

When Buckley started her career as a police officer, Monroe had four female officers, including Rose Stuart, Kelly McFarland and Marissa Diaz. That number grew to seven at one point and the town had six this year.

Prior to a renovation of the Monroe Police Department’s building at 7 Fan Hill Road, it wasn’t very accommodating to female officers.

“The lockers were inside the toilet stall,” Buckley recalled.

“And they were old high school lockers,” White said.

“You had to walk across the hallway with a towel to the shower, which was the men’s showers with a concrete wall in between,” Buckley said. “They built us a beautiful locker room with the renovation to accommodate our gear.”

Buckley said sometimes all six female officers had to change at the same time, a task that would not have been possible before the renovation.

“It can definitely be rewarding,” Buckley said of police work. “The times are changing. Society is changing. It’s become a more difficult job as a whole than when I started. More skills are needed and there’s less prosecution.”

Buckley said there is a growing frustration when officers are denied requests to apply for arrest warrants, not because there wasn’t probable cause, but because prosecutors believe they cannot prove the case in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

Detective Nicole Buckley, served as an organizer of Monroe’s Night at the Park, encouraging the public to come to the free event, learn safety tips and meet Monroe’s first responders.

Buckley said this hurts crime victims.

“Society and the courts are not willing to hold that person accountable, so it’s a more challenging task,” Buckley said.

Despite these challenges, she has fond memories of working with her colleagues at the Monroe Police Department.

“It absolutely has been a pleasure working here,” Buckley said. “They have definitely done a great job with helping raise people up. I think I’m leaving my position in good hands.”

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1 Comment

  1. Congratulations to Detective Buckley on her retirement.
    Thank you for your years of dedicated service to both
    the Department and Monroe.

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