Friday, 08 March 2019 11:14

Greg Veitch Announces Retirement after 23 years with Saratoga Springs Police Department

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Veitch name traces a path through city history that extends over several decades.

City Police Chief Greg Veitch’s great-grandfather’s generation were comprised of horsemen and jockeys, his grandfather serves as director of the city Urban Renewal Agency, and his dad was a schoolteacher in the Saratoga Springs School district for more than 30 years. A number of siblings, including Supervisor Matt Veitch, currently work for the city in a variety of departments.   

For Greg Veitch, his career path was revealed to him one day as the teen sat in a local church.

“There was no law enforcement in my background, but like a lot of little boys, you grow up wanting to be a cowboy, a fireman, an army man,” Veitch recalls.  

“I was 15 or 16 and sitting in St. Mary’s Church. The priest was quoting from Matthew,” he says. The verse that jumped out at him reads: Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. 

“That really clicked with me. When you’re 16 or so you want to be on God’s Team, you want to have an exciting life,” Veitch says. “That’s when it dawned on me: that’s what cops do. So, it’s really been a calling for me from that point on.”  

Veitch began his law enforcement career in Burlington, Vermont where he worked just shy of a year before getting hired in his Saratoga Springs hometown in 1995. He moved through the ranks of the police department – from patrol officer and narcotics investigator to sergeant and was named chief of police in May 2013. The date is significant.

“Last year, I felt I was being called to do something else. I was on a Mission Trip to inner-city Miami and I started to get the feeling: hey, listen, you’ve got to do something other than what you’re doing.” Veitch expressed his thoughts to his wife, Jen, and May 31, 2019 was chosen as his retirement date from the Saratoga Springs Police Department. The date marks his six-year anniversary of his appointment chief.   

Veitch plans to continue to teach criminal justice courses at SUNY Adirondack -which he has done the past five years, as well as instructing officers on a variety of topics at the regional Zone 5 Police Academy. In the fall, he plans to publish a follow-up book to his initial publication - “All the Law in the World Won't Stop Them,” featuring stories of criminals in the Saratoga Springs of yesteryear.

Veitch says he’s most proud of the police department. “The officers, the supervisors who every day go out and do the job they’re supposed to in an honorable way. I’m also proud of the relationships we’ve built with all the local enforcement agencies and the victims’ advocacy groups, because without good relationships it can be a disaster.”

He credits his colleagues, partners and mentors in law enforcement and the love and support of his family for providing him love and encouragement over his 23-year career.

Technology, says the chief, is the biggest change he’s witnessed over the decades, providing officers with rapid access to records and information. “Anyone in a job 20 or 30 years will see those types of changes. For us, I never would have thought that you would be recording yourself all the time,” he says of the body cameras with which that all city officers are equipped. “Not that I’m opposed to it.  When I was starting out as an officer, I would have liked that.”

Chief Veitch’s retirement is effective May 31. Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin will appoint a new police chief.      

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