Former State Police spokesman Lt. Vance to retire after 42 years

MIDDLETOWN -- One of the most recognized faces in the Connecticut State Police, Lt. J. Paul Vance, has announced his retirement effective April 1.

Vance, best known for his 16 years serving as the spokesman for the department, has been with the force for 42 years. Most recently, he was working as the Department Traffic Coordinator and commanding officer responsible for dignitary protection and other specialized assignments.

Vance received international attention and praise for his handling of media in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012.

Lt. Vance started with the state police in July 1974, several days before Richard Nixon resigned. He was assigned to Troop L in Litchfield at that time. He later moved to the detective division. He served as an instructor in the State Police Academy in Meriden where he taught new Trooper classes and also taught Troopers in-service training.

He was assigned to be part of the first State Police aviation units. At the time, the state police helicopters performed police functions in addition to transporting patients to hospitals.

He was assigned to Troop I in Bethany and followed that by working as the resident State Trooper in the town of Prospect for 16 years.

In 1998, he was promoted to Sergeant and assigned to Troop L in Litchfield until he transferred to the Public Information Office as the executive officer.  He was promoted to Master Sergeant and then Lieutenant was assigned as the Commanding Officer of the State Police Public information Office where he served in that capacity for about 16 years.