NEW FAIRFIELD – They say that there’s no place like home. And that’s definitely true for Jason Cassavechia. The former NF resident recently joined the New Fairfield Police Department after a 20-year stint as a highway patrol officer to help keep our community safe.
Cassavechia, who grew up in New Fairfield, joined the NFPD on November 1 of this year. “I went to all the schools, so it’s been enjoyable to return to them,” says Cassavechia, who graduated from New Fairfield High School in 1989. “In many ways, a lot of things haven’t changed. I knew where everything was so it was familiar to me.”
After graduating from the police academy, Cassavechia worked for the state police for over 20 years. Initially, he was assigned to work with Troop L in Litchfield, which he describes as being very similar to that of working in New Fairfield. “I would go on calls for the town, and handle issues dealing with vandalism, speeding in residential areas, as well as domestic and neighbor disputes,” says Cassavechia, who after four years, transferred to Troop A and primarily worked Interstate 84, a major artery from New York City to Boston. The interstate law enforcement led to drug enforcement and even the capture of a homicide suspect out of New York City.
But as a state trooper, Cassavechia was never alone. In fact, he was a three-time dog handler and had four-legged partners for much of his career. “When I graduated from the state police, I was assigned a German Shepherd as a patrol dog, Dakota,” he remembers. “He was a patrol and narcotics dog until he retired.” Then, in 2006, Cassavechia was assigned a second canine, Luger, who he raised since he was a puppy. “Luger wound up becoming a cadaver dog, and became a part of the search and rescue team,” says Cassavechia, who worked on some missing person cases throughout his career. Finally, when Luger retired, Cassavechia got Favor (a black lab) as a partner — and a family pet. “All of the dogs would come home with me, but even though they’re working dogs, they become part of your family,” says Cassavechia. “You spend more time with them than with your own family!”
Cassavechia, who is married and has two sons, ages 12 and 13, is happy to return to New Fairfield as a part of the local law enforcement. Currently, he’s assigned to the evening shift and is out patrolling from Ball Pond to Squantz Pond — and anywhere in between. He’s made an effort to connect with local business owners so that they feel comfortable reaching out to him. As Cassavechia points out, relationships are everything. “With state policing, you can stop someone for speeding on the highway, and never see them again,” he says. “But in a small town, you might stop someone one night, and then they might be a witness for a crime the next week. That’s why you need to have a relationship with the community.”
As for his first week on the job, well, the U.S. presidential election took center stage. “I ended up doing the polls at Meeting House on Tuesday,” he says. “I saw people I hadn’t seen in so many years.” He was happy to report that there were no law enforcement issues, and was pleased with the large voter turnout — and the community welcoming him with open arms. “I am really enjoying this new position, because in many ways, I feel like I’ve come full circle,” continues Cassavechia, whose parents still live in town and are very active in the community. “I started my career working in small town law enforcement, did highway patrol for 17 years, and am now back policing in a small town.”
“Obviously, the town has changed, and some of the buildings and names have changed, but a lot of the faces have stayed the same,” says Cassavechia. “People that I used to know either stayed or have come back, and I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with the people of New Fairfield and protecting them.”
Story and Photo by Jennifer Parris