Wilton promotes lieutenant to police chief position

  • Eric Olesen has been named the new police Chief in Wilton. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
“I originally came through this town delivering for NAPA Auto Parts, and I grabbed an application. I always liked this town. It’s a beautiful town.” Lt. Eric Olesen

Lt. Eric Olesen will be taking up the mantle of Wilton police chief at the end of November.

“We are confident that Lt. Olesen will lead the Wilton Police Department in a professional manner and will continue to provide Wilton with a police department it can be proud of,” the Select Board announced in a press release issued last week. 

Wilton’s current police chief, Brent Hautanen, will officially retire his post on Nov. 30, in order to pursue a career in a private sector. Olesen is an interior promotion and has been with the Wilton department since he graduated from the police academy at age 26. 

“I originally came through this town delivering for NAPA Auto Parts, and I grabbed an application. I always liked this town. It’s a beautiful town,” said Olesen in an interview Monday. “I’ve been here my whole career, so I’m very familiar with the town and its residents.”

Olesen said that Wilton was not only his first stop in his policing career, but it will be his last, as he intends to stay on as chief until his eventual retirement. 

Olesen has been a lieutenant with the police department for the past ten years and was a sergeant prior to that. His previous leadership positions within the same department that he’ll now lead will be an asset, he said. 

“That’s a huge advantage going into it,” said Olesen. “It is going to be a learning curve, but since it’s been made official, I’ve received a huge amount of support from the community and staff.”

Though he admitted he has things to learn as a first-time chief Olesen said he has the advantage of taking several leadership courses over the course of his tenure as a lieutenant, including one as recently as March 2016, and will rely on resources including the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police and Hautanen as resources. 

Olesen said that his main focus will continue the continuity established by his mentor, Hautanen, within the department and as a community-focused police force.

“We’re going to maintain the community-based policing that was built up under Chief Hautanen’s tenure. We’ll strive to ensure that continues.”

After all, said Olesen, it was the small-town nature of Wilton that attracted him to the town’s police force in the first place. 

“The thing about small-town policing, compared to the big city or even mid-sized towns, is that when a call or case comes in, you work that case from start to finish and see the results of the work that you put into it. You get to see the case the entire way through,” said Olesen. 

A decision on Olesen’s second-in-command and the department’s new lieutenant hasn’t been made, though Olesen said that he’d like to see a continued trend of internal promotion for supervisory positions, in order to keep up the current cohesion of the department. 

Olesen will officially be named police chief on Dec. 1.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.