STONINGTON — When the coronavirus pandemic hit last March, US Coast Guard Academy assistant wrestling coach Dylan Foley found himself sitting at home like so many others, reflecting on life and its priorities.
The 28-year-old Groton resident loved his job as a coach but said part of him yearned to be a part of something bigger. Last year, eager to hear about other opportunities in the area, Foley sat down for coffee with his friend Ryan Armstrong, an officer with the Stonington Police Department, and learned there would be soon a free place in the department.
It didn’t take long for Foley, who grew up with the ambition of becoming a police officer, to apply.
“It was exactly the type of change I was looking for,” Foley, the department’s newest recruit, said following a swearing-in ceremony at the Stonington Police Department on Tuesday morning.
It was the only agency Foley had applied to, and Police Chief J. Darren Stewart and Capt. Todd Olson each said the department was lucky to be able to recruit someone with the physical talents and personal drive of Foley. After Tuesday’s ceremony, he was to begin orientation with the department and was to begin a modified training program at the Connecticut Police Academy.
Olson said the department knew the kind of talent he had at Foley after a regional police agility test held last fall. Foley’s performance in the physically grueling test, which was one of the first to be held in a regional, combine-style format, was so impressive that other departments also began to show interest.
“We were the only department he applied to, but he certainly had others who noticed,” Olson said. “If we weren’t going to hire him, there are other agencies that were going to be looking his way.”
A 2011 graduate of Algonquin Regional High School, Foley grew up in Southborough, Massachusetts, where he excelled as a student-athlete and wrestling team member. He then attended Springfield College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, but said he came across a good opportunity to get into coaching and decided to take it.
Foley was an assistant coach at both Springfield College and the US Coast Guard Academy, where he worked for the past 3½ years.
His parents, Jim and Leslie Foley, said they were incredibly proud of their son. Dylan Foley has always shown “a unique drive and ability to succeed,” Jim said, adding it didn’t surprise him when his son called to tell him he was going to be an officer.
“Ever since he was an Eagle Scout, he always wanted to help others and he always worked hard to make sure he was doing something to help others,” said Jim Foley. “It will be a good choice for him.”
Stewart said he believed Foley’s background showed not only a commitment to public service and the community, but also a strong ability to communicate. His experience as a coach will allow him to transition into day-to-day work with the community and help him make a positive difference in Stonington.
When asked if he had any goals in his new career, Foley smiled and stared ahead as he pondered what lay ahead.
“I should probably go through the academy first,” he laughed.
Foley said that when it comes to community service, he takes the job and the responsibilities that come with it seriously and looks forward to being a good partner with all residents of the city to help make the community an even better place to live and work.
He said he looks forward to the various challenges and aspires to leave a positive and lasting legacy when he is finally done serving.
“My focus remains what it has been every day: to live with integrity, to serve with integrity, and to ensure that every action is one that moves me and the city forward in a positive direction,” he said. declared.