Richard Gauthier, Executive Director
Executive Director Richard Gauthier served with the Bennington Police Department for 30 years, the last twelve of them as Chief of Police, before coming to the Vermont Police Academy. His last three years included responsibilities as the Emergency Management Director and Public Safety Director for the Town of Bennington. In addition, he was an adjunct faculty member at Southern Vermont College for 20 years, teaching a variety of criminal justice courses.
Director Gauthier holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Southern Vermont College and a Master’s in Justice Administration from Norwich University. He is also a graduate of the 212th Session of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, VA.
Director Gauthier lives in Shaftsbury, VT, with his wife of 28 years, Cynthia.
Cindy Taylor-Patch, Director of Training
Cindy Taylor-Patch joined the Academy staff in September, 2002 as In-service Training Coordinator and in 2012 was promoted to the Director of Training. She oversees basic and in-service training programs for all certification levels. Cindy has a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology with emphasis on police psychology, criminal behavior, research & statistics. Prior to coming to the Academy she worked in the mental health field, primarily as a Crisis Clinician working with individuals who were experiencing suicidal thoughts, depression, psychosis, in need of detox from drugs or alcohol, or dealing with a variety of other issues. Her main interests are police wellness (stress and trauma exposure), mental health, suicide intervention, disabilities, death notification and alcohol & drug-related training.
Drew Bloom, Director of Administration
A graduate of Champlain College in Burlington, Drew has been a sworn law enforcement officer in Vermont for twenty-eight years. He served with the South Burlington Police Department and subsequently for the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Law Enforcement Division. Throughout his career, he has worked in a wide variety of roles ranging from field training officer to criminal investigator to supervisor. In December 2016, he retired from the Department of Motor Vehicles at the rank of Captain. In that capacity, he oversaw the Criminal & Regulatory Investigations Unit and the Education & Safety Unit for the State. Drew is a graduate of the FBI National Academy for police professionals in Quantico, Virginia and is a certified Use-of-Force Analyst through the Force Science Institute. He is the lead Use-of-Force & Tactics Instructor at the academy and a member of Safariland Training Group’s Advisory Board for use-of-force training. He currently servs as the Director of Administration and Compliance at the Academy and pursues a wide range of duties with great alacrity. He is a life student of martial arts and continues to actively teach adults and children outside of work.
Bob Ryan, Canine Training & Curriculum Development Coordinator
Bob Ryan joined the staff in February 2005 as the canine training coordinator. Bob worked for the Town of Barre Police Department as a full-time officer for five years after working approx. five years for them as a part time officer. He then worked for the City of Barre Police Department for over 19 years. Most of those years were spent as the second shift sergeant. He continues to work part time as a patrol officer. Bob has been a canine handler since 1982. He is currently working with his sixth canine Buddy who does drug detection and tracking.
Bob enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing and riding motorcycles.
All his family still lives close by. He has four granddaughters and two grandsons that he enjoys spending time with.
Gail Williams, Administrative Services Coordinator
Gail joined the Academy staff in January 2005 as the Program Services Clerk, in 2006 was promoted to Financial Specialist II, and in 2014 became the Administrative Service Coordinator. Gail received an Associate of Science Degree in Accounting through the Community College of Vermont. She enjoys spending time with her family, photography, gardening, golfing, and bee keeping.
Ken Hawkins, Training Coordinator
Ken Hawkins has been in Law Enforcement since 1999 when he completed the Part Time Academy while a staff member at Champlain College. In 2000, he began working part time for the Middlebury Police Department as a patrol officer and graduated from the 73rd Full Time Basic in 2002. Ken is a VCJTC Firearms Instructor, a Field Training Officer and a Master Driver Instructor. Ken is currently responsible for Law Enforcement Certification and Training for the Level III Full Time Basic, Level II Part Time Basic, Field Training Officer School and the Academy’s Police Driving program. Ken is a former US Navy Petty Officer and is currently a Master Sergeant with the Security Forces Combat Arms unit of the Vermont Air National Guard.
Jenn Firpo, Training Coordinator
Jenn Firpo joined the Academy staff in May of 2016. Prior to coming to the Academy Jenn spent over 9 years as an advocate at the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter. In that capacity she was embedded in three different police agencies providing case review and training to officers. Her advocacy work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence was largely centered in helping them navigate the criminal justice system and family court. Her previous work experience includes 10 years in the mental health field.
Jenn resides in the Rutland area with her husband Bob, and their pets.
Leslie Bodette, Training Coordinator
Leslie joined the Academy staff in December 2016. She is a retired federal law enforcement officer. During her federal tenure, Leslie was a national instructor for the Federal Judicial Center, the Administrative Office for the U.S. Courts, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Leslie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement & Police Science.
Christopher Conway, Training Coordinator
Christopher joined the academy staff in August, 2017 as the Impaired Driving Training Coordinator and had previously coordinated in-service training at the academy in 2005-2006. In 2007 he decided to take a break from law enforcement and enrolled in the UVM Post-Bac pre-med program and subsequently attended medical school at St. Matthews University School of Medicine where he completed his MD. Shortly after graduation, Chris found himself back in Vermont due to family responsibilities where he decided to return to law enforcement and the training environment.
Chris started out in law enforcement in 1997 at the Rutland County Sheriffs Office and continues to work part time when his schedule allows.
Jake Hansell, Training Cordinator
Jake joined the Academy staff in 2018. Jake started his law enforcement career in 2006 working for the Vermont Department of Public Safety as a dispatcher at the Vermont State Police Williston Barracks. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. In 2010, he attended the Vermont Police Academy in the 90th Basic Recruit Class for the Richmond Police Department. He was a police officer for Richmond for 4 ½ years. Jake transitioned and completed the waiver process to work as a deputy sheriff in Clay County, Florida. Subsequently, he transferred back to work at the Academy as it was a long-time goal to be part of the training environment.
James Park, Technology and Program Technician
James holds a degree in Information Technology and joined the staff in 2014 as a temporary Program Services Clerk, in October of 2017 he accepted the Technology & Program Technician position.
Lindsey Thivierge, Program Services Clerk
Lindsay Thivierge became a part of the Academy staff in 2017. Lindsay has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice from Valdosta State University and is currently pursuing an MBA from Green Mountain College. Before coming to the Academy, Lindsay traveled and worked overseas as an educator. After moving back to Vermont, she apprenticed as a Graphic Designer at Bemis Resource Group. Using the knowledge she acquired in Education and Design, she co-developed the AICCE which focuses on designing environments to support positive biological and psychological responses. Lindsay uses her experience and knowledge to enhance her role in Program Services at the Academy.
Lindsay resides in Poultney with her husband and two children. She enjoys spending time with family, planning events, hiking, creating, learning and exploring.