SOUTHINGTON — Deputy Police Chief William Palmieri is the YMCA’s person of the year for his tireless efforts on behalf of a host of local organizations.
Palmieri, a 37-year veteran of the police force, is also president of Southington’s Town-Wide Effort to Promote Success.
Mark Pooler, YMCA executive director, said honoring Palmieri with the group’s annual award was a matter of “when, not if.”
“I don’t know there’s many individuals in the community that give from the heart like Bill does with his time and resources,” Pooler said. “Pick an initiative in Southington and he’s involved somehow, some way.”
Palmieri credited family, coworkers and fellow volunteers with any success for which he’s being honored.
“Any success that I’ve had is a result of great people around me. It’s parents that support me, it’s the community that’s supported us. It’s not anything about Billy Palmieri,” he said.‘A tremendous gentleman’
Pooler cited Palmieri’s work helping revamp the DARE curriculum with STEPS as well as efforts with the Dementia Friendly Southington initiative and other safety programs. Palmieri is often the police department’s representative when law enforcement input is requested and he’s also worked on resolving neighbor disputes.
“He’s a tremendous gentleman, wears his heart on his sleeve, does the best for Southington,” Pooler said.
Palmieri will be honored at the YMCA’s annual dinner on Feb. 15 at the Aqua Turf Club. Tickets for the event go on sale next month.Family supported
Palmieri is a life-long Southington resident. His parents volunteered with town organizations and instilled in him a motivation to serve others through their work with town sports or social services.
“My dad and my mother, they always ingrained in us to help,” Palmieri said. “That’s kind of what we’re put on this earth for.”
While Palmieri had his share of troubles growing up, he said caring adults kept him on a good path.
“I could have had a very different outcome if there weren't people who cared,” he said. In addition to substance abuse prevention, STEPS also works to ensure that local youth also have those caring, trusted adults in their lives. Young people have even more challenges than when he grew up, according to Palmieri.
“Kids need to be seen, they need to be heard, they need to be listened to,” he said.Not a normal job
Police Chief Jack Daly said the department is proud of Palmieri for earning the YMCA’s award. He and Palmieri started in the department around the same time.
“It just shows the type of individuals that work for this police department and that work for the town,” Daly said. “It’s not a nine-to-five job. When you care about the community, you’re doing over and above your normal day.”
“A lot of the stuff the deputy chief does is on his own time,” Daly said.
Palmieri is married with two sons. Community involvement does cut into nights and weekends but Palmieri said his wife Christine is very supportive.
While it’s unusual to remain in the same police department for nearly forty years, Palmieri can’t see it any other way.
“I don’t see myself wearing another uniform for another community,” he said.
“When you have something that’s really good, you have to help pay it forward.”