Community Mourns Retired Chief
WETHERSFIELD - Former Wethersfield Police Chief T. William Knapp, an Army veteran who also served in leadership roles with state law enforcement, was laid to rest at Village Cemetery in Old Wethersfield last Thursday morning.

       Knapp, who passed away on September 1, joined the Wethersfield Police Department in 1958, following a three year stint in the military that saw him training U.S. Army dogs, according to his obituary-printed in the Hartford Courant.

       “I really looked up to him-he was a great Chief,” said current Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran over the phone. “I’m truly gonna miss him-I used him as a sounding board many times.”

       Cetran, who has been with the Department for 16 years, came in when Knapp was still at the helm, quickly coming to idolize him-holding him in similar regard even when he rose to the position himself years beyond his mentor’s retirement.

       “Even when I was Chief, I would go to him whenever I had a Chief-related question,” Cetran said. “He wouldn’t tell me what to do, but kind of lead me to where I’d find the answer.”

       Wethersfield Mayor Paul Montinieri also remembered Knapp fondly-the two have been close friends for years, spending countless hours just hanging out and talking.

       “He’s a great guy-long history of service,” Montinieri said over the phone. “He was a dear friend.”

       That friendship started when Montinieri was 12. While Knapp’s Courant obituary highlights everything from his 1975 graduation from the FBI Academy and Governor’s appointment to Executive Director of the Connecticut Police Academy, to his love of UCONN football and Women’s Basketball, one thing that isn’t mentioned is his role in stopping a home invasion/hostage situation that developed at the Mayor’s childhood house.

       With other Wethersfield officers in the home, attempting to negotiate with the suspect, Knapp perched outside, taking the shot that wound end the standoff.

       “He was the best shot in the Department,” Cetran says. “It was before my time, but I was kind of in awe of him.”

       “We had a bond because of his part in that event,” Montinieri said. “In our mind, his actions saved the lives of those officers in that house. But he never wanted to be considered heroic.”

       Knapp was appointed Chief in 1974. His resume also includes serving as President of the Connecticut Chiefs Association, as well as the Wethersfield Police Benevolent Association.

       He retired from the Department in 1989.

       “I just admired him for his compassion and devotion to everything Wethersfield,” Montinieri said. “We’re so lucky to have people like that.”

       Montinieri described Knapp as “active until the end”.

       “He didn’t wanna be incapacitated in any way,” he said.

       Knapp's son, Eric, is an officer with the Department. Through close colleagues, The Rare Reminder has reached out to him. We will update the story if we hear back.