Redding police chief retires amid scrutiny over suicide probe

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Redding Police Chief Doug Fuchs says he is retiring as questions swirl around the handling of a suicide investigation.

Fuchs, 52, emailed out notice of his retirement, which started Monday, calling it an amicable separation with the town after 28 years in law enforcement.

Fuchs has been on administrative leave since October after the estate of Peter Valenti filed a lawsuit against the department and town officials, claiming the chief and other officers failed to follow protocol when responding to Valenti's suicide in April 2016.

Relatives claim in a lawsuit that Fuchs initially refused to let medics check on Valenti, saying it was a crime scene. The family believes Valenti's life could have been saved.

"I'm sure Doug had every expectation that the investigation was going to demonstrate that he did what he was supposed to do," says Stuart Katz, one of Fuchs' attorneys. "But we haven't seen the report; we don't know what it's going to say."

Valenti's lawyers were not available for comment Monday.

Fuchs told News 12 Connecticut by phone Monday that he has no comment on the investigation and will not say anything negative about the town.

Since he's been on leave, Fuchs says he's been training a guide dog and teaching as an adjunct professor at Western Connecticut State University. He was Redding's first police chief, taking over in 2002 after the town switched from a resident state trooper model.

Capt. Mark O'Donnell, who is retiring next month, has been serving as the interim chief. Redding Selectman Michael Thompson says he wishes Fuchs and his family well in the future.

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