After almost 30 years on the job, the last day would be special for anyone.
But for Lt. Reg Trayah, June 8 is not only his last day in the Vermont State Police, it’s also the 28th wedding anniversary for Trayah and Julie, his wife.
Trayah said Julie is the “reason I have been able to be as successful as I have been in my career.”
“Could I stay longer? Yeah I could. But being able to retire on my 28th wedding anniversary, it’s kinda special. Especially because we all talk about all the stuff that we’ve done and what have you, but the one thing that gets forgotten is the support system,” he said. “My wife is one of the strongest people I know. When I’m getting called out at all times at night and running out the door, doing this, doing that, she’s taking care of everything else.”
Trayah has risen through the ranks after joining the Vermont State Police, or VSP, in August 1991.
Trayah spent about seven years as a road trooper and then had the opportunity to spend three years, about a year and a half each, with the Drug Enforcement Administration drug task force and the Northern Drug Task Force.
He spent about seven years each as a sergeant at the Shaftsbury barracks of the Vermont State Police in the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, where he worked on all the major cases that came through the area; and as a lieutenant, which made him the station commander at Shaftsbury.
Trayah will be finishing his career as a BCI lieutenant, where he’s in charge of all the detectives out of the New Haven, Rutland and Shaftsbury barracks.
A Vermonter, born and raised in Georgia, Vermont, Trayah said his interest in becoming a trooper was so great, he went right to the source.
“Right after high school, I wanted to go into law enforcement, so I went to the St. Albans barracks and inquired. At that time, I’m 18 years old. They basically told me, ‘Son, you’re too young. Come back and see us when you’re 21.’”
Because his father and grandfather had been in the military, Trayah decided to enlist, and became a military policeman stationed in West Germany. When he got back to the states, he spent a year working for the Vermont Department of Corrections, until he got a chance to join the VSP.
Trayah said he was drawn to law enforcement because he couldn’t see himself going to an office and doing the same thing every day.
“What I enjoyed about the job is there was never two days that are the same. When you’re a road trooper and that radio goes off, anything could happen. Then when you’re a detective and you’re working some of these big cases (or) you become the station commander, every single day has the opportunity to be something new and something exciting,” he said.
Trayah has been able to take on a lot during his time as a trooper.
“With the opportunities that the Vermont State Police offer, the special teams, the training, where you can go, what you can do, it’s basically up to you,” he said.
Trayah said he was proud of the work done solving the murder of Renato Wieser, 24, of Winhall, on March 10, 2006.
“That was a legitimate whodunit case. We did not know who our suspects were. We worked long and hard, interviewed a lot of people. Finally got a couple suspects. We were able to track them from Vermont, all the way down to where a vehicle was recovered in the Carolinas, and then eventually put them down in Florida,” he said.
Trayah and his lieutenant, along with a small team of detectives, flew to Florida, worked with Florida police and got a full confession.
“It was a very nice ending to a case where we could bring some closure to a family that was just devastated by the loss of their son,” he said.
Trayah said he was also proud of his time with the clandestine laboratory team and the hostage negotiating team. He eventually became the leader of both teams, but said another leadership position was especially rewarding.
“I really loved being a station commander. Being in charge of a barracks here, working with some of the most fantastic troopers around, was a great feeling,” he said.
In his position as BCI lieutenant, Trayah had his first opportunity to choose every member of a team.
“Being a part of that, being able to work with them, is a great accomplishment at the very end of my career,” he said.
Trayah said his “retirement” job will be as athletic director for the Arlington Memorial High School.
Trayah already coaches the junior varsity baseball team there, and two other coaches, Todd Wilkins and Travis Hess, are also troopers.
“They bring that certain respect and integrity to their coaching, and that, whether they mean to or not, gets passed on to the kids. It just makes the team, it makes the kids, it makes the whole program better to have that type of role model for the kids,” he said.
The two worlds have already come together. Trayah calls Trooper Clay Knight, of the Williston barracks, a “special kid.” Trayah said he’s known Knight since third grade, coached him and watched as he did an internship at the Shaftsbury barracks.
“To see the progression of a young man from middle school throughout his school years and then his college and still having the drive and that determination to do this, and me being able to assist along the way,” Trayah said. “I look at him and I’m very proud of him and what he’s become.”