Hardwick, News

Former Hardwick Police Officer on Paid Administrative Leave from DMV

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MONTPELIER – Wade Cochran was placed on leave earlier this month from his position as the director of safety and enforcement for the state DMV. The transportation secretary declined to say why.

The director of enforcement and safety for the state Department of Motor Vehicles has been placed on paid administrative leave after less than six months on the job.

Vermont Transportation Secretary Joseph Flynn, whose agency oversees the motor vehicle department, confirmed this week that Wade Cochran was put on administrative leave Jan. 4. 

Flynn said he could not comment on why Cochran had been placed on leave.

“We do have to follow the process,” Flynn said. “The reason for him being out (on leave) had nothing to do with his time working for us.”

Cochran was named to his position with the motor vehicles department in August 2023. He took the place of Anthony Facos, who held the post for the three prior years.

Cochran came to the DMV position after serving less than a year as the police chief in Norwich.

Prior to the Norwich job, Cochran spent 17 years with the Montpelier Police Department. In that department, Cochran was also assigned for several years to the Vermont Drug Task Force and the FBI Task Force.

Before that, he had worked for both the Barre City and Hardwick police departments.

Attempts to contact Cochran on Wednesday were not successful. An email sent to his state address generated a reply that stated, “I will be out of the office for an extended period and will not be checking emails.”

The division that Cochran oversaw is responsible for vehicle inspections, licensing and training management and commercial vehicle regulations. At the time of Cochran’s hiring, it had 29 officers and 14 staff, according to the DMV’s announcement.

Cochrans’ Relations

by Gazette Staff

HARDWICK – Wade Cochran’s brother, Aaron, served as Hardwick’s Police Chief for many years until his Oct. 7, 2022, resignation, following almost 10 months of paid administrative leave. 

Caledonia State’s Attorney Jessica Zaleski asked Cochran for a copy of an internal investigation he’d conducted into one of his officers. Darin Barber, a sergeant at the department, allegedly took home a bottle of whiskey that had been confiscated from several teenagers. Another Hardwick officer filed a complaint about Barber’s actions.  

Aaron Cochran was subsequently hired as a sergeant and No. 2 officer by Northfield Police.  Zaleski named Cochran in a Brady-Giglio letter not long after. She said Cochran had been dishonest during the review of Barber’s actions and the subsequent inquiries.

Cochran is now retired.

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