SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 3, 2014

Salem chief's candidacy raises issues

SALEM — Paul Tucker could be breaking new ground.

The Salem police chief is running for state representative while still serving as chief, which appears to have never happened before in this city. Tucker announced his candidacy a few days ago and said he plans to remain as chief through the election next fall and then step down if elected.

Has this happened before in Massachusetts? Has any sitting chief in any city or town ever run for the Legislature while still on the job?

“I don’t know of one,” said Wellesley police Chief Terry Cunningham, who was legislative chairman for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

Jack Collins, the association’s longtime general counsel, couldn’t think of anyone either, although he said several sitting police chiefs have run for town selectman.

Last fall, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian ran for Congress while still in office. But sheriff, it could be argued, does not have as close or direct a relationship with citizens as a police chief does.

So, if the Salem chief is going where no one has gone before, does it raise any issues or concerns?

“I think there are issues any time that a public official runs for office,” said Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, a government watchdog group.

“For those with real responsibility and public standing, a police chief being one of the most responsible positions, there are real problems that can arise, and that’s why the law is very clear about setting up this arm’s-length relationship with fundraising, never wearing anything that designates you as the police chief when you’re campaigning and not mixing those two roles — and that’s a difficult thing to do. It can be done, but it’s a difficult undertaking.”

A political campaign by a police chief can challenge a mayor, as well, Wilmot said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Comments Tracker