Salem and Peabody have some differences, he noted, which he’s prepared for, having watched Peabody over the years.
“Peabody is a little bigger sizewise ... more spread out,” he said.
In dealing with the public, St. Pierre stressed the need for transparency and openness.
A Marine Corps veteran, St. Pierre has a bachelor’s degree in social services from Salem State and a master’s in criminal justice from American International College in Springfield. He also led a sensitive internal investigation of the Salisbury Police Department, ending in January 2011. He started his career in Salem as a patrol officer in 1974, climbing the ranks until he was made chief in 1984.
For his part, Bettencourt highlighted the need to get just the right person to lead the police department. “
The chief plays a role in every facet of the community, and I want to make sure we have the best person in place going forward,” he said.
In a press release issued by the mayor, Champagne praised St. Pierre as “a fine professional police officer.”
Champagne has held the chief’s job in Peabody for more than 25 years and was due to retire last June 1. The mayor’s interest in moving the chief’s position out of Civil Service, thereby giving more flexibility in hiring and firing, meant a delay in finding a replacement. Champagne agreed to stay on until now.
St. Pierre said Champagne has offered whatever help he can give during the transition.
“I just got off the phone with Chief Champagne,” he said, “and he said he’d make himself available whenever I needed him.”
Alan Burke can be reached at email@example.com.