BEVERLY — Police Chief Mark Ray, a decorated military veteran who has led the Beverly Police Department since 2007, has decided to retire as of Sept. 13, outgoing Mayor Bill Scanlon said yesterday.
“We wish him well,” Scanlon said of Ray, a 54-year-old Beverly native, who started with the department on Sept. 16, 1985, and rose through the ranks.
“I am really looking forward to spending more time with my family,” Ray said of his impending retirement.
During a 30-year military career, Ray served combat tours in Bosnia in 1996-1997 as part of a multinational brigade and in Iraq in 2005.
He said he flew into Iraq on New Year’s Day, and as a lieutenant colonel, he served as garrison commander until November before arriving home in December. The 1976 graduate of Beverly High, who enlisted at age 18, earned a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq and a Legion of Merit badge upon his retirement from the National Guard around 2008, he said.
Ray had been looking for opportunities elsewhere before his retirement announcement. Last year, Ray became a finalist for the police chief’s job in Portland, Maine. In February, Ray was a finalist for the police chief’s job in Lone Tree, Colo., but was not chosen.
“I think he’s done a good job,” Scanlon said. “I think he’s been more accessible than previous chiefs have been. I think he’s been more reasonable with the public” and more approachable, too. “I am sorry to see him go,” Scanlon said.
Ray earns a salary of $127,000, Scanlon said.
When Ray retires, Capt. Christopher Negrotti, the patrol division commander, will serve as acting chief until a permanent replacement for Ray is appointed.
“Chris will be a candidate to be permanent chief,” said Scanlon, “but we will conduct the search and go through an assessment center process.”