, Salem, MA

Local News

June 14, 2014

Police chief finalists named

Mayor to announce soon which of three 'outstanding candidates' gets job

PEABODY — Mayor Ted Bettencourt expects to announce who Peabody’s new police chief will be early next week.

Three finalists are in consideration for the job: Salem police Capt. Tom Griffin, Lawrence police Capt. Mike Driscoll and Lt. Maurice Richards of the Chicago Police Department. All three veteran officers underwent a battery of testing at an assessment center at the end of May, followed by interviews with Bettencourt and extensive background checks the past two weeks.

“They are outstanding candidates for the position, and each of them has outstanding credentials and background for the job,” Bettencourt said Friday.

Thirty-three people — ranging from lieutenants to police chiefs — applied for the job, and six were recommended by the consultant firm Resource Management Associates to undergo an assessment. There were three internal candidates from the Peabody Police Department. Most of the applicants were from the Northeast, Bettencourt said, but there were a few from as far afield as California and New Mexico.

The ideal person for the job will be a “collaborator,” a “great communicator” and very active in the community — someone with many of the same qualities as Interim police Chief Robert St. Pierre, Bettencourt said. He added that Peabody’s two police unions said they want a good communicator who is consistent in implementing policies and procedures.

St. Pierre, the former Salem chief, has served temporarily since last November, when Peabody Chief Robert Champagne retired. Bettencourt noted that St. Pierre is well-liked in the department and has already settled several longstanding grievances in the department.

The assessment center included a wide range of scenarios, such as requiring candidates to present a request to Bettencourt to open a civilian academy, complete with operational parameters and a budget. A role-playing exercise put each person in the shoes of a civic figure, such as a priest, and they had to work out an issue together, Bettencourt said.

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