SALEM — Police Chief Paul Tucker is running for state representative.
Tucker has told top police brass and close friends of his plans in recent days, and confirmed them yesterday to The Salem News.
"I am absolutely going to run," he said.
Tucker said he plans to stay on as chief while running for office.
He is the first candidate to announce plans to succeed state Rep. John Keenan, who announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election after serving 10 years in the House of Representatives.
Keenan's departure has triggered wide speculation about his successor. It also is expected to open the political flood gates for a position that, over the past three decades, has been held by only two people, Keenan and the late Michael Ruane.
Among those who say they are thinking of running are former Mayor Stanley Usovicz and Grace Harrington, Keenan's chief of staff and daughter of former Mayor Neil Harrington.
"It would be something I would consider," said Usovicz, who was mayor from 1998 to 2005 and is currently regional director of government relations for Verizon.
Harrington, 25, who is finishing law school, said she is "definitely considering it."
Another name being mentioned is City Council President Bob McCarthy.
McCarthy said he has not given it much thought, but "in politics you never say never."
Tucker, 55, a longtime Salem resident and former captain of detectives, has been chief since 2009.
"I'm definitely going to run," he said when contacted today. "I'm in my 32nd year here in the police department. ... I think things are running really well here. I just look at this as extending my career in public service, just in a different venue. ...
"I think a lot of what I've done as chief are transferable skills. I return phone calls, I speak with constituents and I've always been accessible."