, Salem, MA

Local News

November 5, 2012

Peabody chief looks back on lengthy career


Equipment is kept up, as well. The department is geared to “working smarter.” They’ve earned multiple accreditations.

There have been low points, Champagne concedes. In the 1990s, officers working paid details at the Golden Banana strip club became enmeshed in a federal investigation of things like witness tampering and tax evasion. Tensions between officers reached a dangerous point.

“It was a difficult time for both my officers and the city,” the chief says. “Good people made bad mistakes.” He accepts blame. “If I’m the guy on top, the buck stops here. I should have known.”

It was the springboard, however, for positive changes, he believes. “The organization grew and grew quickly to have much higher standards.”

Later, Champagne saw Lt. Edward Bettencourt prosecuted criminally for looking up the civil service test scores of fellow officers. That could have created major problems last January when Bettencourt’s son became mayor. The chief, however, has nothing but praise for “Teddy Bettencourt” and denies any tension.

“I’ve served four mayors,” he says, citing Michael Bonfanti, as well. “Each one shared an enthusiasm for keeping the city safe and for unwavering support for police officers.”

Champagne sees police work now as he saw it in the beginning, more about helping others than the cops and robbers depicted on TV. “It’s not so much about crime fighting as about connecting to people.”

And when tempers are at the breaking point, when emotions boil over, that’s often when police are asked to step in.

“Cops tend to be the voice of reason,” Champagne says.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Comments Tracker