Peabody will have a new leader at the police department next summer, for the first time in a quarter-century.
Chief Robert Champagne announced yesterday that he will retire from the force next summer after 37 years as a member of the Peabody Police Department, including the last 25 as chief.
“It has been my privilege to serve this city for all of these years. I am proud of the work that I have accomplished,” Champagne said. “I want to thank all of the officers and civilians who have served in the past and continue to serve. It is upon the shoulders of those men and women where the real work of policing is done and upon whom all the credit for good should be given.”
Champagne started as a patrolman in 1975 and moved up the ranks quickly, becoming chief by spring of 1987. He is one of the state's longest-serving chiefs. His last day on the job will be June 1.
“Chief Champagne’s long record of public service speaks for itself,” Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt said in a statement. “To serve a quarter-century as police chief in a city the size of Peabody is certainly an impressive feat. On behalf of the citizens of Peabody, I thank him for his service and wish him well in his retirement.”
Bettencourt said he would begin planning for finding a new police chief right away and hopes to name Champagne's replacement before the chief retires.
“Time is of the essence given the critical nature of the position to public safety in Peabody,” Bettencourt said. “The search process needs to be deliberate and comprehensive, and it needs to begin immediately. I am committed to getting the right person for the job.”
The press release announcing Champagne's retirement included a who's who of state law enforcement officials lauding Champagne's career and wishing him well.
“Bob Champagne has been a close friend for over 30 years and I have known him to be a dedicated servant to the people of Peabody, respected by local and national leaders in both law enforcement and the judiciary," District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.
“Chief Champagne has always been a strong leader when it comes to keeping his community safe,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “Through his many years of dedicated public service, Chief Champagne has focused on the important goals of prevention and holding people accountable for their actions.”
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis congratulated Champagne on his retirement and called him a mentor.
"Over the years I have called upon him for advice and guidance; he has always generously given both," Davis siad. "Bob has set the bar high for those of us in law enforcement."