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TELL US: Should Newton Hire its Police Chief From Outside the Department?

Newton's police chief was fired in October after an investigation concluded he kicked and verbally harassed his former secretary.

As Newton begins the process of hiring a new police chief, some are questioning whether the new department head should come from inside the system, or whether the city should look for outside talent. 

In a Globe opinion piece published today, columnist Lawrence Harmon advocates for the city hiring from outside the department, saying that Mayor Setti Warren "would do would do his constituents a big favor" by hiring a chief that has no connection to Newton. 

Harmon argues that the current culture of the department is "rotten" and that an outsider may bring a breath of fresh air to the force.

Former Newton Police Chief Matthew Cummings was fired in October after an investigation and hearing concluded that he kicked and verbally harassed his former secretary, actions "unbecoming a police chief." 

Cummings, who was appointed chief in 2009, had been with the Newton Police Department for more than 30 years.

But, the troubling headlines about the department didn't end with Cummings' dismissal. The Globe column points out that Newton Police Captain Christopher Marzilli was also investigated for making offensive remarks toward a female officer. Marzilli was cleared last week of the charges.

And just a couple of weeks ago, reports surfaced that several Newton Police officers were caught egging a house in Framingham that belonged to a Newton Police sergeant. 

So, what do you think? Should the city hire a new police chief from outside the department? Should it stick to candidates who are in the system? Tell us in the comments section below. 

Martin Blank January 17, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Is any of this a surprise? I got a large dose of humiliation and injustice at their hands a few years ago....Good luck with any effort to correct that department....There is not only an overall lack of decency, but a lack of intelligence and character within the Newton police department......
David C. Couper January 18, 2013 at 03:52 PM
It's not about inside or outside hiring but about hiring the best leader. How are you going to evaluate your new chief and the department? What will be your criteria? And perhaps one or more of the four major obstacles arresting police is holding back your department? For more about this and other improvement issues, follow my blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com. Let’s remember that those police officers who serve in a democracy must be men and women who are highly-educated, well-trained, controlled in their use of force, honest, courteous to every person, closely in touch with their community, and led by mature leaders. Is that your police? If not, find out what you can do about it.
Adam Maleson January 30, 2013 at 04:23 PM
I concur with the two previous comments. In the last few days I have learned firsthand things about the Newton police I could not have ordinarily been aware of. I have never had reason to be afraid or mistrustful of the Newton police in the 53 years of my life. Until now. I was arrested by an officer on sunday who used excessive physical force in twisting my arm to the point where it was beyond merely uncomfortable but was seriously painful. When I cried out (I had made no effort whatever to resist the arrest) "Please, you're hurting my arm TOO MUCH. Please don't hurt it that much" the officer who was twisting my right arm responded by twisting it even MORE in the painful unnatural direction. On top of that, this arm-twisting officer turned out, by who knows what wise procedure, to be the officer who wrote the report of the events leading up to the arrest. That report was 95% fabrication. Most of the police I have ever dealt with in Newton, including most of those I dealt with on sunday, have been decent and reasonable and as courteous as possible. However, it only takes one rotten apple to stink up the whole department, placing all citizens at risk of brutal treatment. This is a serious issue, in fact it seems to me to be THE most serious issue currently in the city of Newton. Questions of things like tax rates dwarf in comparison to the question of a sociopath in a badge, with a gun and with a sense of impunity, being loose on the streets of my hometown.
Kent Texeira January 31, 2013 at 10:13 AM
It is a hostile work environment when the good officers that work for the NPD fail to take action against the thugs in their ranks. the abuse then begins to spread since silence in the abuser's best friend. No corrective actio is the same as fostering the abuse. you now know how deep that abuse has become because you like I discovered it by bad fortune. the Abuser's within the NPD took a false complaint by a mentally I'll relative and without any investigation threw me in jail for three days. I've learned my lesson that. Need to be the first one to 911 if I should ever need the NPD ever ever again.
mike delecada February 15, 2013 at 09:26 PM
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