Newton Begins Process of Finding New Police Chief

The Board of Aldermen's Public Safety & Transportation Committee will discuss and potentially vote on the proposed Police Chief Search Committee members this week.

As the city begins the process of finding a new leader for the Newton Police Department, the Board of Aldermen's Public Safety & Transportation Committee will consider this week nominees for a Police Chief Search Committee.

Ten members have been nominated to the search committee by Mayor Setti Warren and the Newton Board of Aldermen, according to the January 9 Public Safety Committee agenda. The committee members include:

  • Alderman Jay Ciccone, Jr. Chair of the Public Safety & Transportation Committee and a retired police officer from the town of Sherborn
  • Gary Bearfield, a Newton resident and Mass. State Police lieutenant 
  • Officer Eddie LaValle of the Newton Police Association
  • Seana Gaherin, co-owner of Dunn Gaherin's, a local business executive
  • Laura Holt, a local lawyer
  • Honorable Conrad J. Bletzer, a local retired judge
  • Stephen Unsworth, a local representative from the Massachusetts Police Chief Association
  • Associate Professor Nathan Phillips, a Newton resident
  • Darrell Settles, a Newton resident
  • David MacDonald, a representative from the Newton Superiors Police Association

The Public Safety & Transportation Committee will discuss the search committee appointments at its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7:45 p.m. in room 202 at City Hall. If it approves the committee members, the item will move on to the full Board of Aldermen for a vote later this month.

The process by which the city conducts its police chief search is outlined in Chapter 279 of the Acts of 1992. This home rule legislation specifies what type of representatives should be appointed to the search committee and how to carry out the search process.

Once the committee forms, it recommends five to seven candidates for the chief of police position, according to Section 7 of the law. The mayor then appoints from that pool of candidates. 

If a candidate is not found, a new search is started, the law says.

Mayor Setti Warren fired Newton Police Chief Matthew Cummings in October, following an investigation and hearing that ruled Cummings had kicked and verbally harassed his former secretary, behavior "unbecoming a police chief." 

Since Cummings was put on administrative leave in August 2012, Captain Howard Mintz has been acting police chief. Mintz previously led the department's Traffic Bureau. 

David C. Couper January 08, 2013 at 06:55 PM
What is “good policing?” What should you look for in a police leader? How is your city going to evaluate that leader? Perhaps one or more of the four major obstacles arresting police development is in existence? For more, follow my blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com. 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, and led by mature leaders. Is that your police? If not, find out what you can begin to do about it.
gcrz January 08, 2013 at 09:11 PM
What happens if Cummings wins his appeal with the neutral arbitrator? Will the Committee wait on those results or appoint a new Chief beforehand?


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