Police chief promoted from within amidst staffing shortage
NEW IPSWICH — The Select Board has promoted Tim Carpenter, a lieutenant in the Police Department, to chief of police, to replace Garrett Chamberlain, who notified selectmen in August of his intent to resign. Carpenter, who has been with the New Ipswich Police Department for nine years and in law enforcement for 18, will take over the position of chief effective immediately, according to a press release issued by Town Administrator Marie Knowlton on Thursday.
“He’s very familiar with New Ipswich, as he’s been a part of the Police Department for so many years. He knows the area, and he’s known in the area towns, so in that aspect there’s no adjustments to be made,” said Select Board Chair George Lawrence in an interview Monday.
The Select Board voted to appoint Carpenter, a Swanzey resident, to the position during a non-public session Wednesday, according to Lawrence. The day before, the Select Board met with former chief Chamberlain, who had originally resigned effective Dec. 31, and he agreed to resign effective immediately to make way for Carpenter.
Selectman agreed in August to buy out Chamberlain’s contract at a cost of $175,192, or 18 months of salary and benefits, to be paid out weekly until June 2014. Chamberlain will be listed on the payroll as an officer or consultant, but will no longer be a physical presence in the department.
Carpenter did not sign a contract with the Select Board, but the board agreed to raise his salary to $70,000 a year, plus benefits, to reflect the change in responsibilities.
The new chief has taken over at a time when the Police Department is facing some serious staffing challenges. With Chamberlain’s departure, the department has just three officers on the force, including Carpenter, and two of them are part-time, according to Lawrence. The town is currently budgeted to have six full-time officers, according to Knowlton.
The town is in the midst of training one officer, who is currently attending the Police Academy and is scheduled to start work in the town in January, depending on his successful completion of the academy. The Select Board is also planning to propose an increase in funding for salaries for starting certified police officers, in the hopes of attracting more officers. “One of the reasons the board took action on this now was so that the Police Department could begin to seek applications for patrolmen,” said Lawrence. “We’re trying to expedite the process.”
The town has been also been examining options for regionalizing its Police Department. Following Chamberlain’s notice of resignation, the Select Board sent a letter requesting feedback on regionalization interest to the five towns bordering New Ipswich -- Rindge, Greenville, Temple, Sharon and Mason. The town has since received responses from Mason, Rindge and Greenville indicating the towns are not interested in discussing regionalization. According to Lawrence, Sharon has also responded verbally, turning down the proposal. In light of the responses from the surrounding towns, said Lawrence, he is not aware of any further discussion of regionalizing the police department.