Search for new chief intensifies

Candidates narrowed to 12 out of 39

RINDGE — The Rindge Police Department has received 39 resumes from 20 states for the police chief position, said Town Administrator Jane Pitt at a Select Board meeting Wednesday.

Pitt announced that 12 candidates have been selected to go forward in the process and that they will be required to submit an essay. The Select Board will evaluate the essays the candidates submit. Later on, phone interviews and background checks will be conducted, and the final candidates will interview in person with the Select Board.

Pitt said they’re looking to complete the process within a timeframe of three months from when the search started on April 15, when former police chief Frank Morrill announced he was retiring. Ideally, Rindge will have a new police chief by July 15, Pitt said in an interview Monday.

The salary for the position is yet to be determined. “That will be defined by the experience and qualifications of the person hired for the job,” Pitt said.

In the past, former officers from the Rindge Police Department have cited low wages as their reason for leaving the department, as recently as March, when full-time officer Chris Martin resigned from the department; he now works for the Peterborough Police Department. Then chief Morrill said at the time that low pay was the reason for Martin’s resignation.

Currently, the Rindge Police Department has six full-time officers and three part-officers.

Officer Mark Griffin is attending the police academy for training at the moment. Interim Police Administrator Mike French said Griffin will be graduating in 10 weeks. Having an officer away has affected the working hours of other officers in the department. “We assure that there is coverage to respond to all of the calls for service and sometimes it involves overtime,” French said.

However, other Rindge Police officers will be able to attend training sessions. The Select Board approved a motion to allow police officers to attend non-mandatory training sessions again. The police department uses money from the overtime account for this purpose. Back in March, the Select Board had decided not to send officers for non-mandatory training due to a concern about a high overtime account.

Selectman Robert Hamilton said Wednesday that it is crucial that officers get proper training on different topics, even if the town has to pay them overtime rates.

French also said he will be conducting an incident analysis within the next weeks, with the purpose of addressing the department’s needs. A report with the results of the analysis will be presented to the Select Board at one of their meeting this month, said French. “It would be up to them what information they reveal and if they take any further action,” French said.

At the meeting on Wednesday, French said that the Rindge Police Department responded to 212 calls for service, 44 motor vehicle accidents and 24 crime-related calls from May 1 to May 27.

French has been managing the department in an interim capacity since the beginning of May; he is an employee of Municipal Resources Inc.

French said the classes the officers attend would be determined by the department’s needs. Some of the more popular training sessions that officers may attend are interviewing and interrogation and dusting fingerprints. “In the end, [training] would reduce the time we spend working in a crime scene,” French said.

The department would ideally be able to create a reference library with the material the officers get from different courses, he said, and staff who attended the academy would be able to come back and train other officers in various matters.

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