New Ipswich: Abel officially named as new police chief

  • New Ipswich police Sgt. Michael Abel offers a police badge sticker to Tyler Grenier, 4, of New Ipswich, during Coffee with a Cop at Short Stop in 2019. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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    Michael Abel meets with residents during a "Coffee with a Cop" session in 2019. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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    Michael Abel meets with residents during a "Coffee with a Cop" session in 2019. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/15/2021 3:15:51 PM

The Select Board announced Monday that interim Police chief Michael Abel will take over the department on a permanent basis, replacing outgoing chief Tim Carpenter.

Abel has been with the New Ipswich Police Department since 2016, serving as a lieutenant before taking the interim chief role after Carpenter announced he was stepping down in May. Prior to New Ipswich, Abel served on the Wilton Police Department since 2005. He has been a member of the Monadnock Special Response Team for eight years.

Abel will be paid $89,000 annually.

“I’m sure there will be many challenges ahead, but we’ll persevere and do the best job we can,” Abel told the board Monday, after they welcomed him to the new position.

“And we’ll do the best we can to support you,” Select Board Chair Shawn Talbot told him.

The first and biggest challenge facing Abel in his new position is staffing. Interim Town Administrator Jim Coffey said in an interview Monday the town is currently facing critical staffing shortages at the police station, and has had to rely on the county sheriff’s office for some coverage. While the situation is improving, with an additional hire currently going through training, Abel’s first big challenge will be filling the roster.

The police department is also seeking a permanent home, with the town continuing to pursue the possibility of a safety complex or stand-alone police department to be built behind the town offices. The current police department building is rented, and not owned by the town, and doesn’t have sufficient space for all the department’s needs. Several attempts to pass a warrant article for various iterations of a new police department have failed to pass at Town Meeting, but the Select Board intends to revisit the issue next year.

“We all look forward to continuing to work with him,” Coffey said. “The selectmen obviously thought he was the best choice for the town. I think Chief Abel will help restore the Police Department. I think it’s a very positive step. He knows the town well, and will be a good fit.”

Coffey said Abel’s existing knowledge of the town and the department was a great asset in his new position, and that Abel’s longevity in the department showed a commitment to New Ipswich.

“He’s proven himself to the town that he’s willing to stick around and has a commitment here,” Coffey said.

During Monday’s meeting, Abel thanked the board for their support of the police department and himself in his time as interim chief.

“I’ve spoken publicly on my pleasure with the board. I’ve always said the board has been very accommodating and seems interested in making things happen. It’s a lot easier to work with people that have common goals,” Abel told the board.

Abel is scheduled to be sworn in officially during the next Select Board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the New Ipswich town offices. The public is welcome to attend to meet the new chief.


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