New Ipswich taps Lt. Mike Abel as interim police chief

  • The New Ipswich Police Department. (BEN CONANT / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Copyright Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to news@ledgertranscript.com. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/6/2021 7:53:12 PM

New Ipswich Police Lt. Michael Abel will be stepping in as acting police chief upon the retirement of outgoing Police Chief Tim Carpenter, while the board seeks a permanent replacement.

Carpenter will be retiring from the force this June, and Abel has accepted an offer to become interim chief as of June 23.

New Ipswich Select Board Chair Shawn Talbot said the board anticipates a multi-month process to select a permanent replacement, and Abel, an existing member of the force who has built trust with the community, will provide a stabilizing element during the transition.

“We’re happy Mike was willing and excited to step in,” Talbot said.

Abel has been with the New Ipswich Police Department since 2016, and prior to that served on the Wilton Police Department since 2005. He is a member of the Monadnock Special Response Team for eight years.

During a recent meeting of the board, members of the Select Board discussed the possible process for selecting Carpenter’s replacement. Based on those discussions, it’s unlikely there will be a hire in place by the time Carpenter leaves his position.

“This could take upwards of four or five months, for an in-depth process,” Carpenter told the board last week.

Carpenter suggested the board advertise the position for no less than 30 days, and advised that the competition may be steep. There are at least two other local communities, including nearby Bennington, who will also be scouting for a replacement police chief in the coming months.

“The candidate pool is not deep,” Carpenter said. “None of its easy, it’s going to be time consuming and lengthy.”

If the town receives a sufficient pool of applicants, and after conducting one or two rounds of interviews, a candidate may not be able to step into the role immediately. A background investigation, as well as other state requirements, would not start until that offer had been made, Carpenter said. If the town selects an out-of-state candidate, there may need to be a transfer of credentials or additional training in the laws of New Hampshire.

The board discussed several options for garnering additional expertise in the selection process.

The board has reached out to neighboring Police Chief Todd Muilenberg, who is currently the chief of the Jaffrey Police Department, and prior to that was the chief for Rindge, to sit on a selection committee as a consultant. Talbot said the board is still discussing Muilenberg’s role, but he will likely be involved with the final interviews after finalists have been selected.

To find those final candidates, the board also discussed Tuesday hiring Municipal Resources, Inc., a resource management company, or similar business to help advertise, vet candidates and select finalists.

The board has received an estimate of $7,500 to $9,000 from Municipal Resources, Inc., for their services, and the board seemed to agree conceptually that such a service would be useful in widening the candidate pool. The board discussed receiving an additional estimate from companies offering similar services, and tabled the decision, with the caveat that it would move forward with hiring Municipal Resources or a similar service.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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