BOS to select new police chief Thursday night (Updated)

by Beth Melo on January 14, 2014

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Last night, selectmen interviewed the final three candidates for Southborough Police Chief. They announced their intention to cast their votes on Thursday night.

That meeting is scheduled for the evening of January 16 in the Town House Hearing room*.

The candidates up for the job are:

  • Lieutenant Richard Bates, Worcester Police Department
  • Lieutenant Sean James, Southborough Police Department
  • Captain Kenneth Paulhus, Woonsocket Police Department

Recent media coverage has focused on Lt. James. Supporters were angered when he was eliminated from the running earlier in the process. In December, that decision was reversed after one of the candidates dropped out.

Monday, James had the opportunity to make his pitch directly to the Board of Selectmen. He focused on his experience with the department and town. He addressed concerns about shifting from “rank and file” to “pencil pusher” by saying that he would solicit the buy in from officers when making policy, but ultimately enforce what was needed for the town.

James’ plans for the department include increased staffing, including improved diversity. (With the retirement of Chief Jane Moran, there are no women left on the town force, and only one minority.)

BOS Chair Dan Kolenda asked James what he would do if someone else was hired. James replied that he would “Stand tall”, welcome the new chief and tell him everything he needed to know. He would also, as he has done for past 12 years, lead the department in following the chief.

James appears to have strong competition from outside candidates. Both come from city police departments but hail from smaller towns.

Lt. Bates’ resume includes a law degree and 10 week training at an FBI academy. Bates pointed out relevant experience included serving on Holden’s public safety building committee and finance committee. He is currently the legal advisor and internal investigator in the Bureau of Professional Standards for City of Worcester.

Capt. Paulhus was the highest ranking candidate and supported by his accompanying chief. Paulhus resides in Blackstone.

*At the close of Monday’s meeting there was some confusion as whether the Thursday meeting would be 5:00 pm or 6:30 pm. The time and agenda should be posted sometime today on the town website.

Updated (11/15/14 11:55 am): The agenda has been posted. The meeting and this specific agenda item are scheduled for 6:30 pm. Other items to be covered include review of CY14 goals and closing of warrant for town meeting.

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