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Selectmen Interview Police Chief Candidates

by Bill Tobin
March 31, 2017

Board of Selectmen interview the three final candidates, all current members of the Holliston Police Department to replace Chief John Moore.

The selectmen have interviewed the three local candidates for the Chief of the Holliston Police Department and will vote to select one on Monday evening, April 3rd. There were 30 applicants for this position which was then reduced to three finalists-all from the Holliston Police Department: Lt. David Gatchell, Sgt. Matthew Stone and Sgt. Matthew Waugh.

David Gatchell, currently a lieutenant on the staff of the Holliston Police Department was the first of the three candidates to be interviewed. He has been a member of the HPD for 29 years and has held all positions in the department. When asked his most disliked position, he replied,"the court prosecution position". He noted that if chosen, his priority would be to complete the accreditation process and develop an updated 5 year strategy plan.  Another top priority is to get a School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned exclusively to the Middle School, like the SRO at the High School. The Holliston Police Department is not just good, it is great. However, he would like to see more active involvement between his department and town committees emphasizing its increased training, integrity and dedication. As chief, he would address the mental health issues that are increasing in town, assign more downtown walking, and encourage communication from residents. Another growing concern is the changes in the marijuana laws. When questioned about any disagreements that might occur between the Board of Selectmen and the Police Department, he replied those issues would be subject to negotiation. 

He considers himself to be well qualified for the position as he has a good relationship with citizens of the town as well as his fellow police officers, his involvement in budgetary matters, has devised new and creative solutions to problems the department has faced, and is a dedicated employee of the HPD.

Lieutenant Gatchell received a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Westfield State University, in 1997.

 Matthew Stone, currently a sergeant on the staff of the Hollston Police Department, was the second of the three candidates to to be interviewed. He has been a member of the department for 12 years.  He considers himself to be qualified for the position based on his experience, his ability to work with town government, his good interpersonal skills and being a strong, progressive leader. His priorities are to get government accreditation recognition and to improve traffic enforcement downtown.  A motorcycle program would be an important addition to the department. The current opiate problems must be addressed in our town too. He also expressed interest in getting a School Resource Officer at the Middle School and improving foot patrols. He stated that the HPD is a great department with good equipment. He noted that he instituted the K-9 program, and that he and the dog are best friends. Yes, the program will continue if he is appointed chief and the current dog, Cesh, will remain housed at his home. He stressed the importance of open communication with staff and residents, and going the extra mile to resolve issues.

He considers himself well qualified to be the next chief as he has good social and personal skills, pays close attention to detail and is an effective organizer. He called himself a team player stating, "I do what I say and say what I do."

Sergeant Stone has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Westfield State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2008.

Matthew Waugh, currently a sergeant on the Holliston Police Department, was the third of three candidates interviewed.

He expressed his appreciation to be interviewed to replace Chief Moore. He stated that he is qualified for the position as he grew up in town, served on the police department for eleven years and is well known in the community. Being the chief has been his goal. His top priority is to complete the accreditation of the department in the next two to three months as he has worked on it since its inception. As the chief of police, he believes the hiring process for future candidates is key to the success of the department, selecting only those qualified and who see a human side to the badge, in other words, the right person for the right position so they would stay for a long time. He would develop a new 5 year strategic plan and would want to be involved in contract negotiations as he has experience in doing that and sees himself as a strong negotiator. Being involved in this process would also save the town money. "The buck stops with the Chief, and I would make sure the officers are used to their best advantage." 

Sgt. Waugh has a strong bond in the community and has served all ages of the town's population through specialty positions: Director of the Civilian Police Academy and the Junior Police Academy. He has experience as the Safety Officer, Public Information Officer, Medical Affairs Officer, Legal Update Instructor and Elder Affairs. When asked his least favorite position, he said it was having dispatcher duties as a junior officer with little experience. It was something he had to learn on the job. Now, the dispatchers are employees trained for the job. 

As chief he would increase foot patrols and have police outside of vehicles to meet citizens, and include the help of a clinician to assist those with mental health and opiate issues. Reviews of police personnel, and the chief are important and would be incorporated by the chief. Complaints about the department or staff would have those issues addressed. The chief must have integrity, honesty, and be a steady presence in the community. He will move the department forward by identifying officers' skills and placing them in their appropriate roles.

Sergeant Waugh received a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Westfield State University in 2006.

The Board of Selectmen will make their decision for the Police Chief at a special meeting on Monday, April 3rd to succeed Chief John Moore who is retiring on Tuesday, April 4th.  Three well qualified candidates make this a very difficult decision for the selectmen.

This meeting is open to the public, but no opinions or votes are considered.

However, you may state your opinion for the chief on comments on HollistonReporter.com

 

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