The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 24, 2005


Galvin sets retirement date 30 years in Police Department, 26 as chief

After three decades in the Carlisle Police Department, the last 26 of them as Chief of Police, David Galvin has notified the Selectmen he plans to retire as of October 1 this year.

Chief at 28

25-year-old Galvin as a Carlisle Police Officer. (Courtesy photo)

Galvin came to the Carlisle Police in 1974 as a patrolman, fresh out of college. He had worked at Hampton Beach during the summer while he was in college, "but the chief wouldn't hire anyone who was single," so after graduation he ended up working in the Carlisle Police Department on his first full time job. He became a sergeant in 1976 and was appointed chief of police in 1979. He was 28 years old. At that time there were two full-time officers and no night-time coverage; today there are 11 full-time officers and round the clock coverage. Today the police department has active mutual-aid agreements with surrounding communities and has a role in the network of area towns. The town has become involved in programs such as DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and NEMLEC (Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council).

Change in police work

The goals of police work have changed since 1974 because of demographic changes. The town grew. The 1970 census records a population of 2,871; the 2004 census shows a population of 5,415. In addition there were technological changes. When Galvin started, he needed a typewriter and carbon paper to do his reports; today he not only has computers but more speed and wider options. Towns have increased their ability to talk to surrounding communities, police can check incoming information electronically, e.g., license plates, previous records, and verify speed with radar detectors almost immediately. Officers will soon have laptops in all cruisers and will be able, for example, to bring up a photograph that can be compared with a proffered ID. The police department has also expanded its channels for communication. Galvin sees the biggest challenge to police today is presented by electronic development. There are few housebreaks (which were the greatest concern in the years just before Galvin arrived in Carlisle). Assaults are down. Today it is: "anything that has to do with computers, child porn, ID theft. Police departments are getting up to speed."

Galvin sees the next step for small police departments as a lot more cooperative effort with cities and towns. We are "going to places where we are almost eliminating borders. Towns need to have resources, such as NEMLEC. "The only time the state gets involved (now) is a homocide."

Change in community climate

When Galvin first went up to the Carlisle School campus, "kids would be yelling out, 'pigs suck.'" But the police relationship with kids has been positive for the department, parents and the kids themselves. "This year when the DARE officer was on a leave of absence, people urged that it [the DARE program] be kept going and even volunteered to help....The partnership with Carlisle residents has worked very well for us over the years," he says. "I've relied on the townspeople over the years and people have stepped up to the plate."

Most memorable day

When asked, Galvin had no difficulty recalling his most memorable day on the job. "May 12, 1986. My wife was pregnant with our first child. The water broke at 4 a.m, but she didn't tell me." He had to go into Cambridge that morning and see the D.A. there to get a letter in support of the new and needed Carlisle police station. He got home from Cambridge with the letter, just in time to take his wife to Emerson and stay with her until their baby was born around 5:30 p.m. Then he went from the hospital to Town Meeting and the presentation about the new police station that night. It passed. When then-Moderator Marshall Simonds announced the birth of Galvin's daughter earlier in the evening, the meeting came up with a round of applause, and Galvin realized that a yes vote on the station and support for him, personally, evidenced a change in the community-police relationship.

The biggest challenge Galvin recalls is trying to not become complacent. It has been a 24-7 job for him "and you think about the job because you realize the level of responsibility." He says he has been fortunate to have had many good officers.He adds that there has been a general increase in the educational level of officers and proudly mentions that everyone in the Carlisle department has a college degree and several have master's degrees.

In connection with his statements about the responsibility of the chief and the quality of his staff, Galvin gives kudos to Nancy Iosue "who mentored me; she was a great help to me."

What's next

Galvin decided with his family that now is the right time to make a change in his career. When he felt he needed a new challenge, in the early '90s, he attended law school at night and was admitted to the bar. He is looking forward to setting up a new law office, "possibly in Carlisle."

About his 26 years, Galvin reminisces, "Police issues aside, the department is in a good place. I don't have any misgivings. It wasn't just a job; it was a significant part of my life."

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito