The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 6, 2006


John Sullivan is Carlisle's new Chief of Police. (Photo by Ellen Huber)
Selectmen pick John Sullivan for Police Chief

The Board of Selectmen appointed Acting Chief John Sullivan as the next Carlisle Police Chief by a vote of 3-0 with two abstentions at their December 20 meeting, that was relocated to the Corey Auditorium to accommodate the large audience.

The gathering lacked the contentiousness of the Selectmen's meeting one week earlier, when the Police Chief Search Committee, made up of Doris Jafferian, Selectmen Tony Allison and Bill Tice, and Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie proposed a different candidate. "Based on his ability to lead at the chief level, a vision consistent with Carlisle's, proven conflict resolution, financial management, and grant development experience and success," the Search Committee came forth with a unanimous recommendation for Glen McKiel, Chief of Police, Warren, Mass. That night, speaker after speaker rose from the audience to praise Sullivan and criticize the search committee for not including the community in their decision. [See On the other hand, by Chief McKiel, on page 11.]

On December 20, Chair Doug Stevenson told the crowd of about 100 townspeople in the auditorium that he appreciated the many comments he and the other Selectmen had received during the week. Both John Williams and Tim Hult had used the opportunity to meet with McKiel and get to know him a little better. They also talked with Acting Chief Sullivan. "We hope to get through this without public comment," said Stevenson.

Tony Allison began by making a motion on behalf of the Search Committee to appoint Glen McKiel as the next Carlisle Police Chief.

Stevenson recognized Selectman Tim Hult to begin the discussion. "I have talked with people whom I trust and who know a lot about police work — notably [former chief] Dave Galvin and Ed LeClair," said Hult. Carlisle resident Ed LeClair is a Professor of Criminal Justice at Salem State College specializing in police work. For 28 years he has also worked as a consultant to small and medium-sized police departments, and for the past 15 years he has served as a volunteer consultant to Chief Dave Galvin.

Hult continued,"I have reviewed the material from the Search Committee and met for an hour and a half with each candidate." Hult also chuckled that he has probably heard from about a hundred people around town at various gatherings. He was very impressed with McKiel, especially his work regarding missing children. "However," concluded Hult, "it is not sufficient to interrupt the continuity of leadership. I will not vote for the appointment of Glen McKiel."

John Williams was the next Selectman to speak. "I met Friday with both McKiel and Sullivan," he informed the crowd. Williams said that any selection process cannot consider all the important factors needed to make a decision. "Some aspects are more important than others," he believes. "Glen McKiel brings certain strengths that the Search Committee has pointed out. However, the strengths of John Sullivan outweigh the good points that McKiel brings to the table."

Because Selectmen Tony Allison and Bill Tice both served on the Search Committee that unanimously recommended McKiel, there were now a probable two votes for each candidate, and it was up to Chair Stevenson to determine the fate of McKiel. He wasted no time in making his feelings known. "I have sifted through all the bits of information and will try to make a decision that's best for the community," said Stevenson to a hushed auditorium. "I have come to the conclusion that there is a better candidate for this community and John Sullivan is that candidate." The last few words were lost in the applause, whistles, and cheers from the audience. Stevenson then called for a vote and the nomination of Glen McKiel for Carlisle Police Chief was defeated by a vote of two for (Allison,Tice) and three against (Stevenson,Williams,Hult).

After restoring order and admonishing the crowd about further outbursts, Stevenson recognized Tim Hult to continue the proceedings. "I nominate Acting Chief John Sullivan to be Permanent Chief of Police," said Hult with a strong voice. "John Sullivan has significant strengths. He was personally responsible for solving many crimes in Carlisle. He has a good relationship with people in town." Hult admitted that Sullivan needs to improve on his public speaking and financial management. "But I'd rather have someone who understands police work instead of a spread sheet," concluded Hult. "John Sullivan loves police work and he loves Carlisle."

Sullivan began working for the Carlisle Police Department in 1985 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1998. He holds a master's degree in criminal justice.

John Williams said, "Sullivan is someone who knows what it is to be a policeman in Carlisle. He has maturity, wisdom, and intelligence. He has a deep passion for protecting Carlisle," said Williams. "I trust him to protect us."

Stevenson does know Sullivan. "I've known John for many years," he began. "I've seen him grow into a competent and capable lieutenant. He has integrity, a passion for Carlisle, and loyalty." Stevenson affirmed that he values Sullivan's loyalty to this community and, "we will return that same amount of loyalty to John." Stevenson then called for a vote and the Board tallied three votes for, none against, and two abstentions. Acting Chief John Sullivan now became the permanent Carlisle Police Chief.

"Can we clap now?" yelled someone from the audience as applause and cheers broke out across the room.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito