Chief Frazier lands top job in police group
By John Laidler, Globe Correspondent | January 23, 2005
Twenty-five years after he started his law enforcement career as a patrolman in Braintree, Police Chief Paul H. Frazier is now guiding his profession on a statewide level.
Frazier, 49, who became president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association last month, said he hopes to revitalize a group that has ''lost its focus."
As part of his volunteer role, Frazier said, he will work for passage of police-related legislation on Beacon Hill, make speeches before police organizations, and act as a spokesman on law enforcement issues.
Frazier's election culminates a four-year rise to the top of the nonprofit advocacy group, which represents about 360 chiefs. He first won a contested race for sergeant at arms, and last year served as first vice president.
The chairman of Braintree's Board of Selectmen, Charles Kokoros, said his panel was not surprised by Frazier's selection. The town's chief since 1993, Frazier has ''done an excellent job running the Police Department," Kokoros said.
Frazier wasted little time in moving to put his stamp on the statewide organization. At his Dec. 16 installation ceremony in his hometown, he delivered a pitch for unifying the organization.
''Somewhere along the line, it seems that as an association, we have lost our focus. It is not one person's fault. We all share the blame, including me," Frazier said.
Later, Frazier said in an interview that many chiefs active in other organizations, such as law enforcement councils, believe the association ignores them and even competes with their groups.
''We should be trying to get them back into the fold," he said of the disgruntled chiefs.
He also wants the association to become a voice for the state's entire law enforcement community, including patrol officers.
Frazier said some previous job experiences -- such as working for state Public Safety Secretary Edward Flynn back when he was chief of police in Braintree -- will benefit him now. He also got to know Flynn's undersecretary, Robert C. Haas, when Haas was chief in Westwood.
''I think it's only going to work to help us here in the association and in law enforcement," he said.
Among the proposed laws Frazier will be promoting is a measure to require insurers to contribute a quarter of 1 percent of their income from auto insurance premiums to a fund to support police training.
He said the bill would meet a pressing need for more police training, and benefit insurers because improved training would likely reduce the number of liability suits brought against municipalities for police actions.
Rockland Police Chief Kevin M. Donovan called Frazier a ''straight shooter, a very professional individual."
''I think he's trying to unite the membership," Donovan said. ''Sometimes, over the years, associations get stagnant. I think he's trying to make some changes and reunite the team."
Frazier said his new position will make demands on his time, but plans to conduct much of his work for the association from Braintree, even though the association's headquarters are in Shrewsbury.
Having two ''excellent deputy police chiefs" and the support of his department will help him balance the two roles, he added.
''The only thing it cuts into is my yoga workouts and my other workouts at the gym," he joked.