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Dalton gets 30 police chief résumés

By Tony Dobrowolski
Berkshire Eagle Staff

DALTON -- The deadline for applications is Dec. 15, but so far 30 candidates from across the country have applied to be the town's new police chief, Town Manager Kenneth E. Walto said yesterday.

"We expect 50 résumés" by the time the deadline expires, Walto said.

The position became vacant in March when former Police Chief Daniel D. Filiault retired after suffering a heart attack in October 2003. Former Sgt. Lawrence Higgins has served as the department's acting police chief since Filiault left the force.

Walto said the five-member Police Chief Search Committee intends to hire a permanent replacement sometime after the first of the year.

"The department is shorthanded," said Walto, who is also a member of the search committee. "We want to get a chief on board as soon as possible, but the process takes time."

In September, Higgins said the department was short four officers, including the sergeant's position, for a variety of reasons.

After the application deadline expires, Walto said the committee plans to interview between 10 and 15 candidates before narrowing the field to five finalists.

The finalists will then undergo a procedure conducted by the Massachusetts Municipal Assessment Counseling Group in which they will be asked to respond to a real-life situation such as an emergency, or a budget session.

"It's a way of evaluating the finalists," Walto said. "We put them through a real-life situation and see how they react. ... Hopefully, we'll get a preferred candidate out of that."

Walto said the town has received applications from Florida, Wash-ington, Idaho and Oregon in addition to a few local candidates. He said the job listing was posted on the International Police Chiefs' Bureau Web site.

"I'm surprised at the number of residents who have applied from across the country," Walto said.

According to the job description that is posted in Town Hall, officials are looking for an energetic candidate with excellent communication, management and labor relations skills, and community policing orientation. The position lists a salary ranging between $62,000 and $70,000, including career incentive pay.

The town is also looking for a candidate who preferably has a master's degree in public administration, criminal justice or any related field, with at least five years of progressively responsible experience. Those with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and at least seven years of experience will also be considered. Command experience at the level of sergeant or above is also preferred.

Besides Walto, the Police Chief Search Committee includes Wah-conah Regional High School Prin-cipal Thomas Callahan; town veterans' agent and retired Police Officer Daniel Casey; Barbara Green, a human resources employee at General Dynamics; and Select Board Chairman William E. Chabot.

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/Stories/0,1413,101~7516~2568658,00.html
 
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