Danvers captain in line for police chief job
By Michael Puffer
DANVERS — The town manager won't say who's in the running to replace the retiring police chief, but the smart money would be on police Capt. Neil Ouellette.
Ouellette is one of only two people eligible for the job under the current Civil Service list, said former police Lt. Jon Tiplady.
The other is the retiring chief, Stuart Chase.
Tiplady said he was the third man on that Civil Service list but was ruled ineligible because he retired in May 2003. Since Town Manager Wayne Marquis has said he is looking exclusively within the department to hire, that would seem to leave Ouellette as the sole candidate.
Marquis and Ouellette declined to comment on whether or not Ouellette will be the next chief. Marquis said he planned to wrap up interviews this week and would announce the new chief by next Wednesday.
Tiplady lauded Ouellette as a fitting replacement for Chase.
"He's a very professional person, and very qualified," Tiplady said.
Ouellette, 44, grew up in Beverly and lives in Danvers. He joined the Danvers police department in 1978 as a volunteer in the police auxiliary. He was hired as a part-time reserve officer in 1983 and joined the department as a full-time patrol officer in 1987.
Ouellette was promoted to captain in May 2003, filling the vacancy left when Chase moved up to chief. Ouellette has a master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Salem State College.
Ouellette earned $94,685 as captain last year, including details and overtime. Chase's salary as chief was $98,946.
The eligible candidates for chief are based on the top scores on the police chief exam. Tiplady said he received a card from the state in early December informing him that he was a contender for the chief's job.
But when he went to Town Hall to affirm his interest by signing the state list, he said he was told by Human Resources Director Larry Wood that he is not eligible because he retired in May 2003.
Tiplady signed anyhow, just to "cover my bases." Tiplady said the Civil Service commission then sent him a letter confirming his ineligibility a week later.
Marquis declined media requests for the names of the candidates on the Civil Service list in December, saying he had "a question" he needed answered first. This week, Marquis said that question had been answered but he continued to refuse to release the list.
To do so, he said, would be "a distraction" from the process of hiring a new police chief.
"I was provided a list and needed clarification about eligibility," Marquis said yesterday. He declined to spell out specifics of his question or the response provided by the state.
Tiplady, 56, remains active in the law enforcement community, providing training on domestic abuse and other issues for law enforcement across the country. He also teaches health classes at the Dunn Middle School and worked as an assistant Danvers harbormaster last summer.
Tiplady didn't get a shot at the top job, but says he isn't bitter.
"It's his (Marquis') choice," Tiplady said. "I'm perfectly content with what I'm doing."