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MassCops Founder
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SUNDERLAND - Selectmen and the new police chief, Jeffrey Gilbert, signed a three-year contract last night promoting the town's sergeant and officer in charge to the number one job.

Gilbert, 49, will be paid $52,500 annually, after a three-month probation period. He has been serving as officer in charge for the past five months. He has served on the local force for more than six years.

A swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for Friday, 7 p.m., at Sunderland Public Library. The public is invited.

Gilbert was a finalist for the job that was originally offered to Denise M. Duguay, a Sunderland resident and Holyoke Police Department lieutenant. Negotiations with Duguay broke down last month over salary and work time issues.

"I've always liked this area. I've always liked this community," Gilbert said. "In particular, I've always liked this department."

A Greenfield native, Gilbert started in police work in neighboring Leverett, where he was the town's first full-time officer. He still lives there.

Prior to police work, Gilbert spent 10 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as a skipper of rescue boats on both the East and West coasts.

His post- high school education includes federal law enforcement training and coursework toward a bachelors degree in criminal justice. He said yesterday he plans to finish that degree, though it is not a requirement of the job.

"It's something I want to do for myself," he said.

"It's going to be a fairly easy transition," he said of becoming chief after already being in charge.

Asked about law enforcement issues facing the job, he said the town does not have a lot of problems, except for one at the moment.

"Right now, we have a pyromaniac out there," he said, a matter the department is busy investigating.

There have been several suspicious fires in unoccupied structures in the southern end of town off Route 116.

Even the high-density apartment complexes near the University of Massachusetts in Amherst do not present big problems for the Police Department, Gilbert said.

Police have to pay close attention to traffic through that area on Route 116, he said, as apartment residents crossing to get to the bus stop are at risk for pedestrian accidents. In recent years, however, the most serious, fatal, accidents have happened to drivers, not pedestrians.

Retired Fed, Active Special
8,890 Posts
Imagine that!?

Going with the 2nd choice after first candidate gets twisted up about salary etc.
Maybe he should have been offered the job in the first place?

Chapter 90 Enforcer
3,299 Posts
Whats the population in Sunderland? And at that Salary, I can see why the Holyoke Lt. didn't take it, it would be a hell of a pay cut. Wow! Nothing like a Sergeant Salary to be Chief.
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