After 23 years in progressive positions in law enforcement, I was honored and humbled by the offer to become chief of the Gloucester Police Department.
I purposely sought this position after considering other offers and opportunities. Gloucester appealed to me because I have a lot in common with the community. Nearly six months into my tenure, I feel the match was a good one and I hope Gloucester feels that way too.
I come from a blue collar background. I have a natural desire to collaborate. I hold strong beliefs that organizations thrive with mutual support and respect. I adhere to a philosophy that leaders work for the people and those they lead, not the other way around. I even cherish the idea that old dogs can learn new tricks. I think Gloucester shares these concepts as well.
Since I’ve arrived, the department, through support of officers and the community, has been able to move forward and address issues identified in a 2009 Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI) study of the Police Department. As a team, the Police Department has reorganized its staff and vision. The benefits have been visible. We have experienced an increase in police/citizen interactions with very few associated complaints.
We also have instituted programs that further professionalize our officers and engage the community in fostering respect, fairness and partnership, as well as transparency. One example is the field training officer program, which ensures that the academy graduates are trained on what it means to be a police officer in Gloucester.
The Citizens Police Academy began in February, teaching folks about our day-to-day activities and specialized programs. This program is a great step toward building positive interactions between the Police Department and the people we serve. Soon, we will initiate a Neighborhood Watch program. The department also is partnering with organizations like the Healthy Gloucester Collaborative.
Efforts like these are important because they remind everyone that officers do not just exist in the community – we are part of the community. We don’t just enforce the law, we help people in need.
As the department continues to revamp, residents can expect benefits from a new records management system. Once this system is acquired and operational, we will be able to streamline calls for service and statistically analyze data to improve future deployment and management of resources. The system also will allow us to be more accountable in terms of attendance and payroll. As we look to the future, everybody in the department also hopes for a new public safety building on the horizon, one that will benefit the department as well as the residents.
Under my watch, the goals of the police department will be clear. We will present budgets that are reasonable, transparent, and not overburdening to the taxpayer. We will seek to build our staff and place more officers on the streets to patrol and meet the people they serve. We hope for continued advancement of our vision and mission, always striving to provide professional, courteous, compassionate service to our residents.
Thank you Mayor Carolyn Kirk, the City Council, and all the officers and supervisors of the Gloucester Police Department for the remarkable opportunity to work in the community. And thank you, especially, to the residents of Gloucester for making me feel so welcome. I’m proud to serve the city of Gloucester.
Leonard Campanello is chief of police for the city of Gloucester.