DRACUT — Hooksett, N.H., Police Chief Peter Bartlett is in line to be this community’s next top cop.
Town Manager James Duggan offered the job to Bartlett on Wednesday, just as Russell Stevens, the police chief in the North Shore community of Hamilton withdrew from the selection process.
“Chief Bartlett had the best skill set to fit our growing community’s public-safety challenges that we address everyday and to bring our Police Department to the certification that we are aspiring to,” Duggan said Thursday morning.
The job was advertised with a salary of $155,000 to $170,000. Duggan is still finalizing details with Bartlett, but it’s expected that Bartlett will earn a salary on the lower end of that scale.
The Board of Selectmen has scheduled a special meeting next Tuesday to consider ratifying Duggan’s selection.
The hiring of a new police chief follows what has been an era fraught with turmoil within the agency. Duggan has worked to turn things around through a reorganization of the department’s command structure. Interim Police Chief Neil Ouellette took over from Kevin Richardson, who retired in June 2016 following more than a decade as chief.
Bartlett has been Hooksett’s chief for almost four and a half years. His career in law enforcement spans back to 1987 when he was hired by the Manchester Police Department. Two years later, Bartlett was assigned to the Special Investigations Unit where he worked as an undercover narcotics detective, according to a biography posted on the Hooksett Police Department’s Facebook page. He and two other officers, as part of one of the first Mountain Bike Units in New Hampshire, were awarded the Chief’s Achievement Award for making 267 felony drug arrests in a three-month summer period in 1993.
There were four finalists: Bartlett, Stevens, Peabody Capt. Scott Richards and Richard Bailey, assistant director at Public Safety Strategies Group LLC, a West Townsend-based law enforcement consulting firm.
All four candidates were interviewed, but Duggan’s focus quickly turned to Bartlett and Stevens.
Nearly 30 law-enforcement professionals applied for the position, including two in-house candidates and officers in Billerica, Lowell and Tewksbury. But following the completion of an assessment center during which candidates were interviewed, tested, role-played and had to write an essay, Stevens and Bartlett rose to the top, as Stevens finished first and Bartlett second.
Follow Scott on Twitter @cscottlowellsun.
For more on this story read Friday’s Sun or click on http://www.lowellsun.com