DRACUT — The Board of Selectmen Tuesday night unanimously ratified Town Manager Jim Duggan’s selection of Peter Bartlett as the town’s new police chief.
“I’m extremely excited to be here tonight before all of you,” Bartlett told town officials before the 5-0 ratification vote. “I believe that, from what I’ve seen of this community, and what I’ve read and the folks that I’ve chatted with and met, I really believe that this is a great community.”
Bartlett, the chief of the Hooksett, N.H., Police Department for almost 4 1/2 years, beat out other finalists for the position last week. His hiring is part of Duggan’s reorganization of the department’s command structure and follows what has been an era fraught with turmoil.
Bartlett’s salary will be $160,000 plus benefits, according to Duggan. The new police chief will keep his residence in Hooksett. According to Duggan, living in Dracut is not required for the position.
During the meeting, Duggan told officials that 33 individuals applied for the position, and 31 participated in an assessment center (examination).
“He (Bartlett) came in knowing the community… he walked the community,” Duggan said, adding that Bartlett took the time to also speak with residents. “He came in ready with that information.”
Bartlett’s career in law enforcement spans back to 1987 when he was hired by the Manchester, N.H., Police Department. Two years later, he 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 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.
Town officials congratulated him, including Selectman Tony Archinski, a retired Dracut officer, who said he’s sure Bartlett will play a big part in restoring competency and integrity back to the Police Department.
“There’s some great men and women that have worked there and I think that we are well on our way to making not only them proud, but the town proud,” Archinski added.
Applause followed the ratification vote and a beaming Bartlett went around the dais to shake officials’ hands. After the meeting was adjourned, Duggan said he was thrilled. He also expressed his gratitude towards the selectmen for offering their support to Bartlett.
“I can give true testament that they are very, very supportive to all town employees and they will go out of their way to keep what’s in the best interest of the town first and foremost,” he said. “But they will also be very supportive of town employees.”
Bartlett, who was accompanied by girlfriend, Pamela Thornton, told The Sun he was excited.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with all the men and women of the Dracut Police Department.”
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.