By Mayor Brian Arrigo
This week, I went before the City Council to request expanding the pool of candidates for Revere police chief. To make sure we provide the City of Revere with the best possible police department, we need to expand the candidate pool, increase competition, and put the best from our department up against the best from around the Commonwealth.
Revere and Waltham are the only two cities we are aware of in Greater Boston that restrict their pool to internal candidates. Every other community realizes that creating an open competition brings out the best in internal candidates, while also opening up the possibility of fresh perspectives and new ideas.
In recent months, I have taken time to see and hear first hand how difficult the job is of being a police officer in Revere. It should come as no surprise to any of you that we have incredibly talented and courageous men and women who wear the Revere Police uniform, who serve with distinction every day under challenging circumstances.
As a City, it’s our job to provide these men and women with the tools they need to succeed, and to make sure they grow and develop within a Police Department that is a model for excellence.
That is why I am committed to investing in updated trainings and career development for our police force. I want to ensure that our policemen and policewomen are provided the opportunity to learn and implement the best practices of 21st century policing.
To set the Revere Police Department on a path towards excellence, my administration has commissioned an organizational review of the Department. This review is now underway, and is being conducted by two of the most respected Chiefs in the Commonwealth: Chief Brian Kyes of Chelsea, and Chief Fred Ryan of Arlington. Interim Chief James Guido has already begun the process of working with these Chiefs to review current practices and implement reforms.
When I first proposed conducting an organizational review of the Revere Police Department, the former Mayor came to the podium at the City Council and accused such an effort of being an “insult” to the men and women of the Revere Police Department. He also said such a review would be a waste of money.
What was not said, and what recently came to my attention, is that the previous Mayor’s administration actually did commission a $25,000 organizational review of the Police Department, back in 2015.
When the findings of this review were presented to the former administration in July of 2015, they chose not to share the findings with the people of Revere. In fact, they did not even ask for a written copy of the draft report – despite paying the full $25,000 to the consultant. I’ll leave it to you to consider the reasons why this might have occurred.
The draft report was completed in July 2015 but never delivered. It was uncovered by us just last month, and is available to view at www.revere.org/2015PDReport. The report highlights a number of important issues, and states that “Revere has experienced a fair amount of turbulence over the past several years, and the ability to bring in an outside leader with a different set of experiences could benefit the department.”
The report also found a number of other correctable but important issues, including: an inefficient organizational structure; lack of cohesion within command staff; a lack of proper training and career development for officers; the overemphasis on a paramilitary approach to policing; and the lack of a comprehensive, 21st-century strategy for working with the community to solve problems and prevent crime.
The men and women who patrol our streets, who serve to protect us, deserve better – as do our residents.
You can help. Next week, Chiefs Ryan and Kyes will begin distributing a community survey. You can play an important role in providing information about your relationship with the police, what they are doing well, what they can do better, and how we all can better serve public safety in Revere.
When the current report is complete, the findings will be shared in an open, honest and transparent manner – regardless of whether I like or agree with all of its recommendations.
Once this report and these recommendations are finalized, it is imperative that the next Chief of Police be the person who is best suited to implement its findings. That may be an internal candidate, or it may be a candidate who brings a different perspective from another police department. Either way, the residents of Revere deserve a process that finds the best candidate possible. My administration is committed to making that happen.