August 5, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
Last night -- the day following Police Chief Glenn Olsson's retirement (Aug. 3) -- the Selectmen appointed Deputy Chief David Jones as interim police chief, with all three board members voicing their utmost confidence in his ability to do the job.
"We have an able and capable deputy chief in David Jones, and I would suggest he is ready, competent, and has the confidence of the police force," Town Administrator Tom Mayo said before the vote during the remote board meeting.
Selectman Joseph Fisher, who spent some time talking with Jones recently, said he firmly believes he's up to the task "as an able leader who knows what's involved [in serving as chief] and who has a good sense of how to reach out to those who serve with him, to the Selectmen, and to other folks at Town Hall to make sure things run smoothly."
Selectman William Ramsey also gave his vote of confidence from his past experience working with Jones in a different capacity.
Chair Mary Power praised the town's tradition of "succession planning," referring to in this instance, efforts toward preparing Jones for this role that have been in place for some time. "This is one of the many credits that go to Chief Olsson," she said.
Power went on to say, "Congratulations, Chief!" to Jones, who thanked the Selectmen and Mayo for the opportunity to serve in this new role and for their support. "I look forward to continuing the department's partnership with the community [and our tradition of] outstanding service," he said. Jones also expressed appreciation for Olsson's guidance and noted that he mentored "several generations of police officers" during his 40 years on the job.
Jones also thanked his fellow police officers for their dedication, promising to work "for and with you as we continue to make positive changes."
The board took this opportunity to commend Olsson in part for his regular attendance at town board meetings to ensure public safety and other issues were addressed.
"He treated everyone with dignity and respect, no matter who the person was or what the issue," Ramsey said.
Power worked with Olsson for 20 years while serving on various town boards, including her current role as selectman. "He expressed empathy, understanding, and respect, and had a sense of humor," she said.
Jones immediately switched gears for the next item on the agenda -- listening in as the board conducted three police patrolman interviews with candidates Griffin P. Moriarty, Kevin P. Nguyen, and Daniel E. Goldstein.
"We have a unique situation with this group of candidates," Jones said. "Three residents responded for the three [open] positions."
Calling the interview process "rigorous and three-dimensional," Power asked Jones to explain some of the details -- taking the standardized police exam, background report, criminal and reference check, drug test, psychological and medical exams, physical abilities testing, and an intense review before a Hingham Police Department panel "to induce stress and put the candidate in the hot seat a little bit," according to Jones. The final step is interviewing before the Selectmen, who are the appointing authority.
Moriarty, who grew up in Hingham and went through the Hingham Police Department's Citizen's Police Academy, has long aspired to be a police officer in his hometown. He holds a degree in emergency management and homeland security from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. When asked to describe himself in three words, he replied: "hard-working, calm, and a good decisionmaker."
Nguyen, who currently serves as an assistant harbormaster in Hingham, graduated from Westfield State University with a degree in criminal justice. He is bilingual, speaking both English and Vietnamese. He found the prospect of working for the HPD appealing because of its fine community policing efforts and programs such as DARE, the Citizen's Police Academy, and the presence of resource officers in the schools. He described himself as "honest, compassionate, and composed" when asked.
Goldstein, a Hingham High School graduate, is close to acquiring a criminal justice degree from UMass Boston. He has worked as an assistant harbormaster in Hingham and as a seasonal police officer for the Town of Hull. "This is like a calling for me," he said. When asked to name his best qualities, Goldstein said he's "honest, compassionate, and focused."
"The HPD has very high standards, and these candidates exemplify those standards," Fisher said. "They're quite impressive."
Jones said he fully endorses all three candidates. The Selectmen will make appointments to these three seats at an upcoming meeting.
In other business last night, Town Administrator Tom Mayo said that on Monday night, Selectmen Chair Mary Power received an email from a resident "demanding her prompt resignation from the board or the sender would go to every media outlet," claiming she has a "clear bias and conflict of interest -- especially as a Police Commissioner."
The letter was referring to the July 28 Selectmen's meeting, during which there was a discussion about correspondence received by the board concerning the selectmen's earlier directive to the Hingham Fire Department to take down Thin Blue Flags from their fire apparatus.
At that meeting, several participants pressured town officials to have them removed as soon as possible, which took place the following day.
"We have forwarded that letter to the Massachusetts attorney general for review and possible action," Mayo said. "Our town officials always act with the highest degree of integrity. Correspondence from citizens is always welcome, but we won't allow this kind." Mayo declined to comment further because the matter has been referred to the attorney general.