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Tale of two chiefs: Bedford vs. Hooksett
David Bailey, who served as Bedford’s police chief for 22 years, retired on June 30 of last year, just shy of three months before Hooksett Police Chief Stephen Agrafiotis was placed on administrative leave. Bedford quickly contracted with a search firm, interviewed candidates and hired a new chief, who just completed his first year on the job to glowing reviews from Town Council members. In Hooksett, it’s been a different story.
On Wednesday night, as Bedford’s new chief reported to the council that he cut costs and increased patrols, Hooksett’s officers spoke out against the town’s Police Commission, which already had received a vote of no confidence from Town Council members, for its inaction and secrecy. Former Chief Agrafiotis resigned in January, and Hooksett is still without a replacement. The interim chief previously resigned the position and withdrew his name from the search, citing the commission’s lack of communication and leadership.
It is not as though Bedford’s hiring process was streamlined. As we reported last year, “Each candidate met with three different panels: a citizen panel, an employee interview panel, which included town department heads as well as police employees, and a professional panel, comprised of former police chiefs with other current careers in law enforcement.” But the council and then-manager Russ Marcoux were determined to find a good replacement quickly, and they did.
It is amazing what can be accomplished with determination, organization and initiative — and what can go unaccomplished when those are lacking.
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