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Prospect of Mara leaving for Mass., job met with disappointment, understanding
Mara is among four finalists for the top cop job in Somerville, a city of 77,000 north of Boston that shares some of the challenges facing Manchester, including drug-fueled crime and a large immigrant population. Manchester’s population is 110,000, according to the 2012 U.S. Census.
The commission no longer has any authority over the hiring process for the police chief. The mayor would be responsible for nominating candidates, and the finalist would have to be confirmed by an eight-vote majority of the aldermen.
Manchester used to have three deputy chiefs, and in the past the top job has gone to one of the deputies. After he was named chief in 2008, Mara did not fill the vacant deputy posts, and he only recently appointed Nick Willard to be assistant chief. A veteran of the force and a graduate of the FBI Academy, Willard would likely be a top contender for the Manchester job.
Mara has been credited with spearheading community-based policing, reaching out to immigrant groups and presiding over the move to a new headquarters. At the same time, he was drawn criticism for living outside the city, in the suburb of Bedford, and in recent years, the city has seen surges in crime. Mara has consistently lobbied for greater resources for the department.
“He’s done a lot in the five years he’s been chief, just a lot in the community to include everybody and make sure people feel safe regardless of what country they come from,” she said.
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