The Salem Police Department stands accused of mismanaging internal investigations, ignoring or discouraging citizen complaints, failing to keep complete records of internal investigations and violating department policies regarding citizen complaints.
Oh, and a 170-page report also says the police chief and some officers worked outside details while on company time.
Other than that, we guess everything in Salem must be A-OK?
Seriously, something or perhaps many things have gone wrong with the police department. Why Town Manager Christopher Dillon chose the day after Thanksgiving to post the report on the town’s website is itself puzzling. We think citizens are more interested in shopping, football, and family at that time.
The timing was certainly not an effort to provide cover for Police Chief Paul Donovan. It has been clear for some time that there is no love lost between the manager and the chief.
And yet the chief, defending his working of paid private shifts while supposedly on duty, says manager Dillon, as with past managers, had given the okay for this practice. This was done, claims the chief, because his salary was not equal to that of other area chiefs.
The Kroll, Inc., report was authorized by the town. It recommends a complete overhaul of the department’s internal affairs program, among other things.
Town Manager Dillon’s news release on the matter says the town will now spend money to find and hire a civilian police administrator to help the department implement the report recommendations.
A civilian administrator? Will that be a permanent position and if so, who will be in charge of the department? Have the town selectmen signed off on this?
Chief Donovan says he disagrees with some of the report’s findings but “in the interest of putting the town first,’’ he will “work with everyone to implement changes in the administration and the day-to-day operations’’ of the department.
It may be premature to ask, but at some point the question for Salem citizens must be: Is it in the interest of the community for Chief Donovan to continue in that role?