Capt. Cartledge named Northampton’s interim police chief

Northampton Police Department Captain John Cartledge will serve as interim chief starting Jan. 2.

Northampton Police Department Captain John Cartledge will serve as interim chief starting Jan. 2. NORTHAMPTON POLICE

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 11-03-2023 5:57 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra has designated Capt. John Cartledge to lead the Police Department on an interim basis while a search takes place to find a replacement for Chief Jody Kasper, who announced earlier this week that she is leaving to become the police chief in Nantucket.

Cartledge is currently the department’s captain of administration. A native of Northampton, he graduated from Northampton High School in 1995 before obtaining a bachelor’s degree at Westfield State University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Capella University, a for-profit school based in Minnesota that provides online instruction.

“I am sincerely grateful and excited to have this opportunity to serve our department and community as the Interim Chief of Police,” Cartledge said in a statement. “We have a great city and department, together we will move forward in this time of transition and change.”

Sciarra also announced the next steps the city would take to find a new chief. She said she must first issue a formal request for proposal to find a consulting firm that specializes in recruiting candidates.

Once a consultant is selected, a screening committee will be appointed that will consist of city officials, residents and other experts. This committee will conduct interviews of candidates and announce finalists for the position, with public opportunities to meet the finalists and share opinions with the city before a candidate is chosen and then confirmed by the city council.

Kasper has served as police chief since 2015. A fixture in the department for 25 years, Kasper rose through the ranks from patrol officer in 1998 to detective, sergeant, lieutenant, detective lieutenant and captain before becoming the city’s first female police chief.

Nantucket officials said in a statement released on Monday that Kasper had officially accepted the position, but contract negotiations are still pending. Per her contract with the city of Northampton, Kasper will continue to serve Northampton for another two months before she may depart her current position. According to the mayor, her last day will be Jan. 1.

“Chief Kasper has played a crucial role in helping Northampton through complex discussions regarding policing in the 21st century,” Sciarra said in a Friday statement. “Her approach has been characterized by unwavering professionalism, a genuine openness to community concerns, and a deep respect for diverse perspectives.”

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Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.