Police chief search in Northampton gets under way

Northampton Police Station

Northampton Police Station

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 04-12-2024 11:33 AM

NORTHAMPTON — After the departure of former police chief Jody Kasper at the start of this year, the city has officially begun the search to find her replacement.

Kasper left Northampton after serving the city for 25 years, eight of them as police chief, to serve as police chief for the island of Nantucket. John Cartledge has been serving as the interim chief since her departure.

Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra posted the job opening this week, setting a May 3 deadline for candidates to submit a resume and cover letter. In the job posting, the city noted its renewed efforts in recent years to reimagine public safety, such as recently creating the Division of Community Care as an alternative emergency response unit following a recommendation by the Northampton Policing Review Commission, formed in the wake of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd by police in 2021.

“Northampton’s residents are engaged and passionate about preserving the city’s historical charm and pursuing progressive policies,” the job posting notes. “This balance creates a unique landscape in which the chief of police will play a crucial role in supporting community values while navigating the complexities of modern law enforcement.”

The posting further described the ideal candidate as a “reform-minded leader with an emphasis on procedural justice, restorative justice, and community trust.”

The qualifications listed include a minimum of 10 years experience and five years experience of “progressively responsible command.”

Sciarra said in a statement this week that she hired search consultant Public Safety Consultants of Boxford to assist with the search. The firm was also used in the hiring of Kasper back in 2015.

In addition, the mayor’s office also announced it was forming a seven-person committee to help oversee the hiring process. That committee consists of city’s Human Resources Director Chad Dunham, Health and Human Services Commissioner Merridith O’Leary, City Council President Alex Jarrett, At-Large City Councilor Garrick Perry, Assistant Chancellor and Chief of Police Tyrone Parham of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Northampton residents Allison Pash and Felicia Lundquist.

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Lundquist is the training manager at Think Again Training And Consulting. Previously, she directed diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Springfield College, where she also taught. Pash is a staff attorney for the Public Defender Division of the Northampton Trial Office and the Committee for Public Counsel Service, and represents clients in Franklin and Hampshire Counties.

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