Falmouth Officials Consider Challenges for Next Police Chief

FALMOUTH – Falmouth officials recently discussed community policing as they considered the challenges they hope the town’s next Chief of Police will address.

With the department’s current Chief Edward Dunne set to retire in May, Acting Town Manager Peter Johnson-Staub asked the Select Board at their January 30 meeting to comment on what they wanted the new chief to focus on.

Vice-Chair Onjalé Scott Price emphasized the job’s needs for prioritizing outreach and engagement. 

“I think it’s a really big ask, but I would like to see someone make an effort to connect with the community on a different level, given the state of policing and recent happenings,” she said.

Scott Price said she hoped whoever is hired as the next chief would work to restore community trust.

Board member Scott Zylinski also addressed the matter. 

“I think they have to be acutely aware of the racial component of our community and our police force has to be representative of our community,” he said.

Then board member Doug Brown shared his thoughts. 

“I’m not a person of color, but I think that they are doing a pretty good job in that department. I hope so,” Brown said. 

“But you don’t know,” Zylinski replied.

“I don’t really know,” Brown said.

“I want to know,” Zylinski said.

Zylinski also shared an idea for restructuring leadership in the department with the introduction of the next chief. He suggested getting rid of a captain position and backfilling it with a deputy chief role instead. 

He said the creation of a deputy chief would make it so there’s a leader in the department that can connect with lower ranks and improve communication. 

He added it would help with succession plans and give officers a different career-path trajectory.

“We don’t lose good officers to other towns. It’s just another way of getting another police chief ready, strategically,” Zylinski said.

Brown said the next chief should be aware of the department’s involvement and organization for large-scale seasonal events like the 4th of July fireworks display.

The posting for the job state’s the chief must uphold the values of community policing. Other responsibilities emphasized public engagement and outreach. 

With town officials looking to hire a candidate in the spring, Zylinski recommended that Johnson-Staub go for a ride along with local officers to see what they’re looking for in the next chief.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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