Chilmark Police Chief Rich will retire in July
Chilmark police Chief Timothy S. Rich announced last week that he will retire on July 1, 2009, after 33 years with the department, including the past 30 as its chief.
"Everything has a shelf life, including me," Chief Rich told selectmen. "It's time to begin another chapter in my life. There is no particular reason. I just feel it's time." Chief Rich is 53 and will turn 54 on June 30, the day before his retirement.
Selectmen were generous in praise of the taciturn 6' 8" policeman. "We thank you for your service. A community is as good as the people who serve it," said Warren Doty.
"You have been a good community policeman. You took the time to know the people and their way of life. You have upheld the law with kindness," selectman J.B. Riggs Parker said.
File photo by Betsy Corsiglia
Chief Rich thanked the board and the town for their support of his department during his tenure. A native of Long Island, New York, he moved to Chilmark in 1975 to join the force as a police officer.
"I haven't set any future plans. I'm going to see what happens," Chief Rich said, adding, "I've never lived in Chilmark without being a cop, so I really don't know what to expect." He said that he and his wife, Laurisa, have no plans to leave Martha's Vineyard.
"You might want to put a sign on your truck that says 'Don't Call Me'," Frank Fenner, the chairman of the selectmen, advised the chief.
Selectmen agreed at the meeting to oversee the hiring of a replacement. They will act as the screening committee, with an assist from a member of the town personnel board, which is preparing a process for advertising and interviewing candidates.
The position currently pays $84,377 per year.
Chief Rich supervises a full-time sergeant, two officers, and up to a dozen special and seasonal traffic officers.
While the department's full-time strength has only increased by one officer over the past 33 years, the seasonal and special officer corps has almost tripled. "The summer season has changed," said Chief Rich. "Back then, people rented for the entire summer, so July Fourth and Labor Day were the crunch times. Now, people rent for a week or two, so it's busy throughout the season."
Chief Rich suggested that selectmen name his second in command, Sgt. Jonathan P. Klaren, the interim chief after July 1 and conduct the hiring process in a more relaxed period in the fall. This week, Mr. Parker said no decision had been made on the timing of the interview process. "We haven't adopted a plan. The personnel board is putting the process together for us," he said.