Ten-year police veteran chosen Chilmark chief
Chilmark selectmen, acting unanimously Tuesday, appointed patrolman Brian Cioffi the town's new police chief. Mr. Cioffi succeeds Timothy S. Rich, who will retire July 1, after 30 years as police chief and 33 years in the department.
Mr. Cioffi, a 10-year veteran of the four-member Chilmark force, was among 18 candidates for the position. Selectmen interviewed three finalists, including Mr. Cioffi, West Tisbury police sergeant Dan Rossi and Carver police sergeant Mike Miksch, on May 15.
Before nominating Mr. Cioffi, selectman Frank Fenner said, "One candidate stood out for me. He made good fiscal and personal suggestions in the interview process. He has the support of several Island police chiefs, and I've heard positive public comments about him. He will bring new ideas to the department,"
Mr. Fenner also noted that a recently formed Island-wide police tactical force team chose Mr. Cioffi as its team leader.
Yesterday, Mr. Fenner reflected on the appointment. "Brian's been helpful to a lot of people in this town, and not just with police work. It's refreshing and exciting to see someone who's been working in the background, so to speak, show up and shine as he did. He's bringing new ideas and he's willing to follow them. Chief Rich did a tremendous job. He's a tough act to follow, but Brian's up to the task."
After the meeting, Mr. Cioffi was elated. "I'm honored to be selected to serve as police chief. I'm eager to get out there in the community. I've had some great mentors, including my grandfather, Bob Kelley, who ran the Edgartown National Bank for years. He taught me to understand Island life."
During his interview with selectmen last week, Mr. Cioffi emphasized that police work ought to offer education and community building by example, including in officers' daily personal life.
Using ticket writing as an example, Mr. Cioffi told selectmen, "There are two ways to do it. You can scare the bejeebers out of people and write tickets, or get out there" and be visible, Mr. Cioffi said. He generally employs a three-strike rule when writing a ticket "unless you find they have several prior speeding stops close together." Mr. Cioffi said he prefers to use verbal, then written, warnings before citing.
Mr. Cioffi, 33, is a Chilmark resident. His wife Kari is a teacher in West Tisbury. They are the parents of Bryce, age three. Mr. Cioffi will lead a department with three other full-time officers and a group of about 25 seasonal and special officers, according to a roster in the town report.