Chilmark’s new police chief, Jonathan Klaren, is sworn in

In a touching and emotional, yet fun, ceremony, selectmen confirm, and town clerk swears in, the new chief.


Jonathan Klaren was sworn in as Chilmark’s new chief of police Tuesday in a happy, family-fun atmosphere complete with a scarecrow joke, hysterical laughter when looking at the height difference between towering interim Chilmark Police Chief Tim Rich and less-than-towering Aquinnah Police Chief Randhi Belain, and lots of warm comments and audience shout-outs — it was a room full of people who clearly cared about one another and enjoyed each other’s company.

“It’s our honor tonight to appoint Jonathan Klaren as our new police chief,” Warren Doty, chairman of the selectmen, said. “We’ve gone through a very serious process, and considering his qualifications and a very vigorous application process, that he did extremely well with, we’re very proud to honor him as our new police chief.”

Town clerk Jennifer Christy administered the oath to Chief Klaren. Interim Chief Tim Rich pinned the new star onto Chief Klaren’s shirt. “Are you wearing your vest?” Chief Rich asked, as he wielded the pin.

“It’s truly an honor to be standing here today as Chilmark’s next chief of police,” Chief Klaren said. “The journey has been long, challenging, and humbling, but it’s not over. In many ways it’s just beginning. To the board of selectmen, I appreciate your support, but more importantly, I appreciate the board’s support of the Chilmark Police Department.”

And to his former chief, Chief Klaren said, “Chief Rich, so many reasons because of you I am standing here today in this position. You gave me the opportunity as a special officer in 1989, and for your continued support throughout this process. It’s been nothing short of a privilege to have had the opportunity to experience your leadership and your mentoring, stability, and overall stewardship of the Chilmark Police Department. Well done, sir; thank you.”

Chief Klaren also thanked executive secretary Tim Carroll, a friend since 1989 when the new chief asked Mr. Carroll for a summer beach job, and Mr. Carroll instead suggested that Mr. Klaren look into the Chilmark Police summer program. “It’s your fault,” Chief Klaren told Mr. Carroll.

To his wife, Kim, he said, “Thank you for always being there, and for your patience.” It was a tender moment for both.

“To Kelly … I’m watching you,” Chief Klaren told his daughter, a sophomore at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and part of the varsity tennis team. “Remember what your dad always taught you: Never give up, and don’t quit.”

Chief Klaren was overwhelmed when he mentioned his parents, who could not be present for the ceremony. “They are not able to be here tonight, but they know how much I appreciate them. They are thrilled and proud tonight,” Chief Klaren said.

To the officers he will now lead, the new chief said, “Thank you for your professionalism and the stability you’ve all demonstrated the past few months. I’m excited for the future that awaits all of you as officers. There’s a lot of work to do, there will be long and challenging days ahead, but there’s no doubt in my mind you’re all up to the task as we move forward together to provide the best possible service for this community; thank you.”

And to Chilmarkers, Chief Klaren said, “To the people of the town of Chilmark, I’m truly grateful for the support this community has shown me and this entire department. I’ve worked hard over the years to earn your support. I’m looking forward to more hard work over the years to come as your next police chief.”

Many Island police officers attended the ceremony, including West Tisbury Chief Dan Rossi and Aquinnah’s Chief Belain. Also present were some state policemen and a few representatives from the Menemsha Coast Guard Station.