Chilmark officer promoted to sergeant

Chief Klaren’s first big decision was to promote from within.



In an absolute flurry of police staffing activity in recent months, Chilmark has again supported one of its own and promoted longtime Police Officer Sean Slavin to sergeant.

This move fills the spot vacated by Jonathan Klaren, the new chief, who was promoted from sergeant on March 9. Chief Klaren had been the Chilmark sergeant for more than 13 years.

If you ducked out for a coffee, you would have missed it.

Chief Klaren recommended Officer Slavin for promotion to sergeant about 6:20 pm at the Chilmark selectmen’s meeting Tuesday evening. Selectmen immediately approved the recommendation with little discussion, and he was sworn in an hour later in a quiet, small ceremony in front of the town clerk’s desk.

Chief Klaren told selectmen that town clerk Jennifer Christy was required to work 7 pm to 8 pm Tuesday night, as it was a scheduled time that a resident could register to vote in the upcoming town election. He decided to just get it done, since she was there anyway. Chief Klaren texted Officer Slavin to come on down, which he did with family in tow, including his mother-in-law.

Sargent Slavin has been a full-time police officer in Chilmark for the past eight years, and prior to that worked about 18 years combined as a police officer in both Aquinnah and West Tisbury. Sergeant Slavin and his wife, Dardanella, left the Island for a couple of years so that Mrs. Slavin could attend chiropractic school in New York.

Sergeant Slavin, originally from Natick, lives in Chilmark with his wife and two children, Quinlan, 10, and Corrick, 6, who both attend the West Tisbury School, in fourth grade and kindergarten, respectively. Mrs. Slavin is a true Islander, with the maiden name of Muldaur, and attended the Chilmark School at its former location, where her husband now works (the current Chilmark Police building). Mrs. Slavin also attended West Tisbury School and Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. She is now a chiropractor on the Island.

“I looked at qualities I thought were important, I looked at who would be a good fit, who has these qualities that include leadership, supervisory, and the ability to be a right-hand man and a confidante of the police department,” Chief Klaren said.

Selectmen did advertise a vacancy for sergeant. Officer Slavin had an interview that included a representative from the human resources board, a representative from the selectmen, and the police chief.

“The recommendation from that committee is that Officer Slavin is well-qualified to be sergeant,” board chairman Warren Doty said. “He gave us a complete review of his work in police departments over the past years, and they all were satisfactory — they were better than satisfactory, they were superior.”

In keeping the Chilmark Police Department buzzing along, selectmen also approved from within Jesse Burton for the position of full-time patrolman at the Tuesday selectmen’s meeting, which was the recommendation of Chief Klaren. This was to immediately fill the position left open by the new Sergeant Slavin’s promotion.

Officer Burton graduated from the police academy on March 11, 2016, and has nearly completed his mandatory one-year probation period, largely under the direction of Chief Klaren. He started out as a traffic officer, and then became a special officer. He later left the Island for a period to be an air marshal, and spent 10 years as a reserve officer.

“He has a bright future with this department,” Chief Klaren said.

Officer Burton lives in Chilmark with his wife, Laia.

Officer Burton’s promotion leaves a vacancy for a full-time patrolman in Chilmark. Selectmen will advertise for the position with “academy training preferred,” but Chief Klaren does not want to exclude candidates who haven’t completed the academy.

The department will soon launch an informal community outreach initiative called “Coffee with a Cop.”