HANSON — Police Chief Michael Miksch is preparing to offer an assessment center for sergeants in his department as part of the search for a new lieutenant — a position that has been vacant for about a year and a half.
“I would like to fill that position again,” Miksch said. “It’s needed. The way I would like to fill it is through an assessment center.”
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, July 11 voted to approve Town Administrator Michael McCue’s recommendation to contract with Integrity Testing to administer the assessment center. Selectmen also approved the qualifications Miksch had drawn up for consideration for promotion to lieutenant.
McCue made the recommendation based on their program and as the low-bidder for the testing.
Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett asked if McCue and/or Miksch had “kicked the tires” on Integrity.
“They have quite a lengthy resume,” McCue said. “We’ve done that sort of search.” Miksch said he had no objections to that firm.
Miksch himself was hired through the town’s work with BadgeQuest on an assessment center. Evaluators would be captain level or above, and likely would include chiefs or deputy chiefs.
Miksch said he was partial to BadgeQuest, which was the assessment center he went through, but had no objection to Integrity Testing as he had placed it close behind BadgeQuest in his ranking of the five bidding assessment companies. Hanson Police Department also used a BadgeQuest assessment center for its last sergeant’s exam, promoting three off that list.
“It’s not your typical, multiple-choice Civil Service exam, although Civil Service does recognize assessment centers now,” Miksch said. “Being non-Civil Service, we can determine how we want to do promotions.”
The process combines a written portion, often as a report, following a practical exercise. No dates have been set for the assessment center yet.
“I like the assessment centers because they test the individual’s abilities, knowledge and skills,” Miksch said. “You either know something or you don’t. There’s no guessing if it’s A, B, C or D — you have to put out and produce.”
While all five Hanson Police Department sergeants will be welcome to take the assessment, only two meet the criteria required for advancement to lieutenant right now. For the others, it is a chance to go on the list at their three-year mark and to enable them to move on if they wish to take another opportunity.
To qualify for consideration for the lieutenant’s position, applicants must have three years of employment as a full-time Hanson Police sergeant. Tie scores will be broken by seniority and the score list will be active for two years and points will be given for advanced degrees, seniority and veteran’s status. A one-year probationary period is also included.
“Who would know more about the position you wanted to fill than you?” Selectman Jim Hickey said. “I think it’s a formality that we’re doing this.”
Credit where due
Miksch also took the opportunity Tuesday night to credit the officers and detectives who worked two recent theft cases, as well as those who are working to control the opioid overdose problem in town.
Hanson officers working the case of an armed robbery attempt at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Liberty Street June 14 were Sgt. Eugene Andrews and officers Marc Vigneau, Dan Godwin, Jared Meegan and Brent Peterson.
“This was the third time we’ve had a robbery or an armed robbery in the area,” Miksch said noting past incidents at Mutual Federal and Rockland Trust banks. “These [officers] have it down to a science. They go in, do a very good job of working together — knowing who has what cameras — they know the town, they know the businesses and the people, and they wrap up some of these things fairly quickly.”
Meegan was singled out for his observations of the would-be robbery suspect’s behavior and description earlier in the evening at Shaw’s supermarket, which proved invaluable to making an arrest, Miksch said. Meegan was a member of the Wellfleet Police Department before coming to Hanson three years ago.
“The officers did an outstanding job,” Miksch said. “The most notable one would be officer Meegan. … On his normal patrol earlier in the evening, he saw a vehicle with a male and a female in it that just didn’t sit right with him.”
Meegan then remained at the Shaw’s lot and ran the vehicle’s license plate, which came back to some Quincy residents. Other officers investigating the Dunkin Donuts incident — gathering surveillance camera footage from area businesses — noticing that one suspect was wearing the same pair of distinctive shorts Meegan had described as worn by the male at the Shaw’s incident.
“That was a big key for this,” Miksch said. “For us, a lot of things — one might say — is dumb luck, but I think sometimes you make your luck. In this case, they did.”
Detective Paul O’Brien worked to secure arrest warrants, two of which were from Norfolk County for Quincy evidence, which also helped Quincy Police clear three armed robberies, Miksch said. Abington is now looking at two others.
While the officers were in Quincy on June 16, Officer Elisha Sullivan and Sgt. Michael Bearce took a call for the breaking and entering of a vehicle at Shaw’s.
“They got some great information from a witness,” Miksch said. “The dispatcher David Munn did some great work putting a broadcast out very quickly. The Whitman Police stopped them at the CVS on Bedford Street.”
The Hanson victim’s property, as well as property from a number of other thefts, was recovered. Sgt. Peter Calogero also became involved in the case, working to obtain search warrants based on forensic evidence from cell phones and is working to return property.
“There was some great stuff in a two-day period that these guys did,” Miksch said.
In addition to carrying Narcan to deal with opioid overdoses, Hanson officers have also been working within the limitations of legal restrictions imposed on narcotic evidence at overdose calls to arrest drug dealers.
Miksch said funding from Plymouth County DA Timothy Cruz’s office and the Sheriff’s Department have established a database to track incidents of overdoses as well as providing information to officers to “work our way up the supply chain” and make arrests of dealers.
Hanson officers are also working with groups such as East Bridewater HOPE and the Outreach Program in Carver and surrounding communities — which have since merged their efforts. The goal is to have an officer and a counselor show up at an overdose victim’s home within 24 hours to provide treatment information and a bed at a rehab facility.
Over the past 10 years, an average of two people a year reporting Hanson as their last address, died from opioid overdoses, based on statistics from Whitman-Hanson WILL. Since then, the number of reversals — people that have been saved — have increased thanks to the counseling programs.
“We’ve been doing a lot,” Miksch said. “You don’t see it … but detective O’Brien and officer Sullivan are my two outreach people right now. Every city and town in Plymouth County is involved in adding information to this database.”