HANSON — Two new officers were appointed, and Lt. Michael Casey was appointed deputy police chief effective immediately on the Hanson Police Department during the Tuesday, Oct. 13 meeting of the Board of Selectmen.
Police Chief Michael Miksch said the department had been functioning with a lieutenant as second in command for several years.
“What’s been happening in the area … is departments are renaming their number two officer,” Miksch said. “Their executive officer is the deputy chief.”
Besides the history of that position having been a lieutenant, Miksch said he hadn’t had the right person in the position to necessarily fill the title.
“I’m impressed with the amount [of knowledge] he has picked up, I’m impressed with his enthusiasm, he has a great way of dealing with the officers … he’s just been doing an outstanding job,” Miksch said.
He also noted that Casey has been doing the job, including working on policies and procedures in the department.
“If he’s doing the job, I think he deserves the title,” Miksch said. “That’s all it is right now, is a title. No one is asking for more money.”
The move is a title change to better reflect the job Casey is doing and the responsibility of the job. It also allows better interaction with other police agencies.
“I’m not going to put another person in the lieutenant’s position,” Miksch said in anticipation of that question from Selectmen. “There’s no funding for that. Those badges and the name plate will go on a shelf somewhere.”
But, it would be a good placeholder for future discussion if the right person became evident, he said.
“One of goals, if I leave, is to make sure that you have some choices as to whose going to be the next chief,” Miksch said. “I think it’s the sign of a very successful organization if they can promote from within.”
Selectmen Chairman Kenny Mitchell said a succession plan is a good idea, and Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmett agreed, but expressed concern about potential issues the town’s labor counsel should advise them about.
“Not being a Civil Service community, we’re not bound by any of those laws,” Miksch said, but added he does not have a problem with selectmen consulting labor counsel, if that makes them more comfortable.
FitzGerald-Kemmett argued for either postponing a vote for two weeks for an opinion, or approve it on condition of approval by labor counsel. Selectmen voted to approve it subject to labor counsel OK.
Regarding the new officers Miksch said that, when the 911 communications — which encompassed five civilian positions —were transferred to the regional communications center in Duxbury, he sought an additional four officers to keep the station open.
“[It] still brought me in with less of a budget than I had before [the dispatchers] left,” he said.
One candidate, who was supposed to attend the academy in January, did not meet the requirements and left another position open. He decided to seek a trained officer in another department willing to make a lateral move to Hanson.
“As you know from the news, there aren’t a lot of people banging down the door to become cops anymore, but we got about 30 applicants,” Miksch said. Out of those, only five or six met the requirement of having completed a full-time academy.
They also brought in 10 part-time officers for interviews. One of those, Robert Mansfield, stood out, according to Miksch.
“He grew up in Whitman, he’s a W-H graduate, he worked on the Yarmouth Police Department,” Miksch said. After a short time, he transferred to Oak Bluffs when his wife started a job on Martha’s Vineyard. He attended the Randolph full-time academy and as five years’ experience on the job and can be appointed Nov. 1.
Mansfield is a graduate of UMass, Boston and attended the Mass. Maritime Academy where he majored in emergency management.
Appointed to begin service on completion of police academy were: part-time officers Nick Kanarski and Kyle Barsani.
Kanarski has been a part-time officer in Hanson for more than 10 years, Miksch said.
“He’s another local kid,” he said. “He worked in IT for WHRSD when the previous police chief appointed him as a part-time officer.”
Kanarski has done details, “hanging around to do the training he needs to do every year to keep up” and has been willing to work emergency night details despite also holding down a full-time job, the chief said.
“Nick would be a great full-time and he wants a career change,” Miksch said, noting he would begin the Plymouth Academy Feb. 1. Kanarski has worked for the Secret Service is also a personal trainer and his IT background will be helpful.
“My guys’ idea of fixing the printer is smacking it with something and hoping the paper fits,” Miksch said.
Barsani became a part-time officer in Hanson about six months ago, has been an auxiliary officer in Whitman for the past year and is finishing college, working on a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He is also a personal trainer and fitness instructor, at the Old Colony YMCA. He is expected to start the Cape Cod academy Jan. 4.
In other business, Selectmen voted Halloween activities in town.
Mitchell said it should go on as usual, with safety guidelines such as putting candy in bags to hand out.
“I really don’t see cancelling Halloween as a positive,” he said.
“It’s huge,” FitzGerald-Kemmett agreed. “I think people know that they need to be safe. … We’ve got little people who have had a pretty abysmal year, which is the understatement of the year, and this is some little amount of joy they can get before we’re all shut in for the winter.”
“Cancelling Halloween is out of the question,” said Selectman Jim Hickey, who has spoken with younger parents in town, who plan to accompanying their children to ensure social distancing.
“My house is going to be ready,” he said. “So, if somebody comes at 2 in the afternoon, I’m going to be ready. If somebody comes at 8 o’clock, my light’s out.”
Hickey and FitzGerald-Kemmett suggested touching base with the school district to reinforce safety issues with middle school students.
“If you’re at home handing out candy, wear a mask,” Selectman Matt Dyer said. “If you’re out trick-or-treating, wear a mask.”