BRATTLEBORO - Interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland named former Capt. Michael Fitzgerald as the town's new police chief.
Moreland made the announcement at Tuesday night's Selectboard meeting.
Moreland said after an extensive search, which included the work of four committees, and interviews with five candidates, it was easy for him to choose Fitzgerald.
He said Fitzgerald's strong interview, in which he presented what Moreland called a clear vision of community policing in the town, encouraged him to offer the job to Fitzgerald.
Fizgerald was sworn in before Tuesday night's meeting.
"Overwhelmingly, from everyone who took part in this process, it was clear that Mike Fitzgerald did an outstanding job, that he made Brattleboro proud in his presentation," Moreland said. "He really articulated very clearly and concisely a vision for the role of the police department in this community which is very consistent with what I understand this community to desire for itself."
Moreland said choosing a police chief is one of the most politically sensitive decisions a municipal manager can make, and he said it was important to go through a thorough process before making a choice.
Moreland thanked all of the citizens, police department and town staff members, Selectboard members and community member who took part in the process.
"We can be satisfied that the search has yielded an outstanding outcome," Moreland said. "Chief Fitzgerald should be commended for his good work, and we look forward to may good years with him.
Selectboard Chairman David Gartenstein also congratulated Fitzgerald, and said Fitzgerald's interview strongly conveyed his commitment to engaging the community in police activities.
"Chief Fitzgerlad's vision for the town, and for the police department within the town, really was in line with the community policing values, and the integral role that that agency should play in the life of the community as a whole," Gartenstein said.
Fitzgerald was born in Brattleboro and attended Oak Grove School and Brattleboro Union High School.
He served 20 years in the Marines before returning to Vermont.
He applied for a position in the Brattleboro police department and rose to the rank of captain in eight years.
Fitzgerald was named the interim chief after former Chief Gene Wrinn retired earlier this year.
Selectboard member, and Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kate O'Connor said Fitzgerald has already, as the interim chief, been involved with meetings with downtown merchants.
Former Brattleboro Police Chief Richard Guthrie was at Tuesday night's meeting and he said he hired Fitzgerald when he applied for the job of patrol officer.
"I'm very happy that I hired him," Guthrie said. "The town of Brattleboro has gained a lot through his experiences of his life and his military service."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.