Police Chief

George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy), was a philosopher, essayist poet and novelist.

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

This famous statement has produced many paraphrases and variants:

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.
Those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.
Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.

 I was at the Nevins Library doing research and came across this Headline in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune.

Methuen chief

 may be fired


The headline was from June 6, 1972. I didn’t copy the entire story but the front page stated;

“Police Chief Christopher H. Devine was served notice last night that the selectmen are considering firing him.
Devine is charged by selectmen with violating state statutes governing larceny:
making false written reports: influencing, impeding, obstructing, delaying or interfering with jurors or witnesses and violating town police rules — which are rules Devine was instrumental in establishing.
The selectmen’s action came via a 2 to I vote and with the stipulation that a hearing on the charges against the chief will be held June 13 at 2:30 p.m. in Town Hall.
Whether the hearing is public or private, according to Selectman Wilbur A. Hyatt, will be up to the chief.
The selectmen declined to elaborate on the charges against Devine but have ordered Town Council Americo J. Fusco to deliver a written notice to the chief indicating the specific charges against him and the reasons for his possible removal.
The charges against Devine stem from the selectmen’s investigation of the police completed last fall.
Voting to take action against the chief last night were Selectmen Chairman Daniel J. Dodson and Selectmen Hyatt. Opposing the move was Selectman William E. Moran.
Moran said that he did not find sufficient evidence in the investigation transcript to warrant the chiefs removal.
The motion to press charges against the chief came from Hyatt, with Dodson casting the deciding vote.
Their vote came just one month after investigation inquisitor Atty. Peter B. Gay advised selectmen and the town counsel in a written decision to review the transcript and take action against Devine…”

 Within the same page quarter was the following tidbit. I highlighted the last sentence.

Noucher trial set to begin
SALEM — The Superior Court trial of Thomas H. Noucher, 43-year-old operator of the 400 Club in Methuen who’s accused of conspiracy to violate state gambling laws, was tentatively set to start this afternoon.
That was the work this morning from an Essex County District Attorney’s office source who said that impaneling of the jury would start either today or tomorrow.
Due to be tried with Noucher on the same charge was Hamlet B. Rogers, 57, a Lynnfield amusement company owner.
The charges against Noucher and Rogers stem from the so-called Methuen police controversy which began to draw public attention in the summer of 1970.


Is Santayana correct? You have to decide for yourself but I think we need a strong leader who has no internal interest to lead the Methuen Police Department out of it’s current morass.

Time to do a nationwide search for a chief that has no history with this department and can lead it to “Be the Best that They can be”.

We should have done it after Solomon was fired and my opinion has not changed.

I never understood, in this circumstance, how the Mayor could claim the department was fractured and factious, then remove the head of one faction and promote a member of the other faction. How was a move like that going to correct the internal issues? That is strictly an outsiders view of the events. [Isn’t that how Solomon got his Chief promotion in the first place? Anyone remember Chief of Police Bruce MacDougall, Police Department 1975 — 2002]

Lot’s of dedicated officers in need of unbiased leadership.

As always, you decide.

admin posted at 2009-10-28 Category: Police

2 Responses Leave a comment

  1. #1Jack Burke @ 2009-10-28 11:26

    From Disqus: Lawrence Eagle Tribune ?blog?
    Joe · 1 year ago
    A wise person made this post some months ago…

    It’s very interesting that the Mayor took his time and did a
    thorough job in removing the current chief but is saying he has to appoint a new one quickly. He has had only one other Chief express interest in the job. Maybe that’s because there has been no job posting/announcement about the opening. One of the councilors stated that 9 months ago he would have supported a new chief from the outside but does not want to wait another 6 months for a search. The officers in the department I’m sure wouldn’t mind waiting while you conduct a thorough search for their new leader. Talk to them off the record and you will see that this is true.

    What is the problem with conducting a search and process for the new police chief? If Kathy Lavigne is such a great candidate, wouldn’t she rise to the top anyway? I notice in the article she has been working on politicking with the sitting councilors. Isn’t that where the problems started with the last Chief? Wasn’t she very good friends with Mayor Pollard? She may be the best choice to run the department but I’m afraid we will never know because there won’t be any other people to consider. It sounds like “Good-ole Methuen Politics” are alive and well.

    If the City of Methuen wants to try to regain ANY credibility in its leaders and police department, it owes it to the men and women of the department and the citizens they serve in being as thorough in replacing Joe Solomon as they were in removing him. The citizens of Methuen deserve nothing less.

  2. #2Jack Burke @ 2009-10-28 11:31

    Another Comment from Disqus:

    Here are some more FACTS
    FACT …Dare officer kathy Lavigne was working at the tenny in the DARE program. She failed to show up for 2 weeks telling the school she was on an inservice training. (which only took place in the summer) Chief Macdougal found out that she once again LIED and was taken off the DARE program.
    FACT…..Kathy Lavigne is a street cop? Then why in 17 YEARS ON THE FORCE is it that she only has 15 ARRESTS? Great cop?
    FACT….when Kathy Lavigne was taken off the DARE progam for not showing up and lying she was put on midnights by Chief Macdougal and was once again caught sleeping behind Mcdonalds on pleasant st. with LT.liar and Officer Dick.
    Oh and by the way to check my past facts just ask SRG. Lahey about her ticket writting to dead people, Macdougal may be gone but Havey is still there to prove it.

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