A Field of Candidates Narrows to Three for Town Police Chief

By MAX HART

A veteran patrolman of the Tisbury police department and two off-Island officers are among the finalists for police chief in Tisbury.

Daniel Hanavan, who has worked for the Tisbury police for 17 years, was named as a finalist this week along with John Cashin, a captain with the police department in Norwalk, Conn., and Lieut. Kenneth Harrison of the Weymouth police department. The Tisbury selectmen now will conduct separate, 45-minute interviews with each candidate on Tuesday, July 18. The interviews are open to the public and begin at 5 p.m. in the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

The trio was recommended to selectmen at their meeting Tuesday night by a town search committee, which culled through 18 resumés and held several months' worth of interviews before deciding on the three.

"I think what impressed us the most may have been their desire to get in with and really understand the town and people of Tisbury," search committee member Jeff Kristal said yesterday. "All handled the process admirably and professionally and there is no doubt that any one of the three would bring respect to the position and be admired by anyone on the street. It is a very professional group of men."

Mr. Hanavan is already well-known in town; he joined the Tisbury police department in 1989. Mr. Cashin is a 25-year policeman who became a sergeant in 1989, was promoted to lieutenant in 1998 and then to captain three years later. Mr. Harrison started as a patrolman in the Brewster police department in 1975 and moved to Weymouth two years later, where he eventually rose to rank of lieutenant.

"The process was very involved," town administrator John Bugbee said. "There was the initial review of all the resumés sent in, telephone interviews with qualified candidates and then after further cuts were made, we held in-person interviews. We feel these are very strong candidates."

The vacancy at the top of the department arose last year after selectmen could not come to financial terms with former police chief Theodore (Ted) Saulnier, whose contract expired on June 30, 2005. Under the terms of that contract, Mr. Saulnier was allowed one year to stay in the position. He left the department last month while the search committee was conducting interviews for his replacement.

Following the interviews, the search committee will again meet with selectmen to discuss the candidates. A new chief likely will be named after the board discusses the matter in executive session later this month.

At the meeting on Tuesday, selectmen debated the process for next Tuesday's interviews - specifically, whether there should be a question-and-answer session with the public. The selectmen agreed to allow questions from the audience, but only in written form and submitted prior to the interview.

"We want to stay away from anything personal," chairman Tristan Israel said. "We are looking for general questions from the community."