Police Chief Q&A: Richard Rudolph
Each of the three finalists for Braintree Police Chief answered the same questions on Wednesday night.
The three finalists for the job of Braintree Police Chief were interviewed in public at Town Hall on Wednesday night. New York City Police Lieutenant Richard Rudolph was among the candidates and a summary of his answers are below.
Posing the questions were Town Solicitor Carolyn Murray, Chief of Staff Peter Morin, Director of Human Resources Karen Shanley and Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association and former Shrewsbury Police Chief.
Why do you want to be the Chief of Police in Braintree?
Rudolph said he has been on a path to become a police chief since he began with the NYPD in 1991. At the FBI Academy he networked with chiefs from Massachusetts and said he is familiar with the state.
Name an achievement from your career and how you accomplished it.
Throughout his time as an administrator, Rudolph said he has successfully applied for a number of grants, competing against hundreds of other units in the NYPD. One such grant was for a burglary program he instituted recently. Rudolph received 50 extra officers, equipment, unmarked vehicles, a command vehicle and a surveillance tower, he said.
"We made some fantastic arrests," Rudolph said, and brought the number of burglaries in his area down 30 percent.
What program or practice would you implement to improve relationships with the community?
To accomplish this, Rudolph said he would first find out what they key issues are. During his application process, he met with people in Braintree on the street, the library director, religious leaders and others. Braintree has similar concerns as the small town he grew up in on Long Island, Rudolph said, such as traffic and emergency response times.
What professional challenge have you faced and how did you overcome it?
Rudolph helped a detective assigned to his squad overcome some attitude problems and become one of his best officers, he said. The detective was "disgruntled" when he joined Rudolph's unit and so the commanding officer met with him on a daily basis to work out his issues.
"I try to be more of a coach," he said. "I try to make my command a team."
As a new leader of the department, how would you build consensus with your employees?
First, Rudolph said he would set up focus groups within the department to "have an open conversation when I get there." He has been on patrol, been on the street, and in various positions within the NYPD, so Rudolph can relate to his subordinates well, he said. Rudolph added that he would convene the focus groups every few months and continuously evaluate feedback.
What is an innovative community program you have implemented?
To combat the large amount of thefts targeted at iPhones, Rudolph said he set up a community program to show residents how to register their devices. This allowed his officers to better respond to the crimes, he said. They recently made two arrests connected to the program.
What would be your top three priorities?
Along with protecting life, Rudolph said he would focus on quality of life, from where the vast majority of criminal issues originate. He would also make himself and his officers more available to the public.
"It can do wonders for the police department," Rudolph said. "We do it in New York City, so we can sure do it in Braintree."
What would be your plan for the first three months?
Right away, Rudolph said he would sit down with the mayor and town councilors to find out what the pressing issues are in Braintree and what direction the town is heading. He would also start the focus groups and meet with school principals.
"It is an honor to be here," Rudolph said in conclusion. "This is the chance of a lifetime."
The questions and answers in this article are meant to accurately reflect each interview session but are not verbatim transcripts.