Mayor Joseph Sullivan announced his appointment of Russell Jenkins as police chief on Wednesday afternoon, saying that Jenkins' years serving Braintree and his passion for the community will benefit the town and its residents.
"Russ shares with me the belief that we have a good department that can get better, and we are united in our focus to bring the Braintree Police Department to an even higher level of performance," Sullivan said during a press conference at Town Hall.
"In making this decision, I have followed a deliberative path that would lead in only one direction," Sullivan said. "The one that is best for the Town of Braintree."
Jenkins has served as Deputy Chief since 2004. He follows Paul Frazier, who retired in August after 19 years as Braintree's top cop.
Lt. Michael Moschella is currently the interim chief, and will remain in that position until the Town Council approves Sullivan's choice. The council meets next on Tuesday, Oct. 16 and the mayor said he has requested same night action.
Out of an original group of 22, Sullivan and a selection committee whittled the applicants down to three finalists last month. Jenkins and the other two – Framingham Deputy Chief Craig Davis and New York Police Lt. Richard Rudolph – were then interviewed publicly by local officials and a former Shrewsbury Police Chief.
For his years leading within the police department, his professionalism and understanding of Braintree, Jenkins was the right choice, Sullivan said.
"He knows our town, he knows the department and he is passionate about both," the mayor said. "I have faith he will lead this department well."
Jenkins said that he learned of his appointment on Wednesday, something that during his public interview Jenkins said has been a goal of his since he joined the department in 1983.
"It's a little overwhelming, truthfully," he said.
Over the next few weeks and months, Jenkins will lead a departmental review, Sullivan said. It will include examining and potentially reinstating the K9 program, possible reorganization and addition of personnel, and an emphasis on community policing.
"We're trying to get our numbers at a higher level," Sullivan said. He declined to say whether Braintree would end up having two or more deputy chiefs as in the past, and as Jenkins mentioned in his interview.
During that interview, Jenkins also stressed bringing the K9s back and enhancing the department's social media presence, along with the addition of personnel in general.
Other priorities include putting a juvenille officer back on the street after Officer Brian Hickman's retirement and focusing on servicing the public, Jenkins said on Wednesday.
"We are the 24-hour, you call, we come agency," he said.