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December 20, 2013

Brackett takes over as chief in Atkinson

Sheriff's chief deputy says he's not interested in permanent job

ATKINSON — Al Brackett hasn’t been a police chief for more than 20 years. Yesterday, he agreed to serve in that role again — temporarily.

Brackett, 62, was sworn in as the town’s newest interim police chief yesterday afternoon.

The Rockingham County sheriff’s chief deputy will serve until the town finds a permanent chief.

“My hope is that I can just keep the police department running efficiently,” Brackett said. “I want to keep operations smooth until the new chief comes in.”

Brackett was appointed to the position by Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing — at the town’s request. He replaces acting Chief Patrick Caggiano, who announced his retirement earlier this month. That move came after selectmen decided to conduct a search for a new chief.

“The sheriff asked if I was interested in the position,” Brackett said. “I had a discussion with him and with officials in town. We came to an agreement that I could serve the town well as an interim chief until they appoint the permanent one.”

Brackett served as Hudson’s police chief from 1986 to 1990. He then worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Fla., before returning to New Hampshire in 2003.

“A lot of people questioned why anyone would go from Florida to New Hampshire,” he said. “But I just wanted to be with my family.”

Brackett started as a deputy sheriff at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, then made his way through the ranks, serving as acting sheriff in 2009.

He said he will not be making many adjustments to the department.

“I don’t expect there to be any major changes,” he said. “I just want to keep things running smoothly within the agency.”

Brackett said he would be meeting with Caggiano yesterday to discuss the transition.

“We are acquaintances and have known each other in law enforcement for several years,” he said. “He’s given me some advice. I trust his advice and I hope that I will be able to do as well of a job that he did when he was the interim chief.”

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