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December 22, 2013

Police chief not just a one-state position

Police chiefs may retire, then take new post in new state

One Friday in 2000, Lawrence Streeter closed the door of his office in Salisbury, Mass., and retired as the town’s police chief. On Monday, he was back at work as police chief in Newton.

Streeter is one of many police chiefs who have come to New Hampshire after retiring elsewhere.

Michael Sielicki, president of the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, said starting a new job after retiring from another seems to be happening more often.

“It’s a trend that happens consistently,” Sielicki said. “To me, it’s not a bad thing. Guys do their time and move on to other places.”

There are several reasons why police chiefs and officers choose to come to New Hampshire from other states, he said.

“It’s different here,” he said. “We’re small and personable. In New Hampshire, when someone comes in, they want to speak directly to the chief, not to a deputy or a lieutenant.”

Streeter, 64, retired after 34 years in Massachusetts, including military service.

“I was offered a superannuation package,” he said. “Massachusetts was trying to get rid of a small percentage of officers. But I was only 52 at the time, I still had a passion for doing this and I had to be able to still send my youngest child through college. Fortunately, Newton allowed me to continue with what I knew and what I enjoyed.”

Sielicki said the trend also works the other way.

“Up until two years ago, state employees were eligible for retirement at 45 with 20 years of service,” he said. “For anyone who’s entered since then, it’s (age) 50 with 25 years of service.”

In 2007, Evan Haglund retired as Pelham police chief at age 51. Soon after, he became police chief in Topsfield, Mass.

Earlier this month, Atkinson acting police Chief Patrick Caggiano announced he would be retiring at 47. He is taking a job in Massachusetts, outside law enforcement.

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