ATKINSON — On Monday, Selectman William Baldwin announced he had submitted his resume for the police chief’s position. Yesterday, he reversed course.
Baldwin said he would be withdrawing his name from consideration and would remain in Plaistow as a lieutenant.
“It has been more aggravating than it’s worth,” Baldwin said. “I think it’s for the better. I have a job where I’m happy and, at this point in juncture, there’s more than plenty of candidates. I just think it’s in the best interest of everything that I’m not involved in the process.”
Baldwin, 42, worked in Atkinson for 14 years, moving up the ranks to become a lieutenant. In 2011, he left Atkinson for the same position in Plaistow after Atkinson selectmen decided not to promote him to captain.
Prior to withdrawing his name from consideration, Baldwin said he was still having doubts about leaving Plaistow.
“I’m not really sure whether I’m actually going to go through the process,” Baldwin said. “I’m very honored and humbled by residents who have encouraged me, but I’m still contemplating it and I want to make sure it’s a good thing for me.”
Last March, Baldwin was elected to serve a three-year term as selectman, something he would have given up if he was named police chief. Baldwin was prepared to recuse himself from the search if he was still a candidate.
The town has seen three police chiefs within the last year. Last February, longtime police chief Philip Consentino was dismissed by selectmen for “cause.”
He was replaced by Sgt. Patrick Caggiano, who served as acting chief until Dec. 19. Caggiano retired from the department after selectmen opted to conduct an open search for the position.
Since Caggiano retired, Rockingham County sheriff’s chief deputy Al Brackett has served as interim chief. Brackett has said he is not interested in the permanent position.
Town Administrator Bill Innes said yesterday that 38 resumes have been submitted for the position. The resumes will be handed to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police at the selectman’s meeting next Monday. The association will narrow the pool down to three to five candidates before Selectmen William Friel and Fred Thompson make the final decision.
“It’s been a worldwide search so far,” Innes said. “We have a couple who are deployed overseas and several from all over the country. We are hoping for even more candidates. We want the broadest range that we can so that we can get the right chief.”
Innes said he believed Baldwin has the skills to be considered for the position.
“He’s been in the force for a long time,” Innes said. “He’s a good police officer and he’s served the community well. This is all about finding the right candidate.”
Selectmen are planning to make the position full-time after it was only part-time in the past. Innes said the town will save money by making it full-time.
“The cost to the department will be less than budgeted this year,” Innes said. “The chief will be one position and not a combination of two positions as it was this year.”
The town has budgeted $78,000 for the position next year. Baldwin makes $57,792 in Plaistow.
Plaistow Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said he had not spoken to Baldwin about his plans.
“He has mentioned to me for some time that he’d be interested in applying to be a chief,” he said prior to Baldwin’s withdrawal. “I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about what’s going on in Atkinson. We will discuss how that will affect his responsibilities in Plaistow. “
In addition to being a lieutenant in Plaistow, Baldwin also serves as the town’s emergency management director.
Baldwin said he is working on completing a master’s degree in business administration in an effort to boost his resume for a police chief position.
Innes said he was not sure when the finalists for the position would be announced.