LAWRENCE - Police Captain James Fitzpatrick has been named interim police chief, it was announced this afternoon by Mayor William Lantigua.
Fitzpatrick is a 20-year veteran of the Lawrence Department and is currently the department's prosecutor.
Lantigua said he expects to appoint a new full-time chief within the next 30 days.
At a City Hall news conference, Lantigua said he issued an executive order to have Fitzpatrick assume the role of chief at 5 p.m. from Chief John Romero who has retired after 15 years on the job.
"With Chief Romero's retirement, we have a large void to fill in this department and I am working diligently to select a person that I feel is best for the Lawrence Police Department and the Citizens of Lawrence," Lantigua said in a written statement. "Captain Fitzpatrick is a trusted and worthy member of our department and I am confident that until I make my final decision he will serve our city well."
Earlier, Lantigua presented Romero with a key to the city during a small ceremony in his office.