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 a permanent chief.
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.
Last year, selectmen budgeted $31,866 for the chief’s position. Smith said the Budget Committee decreased that number because of the expectation that the position would be vacant for part of the year. Atkinson is responsible for paying Brackett’s part-time salary.
“I don’t recall all the details of the discussion,” Smith said. “Our number might have been before the interim chief was appointed.”
Selectmen’s Chairman William Friel said making the chief’s position full time would benefit taxpayers.
“Based on our approach to the police department with a full-time chief, no additional funding will be required,” he said. “We will be able to provide the residents of Atkinson with a full-time chief who will dedicate all of their time to provide the best police practices to our residents for no increased cost.”
As of Tuesday, 37 candidates have applied for the open position. The town will be handing resumes over to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police at the selectman’s meeting Monday. The association will narrow the pool down to three to five candidates before selectmen make the final decision.
Selectman William Baldwin, a selectman and former Atkinson lieutenant, told the rest of the board Monday that he was applying for the job. On Tuesday, he announced his was withdrawing his name from consideration. Baldwin is now a Plaistow police lieutenant.