Haverhill gets interim police chief, but ex-Deputy Haugh says he doesn't want permanent job

Courtesy photoInterim Haverhill Police Chief Anthony Haugh

HAVERHILL — After 33 years of protecting and serving the people of Haverhill, retired Deputy Chief Anthony Haugh is returning to the Police Department — but just for a short time.

Mayor James Fiorentini said Haugh will come out of retirement to run the department for the next seven weeks while the city searches for a new permanent chief.

Haugh said while accepting the interim job, he is not interested in becoming permanent chief.

Longtime Chief Alan DeNaro, who plans to officially retire at the end of June, is taking a leave of absence for health reasons, the mayor said. DeNaro's sick leave is expected to last until the expiration of his contract June 30, Fiorentini said.

Haugh said he was “shocked” at first that Fiorentini asked him to become interim chief. After talking with his wife about the possibility of a return to the department, Haugh decided to accept the offer, not only for the sake of his colleagues but for the community he calls home, he said.

“I have really been enjoying retirement very much, but when the mayor called and said he needed someone to step in, I’m not going to turn my back on the department I’ve served for 33 years — not the men and women of the department or the citizens, so I agreed to do it,” Haugh said.

Haugh said he is not interested in applying for the permanent chief position.

“I’m proud and honored to be asked to take up this (interim) position. Although everyone at some point thinks about being the chief, it was never my end goal by any means,” he said. “It was just to serve my time and retire when it was my time. I just feel very honored to be asked to fill in.”

“The city is grateful to former Deputy Haugh for agreeing to come in from retirement to help guide the Police Department during this transition period,” Fiorentini said. “Mr. Haugh is universally liked and respected by the men and women of the department.”

Haugh, who retired Jan. 31, 2021, will be sworn in as interim chief Friday morning. He will serve in the role from May 24 to July 16 while the city searches for DeNaro’s permanent replacement, Fiorentini said.

“This will give us the opportunity to make certain that the search for a new, permanent police chief is thorough and fair and that we are able to take our time to consider all candidates from inside the department as well as those from outside,” the mayor said of his decision to offer Haugh the acting chief job.

Haugh officially retired Jan. 31, but had been out of the police station for several months before that, using up accrued time off, he said.

Last week the mayor appointed 26-year Haverhill police veteran Captain Stephen Doherty to be the city’s new deputy police chief.

Haugh said he looks forward to working with Doherty and the rest of the department’s command staff to maintain the stability the group already has in place.

“I have a great working relationship with the command staff, so that’s an advantage to me coming back. Other than getting up to speed with what’s going on currently, I don’t think we’ll miss a beat,” Haugh said, adding that he plans to sit down with DeNaro next week to get updated on recent happenings since he’s been off the force.

The mayor has hired New Hampshire-based Municipal Resources Inc. to assist in recruiting, screening and interviewing police chief applicants. The city’s job posting sets June 1 as the deadline to apply and lists the salary for the job in the low $200,000s, based on qualifications.

Fiorentini said the search for a new chief will be a public process open to applicants in the Haverhill department, as well as applicants from Massachusetts and other states. He said the search will be similar to the process used to hire a superintendent of schools.

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