METHUEN — Mayor Neil Perry has named police Capt. Randy Haggar the city’s new director of Emergency Management.
He began in his new role Wednesday, bringing to bear 26 years of experience in policing, special event planning, policymaking, as well as disaster and emergency response, Perry said in a press release.
“As the director of Emergency Management, Capt. Haggar will work to assess and further develop policies and protocols that will guide the city’s response in the event of a crisis, emergency, or natural disaster, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Perry said. “His extensive skills and experience working with city officials and residents, as well as academia, will help enable him to have an immediate positive impact. I am very pleased to have him as part of our team.”
Haggar takes over the job following the recent retirement of former Chief Joe Solomon, who previously held the position. Haggar will not receive any extra pay, as he has decided to forego a stipend or a raise because of the ongoing financial problems facing the city, Perry said.
Haggar recently graduated from Anna Maria College where he got a master's degree in public administration concentrating on emergency management.
He said Thursday that he became interested in emergency management after observing and being part of the huge response to the Columbia Gas crisis in September 2018.
"The Columbia Gas incident made me see the incident command structure (ICS) and response and how emergency management is the wave of the future with disasters dating back to 9-11," Haggar said, adding that manmade and natural disasters seem to be cropping up with increasing frequency, from fires in California, to tornadoes in the Midwest, flooding in the South, and more recently the snow and ice calamity gripping Texas.
"There's so much to it, which is why I like it," he said, adding that he decided to seek his second master's degree after the Columbia Gas disaster, and received the degree in December. Haggar, 51, will be eligible for retirement in about four years, at which time he said he would probably pursue a second career in the emergency management profession.
"This may be something to do after policing," he said. "I could slide into emergency management. I like being on the front lines and helping people."
Under the general direction of the mayor, the director of Emergency Management is responsible for planning and coordinating emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation, working collaboratively with the mayor, superintendent of schools, fire chief, police chief and other department heads to ensure effective implementation of goals, training and coordination of citywide emergency management planning.
Haggar is currently head of the Methuen Police Department Field Operations and Administrative Services Bureaus.
“I look forward to working with all of our city and agency partners to continue this community’s great work of keeping our citizens safe through any emergency,” Haggar said.
Haggar is a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute of Policing.
Methuen Emergency Management keeps citizens safe during large-scale emergencies by coordinating city-wide disaster planning and response, including public notifications, sheltering, and training partner agencies.