WATERVILLE — The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to spend up to $40,000 to contract with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to conduct a review of the Police Department to help chart its future growth and operations.

At the same time, councilors offered praise for police Chief Joseph Massey, who plans to retire at the end of next month after 36 years with the department, the past 15 as chief.

Massey, 69, said he has helped conduct such assessments as part of the association and finds them beneficial, although the timing of the review while the department is down six officers could be an issue.

He said officers have done a good job filling gaps by working overtime, affecting their family and personal time, and he hoped the patrol division would be in a more stable position when a review occurs.

City Manager Steve Daly said the review would be of department operations, including staffing levels, organizational structure and overall performance and needs. He said he and Massey talked about the review and agreed it would be an important step in creating a blueprint for going forward.

“It will be something (Massey) can leave behind as part of his legacy in Waterville,” Daly said.


Councilor Claude Francke, D-Ward 6, asked if officials are thinking about reorganizing other departments.

“Undetermined at this point in time,” Daly said, adding the police review was prompted by Massey’s impending retirement.

Councilor Thomas Klepach, D-Ward 3, said at first blush, the review seems to be warranted, considering Massey has been with the department for 36 years and much institutional knowledge is tied up in his leadership. A third-party assessment of the organizational structure and the department’s strengths and weaknesses makes sense, he said.

Chief Joseph Massey of the Waterville Police Department speaks to reporters Aug. 26, 2020, about a shooting in Waterville. Massey, 69, has announced his plan to retire at the end of November. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Council Chairperson Rebecca Green, D-Ward 4, asked about the timeline for the review.

“Will this be able to happen before the chief retires?” she said.

“Not entirely,” Daly said, adding there is no guarantee another time to conduct it would be better, and he thinks with Massey’s imminent departure, the city must get it rolling now.


Green said the panel’s recommendations would presumably be used to help guide the police officer hiring process.

“Absolutely,” Daly replied.

He said the association has done hundreds of reviews in communities large and small, including Bennington, Vermont; Salt Lake City; and State College, Pennsylvania.

Resident Nancy Sanford asked how many people will be doing the assessment. Daly said it would be three.

Sanford said she thought $40,000 was not an unreasonable cost for such a review.

“I’m going to miss you,” Sanford said to Massey, prompting Mayor Jay Coelho to say he thought many people are going to miss the retiring chief, who has done much for the city.


Daly also expressed appreciation to Massey for the integrity, professionalism and wealth of experience he brought to the city.

“He’s a stand-up person,” Daly said. “He has a very strong moral code, which I think has served the city well over the years he has been here, and he’s a pleasure to work with.”

Massey said his department worked as a team in realizing accomplishments, including Operation HOPE, which gets people addicted to opioids into treatment, the building of a new police station, the new canine unit, a mental health worker, a police shooting range, a command center vehicle and more.

“Every accomplishment I made was because of the team and the people around me, so I appreciate that,” Massey said. “Thank you.”

Green said the review is an important opportunity to continue with programs Massey and his department have developed, such as Operation HOPE.

“Again, thank you, chief, for everything that you’ve done and for guiding us through this period,” Green said. “We will definitely miss you.”

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