Dartmouth civil rights officer reaching out to community

Nov 22, 2021

Hate crimes have no place in Dartmouth.

That is the message Dartmouth Police Det. Sean McGuire hopes to spread as the department’s newly named civil rights officer.

“I don’t think anybody should be treated differently because of who they are or what their background is,’’ he said. “When I deal with a person, I deal with them as a person’’ and not as a label.

In his new role, McGuire will serve as the liaison between the department and the community on all aspects of civil rights including the awareness, detection, prosecution, and proper reporting of hate crimes and all constitutional deprivations.

He describes his new role as a “link between victims of hate crimes and the police department.’’

After a surge of hate crimes in 2017, Gov. Charlie Baker revived the state's Task Force on Hate Crimes. The task force called for every department in the state to designate a civil rights officer.

McGuire suspects he was named to the role in part because of his experience with the court system. He spent 27 years on the force, including service as the department’s court liaison.

In addition to helping raise awareness of hate crimes, he hopes his court experience will help him work with victims to navigate the court system.

He can be “the person to get them to the right place,” he said, and to encourage victims to “have the confidence to move forward. That’s one of the hardest parts of the process.’’

McGuire will also lead training sessions for department members in this area.

The department currently has no hate crimes under review, McGuire said. But he is reaching out to local community organizations and civil rights agencies to make them aware of his role and the assistance he can provide. 

“Like anything else, once you have a point of contact, there may be issues that come to light,’’ he said. 

He encouraged the public to reach out if they have any concerns about potential hate crimes or other constitutional abuses.

“I’d rather get ahead of it than let something stir and fester,’’ he said. “We can eliminate a lot of problems before they start.’’

McGuire has deep roots in Dartmouth and in law enforcement. McGuire was born and raised in Dartmouth and graduated from Dartmouth High School in 1989. His father, Dennis McGuire, worked on the force for 32 years before retiring in 2008 as second in command.

For 12 years, Sean McGuire held another role in the department as a field training officer who was heavily involved in recruiting and training. 

Performing strong background checks and offering solid training is a “huge issue,’’ he said. Selecting the best candidates helps ensure “the town gets the best officers possible,’’ he said, who are “invested in the town.’’

McGuire can be contacted at sean.mcguire@dartmouthpd.org or by calling (508) 910-1733.