Select Board chooses acting police chief for permanent position

Feb 6, 2018

Brian Levesque, current acting chief of the Dartmouth Police Department, will be Dartmouth’s new top cop on a permanent basis.

At its February 5 meeting, the Select Board voted to appoint Levesque as Dartmouth’s new chief. His appointment is effective once outgoing Chief Robert Szala’s retirement paperwork is approved by the retirement board, which is when contract negotiations will be held.

Levesque has been running the department since Szala suffered a heart attack in April 2017. He was officially appointed acting chief in May. He was previously the department's deputy chief.

Szala announced his retirement in December, citing his health.

Before the vote, Select Board members praised Levesque’s performance without naming him specifically.

"There is someone on the job now and has done an admirable job at this point,” said Select Board member Stanley Mickelson. “The troops love him and I’ve heard nothing but high regard from all the troops.”

“I think the candidate who is in the position now is doing an exceptional job,” said Select Board member Kelli Martin Taglianetti.

The vote follows debate at a previous meeting on looking externally for a new chief. At its January 22 meeting, the board voted 4-0, with one member absent, to only look internally for Szala's successor.

“There’s comfort in all of us to know what our intentions are,” said Select Board Chair Frank Gracie.

After the vote, Levesque shook hands with the board, and did acknowledge that while the job has been stressful, it’s getting better, and thanked the board for its support.

“I just wanted to express my sincere thank you to the board for this great opportunity, and also my gratitude for your support for this challenging position,” Levesque said after the vote. “The Dartmouth Police Department is a professional, accredited agency. It is well-respected by the community, and it will be my honor to continue to serve as head of this agency.”