PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mayor Linda Tyer has removed the word "acting" from Police Chief Michael Wynn's title.
Wynn had been promoted to administrative captain in 2007, essentially managing the department. In 2009, he was appointed "acting chief of police" and has served in that role since.
Tyer went through the Civil Service process again this year to make a more permanent hire and Wynn topped the list. The mayor said she offered Wynn the job and he accepted.
"My experience with Chief Wynn is that he always has been highly professional in his decision making and he is always seeking ways to be better at his position," Tyer said on Wednesday. "He really does exemplify leadership. He is clearly experienced."
Tyer says Wynn is a strong part of the city's leadership team and the two share a similar view on law enforcement. Tyer particularly likes his strong ties to the community and his ability to be frank about addressing law enforcement issues in the city.
"I feel strongly about the commitments he makes in the community," Tyer said.
Wynn said the appointment comes nearly 10 years to the date that he was appointed in the provisional capacity. He took over as head of the department on Dec. 1, 2007.
"It isn't going to change anything for me. I had the badge and I've been doing the job," Wynn said. "But it is a relief that this process is over and I know it is not going to come up again. This is the third time I've gone through this."
The biggest impact from Wynn's perspective is the stability of the department. Previously, he was just a mayoral decision away from being re-assigned back to a captain's position.
"I knew I was still going to be with the department unless something really bad happened. It gives me comfort that I don't have to be reassigned without warning."
But Wynn's focus isn't so much about his own comfort but the comfort of those serving in the department. The possibility of new leadership being ushered in was always there.
"I'm glad the process is over. I'm excited to be moving forward and I think it will add stability to the department," Wynn said.
Wynn started with the department in 1995 as a patrol officer. In 2001, he was promoted to day-shift supervisor, which he held until 2007, when he was appointed as administrative captain.
He is also an adjunct instructor at Roger Williams University's Justice System Training and Research Institute and is formerly an instructor for the Municipal Police Training Committee, training recruitment classes of municipal officers.
He holds a bachelor of arts in English literature and a bachelor of arts in American studies from Williams College. He graduated the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council Academy in 1996 and later received his master's degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College in 2001. In 2004, he was a leadership fellow with the Drug Enforcement Administration, assigned to the DEA office of training and leadership development unit.
In the community, he served roles with the Norman Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Community College, Downtown Pittsfield Inc., Boys and Girls Club, the Christian Center, Berkshire United Way, the Freemason Unity Lodge, the Berkshire Taconic Foundation, the Department of Children and Families Berkshire County Area Board, and the West Side Neighborhood Resource Center.
Wynn is the current president of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Council and sits on the Western Massachusetts Regional Homeland Security Advisory Committee. His resume also features a number of accolades and a lengthy list of training workshops he participated in.
The city had been operating with "acting" chiefs in both Police and Fire departments for a number of years. The move was a way to skirt Civil Service regulations and lasted through multiple city administrations. Wynn had topped the candidate list in 2009 for the position, but former Mayor James Ruberto did not appoint him permanently.
In 2014, after voters approved a new charter, the Charter Review Commission crafted language specifying that steps be taken "immediately" for a permanent hiring. But former Mayor Daniel Bianchi disliked the Civil Service process altogether and sought a way to get out of it. A study committee was formed to look into the issue and ultimately the recommendation was to use assessment centers to better judge a candidate.
During the mayoral campaign, Tyer had said her goal was to stabilize the departments with more permanent appointments. She first attempted to appoint Wynn based on the 2009 score, of which he was at the top, but that was rejected by the Civil Service Commission.
The city held an assessment center on Sept. 27 of this year, during which three in-house candidates participated. Wynn scored the highest, which made the decision for Tyer easy.
"The leadership of that agency needed to be solidified. This is a step to make the chief of police appropriately appointed," Tyer said.
Wynn would like to think that the decision and his top score on the most recent assessment center validates the work he has done and said he'll continue to manage the department in the best way he can.
Wynn does still need to be appointed as a department head by the City Council -- a nuance in the charter language because the mayor has the approval to appoint a chief through Civil Service but to be considered a department head in Pittsfield, the council needs to approve it, Tyer said, based on the advice she was given by City Solicitor Richard Dohoney.
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