NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A 16-year veteran of the police force and city native has been named as the new chief of police.
Lt. Jason R. Wood was selected out of 40 candidates following a national search to replace retiring Police Chief Michael Cozzaglio. He will be the city's first new "police chief" in 38 years following the elimination of the public safety commissioner post.
Mayor Thomas Bernard made his selection known early Wednesday morning. He said in a statement announcing his choice that he was looking for a leader with significant experience who understood collaboration and "a willingness to build and strengthen relationships with key community partners."
"In Lieutenant Wood, the City of North Adams has a veteran officer who understands these challenges, and who is prepared to lead the department in addressing them," he wrote. "In speaking with him, the search committee and I found someone who is ready to lead and to innovate."
Wood is a graduate of Drury High School and earned an associate's degree in criminal justice from Berkshire Community College. He joined the department in 2003 following completion of the Municipal Police Training Council academy. He has been a school resource officer and also created and managed the city's first Police K-9 division. He was appointed acting lieutenant in 2017, and was formally appointed to the role earlier this year.
He also is a certified field training officer and a U.S. Department of Homeland Security-trained active shooter instructor. He has received crisis intervention training from NAMI of Berkshire County, earned multiple Incident Command System (ICS) certifications, participated in leadership training programs through Endicott College and the Municipal Police Institute, and attended sessions of the Advancing 21st Century Policing task force in Washington, D.C. Locally, Wood co-founded the Running With the Law youth fitness program in North Adams, and also served as a facilitator with the Northern Berkshire ROPES (Respecting Other People, Encouraging Self-esteem) program.
He was one of three finalists who was interviewed by the mayor and a search committee two weeks and spoke with community members at a forum held at the UNO Center. Also under consideration had been Wayland Det. Sgt. Jamie D. Berger and Ridgefield, Conn., Capt. Bryan N. Terzian.
"I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to lead the North Adams Police Department into the future. I look forward to building new connections throughout the community, as well as to strengthening already established relationships," Wood said in the statement. "I believe the North Adams Police Department and its staff have the potential to further their roles as agents of positive change within the community by deepening our existing practices and commitment while implementing proven new practices based on the best standards of our profession."
Wood will succeed Cozzaglio who retired in February 2019 after more than 32 years of police service. He will be officially sworn in as police chief on May 1, 2019, with a public ceremony to follow on Friday, May 3.
Story will be updated after a press avail this afternoon ...