Cozzaglio and his wife, Gail, listen as Mayor Thomas Bernard reads a proclamation in the chief's honor.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police Chief Michael Cozzaglio got a standing ovation on Tuesday night as he was recognized at the City Council meeting on his retirement.
Mayor Thomas Benard read a proclamation in his honor, a copy of which was framed and presented to him.
"I want you to know that I spoke to the chief and I asked him if he was comfortable with this and, with great reluctance, he said yes," the mayor said, inviting the chief to the microphone.
Bernard's proclamation detailed Cozzaglio's history with the city, from the time he was appointed as a reserve patrol officer to his coordination and apprehension of the suspect during the attempted bank robbery and bomb on Main Street.
His leadership in the North Adams Police Department "played a central role in keeping city residents safe by helping to coordinate the community and regional emergency response both during and in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene," read the mayor, and he proved adaptable to changing social mores by ensuring the Public Safety Department had access to Narcan in 2015 and being awarded a Silver Ribbon from the Berkshire County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for ensuring his officers were trained deal with people with mental illness.
Cozzaglio's championing the city's decision to exit Civil Service as a way to recruit officers also meant he would resume the title of police chief after 15 years as police director — and the first city police chief to retire in more than 30 years.
Despite retiring, the mayor said, "he has remained in service as an interim or in an interim role to ensure a smooth transition for his successor."
Cozzaglio had planned to leave in February but extended his time until he could pass the baton to the incoming chief, his second in command Jason Wood.
Wood will be officially sworn in on May 1 and Cozzaglio will finally start his retirement after 32 years as an officer with the city.
"I've had the honor and privilege for over 32 years working under three mayors," he said. "Their support, their guidance and the things that I've learned working with these mayors have been something that I take away, and it's helped me grow to be a better person."
He also acknowledged his wife and three daughters for standing by him over the years.
"You know, the the officers that are here today really understand the bad days and the good days that we have on this job and that the families are damn important to have here for a support system," he said.
Cozzaglio also lauded his officers, several of whom attended the meeting along with incoming Chief Jason Wood.
"We have the best group of officers that I can ever remember having," he said. "Their level of knowledge, experience, caring and compassion that they have is. I've never seen it, it's the best. And I hope with Chief Wood coming on board, he'll continue moving that whole process forward.
You know, I can say this, I had 110 percent support. And I will stand behind Chief Wood, I will help him in any way I can. He's a good man. And I thank you mayor, Councilor [Jason] Laforest and everyone else that had the insight to be part of the selection committee to pick him."
Wood will have a public swearing in on Friday, May 3, at 2 p.m. at Brayton School.
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