ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen reached out to Indiana for an interim police chief to replace the retiring Richard Tarsa.
Troy Bacon of chief of police in Frankfort, Ind., for the past eight years, was chosen from a field of five who interviewed for the six-month position.
Frankfort is a town in central Indiana with a population of about 16,000 and is the seat of Clinton County.
The board conducted about seven hours of interviews to get through all five candidates last week.
The choice was unanimous and Bacon's appointment was enthusiastically endorsed by every board member. Selectman James Bush made the motion to appoint and explained his decision.
"I felt when talking to him he'd make an excellent fit for the town of Adams. He has no personal connections so there will be no favoritism. The whole interview process he was very outgoing, he had the answers, he didn't need to think about the answers. From what I heard he will be a very good fit for us," he said.
Selectman Richard Blanchard gave the motion a second and provided his own reasoning.
"When I came in Friday for the last interview I was torn, I had two people tied for first and another individual a very close second until [his] interview," he said. "Then he kind of just blew me away. He has what I believe are some good ideas for our young police force moving forward and I look forward to it."
Joseph Nowak, who was on the board along with Blanchard and John Duval when Tarsa was elevated to chief, felt equally confident Bacon was the right choice.
"We had a very good crop of applicants. One thing that really struck me [about Bacon] is when he said 'integrity counts,' and in the scope of one's life integrity perhaps is the most important attribute one person can hold. I thought he had a lot of energy. I also liked some of the recruiting methods he had for diversity in the Frankfort, Indiana, Police Force," he explained to the board.
Duval, while also impressed by Bacon's enthusiasm and interview skills, cited his experience and education as a deciding factor.
"It's amazing when people come from out of state or down near Boston, they come here and they cannot believe how much of a wonderful community we have here in the town of Adams. This individual is an outdoorsman, he's looking forward to taking advantage of the mountain and the hiking trails and the bike trails. The education that [Bacon] brings forward, it's not like someone came in here and wowed the board, that's not the case. He has a tremendous amount of experience for this position. He has a bachelor of arts in law in society from Purdue University and he has a master of science in criminology and criminal justice from Indiana State," Duval said.
He also hit on the topic of the moment across the nation, racial injustice and diversity.
"He decided to retire at the end of last year but he decided it was time for a change. He mentioned that the city of Frankfort has a 30 percent minority population and he described the ways that him and his officers were working with the diversity of that community. He had some very good points in that area," Duval said. "I was looking for someone in this position, a six-month position, as my fellow board members have said, someone who is independent. An outside voice. He spent a lot of time just listening to the officers over at the department, their issues, their concerns."
Several members of the Police Department were attending the meeting remotely to hear the board's decision. Donna Malloy, Michael Wandrei, Travis Cunningham were among them.
Shortly after the meeting was over, Chairwoman Christine Hoyt said she received a nice text from a member of the force in regard to the process and hiring. Hoyt thinks Bacon is the right choice as well.
"I was also impressed with Chief Bacon. With his years of service but also his communication system that he put in place while he was in Frankfort, Indiana. The huge social media presence that the department has. I was also impressed by his work with press releases, year-end reports, and statistical information that he is providing on a regular basis to his mayor, city council, etc.," Hoyt said. "But it's really his work with underrepresented groups that I felt would be a really nice addition to our community.
"Overall, I just thought that he would be a great member of the great team of people that we already have in our police department. I must say I'm also happy to see so many members of the department on the call this evening."
According to his resume provided to iBerkshires, Bacon been on the Frankfort force since 2004, including as a patrol sergeant and patrol lieutenant. He is experienced with SWAT units, gang task forces, criminal investigations, budget development, and many other facets of police work.
Although Bacon's appointment is on an interim basis, he was one of the applicants for the permanent position before the search was called off the because of the COVID-19 outbreak so there is some speculation he could be retained at the end of the six-month period.
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