City of Gloucester Announces New Police Chief

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (March 1, 2019) – The administration of Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken announced today Edward Conley has been selected as the City’s new Police Chief. Conley currently serves as Police Chief for neighboring Manchester by-the-Sea.

Mayor Romeo Theken said, “I’m pleased to welcome Chief Conley as Gloucester’s new Police Chief. His experience, leadership qualities and values give me a high degree of confidence in his ability to lead Gloucester’s Police Department. His deep understanding of the mechanics of police management and community engagement will be important assets to our City. I look forward to working together to advance the City’s agenda to provide exceptional and transparent public safety services.”

The incoming Police Chief will be responsible for the overall planning, administration and
operation of the Gloucester Police Department. The Chief will also continue the community’s high level policing services, grow its successful public safety outreach programs, and provide public safety perspective and insight on the City’s management team.

Conley said, “I’m honored to be selected as Gloucester’s next Police Chief and I look forward to joining the police department and being part of the City’s management team. I pledge to lead the department with the utmost of integrity and professionalism, as I have done throughout my career, as we promote, improve, and advance public safety initiatives and the department’s standing in the community.”

Conley has been Manchester-by-Sea’s Police Chief since 2016. Prior to that he served and rose through the ranks within the Chelsea Police Department for more than twenty years. He also worked at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and began his impressive career as an Army Ranger in the military.

He has Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Curry College and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College. Conley has been involved in a number of professional organizations. His current affiliations include: Member of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Legislative Committee; Executive Board for the Essex County Chiefs of Police Association; and Member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He formerly served as President of both the Chelsea Patrol Officers Association and Superior Officers’ Association.

As Manchester-by-the-Sea’s Police Chief, he modernized the Department’s policies and internal affairs processes and the Department obtained the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC) Certification. The MPAC certification process is long and rigorous involving both an internal self-review and an external assessment by the commission’s team of experts. The process is a self-initiated evaluation considered to be the best measure for a police department to compare itself against the established best practices around the country and the region.

More than a year ago, Mayor Romeo Theken laid out her plans to conduct a search for the
City’s next Police Chief that first resulted in an ordinance change regarding the selection and manner of appointment of the next police chief. That ordinance change was approved in March 2018 and Mayor Romeo Theken immediately assembled a City Selection Committee (Committee) led by Chief Administrative Officer James Destino.

Resource Management Associates (RMA) were retained to help manage the executive search in collaboration with the Committee. RMA works with municipalities throughout the country to create candidate profiles, assist with recruitment to attract qualified and diverse candidates, evaluate candidates using methods including assessment center exercises and conduct background checks.

Together, the Committee and RMA were tasked with creating a recruitment strategy, reviewing applicants and recommending candidates for the rigorous police assessment process and then finalists to meet with Mayor Romeo Theken.

As part of the City’s process, a Community Listening Session was held on October 2, 2018. The entire City Council and Gloucester residents were invited to learn about the police chief hiring process, ask questions, and to provide input on the important qualities needed in this role.

Following that public event, a job advertisement was created and then posted from mid-October through late November. Twenty seven candidates applied, all with impressive qualifications and experience. RMA reviewed all applicants and moved eight forward to the Committee for consideration. Six candidates were then selected to be invited to a three-day intensive assessment process. One candidate withdrew and as a result five attended the assessment process which was held in mid-January.

RMA then provided the Committee with assessment center evaluations. Upon review of those evaluations and assessment videos the Committee unanimously selected three finalists to interview with Mayor Romeo Theken. One withdrew, leaving two to move on in the process.

Final interviews were held on Monday, February 25. Each candidate first met with a panel of the City Selection Committee as well as several City Department Heads/Managers representing a diverse roster of City departments whom interact often with the City’s Police Chief.
That panel included:
 James Destino, Chief Administrative Officer
 John McCarthy, Police Chief
 Eric Smith, Fire Chief
 Donna Leete, Human Resources Director
 Michael Hale, Department of Public Works Director
 Dr. Richard Safier, Superintendent of Schools
 Chip Payson, General Counsel
 John Dunn, Chief Financial Officer
 James Pope, Director of Information Services
 Jill Cahill, Community Development Director
 James Marr, Jr., Community Liaison

Mayor Romeo Theken said, “The City Selection Committee brought a breadth of perspective and experience to the search process that was valuable and necessary. I appreciate all of their hard work in moving this important process forward. Their collective efforts have yielded a great outcome for this City.”

Immediately following those interviews each finalist met with Mayor Romeo Theken.
After careful review of all information and following a robust discussion about the interviews, department needs, and compatibility Mayor Romeo Theken selected Conley.
Mayor Romeo Theken said, “It was a very difficult decision. Ultimately, it was Conley’s
demonstrated leadership abilities, broad experience within these departments, his local and regional police knowledge and network, and most importantly his strong ties to the Cape Ann community that led me to select him.”

Next week Mayor Romeo Theken will submit this appointment for confirmation to the City
Council. Conley plans to start on April 2, 2019.

Conley will succeed John McCarthy, a forty year veteran of the force, who has served as Interim Police Chief since October 2016. McCarthy is currently serving a 90 day reappointment through March 31 but has agreed to stay on, as needed, to assist with the transition.

About The City of Gloucester, Massachusetts America’s oldest seaport, the City of Gloucester is known throughout the world as an authentic, working waterfront community, a place of spectacular natural beauty, and home to a diverse population of more than 30,000 residents. Its sharp focus on economic development has helped
build its reputation as the ideal location to live, work, and play. An important center for the fishing industry, Gloucester is also proud of its vibrant cultural life and rich art heritage.

Gloucester is a destination for thousands of visitors who visit the harbor and its beaches during the summer months. The City will be celebrating its 400th Anniversary in 2023. For more information please visit

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