New Swampscott Police Chief: 'You Have To Be Involved'

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SWAMPSCOTT, MA — Pledging to promote a culture of community involvement and engagement within the Swampscott Police Department, Ruben Quesada takes the full-time helm of the department nearly nine months after former Chief Ronald Madigan’s retirement.

The former Mesa, Arizona police commander, who moved to New England in recent years to be closer to family members, was unanimously approved as Swampscott’s new top cop to conclude a nationwide search and become the town’s most significant hire since leaving the civil service hiring system.

“It’s really an extraordinary moment,” Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald said prior to the Select Board vote.

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Quesada. who now lives in Lowell, has a doctorate degree in criminal justice and has been working in law enforcement in Haverhill and Lawrence since moving to New England.

“I already see the Swampscott Police Department as being on very solid footing,” he said, noting the leadership footprints of Chief Madigan and interim Chief David Kurz. “What I see already is that the community values civic engagement and I want to be part of a community that is high on community engagement, on inclusivity and equity.”

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Quesada expressed his commitment to the pillars of 21st Century Policing of building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, using technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, training and education and officer safety and wellness.

“Twenty-first Century policing without the public trust, we are hopeless in any police department,” Quesada said.

He said a priority will be not only hiring the right police officers but valuing and retaining the right ones as well.

“We need to care about our officers in their training, their wellness and their well-being,” he said. “I am here to create future leaders for our town and our police department.”

He said having officers be active members of the community in events and programs is essential to “putting the name to the face of an officer.”

“You have to be involved,” he said. “You have to be engaged.”

Chief Kurz told the Select Board he intends to stay on until April 7 as he transitions from being the civilian leader of the department to an advisor to Chief Quesada during his transition.

(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

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