Orange police chief plans to create lieutenant position

  • The Orange Police Department sign. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 12/3/2021 3:23:54 PM
Modified: 12/3/2021 3:23:59 PM

ORANGE — The town’s police chief this week announced his plan to create a lieutenant’s position within his department, with the intent to promote one of his two sergeants to the job.

James Sullivan addressed the Selectboard to explain this move would “fine-tune the command structure of the department.” He mentioned that, as a “strong chief” under state law, he has the authority to make this change, but he decided to discuss it with the Selectboard to be as transparent a possible. Strong chiefs have control over their department’s scheduling, personnel, facilities, rules and policies, while a “weak chief” is more at the mercy of a selectboard.

That being the case, the Selectboard did not need to vote on the structural changes, though members thanked Sullivan for his transparency. He told the Greenfield Recorder he informed his two sergeants about his intention to create a lieutenant’s position and he will now gauge their interest.

Sullivan said this lieutenant position would encompass the day shift, working primarily 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. He also said he has added more responsibilities — such as the handling of public records requests and the overseeing of the sex offender registry — to that role since the retirement of longtime Administrative Assistant Brenda Anderson on Nov. 1.

“I’m adding work to that position,” Sullivan said. “So, I want to try and compensate that person.”

He explained the sergeant’s pay will be mostly absorbed into his department’s budget because the chief is also restructuring the administrative assistant position recently filled by Cally Matthews, who is not making the same pay as Anderson was when she retired.

“It’s not a significant hit to my budget,” he said.

Sullivan has been with the Orange Police Department since 2004 and was sworn in as chief in 2019. Before he was acting police chief, he was a sergeant and designated second-in-command.

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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