Mayor Setti Warren tapped interim Police Chief Howard Mintz Monday to lead Newton’s law enforcement agency and restore a department tarnished by recent scandals that run counter to the city’s reputation as one of the safest municipalities in America.
Mintz has “demonstrated the utmost professionalism and integrity,” Warren said in announcing his pick at police headquarters, where personnel conflicts this past year have garnered national attention and astounded residents and public officials.
The majority of Newton’s police employees do an “outstanding job,” Warren said, adding that he wanted a leader who could help the department “meet its full potential.”
Mintz, 62, has been with the department for 29 years and has headed both the traffic and patrol bureaus.
He has been in charge of the department since August, after the former chief was removed. Chief Matthew Cummings was accused of making boorish remarks to three female employees and was fired in October. He is appealing.
Behavior at the Police Department has come under scrutiny in recent years. A secretary was accused of stealing in 2011. Last summer, a female officer accused a captain of making offensive remarks to her. In December, five officers egged their superior’s house. The former secretary has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. The city investigated the female officer’s claims and determined there was insufficient evidence. Officers involved in the egging have been disciplined.
One of his first jobs as chief will be to conduct a review of personnel, policies, and procedures, Mintz said. He will work with his leadership team and union representatives, Mintz said, and present his findings to the mayor, employees, and the public within 45 days.
As interim chief for seven months, Mintz has made some smaller changes, he said.
“There will be more changes to come,” he said.
Alderman Allan “Jay” Ciccone Jr., who was on the police chief search committee, said Mintz was the right choice among the five internal candidates considered for the job.
The committee provided a list of strengths and weaknesses of each candidate to the mayor and recommended two finalists, including Mintz, Ciccone said.
The committee, which included representatives from the police unions, city residents, and business owners, wanted a chief who could make decisions in a timely manner, Ciccone said.
“The decisions need to be made swiftly, with some teeth,” he said.
Newton’s Board of Aldermen must confirm the appointment for it to take effect. That is likely to happen in the first week of April, Ciccone said.
As chief, Mintz will be paid an annual salary of $116,692.