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Russ Jenkins rises to Braintree police chief

Braintree’s deputy police chief, Russ Jenkins, was elevated to police chief on Wednesday after an intensive process that lasted a little under two months.

Jenkins, who joined the Braintree Police Department in 1983 as a general officer and became deputy chief in 2004, beat out 21 other applicants for the job who provided some stiff competition, Mayor Joseph Sullivan said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

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“It’s good to have a level of competition that requires you to perform and meet the challenge, and I think [Russ] did that,” Sullivan said. “The fact that he knows and understands the department, the fact that he’s very passionate about the department, about the town, about his work, and that he gives a daily effort, that he’s performing well, I think there are some positive differences. I think we made the right choice today.”

Jenkins was picked by Sullivan after a resume review by police chiefs in other communities narrowed the applicant pool to 11. From there, city officials interviewed the applicants and selected the top six.

An evaluation exercise conducted by Wayne Sampson, the executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; and interviews by Sullivan brought the list to three. The finalists had public interviews in Braintree, and the mayor chose the winner.

Jenkins beat out Craig W. Davis, deputy chief in Framingham, and Richard Rudolph, a commanding officer and lieutenant in the Detective Bureau of the New York City Police Department, both of whom had decades of experience in their departments.

The process began after previous Chief Paul Frazier retired in May after more than 30 years on the job.

Jenkins said he was overwhelmed by the ascension to chief, which he has been working toward his entire career.

“I’m very excited about it. [There is] a little trepidation of what it will lead to, but I’m looking forward to work with the department, the mayor, and providing that level of services we expect and deserve,” Jenkins said.

But he added that he already has a list of things to do. “We have a great department, we can do better. I’d like to continue the work we’ve been doing for several years now and emphasize the need to increase personnel, training, our policies and procedures, our supervision and discipline,” he said.

According to Sullivan, over the next few weeks, Jenkins will perform an analysis of the department, look at possible reorganization, adding personnel, and reestablishing the canine program more fully. Community policing will also play an important role, Sullivan said.

Part of that reorganization will also look at whether the department should have one or two deputy chiefs, and who will replace Jenkins in that role.

“In terms of the reorganization . . . we did have two deputy chiefs in place at one point, Russ has been handling those responsibilities now . . . in both positions for the last three to four years,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to look at the organization, see if we can make steps to improve it, and will also include the addition of personnel. We’re going through the civil service list, we have had some transfers. We’re trying to get our numbers higher.”

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.
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