As DeNaro’s Contract Nears End, Police Chief Expresses Willingness to Stay On

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro at the podium in 2017 while Capt. Stephen J. Doherty Jr. listens at left. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The police chief addresses the Haverhill City Council. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro with Mayor James J. Fiorentini at Swasey Field after a 2016 shooting later blamed on gang activity. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro’s contract expires in a little more than a year, but Haverhill’s top law enforcement officer wants to stay on if the city will have him.

DeNaro, who has served since 2002 and earns $190,490 plus $8,000 to serve as the city’s emergency management director, told WHAV there are plenty of projects to finish before he goes. One is the array of repairs to the nearly 20-year-old police station and another is replacement of the city’s animal control shelter.

“I absolutely will stay. There’s a lot of things to finish,” DeNaro said.

The police chief’s reappointment depends on Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

“The mayor and I will probably sit down in the fall—maybe after Thanksgiving,” DeNaro said, adding, “We haven’t sat down to hammer out an extension.”

Fiorentini told WHAV Tuesday it is too early to comment.

DeNaro was appointed by former Mayor John J. Guerin Jr. The police chief previously told WHAV one of the reasons he chose Haverhill was the city’s farsightedness in building a new police station. However, the building has become one of his biggest headaches. In an interview last year with WHAV, he summarized the 1999 building project as “criminally negligent.”

Much on the Chief’s ‘To Do’ List

The building was constructed at an initial cost of $6.6 million. Donham & Sweeney, Boston, served as architect; Palladium Construction Corp., Wakefield, was general contractor and DM Berg Consultants, Needham, performed engineering services. A subcontractor declared bankruptcy during construction, delaying the building’s opening a year and after concerns about leaking roofs and poor workmanship.

Even today, the city is replacing windows and dealing with mold growth caused by previous roof leaks. A study by the state Department of Health found the station required substantial indoor and outdoor repairs because of “chronic moisture infiltration” and “visible microbial growth,”

A new roof was installed in 2014 at a cost of nearly $400,000, but subsequent installation of solar panels is believed to have caused new damage.

Another project is replacement of the city’s animal control shelter—known by most as the “dog pound.” DeNaro said the current building near the city’s public works garage on Primrose Street is plagued by rodents, an inoperable sewer and poor climate control, among other problems.

“The building is a mess,” the chief said, adding, replacement costs are estimated at between $800,000 and $1 million.

DeNaro presided over successful construction of the city’s Elmo D’Alessandro Fleet Maintenance Garage on Primrose Street. That project was paid with a $900,000 loan and $325,000 from the benefactor D’Alessandro trust account for law enforcement purposes.