Retirements, Unfilled Jobs Temporarily Reduce Haverhill Police Force

Haverhill Police Department Deputy Chief Anthony Haugh (left) and Chief Alan R. DeNaro speak at a city Administration and Finance Committee meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (WHAV News photograph)

Haverhill Police Department Deputy Chief Anthony Haugh, left, and Chief Alan R. DeNaro at a city Administration and Finance Committee meeting earlier this year. (WHAV News photograph)

The number of Haverhill police officers on the street is down by 10—owing to unfilled jobs and retirements.

Three additional officers were approved in June by city councilors and Mayor James J. Fiorentini for the current year, but Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro said time to find recruits and replace retirees—including two recent ones—have pushed down the number of officers on duty to 97.

“We’re getting a list from Civil Service and we’re reaching out to our friends (in other departments) for lateral transfers,” DeNaro told WHAV this week. A lateral transfer is when an officer moves from one police department to another. The chief predicted staff shortages earlier this year and said it could become worse.

DeNaro explained another five or six more police officers are either eligible to retire or thinking about it.

This week, the department offered well wishes to Capt. Kim Parolisi and Officer Robert Rogers on their retirements.

Fiorentini’s public safety budget for the year that began last month originally included hiring another lieutenant and, after two May murders, he agreed with city councilors about also adding a sergeant and a patrolman. “I have a crisis in the city right now with public safety. Any extra resources that come in will be allocated there,” the mayor explained during a school budget hearing.

The new lieutenant will operate a four-person gang unit and contract with a Lowell-based group, UTEC, that will put two workers on the city’s streets to reach out to young people who are in gangs or in danger of joining a gang.

The additional officers build on five patrolmen added to last year’s budget.