Haverhill Police Capt. Pistone to Become City’s Next Chief; Mayor Cites Embrace of New Practices

Incoming Police Chief Robert P. Pistone. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill Police Capt. Robert P. Pistone is the city’s next police chief.

Robert P. Pistone. (Courtesy photograph.)

Pistone, a 22-year veteran of the Haverhill force, succeeds Alan R. DeNaro who retired in May for health reasons. He is expected to take over as chief July 17, replacing interim Chief Anthony L. Haugh, a former Haverhill deputy who came out of retirement to head the department for a few weeks until the new permanent chief was chosen.

Pistone was chosen by Mayor James J. Fiorentini after a nationwide search that included nearly 30 applicants from across the country as well as internal and local candidates.  Pistone was one of three finalists who addressed the public Friday during a “meet the finalists” session at City Hall. (See separate story.) Haverhill Deputy Chief Stephen J. Doherty Jr. and Lawrence Capt. Maurice Aguiler were the other finalists.

“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision because we had two outstanding local candidates in Capt. Pistone and Deputy Chief Doherty,” Fiorentini said in a statement Monday morning. “All of us on the interview panel were very impressed with both and I believe Chief Pistone and Deputy Chief Doherty will make an incredible team to bring our police department to even higher levels.”

A 10-person committee of local people interviewed five candidates and assisted in whittling the candidate pool to three finalists. The finalists were then interviewed a final time Friday Fiorentini, New Hampshire-based Municipal Resources President Alan Gould and former Hampton, N.H., police Chief William Wrenn, a Haverhill native.

Gould and Wrenn favored Pistone for the position although, the mayor’s office said, it was a “close and tough decision.” Any of the three finalists are qualified and capable of performing the duties of police chief, Fiorentini said.

Mayor Fiorentini said the Haverhill Police Department fared very well during the chief search process.

“One thing that really impressed me during the interviews is that a number of people said how impressed they are with our existing police,” the mayor said. “They stressed to me that our department has already adopted new police practices that are being demanded of police departments in the post George Floyd era.”

Fiorentini noted the final interview panel was especially impressed with Pistone’s commitment to working with the city’s BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) communities. The mayor said he and Chief Pistone will host a series of outreach meetings with the Latino community and visiting neighborhood markets this summer.

“We are committed to being a partner in the Latino community,” the mayor said.

Pistone holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and Chief Executive Leadership Course. In his more than two decades with the Haverhill department, Pistone has served as patrol commander, detective commander and administrative commander while also successfully handling the department’s grant writing and media relations.

While speaking with members of the press and public Friday, Pistone stressed his leadership philosophy of transparency and building strong community relationships

In his letter of interest in the chief’s position, Pistone said he is extensively familiar with the responsibilities of leading an urban police department as well as being a leader and role model in both the community and department.

“I have effectively managed high-profile cases and have contributed to the design and implementation of programs which have measurably improved the safety of both civilians and officers,” Pistone said. “I have a track record of having made swift, fair, and impartial decisions in chaotic, stressful, and time-sensitive situations.

“I have continued to form and build amicable working relationships with department heads, business officials, and outside agencies so that we may more efficiently address community improvements … and achieve a greater positive impacts on both crime control and quality of life for our citizens,” he said.

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