Retired Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro says his proudest achievements over his nearly two decades in Haverhill are the department’s accreditation and addition of a mental health program.
DeNaro, however, told city councilors during his farewell last week that he remains willing to address “shocking revelations” discovered during his investigation of the city’s Public Works Department if that report ever becomes public.
“If and when the time comes, I don’t care if I’m in Wisconsin, I will come back here and I will discuss the entirety of that report with this Council,” he promised.”
Councilor Timothy J. Jordan asked about the chief’s 83-page report that was prepared during the fall of 2018.
“The DPW report. I know there’s been some controversy over that. My understanding is that WHAV has been pushing for that, and asked for transparency,” Jordan noted.
The chief said he undertook the investigation himself since, he believed, it would be a “career-ender” for any other officer. Mayor James J. Fiorentini asked for a report following the arrests of two public works employees and a former worker on drug charges, as well as anonymous complaints.
Much of the report turned over to WHAV was blacked out, but visible sentences appeared to focus on sloppy city construction work, abuse of sick leave, nepotism and an undisclosed allegation against a department member. The city’s outside law firm first argued against releasing the report on employee privacy grounds and later said the information was critical to the city’s legal defense against a discrimination suit.
In addition to serving as police chief, DeNaro also supervised the fire department for a time.
“From the time I took over in 2002, looking forward to today, I’m very proud of both of those organizations—I spent five and half years as the commissioner with the fire department and all of my time with the police department. We now have a state-accredited police department.”
Besides the state certification, DeNaro said the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies is recommending Haverhill for national accreditation this fall.
The chief also pointed to his successful call for mental health clinicians who work to prevent crime and deescalate tense situations.
“The other big thing was the mental health counselor, which is something we battled to get into the budget. It’s so very important that we stay with that program. We give that thing a chance to bloom and to operate effectively. I think it is going to really pay dividends to this community as far as what you’re going to see as a benefit out of that,” he told councilors.
DeNaro thanked councilors for helping to add supervisors and patrolmen and obtain vehicles.
“None of those things would have happened, I don’t believe for a second they would have happened, without the passionate support of the individuals on this Council,” he said.
While he said he would still like to see additional patrol officers hired, there’s “no better department that I’ve seen” than Haverhill.
Councilors praised DeNaro with Council President Melinda E Barrett observing he “turned the culture around” and “Councilor John A. Michitson saying the chief “showed true leadership.”