Three Finalists Named For Nantucket Chief Of Police

Jason Graziadei •

The three finalists for the Nantucket chief of police job, from left to right: Richard Flynn, Jody Kasper, and Mark Newport.

The town on Tuesday named three finalists for the Nantucket chief of police job and stated the appointment of the island's top law enforcement official is expected to happen by the end of the month.

The finalists participated in an "assessment center" evaluation on Monday, one of the final stages of the hiring process for the town. The three candidates were identified as:

  • Richard Flynn: a police captain with the Arlington (Mass.) Police Department
  • Jody Kasper: the chief of police for the Northampton (Mass.) Police Department
  • Mark Newport: the chief of police for the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Police Department

Bill Pittman, the Nantucket Police Department's current chief, is set to retire in November after 19 years in the position. His departure, announced back in March, set in motion a hiring process that resulted in more than 40 applicants submitting applications to the town. 

Those candidates were reviewed by the town's five-member Police Chief Search Group which includes town manager Libby Gibson, assistant town manager Rick Sears, DEI director Kimal McCarthy, Select Board member Brooke Mohr, and Sindy Rivera, a local citizen. The search group was supported by Public Safety Consultants, LLC, a firm that specializes in the recruitment of public safety personnel.

Here's what we know about the three candidates so far:

Flynn, the Arlington Police Department captain, is among the senior officials of a department that includes 65 sworn officers and serves a population of 47,000. According to his LinkedIn page, Flynn has worked for APD for more than 30 years, working his way up from a patrol officer, to sergeant, lieutenant, and since 2009, the department's captain. He is currently in charge of investigations and accreditation, and serves as APD's information officer. Flynn is a graduate of UMass-Amherst (bachelor of applied science); Anna Maria College (master's degree in criminal justice); and Suffolk University, where he obtained a certificate in local government and leadership management. 

Kasper was born and raised in Western, Massachusetts, and has worked for the Northampton Police Department for 26 years. She got her start as a patrol officer, and worked her way up to become a field training officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, detective lieutenant, captain of operations, and in June 2015, was named chief of police. Kasper graduated from Greenfield Community College and earned two master's degrees - one in criminal justice and the other in public administration - from Westfield State University. In 2021, Kasper was named the Woman Law Enforcement Executive of the Year by the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.

Newport became Portsmouth's first black chief of police in 2020. His department includes 68 full-time police officers, 14 auxiliary police officers, and 21 non-sworn civilian employees including dispatchers. Newport got his start as a patrol officer with the Portsmouth Police Department in 1995, serving in a variety of capacities within the department's investigative division and the state's drug task force before becoming a sergeant, lieutenant, and then captain before being named chief. He is the recipient of two U.S. Congressional Awards for Outstanding Performance of Duty, and two New Hampshire Congressional Awards for Outstanding Performance of Duty. Newport is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and the University of San Diego, where he earned a master's degree in law enforcement and public safety leadership.

The recent assessment center conducted on Monday tested the three candidates in the areas of personnel management, budgeting, and strategic planning, and also included an evaluation of candidates’ performance in non-standard and emergency situations.

Town manager Libby Gibson said last week that the search committee was pleased with the process and progress of the search - adding that the town's consultant has commented more than once that the Nantucket process "is extremely transparent."

Pittman, who was named the island's police chief in October 2004, told the Current in March that he intended to retire on November 30, 2023. Pittman will turn 65 next month, which is the mandatory retirement age for police officers in Massachusetts.

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