WENHAM — For over three decades, Thomas Perkins has been committed to the safety and wellbeing of the community he was born and raised in.
On May 1, Chief Perkins will retire after 35 years with the Wenham Police Department. He has served as the top officer for the department since 2012.
Chief Perkins first joined the Wenham Police Department in 1986 as an auxiliary officer. He went on to serve as a reserve officer a year later and became a full-time officer with the department in 1989.
As would be common throughout his career, Chief Perkins received numerous awards and commendations during his time as an officer. This includes his response to a car crash in June 1997, where he jumped into a motor vehicle that was on its side to help protect and render aid to an 80-year-old man with a heart condition and a pacemaker. His actions helped to keep the man calm while firefighters used the Jaws of Life to free him from the vehicle and prevented the man from suffering any serious injuries.
He was also lauded for his actions in several investigations, including one into a residential burglary in 1995 where he was able to help recover stolen jewelry and arrest the suspect as a result. His professionalism and skills was recognized during several emergency responses to incidents such as fatal car crashes, medical emergencies and theft investigations.
Chief Perkins was promoted to sergeant in 2005 and captain in 2008. He quickly demonstrated his leadership skills within the department, notably during a microburst in August 2005 where he stepped in to help with the town’s emergency response. Though there was reported property damage, no one was injured during the storm.
Public service runs in the family for Chief Perkins. His father, Cal Perkins, is a retired Fire Chief for the Wenham Fire Department and his brother, Ryan Davis, is a sergeant for the Essex Police Department in Essex, Mass.
During his time with the department, Chief Perkins volunteered for programs and organizations in town including the Cub Scouts, Toys-4-Tots and the Special Olympics. After he retires, Chief Perkins is looking forward to spending more time with his family and boating along the North Shore.
“We have been lucky to have such a strong and dedicated leader among our ranks, one who has helped the department operate at its fullest potential,” Deputy Chief Kevin DiNapoli said. “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve alongside him, and it will be a bittersweet day on May 1. We wish him all the best during his well-deserved retirement and thank him for his many years of service to the Town of Wenham.”
Deputy Chief DiNapoli was chosen as the next chief for the department in November 2020 and will start in his new role on May 1.