MARBLEHEAD — The Marblehead Board of Selectmen is pleased to announce three finalists for the position of Police Chief, which will be vacated by Chief Robert Picariello upon his retirement in July.
“I would like to thank the Police Chief Screening Committee for their work evaluating candidates for this incredibly important position,” Town Administrator Jason Silva said. “We are committed to conducting a thorough and transparent selection process that will result in the appointment of a police chief who will uphold the ideals of the department and continue to build on the positive work that has been done in recent years.”
The finalists, in alphabetical order, are Shumeane Benford, Dennis King and Scott Richards.
Shumeane Benford has served as the City of Boston Housing Authority Police Chief since January and the City of Boston Chief of Emergency Management since August 2018. In his role as police chief, he has led efforts to modernize the department by instituting reforms and improvements in community engagement, professionalism, efficiency/technology, service delivery, productivity and employee morale.
Benford has over 25 years of experience in law enforcement and emergency management. Prior to his role as police chief, Benford served as the deputy chief of public safety for the Boston Public Health Commission Police Department. He has additionally served with the Boston Police Department, Northeastern University Police and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
He currently holds roles as an adjunct professor at Roxbury Community College and as a Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC)-certified police trainer.
Benford has completed the Executive Education Program of the Harvard University National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Policing (Session 56), and the Roger Williams University Command Training Series: Executive Development Course. He is also a recipient of the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy Award for leadership training.
He holds a master’s degree in political science from Suffolk University, a bachelor’s in criminal justice from Curry College and an associate’s in criminal justice from North Shore Community College.
Dennis King currently serves as captain following nine months serving as Acting Chief of Police of the Salem Police Department, which had begun in August 2020. While serving as acting chief, he assisted in the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic; served as a member of Salem’s Race Equity Task Force; and initiated a new civilian complaint procedure and an early warning system to detect problem police officers.
King is a 25-year veteran of the Salem Police Department, beginning as a reserve officer in 1996 and moving through the ranks as patrolman, Community Impact Unit specialist, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and executive officer. He previously served as a correctional officer with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and a Patrol Officer at North Shore Community College.
King has also served as an instructor for several training programs, including the MPTC, Controlled F.O.R.C.E. and ALICE active shooter training.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, a master’s in criminal justice and a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Salem State College. He also holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.
Scott Richards currently serves as the Special Services captain with the Peabody Police Department, a position he has held since January 2015. In this position, he oversees the Traffic Division, Special Operations Division, Records Division and the Training/Accreditation Division. Within the department he has also held the ranks of patrolman, detective, sergeant and lieutenant.
Richards previously served as a corrections officer with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and a patrolman with the Town of Groveland, and has 25 years of law enforcement experience.
He has completed multiple trainings of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association and various other executive and leadership trainings. He graduated top of the class from the Administrative Officer’s Course at the Southern Police Institute in Louisville, Kentucky in 2020.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Western New England University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisville.
About the selection process:
Beginning in April, an initial Police Chief Screening Committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The Committee reviewed applications and narrowed the applicant pool to five candidates. Those five candidates moved on to a competitive assessment center where the candidate’s knowledge, skills, abilities and personal characteristics were evaluated. The Town partnered with Ryan Strategies Group to organize and facilitate the assessment center process.
The final three candidates will now be interviewed by the Marblehead Board of Selectmen before an applicant will be chosen to fill the position.
The Marblehead Police Department places a strong emphasis on community-based policing, highlighting the positive interactions and trust between police officers and the constituents they serve. The chosen candidate will be invested in connecting the department with the community, maintaining open communication regarding quality-of-life issues and public safety concerns, and fostering the service ethos and high morale of the department.