MARBLEHEAD – Town Administrator Jason Silva and Chief Dennis King wish to share the following letter to the community regarding the findings of an administrative review into a 2019 incident in which a former officer allegedly vandalized a fellow officer’s personal vehicle.
To our community:
Last fall, our community was shaken by the news that a now-former Marblehead Police Officer had vandalized a fellow officer’s personal vehicle by etching it with a swastika — a universally understood symbol of hate.
When department leadership learned of the incident, which occurred in July 2019, our town government and police department took immediate action by suspending the officer responsible before he eventually resigned. The department promptly began work to develop a fuller understanding of exactly what happened and what steps we can take in the future to prevent it from happening again.
The Town of Marblehead retained the services of Terence M. Delehanty, the Manager/Principal of Law Enforcement Application Development Strategies (L.E.A.D.S.) and Chief of Police/Interim Town Manager in Winthrop, to conduct a thorough administrative review of the incident. In addition to helping us understand this incident better, Chief Delehanty has also provided the town and department with recommendations for how we can most effectively respond to these types of acts and emerge stronger.
We are in the process of reviewing those findings and recommendations and will act on them in meaningful ways in the weeks and months ahead to create a culture of tolerance, awareness and decisive action.
An analysis of the finding of facts shows: Timothy Tufts allegedly committed the crime of felony vandalism, but that Tufts did not commit a hate crime under Massachusetts law. An analysis of the finding of facts also shows that the Marblehead Police Department did not provide preferential treatment to Tufts by not charging him with a crime because the victim did not want to press charges — a practice consistent with civilian victims. However, an analysis of the finding of facts also shows Marblehead Police Department Policy and Procedures and Rules and Regulations were not adhered to by officers, to various degrees. After an administrative inquiry completed by the Chief of these violations is done, a decision will be made on the appropriate remedial measures to take.
This incident is an unfortunate chapter in our police department’s history, and it’s one that we must collectively work to understand and address. We will do that as one Marblehead community, with input from stakeholders who have been most affected by it, as well as through a thorough review and revision of relevant policies, procedures and training our officers and staff undergo.
There is no place for acts of hatred in Marblehead, and through this process there will be accountability and lasting change that benefits our entire community.
We want to thank our residents and stakeholders for their patience through this process, and are hopeful you’ll work alongside us as we continue the work of growing as a department and earning and maintaining your trust.
Town Administrator Jason Silva
Police Chief Dennis King
To access the redacted report, click here.