EGREMONT — With the rest of the force applauding, the selectmen on Monday night unanimously appointed six-year veteran Tyler Race as the town's new police chief.
Race, 27, becomes one of the youngest chiefs in Berkshire County, if not the state of Massachusetts.
"Well, it's kind of a dream come true," said Race moments after the board appointed him. "I think it would be for anyone who's a police officer."
Race still has to negotiate a contract, but present Chief Brian Shaw, who was also on the town's search committee, said he expects Race to begin his shift as chief by the end of the week.
"I think the town will get that done fairly quickly," said Shaw.
Race was the only candidate brought forward by the search committee. There were three finalists, according to selectman chairman Charles Flynn.
"He was the clear favorite," said search committee member Paul Montgomery, a former Great Barrington policeman. "We saw no reason to bring forward any other candidates."
Montgomery cited Race's ties to the community as a key factor, as well as "his communication skills, his dedication, his intelligence and his maturity way beyond his years."
On Monday night, as the selectmen deliberated, more than a dozen full- and part-time members of the Egremont Police Dept. were in attendance at the meeting.
After the selectmen unanimously approved Race, they all stood and applauded.
"I couldn't imagine a better man for the job," said Hans Carslon, a full-time officer. "Look at the turnout tonight. We all support him."
Carlson said the Egremont Patrolmen's union voted unanimously to send a letter of recommendation to the town on Race's behalf.
"I've worked with Tyler since Day One," said Joseph Pravia, a longtime officer on the force. "I think he'll do a great job. We're all excited."
Selectman Mary Brazie said the town, ordinarily, would not appreciate getting only one candidate on which to vote.
"But it seems obvious that Tyler has the support of the force," she said.
Race is a 2007 graduate of Monument Mountain Regional High School, where he was an honor student all four years. In 2010, he graduated from the Western Massachusetts Police Academy, and was hired as a part-time officer that year.
He has been on the force for more than six years.
"It'll be seven years in August," he said. "I'm a local boy through and through."
Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.