New Stockbridge chief starts Monday


STOCKBRIDGE -- Robert M. Eaton Jr., will formally begin his stint as the town’s new police chief on Monday.

Town Administrator Jorja-Ann P. Marsden said Eaton will be in town working with incumbent chief Richard B. Wilcox for most of next month. Wilcox is slated to retire on Feb. 22.

"He’ll be riding with Rick for a few weeks," said Marsden. "It will be something of an overlap."

Marsden said Eaton will be sworn in Monday before he goes to work. A more public ceremony to which residents will be invited will be scheduled at some point in early March, said Marsden.

Wilcox said on Wednesday that for the first two weeks Eaton will be wearing civilian clothes as he shadows Wilcox.

"He’ll be in civvies and I’ll be in uniform for the first two weeks," said Wilcox. "The third week, I expect I’ll be in civvies and he’ll be the one in uniform."

Wilcox said he and Eaton will be visiting local businesses, churches and other institutions "so that people can put a face to the name.

"It will be a lot of meet and greet, and it will be in addition to all the other daily duties this position requires," said Wilcox. "We have a lot of appointments with this organization and with that organization. It’s going to be a little hectic.

"To be honest, I’m not wild about all the time we’re going to have to set aside to do this, but I think it’s something that has to be done," said Wilcox. "I think people need to see the new chief in person."

Eaton, 47, was hired by the town in late January. A former member of the Smithfield, R.I. police force and a recent graduate of the FBI National Academy, Eaton was the unanimous selection of the Selectmen following his interview.

Eaton was culled from an initial applicant pool of 36, including several local members of the Stockbridge Department. The field was narrowed down to 14, then nine and then three finalists.

To reach Derek Gentile:,
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