Pittsfield's new police chief to mayor: 'I will not let you down'

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PITTSFIELD — After 10 years as the provisional head of the city Police Department, Michael Wynn is officially chief.

And shortly after swearing in Wynn on Friday afternoon, Mayor Linda Tyer pledged to ensure that the department has a proper headquarters.

"Chief Wynn, let's you and me build a police station," Tyer said in front of about 100 dignitaries, first responders and community leaders present for the swearing-in ceremony at the Berkshire Museum.

She said Wynn, who has led the department provisionally for 10 years, "complains relentlessly" about the state of the building and the struggle to accomplish modern-day policing from inside its 1930s-era walls.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier said a new station, for which Tyer has commissioned a feasibility study and explored potential locations, is becoming a top priority for the city. And so naturally, she said, it's a priority for her delegation.

"We need to find a way to get it done," Farley-Bouvier said.

Tyer recently selected Wynn for the formal designation after a civil service assessment center found Wynn at the top of a list of three internal candidates. She said the move also marks a shift in policy for the city.

Previous mayoral administrations, she said, have been reluctant to permanently appoint chiefs through the civil service program. Tyer has been trying since last year to give Wynn the official title, but the Civil Service Commission required him to complete an updated civil service exam, which he did on Sept. 27.

During the ceremony, decorated holiday trees glistened and giant snowflakes dangled from the ceiling of the museum's Ellen Crane Memorial Room as Warren Dews Jr. belted out the national anthem. Dews, a minister, is chief consumer sales and event officer for New England Newspapers Inc.

Heads bowed as Chaplain Russell Moody prayed that Wynn fulfill his duties with the "utmost integrity and courage."

Tyer said the crowd that overwhelmed the room's available seating "speaks volumes" about Wynn and his role in the community.

"He expects greatness and leads by example," she said, also praising his leadership in the community. "Chief Wynn is always willing to engage in a dialogue that advances understanding."

Tyer administered the oath of office, with Wynn reciting the words. His hand rested on a Bible held by his wife, Christina Barrett, who proudly looked on and helped affix the chief's bars to Wynn's uniform.

"I am a little overwhelmed," Wynn said, taking the podium and looking to Tyer. "Thank you for staying the course to see this through. I will not let you down."

After thanking everyone in the room, Wynn took time to thank his critics.

"Each critique or complaint is an opportunity for improvement," he said, vowing that his department will continue to evolve. "Offer to teach us something. We're committed to learning."

Reach Amanda Drane at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter or at 413-496-6296.

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