Lanesborough police chief retiring as of June 30, successor sought by then

The Lanesborough Police Chief Search Committee has come up with five semifinalists seeking to succeed Timothy Sorrell, who will retire from the chief's position June 30. The committee will forward the names of three finalists to the Select Board for public interviews.

LANESBOROUGH — Town officials are one step from interviewing finalists to become the town's next police chief.

The Police Chief Search Committee has arrived at five semifinalists from a stack of 28 resumes of law enforcement personnel who want to succeed Police Chief Timothy Sorrell. None of the five is from Berkshire County, according to Sorrell, who is advising the committee but is not a voting member.

Sorrell is retiring as of June 30, after more than 34 years in law enforcement — all with the Lanesborough Police Department, the last six as chief.

The committee voted Tuesday to send a list of questions for the semifinalists to answer. Once the written responses are returned to the committee, Chairman Rob Reilly will distribute copies to the full committee, whose members will score the answers and recommend the three finalists. 

Before those names are forwarded to the Select Board for interviews at a public meeting, Reilly said, the committee needs to do a "deep dive" to thoroughly vet the candidates' law enforcement careers. He said the committee wants to ensure it has an accurate picture of each finalist.

"This is absolutely a must," committee member Aaron Williams said during Tuesday's Zoom meeting.

The extensive background checks come with a cost, likely several thousand dollars, according to the committee.

Sorrell has offered to use surplus money from his department to pay for the added review of the candidates.

"It's a good way to spend that [surplus] money," the chief said.

Sorrell, 55, is a Lenox native and Marine veteran who earns an annual salary of $88,000, with two years-plus remaining on his contract.

During his tenure, Sorrell often has had to defend the need to be fully staffed to serve a municipality of about 3,000 residents. Lanesborough has five full-time officers, plus the chief and nine part-time officers.

The size of the department might seem large, given the town's population, the chief has noted in a previous Eagle interview, but he and his officers are kept busy with Lanesborough located in the heart of the Route 7 corridor that includes the Berkshire Mall and Pontoosuc Lake.

Sorrell is the town's fourth police chief since the department was created in the early 1960s. He was appointed by the Select Board in May 2015 to succeed F. Mark Bashara.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com.