Consultant aiding in Lanesborough police chief search

The Lanesborough Police Chief Search Committee has retained a consultant to aid in the search for a successor for Timothy Sorrell, who is retiring June 30, after 34 years with the Police Department, the final six as chief.

LANESBOROUGH — A veteran of Massachusetts law enforcement is aiding the town in finding a new police chief.

Consultant Wayne Sampson, a former Shrewsbury Police chief and onetime director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, has been reviewing the resumes of the five semifinalists seeking to succeed Timothy Sorrell, who is retiring June 30, after 34 years in law enforcement — all with the Lanesborough Police Department, the final six as chief.

The town's Police Chief Search Committee has retained Sampson at a cost of $4,000 to $5,000, money coming from the police budget. Sampson says he has spent the past 15 years helping other communities hire public safety officials, including helping place 60 police chiefs. The ad hoc panel plans to come up with three finalists the Select Board can interview in a public forum.

Sampson and the committee continued reviews of the candidates' applications and answers to written questions during an executive session of Tuesday's meeting via Zoom. Sampson told the committee before the review that its search is on the right track.

"Based on what you have now [for candidates], you may be able to move this [search] process swiftly," he said.

Sampson sees his role as advisory, leaving the decisions to the committee.

"If I see a red flag [for a candidate], I will point it out, but it may be nothing. I'm not going to tell you what to do," he said.

Meanwhile, the committee has received two more applications since it previously met, in early April. The ad hoc group plans to review the resumes to see if the applicants deserve further consideration for the chief's job.

The committee is keeping the search open until Sorrell's successor is hired. Sorrell, a nonvoting member of the committee, agrees with that approach.

"I still think we need to keep our options [open] in case we find the best candidate [from later applicants]," he said.

Sorrell has two years left on his contract, earning an annual salary of $88,000. He oversees a police force of four other full-time officers, plus nine part-time officers.

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