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Select Board approves new police officer, commends Eagle Scouts for community projects

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

The Select Board at its meeting Tuesday night approved the hiring of a new police officer in a 4-0 vote and recognized three Eagle Scouts for their leadership projects.

Kyle Quinzani was chosen from a pool of 33 applicants for the role of police officer, according to Human Resources Generalist Kristin Merrill. He currently is a student officer in the Merrimack College Police Academy and will be graduating on April 12 with a master’s degree as part of a dual program.

Five other candidates are in various stages of the pre-employment process, she said, adding depth to the department at a critical time.

Nine candidates were interviewed in the first round in January, and six moved forward to second interviews. Another candidate was interviewed in February after returning home from active deployment.

“Right from the beginning when I met Kyle in the interview, I was very impressed with his responses,” said Hopkinton Police Department Chief Joseph Bennett. “He showed a level of care and compassion that we look for in our police officers.”

Said Quinzani: “I knew I wanted to be a police officer since before high school. It’s starting to feel real now.”

Residents continue to criticize Bennett’s performance

Earlier in the meeting, several residents continued to criticize Bennett’s performance. They questioned why he was not placed on administrative leave while being investigated by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and how he could effectively command the force during the Boston Marathon. They also asked when his performance evaluation would be completed by the Select Board.

During the start of his midyear performance evaluation at the Feb. 27 Select Board meeting, chair Muriel Kramer called out Bennett for his failure to hire a lieutenant and deputy chief and for lack of communication with the Select Board, among other things. The review was continued to allow Bennett time to prepare a response.

Two residents pointed to the 2023 Boston Marathon security handbook Bennett had generated that included information on other police agencies that HPD could call upon in an emergency. It listed the names of 13 Massachusetts State Police officers who should be contacted.

Resident Kelly DePaolo called the list “grossly outdated.”

Resident Karen Crum said that out of the 13 officers named, none of them was working during last year’s Boston Marathon because all but one had retired between 2020 and the date of the marathon. Four of them had outdated ranks. One lieutenant left the force in 2020 and was “then indicted for federal crimes,” according to Crum.

Sabine St. Pierre chastised the board for not knowing sooner about concerns Kramer expressed because the Select Board is the hiring authority.

Said St. Pierre: “As the boss, when you are asking the chief to do something, it should be an expectation and followed up on.”

She called the information presented at the meeting as “yet another failure” by Bennett.

Member Irfan Nasrullah told the audience that Bennett’s performance review would continue within the next couple of weeks.

Troop 4 Eagle Scouts honored

Troop 4 Eagle Scouts Ben Joyce, Sean Thapa and Dawson Markey were honored by the Select Board for their contributions to the town. Accompanied by their families and troop leaders, each Scout described his leadership service project.

Joyce repaired a previous Eagle Scout’s bridge on Cranberry Trail. He was assisted by Trails Committee chair Peter LaGoy in designing the six-month project and obtaining the materials for it. Other Scouts helped clear the rotted boards from the old bridge.

LaGoy commended Joyce earlier in the meeting for his work on the town’s trails, including the Center Trail and the trail at Elmwood Farm. He also thanked him for the repair of the bridge, which he described as “an important link.”

Thapa created a story walk for the Hopkinton Public Library. Books are periodically changed so that children can read them along with their family members while they walk.

“Its main objective was to promote healthy outdoor activity while encouraging love of reading for children,” he explained. “It took about a year to complete, and it’s still being used today.”

Markey’s project involved cleaning veterans’ gravestones at East Hopkinton Cemetery on Clinton Street. While he enjoyed the work, he called the planning component “tedious” because of the paperwork.

“I did it because if you fall for your country, you deserve a clean gravestone — not a dirty one,” he explained. “It’s to honor what they did to serve our country.”

Each Scout commented on how they confronted unexpected challenges and gained valuable experience and skills such as trust and not being afraid to ask for help.

“I’m really excited about these particular projects,” said member Mary Jo LaFreniere. “They were a little different from ones that have come before us on the past. They show innovation on your part, and I want to commend that.”

In addition to the Scouts, vice chair Shahidul Mannan also thanked the teachers, parents and leaders of the Scouts for their mentorship and support over the years.

Nasrullah described completing these projects as “life lessons” that will reflect well on them when they apply for jobs.

Board approves Special Town Meeting

The Select Board approved 4-0 the request for a Special Town Meeting to be held on May 7 within Annual Town Meeting, which will begin on May 6. Town Clerk Connor Degan had suggested that the STM be held first so that it can be completed before the ATM begins. But because of posting requirements, the STM has to occur on May 7. It will be the first item addressed on that day, assuming that the ATM lasts more than one day.

1 Comment

  1. Ruth Avallone

    Why is the board continuing to not do anything about Bennett? This town has become a laughing stock to surrounding towns. Everywhere I go lately it is the topic of discussion. Don’t you think our town deserves better. If something isn’t done, I fear we will start losing good officers. Clean up our PD. How many scandals do we have to put up with? Former officers indicted? Maybe we need to clean up the Select men first!!!!

    Reply

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