The Massachusetts State Police has a new leader.
Kerry Gilpin, a 23-year veteran of the force, was sworn in by Gov. Charlie Baker Wednesday as the agency's new superintendent and colonel.
Gilpin was most recently the department's deputy division commander of the division of standards and training. The governor said in a statement he has the "utmost confidence" Gilpin will excel in her new post, which is effective immediately.
Gilpin's appointment comes just days after her predecessor, Colonel Richard McKeon, announced his retirement after 35 years on the force following swirling controversy over a federal lawsuit filed last Tuesday by a subordinate trooper. The lawsuit by Trooper Ryan Sceviour alleges McKeon ordered Sceviour to alter an official police report to remove embarrassing details about the arrest of the daughter of a Dudley drug court judge.
The department's second-in-command, Francis Hughes, also announced his resignation, retiring Tuesday, in the wake of the allegations. State police issued a statement saying, "traditionally, when a Colonel/Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police leaves his or her position, the Deputy Superintendent resigns as well to allow a new Colonel to select a second-in-command of his or her own choosing."
Gilpin, a resident of Hampden, is a criminal justice graduate of Western New England College and joined the state police in 1994. She is the second woman to assume the agency's top role. Marian McGovern became the first woman to serve as colonel in 2009.
Gilpin said she is "honored" by the promotion, and added in a statement that "whether working to protect public safety from internal threats such as the terrible scourge of opioids or from those seeking to attack us from outside our borders, the role of the Massachusetts State Police has never been more important than it is today."
From December last year to June this year, Gilpin also attended a National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, where she worked with a team to find ways to reduce opioid deaths.
Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett said in a statement that Gilpin "became a trooper for the right reasons, because she wanted to help victims of crime and has showed leadership in each position she has been asked to take on."
This article was originally published on November 15, 2017.