Safety and law enforcement officials aiding in State Police colonel search

A former state secretary of public safety, a former member of the Gaming Commission and the head of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association are among six people chosen by Gov. Maura Healey to guide her administration's search for a new colonel for the Massachusetts State Police.

Col. Christopher Mason stepped down about a month ago and was replaced on an interim basis by Lt. Col. John Mawn Jr., a 30-year veteran of the force.

Healey has said that she is looking for someone with "integrity and managerial competence" to lead the department on a more permanent basis.

She is the first governor able to take advantage of a provision of the 2020 policing reform law allowing the State Police colonel to be hired from outside of the department's current ranks.

The six-person search committee that will work in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police to look for the next colonel is made up of:

  • Kevin Burke, who was Essex County district attorney and the secretary of public safety and security under Gov. Deval Patrick
  • Former Gaming Commission member Gayle Cameron, who retired as the number-two leader of the New Jersey State Police
  • Molly Baldwin, the founder and CEO of the community organization Roca
  • Mass. Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Mark Leahy, a retired police chief who served in Northborough and Suffield, Connecticut
  • Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance Executive Director Liam Lowney
  • Former federal prosecutor and Cambridge police officer Natashia Tidwell, who is now a member of the litigation group at Mintz

"The next Massachusetts State Police Colonel has a unique opportunity to enhance public safety across Massachusetts, build public trust and advance meaningful reforms," Healey said in a statement. "We are grateful to the remarkable members of the search committee for their service and commitment to identifying strong applicants with the vision and values to lead the State Police into the future."

The update Monday from Healey's office did not provide a timeline for the committee's work. Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll's statement said that the administration "is committed to conducting a comprehensive search that is thorough and expeditious."

Having just completed her own Cabinet at the start of the month, Healey is also in the midst of searches for a new general manager of the MBTA and a transportation safety chief. She also continues to pursue the creation of a new housing secretariat.



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