PEMBROKE — A 13-year-employee of the Pembroke Police Department has taken the reigns as the town’s new interim police chief, according to Town Manager Oryan Lowry.
Police Sgt. Grant Florita took over the position on Thursday, which has been held by Detective Sebastian Veneziano since Frank Hernandez retired on June 25.
“It’s an administrative move I support,” Veneziano said. “I’ve got a lot of things on my plate right now so this is going to help me out.”
Lowry said that he wanted to let Florita, who “knows the town and knows the people,” take over as interim chief to free up Veneziano for his responsibilities as a detective — the only one on the force.
One of Florita’s first decisions was to name Ed Strickland, who has been with the department for nearly eight years, as communications director, Lowry said. Strickland replaces Jennifer Dial, who has worked about a week in the past month because an ongoing illness, according to Lowry.
“They had been having scheduling issues and needed someone to solve some problems immediately,” he said. “… It was a transition that was mutual on all parties.”
Lowry said he has started searching for a new chief, and hopes to have the position filled by mid-October.
An assessment team Lowry is putting together will “take all the politics out of hiring a new chief,” he said, and the search will not be confined to those already working at the department.
“We’ll have candidates come in and do a written test, take those written responses and set up a panel of high-ranking officials throughout the state who will identify the best candidate,” Lowry said. “Once I finish that, then we can move forward.”