|Spicer: Interim Framingham police chief to be named 'very shortly'||April 19,2018|
|Norman Miller 508-626-3823||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM - Mayor Yvonne Spicer said she plans to name an interim police chief soon following the announcement Wednesday that Chief Ken Ferguson will step down next week.
Spicer praised the outgoing chief at a press conference Thursday, and said she will soon begin the work of recruiting and hiring a new police chief.
"Know that the chief and I have been in conversation about this for a while," Spicer said. "We'll make a decision on a replacement very shortly."
Ferguson, a 34-year veteran of the police department, rose through the ranks to be appointed chief in October 2013, taking over from former Chief Steven Carl. He will serve his last day on April 27.
Discussing his decision to retire, Ferguson said he felt comfortable that the community's transition from town to city is well underway.
"I've been talking about it for a while," he said, "but with the transition from a town to a city, I wanted it to be the right time. I just didn't want to move out the door. It was a major transition, and we've been talking about it for a while, and it just seemed like with the new (chief operating officer) coming on, and the way the police department stands right now, that it was OK for me to leave."
In the four months since she became mayor, Spicer said Ferguson has been a staunch supporter, who was available to her at all times. She commended Ferguson for launching initiatives that she hopes will continue in the future, including increased community policing and coordination with local social service agencies.
"Those are the kinds of qualities that I look for in a chief," she said, "to really be committed to making sure that our community is engaged and that it is not a punitive thing when you engage with the police department, but a very proactive engagement." Daily News journalists talk about local stories that made headlines this week
Spicer said she has made no decision on whether to seek an internal or external candidate for Ferguson's replacement, but will begin the hiring process in the next few weeks. Spicer plans to look at how similar communities choose police chiefs.
"The good news is that based on a number of conversations we've had, I feel very secure with the police force and all the work that they do in the community, that we will be just fine in Framingham," she said.
Ferguson's time as chief has not been without challenges. Several police officers have sued the department. The former Framingham Police evidence officer resigned during an investigation into the theft of money from the department's evidence room, which eventually led to criminal charges and a conviction.
In 2016, the Superior Officers' Union took a vote of no-confidence in Ferguson.
The chief was on leave for several months in 2016 due to a severe medical issue. In an interview Wednesday, Ferguson said he considered retiring then, but didn't want to go out that way.
Asked whether she will ask the next chief to address any challenges in the department, Spicer stressed the importance of developing "stringent protocols on procedures and operations in the police department," and of coordinating with other city staff. Spicer said that quality has been evident during her tenure including during Monday's Boston Marathon.
Discussing his plans for the future, Ferguson said he hopes to continue his career in law enforcement after some time off.
"I definitely would like to continue with this profession that I love," he said. "I'm at the point in my career where I can retire from here and look for new challenges, and I'm looking forward to that."
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