MARBLEHEAD — There will be a new chief in town come July 2021. Marblehead Police Chief Robert Picariello announced this week that he will be retiring from his position effective July 2 of next year.
A 35-year veteran of the force who has spent the past 14 years as chief, Picariello simply said that he felt now was the right time for the decision.
Picariello reached the maximum retirement level for his position at age 55, and he’ll be 58 when he finally steps down next year. His is the latest in a string of police chief retirements in the area lately, as chiefs in Lynn (Michael Mageary), Saugus (Domenic DiMella), Revere (James Guido) and Salem (Mary Butler) have all announced their retirements over the past two years.
A number of town officials had positive things to say about the chief upon hearing of the announcement.
“Over my first two years as Town Administrator, I have been very fortunate to work with Chief Picariello,” said Marblehead Town Administrator Jason Silva. “The chief brings a unique blend of skills to the job — a great attitude, positive demeanor, ability to work with anyone, terrific sense of humor, constant professionalism, and a deep understanding of the public safety needs of the Town. Over his long tenure as chief, he has accomplished quite a lot — including the creation and leading the implementation of a comprehensive, community-based strategic plan for the Department and receiving accreditation from the state’s Police Accreditation Commission for the Marblehead Police Department, just to name a few. Through his leadership and these efforts, he has increased the reputation of the Department.
“On a personal level, the chief has been a great partner for me as a still-new Town Administrator,” Silva added. “He has been a great support while also being a strong advocate for his department and employees. The good news is that I know where he lives, I’ll still have his phone number and will definitely stay in touch when I need to run something by him or seek his advice and guidance. I look forward to working with him on an orderly transition and grateful I still have an opportunity to work alongside him for another 10 months.”
“He has been a tremendous attribute to this town,” said Marblehead Board of Selectmen Chairman Jackie Belf-Becker. “He has made a lot of really important inroads, he’s been responsive and he’s been involved in everything, and he goes about it in a calm, accessible way. He’s been such a pleasure to work with and he’s just an all-around good guy. He will be sorely missed and I hope he enjoys his retirement with his family.”
“The chief and I go all the way back to elementary school so I can say, without reservation, that he knows Marblehead well and has demonstrated, through his service and leadership, the best of community policing,” said State Rep. Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead. “During his time as chief, he’s always been fair, honest and proactive, a true partner especially as we have had to work on some difficult local issues. I will miss him as chief and he leaves big shoes to fill, but he has well-earned a nice retirement.”
With a little less than 10 months left until he leaves the job, Picariello has plenty of time before he departs to help prepare for the transition.
Mike Alongi can be reached at email@example.com.