Less than two weeks after Bourne Police Chief Dennis R. Woodside’s last official day in office, Paul J. Shastany, former chief of police in Braintree and Stoughton, has been appointed to serve as interim police chief in Bourne.
Bourne Town Administrator Anthony E. Schiavi announced the appointment during the Bourne Board of Selectmen’s remote meeting on Tuesday, January 19. Chief Shastany was brought out of retirement to serve as interim chief in Bourne. His official title, Mr. Schiavi said, will be interim director of police services.
“When I was asked if I would be interested,” the chief told the board, “I was delighted.”
Mr. Schiavi noted that he chose Chief Shastany from four prospective candidates who interviewed for the interim position. The administrator said he anticipates the appointment to last approximately six months while the search is underway for a permanent chief. He said his decision to appoint Chief Shastany was based in part on the chief’s history of correcting problem departments.
Chief Shastany’s most recent position was as chief of police in Braintree, where he is credited with cleaning up the department in the aftermath of corruption charges. He took over in Braintree in October 2016 when the department was under investigation for guns, drugs and cash that went missing from its evidence room.
The department’s former evidence officer took his own life. In addition, the former police chief was forced into retirement, the deputy chief was placed on administrative leave and never returned to duty, and charges had to be dropped against numerous defendants because of missing evidence.
Prior to Braintree, Chief Shastany served as chief in the Stoughton Police Department from 2010 to 2016. Before his arrival, the FBI investigated the Stoughton department, notably two former police detectives, Arlindo Romeiro and Anthony Bickerton.
Both men eventually pleaded guilty to charges of lying to federal investigators. David Sousa, the former vice chairman of the Stoughton Board of Selectmen, credited Chief Shastany with cleaning up the troubled police department.
Chief Shastany took over for the interim police chief in Stoughton, who was appointed following the January 2009 conviction of then-Chief Manuel J. Cachopa on a corruption charge. Chief Cachopa was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to an attempted extortion committed by former police Sergeant David M. Cohen.
Chief Shastany left the Stoughton department, citing differences between himself and town officials. News reports from 2016 noted a disagreement between the chief and the town manager over the demotion of a deputy police chief to patrolman. The chief’s recommendation was to terminate the deputy chief, while the town manager chose the demotion following a 60-day suspension.
The chief also took issue with the town’s human resources director, who was serving as acting town manager in the summer of 2015. The chief charged the HR director with obstructing the work of a liquor inspector.
“I have made it my life, my career and mission to turn around police departments, to evaluate troubled departments and to bring people beyond the normal standards,” the chief said.
Mr. Schiavi told the Bourne selectmen that he has been made aware of a substantial amount of turnover in the Bourne Police Department over the past seven to nine years, which he considers concerning. Choosing Chief Shastany, someone from outside the department, he said, would help him gain “knowledge and insight of our department, but also on what’s going on outside of our department.”
“So that I could develop a really in-depth profile of our next chief of police here in Bourne,” Mr. Schiavi said.
Chief Shastany started his career as a permanent reserve officer in Natick and a district investigations supervisor for the Boston Housing Police. He spent 28 years in the Framingham Police Department, ultimately rising to the rank of lieutenant before his appointment in February 2010 as chief of police in Stoughton.
Bourne Selectman Jared P. MacDonald, a former Bourne police officer, said he is looking forward to positive reaction to Chief Shastany’s time at the police department. Mr. MacDonald said he has been made aware of “a lot of interest in having you there.”
“I know there’s some young people that are looking to mentor underneath you,” he said.
Selectman Peter J. Meier welcomed Chief Shastany to Bourne and assured the chief that he will not encounter the same obstruction to his command that he faced in Stoughton.
“It’s a shame what you had to go through up there,” Mr. Meier said, “and I hope that your time here is a lot more pleasant.”
Chief Shastany begins his tenure with the department immediately, as the board voted to waive the 15-day waiting period before a new hire is finalized. The chief said he is anxious to get started.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the officers,” he said. “I want to sit down with each of them, the community and stakeholders. There’s so much I want to get done.”