Published in the March 26, 2019 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — Lt. Steven A. Skory will be the next Chief of the Wakefield Police Department. He will assume those duties upon the retirement of current Police Chief Rick Smith on May 31.
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio announced last night that Skory was his choice, and the Town Council then unanimously ratified the appointment by a 7-0 vote. In an impressive display of solidarity, more than two dozen Wakefield police officers filed into last night’s Town Council meeting at the WCAT studio to witness Skory’s appointment.
Skory graduated from Northeastern University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. In 2000, he graduated from Western New England College with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice. In 2014 he graduated from the 258th Session of the FBI National Academy.
He has 25 years of police experience with four different police departments. He started his career with the Middleton Police Department in 1994 and also worked as a part-time police officer in the towns of Topsfield, Mass. and Hampton, New Hampshire
Skory joined the Wakefield Police Department in 2000. He was promoted to sergeant in 2007 and lieutenant in 2011. For more than 10 years, he has chaired the Traffic Advisory Committee.
Skory has been a member of the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Incident Management Team since 2010. The Incident Management Team provides support to requesting agencies with the management of major events, searches, crimes and disasters. Some of Skory’s most notable assignments with the IMT Team include the Boston Marathon bombing, Halloween in the city of Salem, game seven of the World Series in 2013 in Boston, assisting the city of Newton with the Boston Marathon every year since 2014 and the gas explosions in the city of Lawrence in 2018.
Town Council Chairman Peter May said that it builds morale to promote from within and observed that Wakefield is the envy of many communities for the caliber of its Police Department.
Maio said that the town owes a debt of gratitude to Smith for his more than 15 years of service as chief. “Our Police Department is in the forefront of police practices, which are critical to meeting the needs of our emerging society,” Maio said.
Chief Smith talked about Lt. Skory. “He has served us well. Like all of our members, he has worked hard and developed leadership skills. He is now about to take the reins of one of the best police departments in the Commonwealth. In the past 15 years, every member of this department has worked hard to make sure that the community of Wakefield understands that their police department is not just law enforcement. We serve the community.
“Our focus is not just law enforcement, but the majority of our time is engaged in problem solving,” Smith elaborated. “That is the model we developed and I am confident that Lt. Skory will continue that trend.”
Smith stressed that the position of Police Chief is not just the execution of a job description.
“It is a role that supports 47 members of the Police Department in their daily interactions with the community,” Smith said, “one that ensures the professionalism that our town has come to know and respect. It is, in many ways, the face of the town.”
In closing, Chief Smith quoted his late father.
“He stated that ‘a man is judged not by his words but by his actions. Once that is done, you can be judged a good man.’
“Lt. Skory is a good man,” Chief Smith said. “I wish him, the community and the men and women of Wakefield Police Department all the best and we will all work as a team to ensure a successful transition.”
Skory thanked Maio and the Town Council.
“For the last 19 years I have enjoyed coming to work every day and the opportunity to serve as the Chief of the Wakefield Police Department is an honor,” Skory said. “Many years ago, someone asked me what my career goal was and I replied that I would like to rise through the ranks and become a Chief. It’s a great feeling to have achieved my goal, but extra special to be a part of such a great organization and to serve such a great community.”
Skory also thanked Chief Smith.
“Chief Smith has been one of my biggest supporters,” Skory said. “He has been a great mentor and I have learned a great deal by watching and listening to him over the years. He has supported my ideas on different issues and even as I progressed through the ranks he has allowed me to remain involved in programs that are important to me.
“I would like to give special recognition to two people who are very important to me,” Skory continued, “Lt. Scott Reboulet and Deputy Chief Craig Calabrese. We have formed a strong bond over the years, working together as patrol officers, sergeants and lieutenants. We are like three brothers. We have learned from each other, we have disagreed at times, but ultimately, we share the common goal of accomplishing what is best for the Wakefield Police Department. As I head into this journey as a Chief, there is no one else I would rather have at my side than these two professionals.
“Finally, I would like to thank the members of the Wakefield Police Department, especially those who showed here tonight to give me their support,” Skory said. “Any leader is only as good as the people that work in their organization. I feel fortunate to be leading an organization whose success is the direct result of the talent and hard work of the men and women of the Wakefield Police Department.”
Members of the Town Council congratulated Skory.
“I am struck by the amount of respect you have earned from your colleagues for the leadership you provide,” said Councilor Edward Dombroski.
Councilor Ann Santos thanked Chief Smith.
“You are leaving us in a better place than when you took over,” she told Smith. Santos also applauded the appointment of Skory. “I have talked to a lot of police officers and they are thrilled with this appointment,” she said.
Councilor Tony Longo wished Skory the best and asked what his priorities would be.
Skory said that he would continue to focus on the opioid crisis and working with the mental health community. He said that he would also continue looking at the issue of the Public Safety Building and the possibility of adding positions to the Police Department.
Councilor Julie Smith-Galvin thanked Smith for his “compassion,” citing his years of working with the Wakefield Alliance Against Violence and his commitment to WAKE-UP, the town’s drug abuse prevention coalition.
Councilor Mehreen Butt echoed Smith Galvin’s points and expressed confidence that Skory would carry on Smith’s commitment to the work of groups like WAAV and WAKE-UP.
Councilor Paul DiNocco thanked Chief Smith for his service and looked forward to Skory’s assuming the reins.
“In the time that I have known you, you have been dedicated to the community,” DiNocco told Skory. “I think you will be an excellent Chief.”