Police Superintendent Steps Out to Meet Lowell
LOWELL -- During her search for the next police superintendent, City Manager Eileen Donoghue invited area residents to the Lowell Senior Center in June to share their opinions on what makes a suitable top cop.
On Tuesday, Donoghue returned to the center to introduce the superintendent she chose for the position, Kelly Richardson, to many of those residents.
It was a difficult process, but Donoghue told attendees Richardson “checked all the boxes.”
“Committed to community policing, committed to so many of the initiatives that you all wanted to see,” Donoghue said. “Diversity, building diversity, building relationships across this community and throughout this community. I have folks saying Kelly Richardson is the one who will do it.”
Representatives of various organizations and institutions were on hand for Tuesday’s meet-and-greet style event for the new superintendent. Those included UMass Lowell, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, and Levenia Furusa-Mavinaire, the founder of Lowell’s Dwelling House of Hope -- an organization that aims at alleviating hunger and addressing addiction.
“We are so involved in the community,” Furusa-Mavinaire said. “I need to meet the new chief and introduce myself, and tell him what we’re doing so when we have any problems...”
Jim Pope and his wife Sally Coulter -- both heavily involved in the community, including through volunteer work and downtown neighborhood meetings -- were also on hand.
“We’re always looking for either someone who knows us or somebody who brings a fresh perspective,” Pope said. “What we’d really like is someone who can do both. Someone who really understands the system here in the community, but who looks at it from a fresh persepective... It sounds like that’s what (Richardson) is going to do.”
Praise was provided to Richardson by City Councilors Rita Mercier and Vesna Nuon, who were on hand for Tuesday night’s event.
During his address to attendees, Nuon referenced last Friday’s brawl involving several high school students that led to multiple arrests.
Nuon commended Lowell police officers who he said handled the melee “with respect.”
“Why?” Nuon asked. “Because you have that in the chief. The chief actually went there to supervise the situation.”
While addressing the crowd, Richardson also praised his officers for the handling of Friday’s fight, which has led to multiple meetings between the superintendent and city and school officials.
“We talked about what a great job the officers did downtown during a tough situation,” Richardson said. “I’m very proud of them. It could have gone in numerous different ways, but they showed restraint and handled the situation like it was their own kids.”
Stepping aside from meeting with various community members on Tuesday night, Richardson spoke a little bit about the progress of the troubling case involving the massive fight that broke out.
Initially 10 juveniles and an 18-year-old, a student at the Lowell High School Career Academy, were arrested in connection with the incident.
Richardson said that there were another roughly 12 juveniles who were identified through surveillance videos from different businesses downtown. He said they will be charged, including one who will be charged with damaging a police cruiser.
Richardson also confirmed an officer was punched in the face during the incident.
“There’s definitely more charges pending,” Richardson said. “The school department has been notified and the identity of the students have been provided so they can deal with them through the school.”
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis