Orange police sgt. named acting chief
ORANGE — Selectmen appointed Sgt. Craig Lundgren Wednesday night as acting Chief of Police when Chief Robert Haigh Jr. resigns to lead the Greenfield Police later this month.
Selectman George Willard said that he has known and worked with Lundgren for many years, and told him, “I have nothing but the highest regard for you.”
Lundgren started with the Orange Fire Department in 1981 and joined the town’s police department in 1983. He was promoted to sergeant in 1996.
In an interview after the meeting, Lundgren complimented Haigh as having done “an outstanding job ... I learned a lot from him.”
Haigh recommended the board appoint Lundgren as acting chief until a permanent chief is hired. When Chief Brian Spear retired a few years ago, Haigh said he was appointed Officer in Charge, a position that did not have sufficient authority to lead the department in the absence of a chief.
In order to ensure the town did not have a lapse in police leadership, Willard made a motion specifying the date and time of Lundgren’s appointment to the first minute past midnight of Nov. 15, Haigh’s last day of work.
In upcoming meetings, Selectmen will need to decide how to proceed in hiring a new chief, as there are several different options open to them through the civil service regulations.
They can elect to open the process to all qualified civil service candidates or hire from within the ranks of officers within the Orange department.
In addition, they can either choose to hire only candidates who pass the civil service test for the chief position, or establish their own assessment center, in which candidates are tested and screened by a civil service approved company.
Depending on what process selectmen choose and the availability of qualified candidates, Haigh said it may take a year or more to hire a new permanent chief.
Lundgren said that with the loss of staff and the difficulty in replacing them through the civil service process, “we have some challenges ahead.”
He said that a fully staffed Orange police force includes 14 full-time officers. But with Haigh’s resignation, he said the force will include only 10 officers, including the school resource officer, a new sergeant, and himself as acting chief.
Lundgren added that both he and the new sergeant will have patrol duties in addition to their administrative roles.