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Interim no more, Leighton appointed Northfield chief

Recorder/Paul Franz
Robert Leighton Northfield Chief of Police

Recorder/Paul Franz Robert Leighton Northfield Chief of Police

NORTHFIELD — With more than two decades in the Northfield police uniform, Robert Leighton is now permanent chief pending contract negotiations.

Leighton has served as interim chief of the Northfield Police Department since January and this month asked to be considered for the permanent position, said John “Jack” Spanbauer, chairman of the Selectboard.

“Personally, I had hoped he would ask for that, and I’m glad he did, and apparently the others were also,” Spanbauer said.

The Selectboard made the appointment at this week’s meeting, unusually well attended with about 20 residents present in support of Leighton, Spanbauer said.

Following former Chief Leonard Crossman Jr.’s departure, the Selectboard considered promoting from within the department, forming a search committee or hiring an outside consultant to look for a new chief.

“We weren’t sure if we would go out for a search or what. We wanted to give him a chance to see what he could do and he’s been a consummate professional the last 10 months,” Spanbauer said. “It was a unanimous vote to appoint him as permanent chief.”

Leighton left the position of staff sergeant. Spanbauer said the officer filling his shoes as interim sergeant has since left, and the town will now begin to look for a permanent sergeant. The department numbers three full-time officers and a number of part-timers, he said.

Leighton has lived in Northfield since 1988 and served within the department for about 25 years.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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