Montague acting police chief formally appointed

  • Lt. Chris Bonnett’s son, Camden, attached his badge at the end of his swearing in ceremony. Bonnett is the first Lieutenant in the Montague Police Department. RECORDER FILE PHOTO

Recorder Staff
Monday, November 06, 2017

MONTAGUE — Montague Police Department Acting Chief Chris Bonnett was formally appointed to the job at Monday night’s Selectboard meeting that also saw the authorization of a contract for an internal investigation into the town’s police department.

“We appreciate your willingness to step up and take this responsibility during this difficult time,” Chairman Rich Kuklewicz said to Bonnett during the meeting.

Bonnett, who is the department’s Lieutenant and serves as the second in command, was appointed informally on Oct. 31. The board put current Chief Charles “Chip” Dodge on a paid administrative leave that same day, while the town conducts an internal investigation into the department.

Kuklewicz said the town and its lawyers have been in discussion with several firms and plans to complete a contract later this week. He said they do not expect the cost to exceed $10,000.

Town officials have not publicly said what the investigation is focusing on, but that it comes on the heels of an Oct. 12 Recorder story detailing the Attorney General’s investigation into the department’s handling of a prescription drug drop box and how that investigation focused on Dodge. No charges were filed from the investigation and it was closed earlier this year.

The announcement of Dodge’s leave came in the wake of two recent letters in response to that story— one signed by the Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, stating the Montague Police Department would not be allowed back into the regional anti-crime task force, and the other by the officers of the Montague Police Union, expressing their displeasure with Dodge’s comments that they say suggested one of them may have stolen drugs from the town’s drug drop-off box.

Bonnett’s appointment was approved unanimously and is considered temporary and until further notice.

Reach Miranda Davis at 413–772-0261, ext. 280 or mdavis@recorder.com.