Council Appoints Boston Deputy Superintendent As New Police Chief

All seven Portsmouth town councilors backed the town administrator's pick for new police chief Monday night.

Thomas Lee, Boston police deputy superintendent, is chosen as Portsmouth's new police chief.
Thomas Lee, Boston police deputy superintendent, is chosen as Portsmouth's new police chief.
The Portsmouth Town Council approved the town administrator's choice of police chief at Monday night's meeting at Town Hall. 

The council voted 7-0 to appoint Thomas Lee of Hanover, MA, former deputy superintendent for the Boston Police Department, as the new police chief for the Portsmouth Police Department. 

Prior to the discussion, Town Administrator John Klimm paid tribute to the interim police chief. 

“I would be amiss if I didn't first offer my heartfelt thanks and profound respects to one of the most decent public servants I've had to work with over the last 30 years...Jeffrey Furtado,” Klimm said.

Audience members in the council chamber stood and applauded Furtado. Those in attendance also stood a second time to applaud the interim Deputy Chief Steven Cofield.

Klimm went on to discuss the “exceptional” candidate for Portsmouth police chief. “Mr. Lee excelled in all areas (of the candidate process),” Klimm said.

The town administrator outlined Lee's professional experience and reference interviews, including a reference from Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis.

Lee, a resident of Hanover, MA, has more than 32 years experience in law enforcement, including more than 10 years with the Boston Police Department. He is also an adjunct instructor at Endicott College in Massachusetts.

The town received applications from 21 states for the position of police chief. Thirteen candidates were invited for telephone interviews.

“I understand for some in this community, it's a very difficult choice,” Klimm said. “While I'm here tonight to recommend someone who is not from Portsmouth, I am deeply respectful of those...who always believe we should hire someone from Portsmouth.

“This doesn't mean I don't believe hiring from within...I think my core responsibility to you is to put together the best management team...There is only one clear choice and I believe it's Mr. Tom Lee.”

Each councilor said they supported Klimm's choice for police chief. 

“I'm about as hometown as you can get in this town you call Portsmouth,” Councilor John Blaess said. “...I think at this time, it's the right choice for this town.”

“I think he's the best choice for the town,” Councilor David Gleason said. “It was an unbiased approach,” Councilor Michael Buddemeyer said.

Klimm said Lee is planning to move to Portsmouth. 

“Mr. Lee and his wife are presently looking for a rental and will be looking to move to town,” Klimm said.

“I know a good realtor,” John Vitkevich joked.

Lee was officially sworn into office as police chief following the vote. 

troopah September 23, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Moving to Portsmouth is a step in the Right Direction Chief Lee I argued against you as an outsider. However, if you participate as a member of this community, well then there still may be hope for Mayberry. I have still not heard about your view on the 2nd A., but rumors have it I will not be let down. I pray that you take your oath to the constitution to heart, and keep that promise. Remember we are a town of good people. Patronize that town in a good and fair way and we shall do the same. Congratulations!
Sara Bertuccio September 23, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Welcome to Portsmouth!
libertyhound September 24, 2013 at 09:57 AM
Glad to see that we have someone outside of Mayberry......he needs to straighten-out the force. Congrats and best of luck with Barney!
Lifetime resident September 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Glad to hear that Chief Lee will be moving to Portsmouth. I hope he will quickly learn what makes our town so different from a city like Boston. I too will also be anxiously awaiting to hear his position on CC and how he will respect our 2nd amendment rights. I’m glad Klimm took the time to recognize the men who stepped up during this process. My gratitude and thanks to Jeff Furtado and Deputy Chief Steve Cofield. Best of luck.
Mike V. September 24, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Hopefully Chief Lee will not follow in his predecessor's footsteps by not following the law and issue carry permits to people like the chiefs in the rest of the state. Remember, police should follow the law, not interpret it.


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