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Respected Police Sergeant Skips Ranks to Become Police Chief

Respected Police Sergeant Skips Ranks to Become Police Chief

Sergeant James Donovan has been appointed Raynham police chief. He will continue as the department’s K-9 officer.

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

December 30, 2010

RAYNHAM, MA – A well-respected police sergeant has skipped the ranks of lieutenant and captain to secure the position of top cop in the Raynham Police Department, where he will encounter challenges usually found in far more urban settings.

The Board of Selectmen on Dec. 21 appointed 42-year-old James Donovan, a 23-year-veteran of Raynham’s police force, to the position of police chief, which he’ll take over on Jan. 1, when Louis Pacheco retires.

“Jumping from a sergeant’s rank to chief speaks to his intelligence,’’ Selectman Donald McKinnon said.

Pacheco, who recommended Donovan as his replacement, said Donovan is both well liked and top-notch when it comes to police work.

“If your kid was missing, you’d want this guy on the investigation,’’ Pacheco said.

Donovan, a lifelong Raynham resident, is a graduate of Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, where he was captain of the football team. He joined the police force shortly after graduation, but continued his education at the same time. Donovan holds a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration. In the early 1990s he served as a military police sergeant in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. He is married and has two children.

Pacheco said Donovan has experience ranging from undercover investigation to work with the K-9 unit. Selectmen, however, decided the former sergeant will undergo a year of probationary status while they determine whether he can handle the administrative side of the chief’s job.

Pacheco had served as deputy police chief prior to taking over as chief in 2005. Donovan is coming in without such a transition.

McKinnon said Raynham is unique because of its location.

“You might think it’s a country town, with its population of 13,000, but it’s really an extension of an urban community,’’ he said. “I always say if you rob a bank in Taunton, you really have to go through Raynham to get away. . . . Because of that, we’re a small town with an urban police force.’’

Pacheco said his officers face a special challenge.

“Raynham is surrounded on three sides by Taunton,’’ he said. “If you were drawing out sectors, we share routes 138, 24, 104, 495, and 44 with Taunton, along with a half-dozen other streets. The vast majority of felony suspects are from outside Raynham, and the vast majority of victims are from inside Raynham. We have to be able to operate outside our border.’’

Pacheco has worked hard to make the department savvy enough to deal with urban crime. His officers are extensively trained — one of the area’s first accident reconstruction teams was run out of Raynham, and the department was among the first to have a K-9 unit. Officers regularly work cooperatively with other communities, especially Taunton, doing investigative and undercover work, according to Pacheco.

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