DEA director Thomas Pasquarello, third from the left in this picture, will be the next top cop in Somerville. Photo by Andrew Firestone

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone has selected Thomas Pasquarello, a regional director with the Drug Enforcement Agency, to be the city’s police chief.

Curtatone selected Pasquarello, a Cambridge native, over three other finalists, including acting Chief Michael Cabral.

Pasquarello’s salary will be $185,000 per year with a five-year contract, subject to Board of Alderman confirmation. As it will take at least 90 days for him to exit the DEA system, he will start in Somerville later in the year. The City will provide an update when a firm start date has been set.

In the meantime, the department will continue to be led by Cabral.

“I want to thank Acting Chief Cabral and the department for the outstanding work of all involved during the Police Chief search process,” Curtatone said. “The department has capably responded to a number of crises in recent months, including the flooding of our Public Safety Building, and it serves as a testament to the quality and commitment of the people who will be serving under the new Chief. In particular, Michael Cabral demonstrated his professionalism despite being in the awkward situation of not knowing who the next Chief would be. He put the department first, which speaks volumes about his character.”

Cabral took over for former chief Anthony Holloway, who left the job two years into a five-year contract to return to lead his hometown police department in Clearwater, Florida.

Born and raised in Cambridge, Pasquarello has 30 years experience in law enforcement. He has extensive diplomatic experience, holds a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University and is a Senior Executive Graduate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. As the DEA Agent in Charge for Connecticut and Rhode Island he dismantled violent criminal factions and gang operations in cities such as Providence, Hartford and New Haven, bringing law enforcement together with social services in order to eliminate the root causes of organized criminal behavior, according to a staement from the city. He also is conversant in Spanish, Italian, French and Thai.

“Somerville has a multi-cultural mix of people that makes it a global city and I believe my global experience will be a good fit,” Pasquarello said in a prepared statement. “I thank Mayor Curtatone and all of the good people involved with the Police Chief search process for giving me the opportunity to bring the experience I’ve gained back to the area of the world where my heart truly lies. Somerville has hit its stride as a great city and I am thrilled to become a part of that.”

In prepared remarks, Mayor Curtatone stressed Pasquarello’s integrity, passion for the job and multi-tiered experience in law enforcement as reasons for making this selection. He said Pasquarello has spent years on the front lines of law enforcement in addition to being a seasoned manager.

“He’s spent the bulk of his career out in the field, knocking down doors, working directly with the public,” Curtatone said. “He knows the dangers associated with police work and he has a track record of making sure those who work under his command are prepared and protected. It became clear as we talked to his references that everywhere Thomas Pasquarello has been, he’s delivered.”

“My vision for Somerville is that we function as one city pulling in the same direction and I think Chief Pasquarello will help us achieve that,” Curtatone said. “The people of this city deserve first-class services. Chief Pasquarello, literally, has a world of experience in putting together a first-class police force. This also will pay dividends down the road in developing leadership from within the department. Most importantly, I feel he is the person who can most capably finish the job of implementing all of the recommendations from the 2005 Somerville Police Advisory Committee Report.”

One component of those recommendations is to expand the police department’s community policing efforts.

“My philosophy is that every officer within every branch of the police department must be an emissary of community policing,” Pasquarello said. “It builds the foundation of trust between the community and the police.”


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