Since the day he was appointed chief of police by Mayor Dan Rizzo about one month ago, the biggest challenge facing Joseph Cafarelli is changing the culture of the Revere Police Department.
Change is difficult for all of us to face when confronted with it and it is especially hard for police officers who’ve become used to a certain way of doing things. That’s what the culture is – that is – the way business is conducted before.
Changing the culture concerns everything about today and tomorrow.
Although the jury is still out on exactly how much success Chief Cafarelli will have remaking the police department, early reports from a variety of police officers serving today and from those who are recently retired indicates that he is doing the right thing.
We have seen police officers patrolling Broadway in bright jackets daily for nearly a month.
This immediately changed the culture on Broadway among those who act inappropriately and tend to make life miserable for businesspeople, shoppers and even for those just trying to walk home after the high school lets out.
Added to this are the new numbers of police officers added to the very few who were patrolling the city everyday.
Sargents now looking out on their patrol officers see more faces at role call. And the sergeants now patrol the city and oversee their patrol officers. This is called line of command and without it, no police department can achieve anything.
Mainly, though, the addition of patrol officers by juggling the ranks has produced a sigh of relief for those very few patrol officers who were literally and physically overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of events and incidents requiring their response and the fact there were so few of them.
So a breath of fresh air has got the stale air out of the headquarters.
It has caused a new feeling to exist or as one senior officer said recently: “I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I think what Cafarelli is doing is going to work. I’m optimistic.”
Optimism is very catchy in a tightly knit place like police headquarters.
A little bit of optimism changes the culture. Suddenly people want to come to work and feel their best efforts will be rewarded and that there is a future in the department for one and all.
This is very big medicine and we believe Cafarelli is the right man, at the right time for the new job whose weight is now held squarely upon his shoulders.
We urge the chief to continue remaking the police force and how it operates.
The only way is up.