Marion Police Chief ready for new role

Jan 9, 2021

MARION — There’s a new Police Chief in town, and his Name in Richard Nighelli.

Police Chief Richard Nighelli was sworn in at a private ceremony on Jan. 7, following former Police Chief John Garcia’s retirement in December.

Nighelli started his career in 1999 with the Boston Police Department as an officer in the Department of Mental Health. In 2002, he began as a patrolman with the Nantucket Police Department before starting at the Marion Police Department in 2003. 

In Marion, Nighelli worked under Police Chiefs Lincoln Miller and Garcia. He said while he appreciates everything he’s learned from his predecessors, he’s ready to put his own spin on things.

“I greatly respect the work that Chief Miller and Chief Garcia have done for the department as I’ve been fortunate to work and learn from two great Chiefs,” Nighelli wrote in an email to Sippican Week, “and even though I am following in their footsteps, I am ready to create my own path.”

Now, Nighelli said he’s ready to keep learning and improving in his new role.

“I have always been focused on improving my department as well as myself,” he wrote. “So having that mindset of continuing to learn and improve has put me in a great position for success in this role and I am confident that I am prepared.”

Town officials are confident in Nighelli, too. Town Administrator Jay McGrail congratulated Nighelli on his promotion in a press release on Jan. 8.

“I have no doubt that his wealth of knowledge and experience will serve him well as Chief of Police,” McGrail said, “and I look forward to seeing how the department continues to grow and evolve under his leadership.”

That leadership starts with tackling covid, which Nighelli said is the biggest challenge facing the department.

Nighelli wrote that the department is “trying to limit exposure to our officers while continuing to do our job and not compromise officer safety.”

He added that the department has taken precautionary measures like limiting the number of people inside the police station, sanitizing the station’s surfaces and cruisers, and installing air purifiers.

Even though the station may not be as accessible as it was before the pandemic, Nighelli said that the department’s relationship with Marion residents is still a strong suit.

“Our department is fortunate to be part of a wonderful and supportive community,” he wrote, assuring that the department will continue to provide “professional, courteous and exceptional service to our residents.”

But Nighelli said there are always places the department can be better.

“I believe that we can always improve the transparency between the department and community,” he wrote.