Sgt. Robert Small will be Rochester's new police chief

Mar 5, 2018

Rochester Sergeant Robert Small will be Rochester's next police chief, when current Chief Paul Magee retires in September.

Current Police Chief Paul Magee announced late last year that he will retire in September of 2018. When he retires, he will have served 15 years as the town's chief.

Small has been with Rochester's police department for 20 years; he was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2013. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Western New England College and earned a law degree from the Southern New England College School of Law (now UMass Law) in 2009. He passed the bar exam in the same year.

On March 6, members of Rochester's Board of Selectmen held an open interview with Small, before approving him as the next police chief. Amongst the question topics were questions on speeding and traffic safety, and on the police department's public involvement with the town.

Small said that he wanted to continue with public input on speeding issues. "Chief Magee initiated traffic forum to discuss concerns, which is big for quality of life," he said. "We should follow through with that. We're looking at more equipment to help us with enforcement and possibly involving citizens in speed enforcement and monitoring.”

When it comes to keeping the department connected to the public and schools, Small said he'd like to reinstate a school resource officer. "We're lucky to be able to do a lot in a small town," he explained. "We had a school resource officer until the budget couldn't allow it anymore, but I think having one would be great for communication with younger children." He added that he was looking into possible grants and other avenues for bringing in money that would pay for a resource officer.

Small noted that he is also looking to move to the area, in order to be closer to the department.

"I’m the guy that needs to be here first," he said. "My kids are headed to college, I've considered moving closer to town. I’m in the ‘looking around' stage. As chief, I would definitely want to be more available just to be able to pop in and check up, never mind emergencies."

He added, "I want my reputation to be a good, squared away officer on a good, squared away department. The reputation of your department says a lot. We should always strive to do more, and if we do that, we’ll continue to be successful.”