NEWPORT CITY – The Newport City Council interviewed the two finalists, Monday, who wish to replace Newport City Police Chief J. Paul Duquette, who retires Aug 1. After a lengthy executive session, council members were mum on their progress at choosing their candidate.
The two candidates identified themselves outside the meeting as Newport City Police Sgt. Seth DiSanto and Joseph Alaimo, Director of Public Safety and Transportation at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, MA.
Even though the council is tight lipped regarding the hiring progress, the candidates were anything but silent.
The visibility of the department as a whole needs to increase, DiSanto said. He said the department needs more marked patrol cars and more foot patrols. DiSanto is well aware those things are difficult in the current state of the economy and that is something he would address.
DiSanto thinks people want a Main Street where they feel comfortable. He said it seems business owners, citizens and the council want an increase of police presence. However, it’s difficult to increase presence while decreasing manpower.
DiSanto would like to see a uniformed officer at North Country High School, not necessarily for law enforcement but for a public resource for parents and students.
If selected, DiSanto will look into drafting a loitering ordinance.
DiSanto, who lives in Coventry with his wife Rachel, has been with the Newport City Police Department for four years. Previously, he served with the Shelburne Police Department for six years, as well as the Vermont Drug Task Force. During that time, he has gained leadership experience.
Alaimo, a resident of Methuen, MA, served on the Methuen Police Department as deputy chief of police. Methuen is a city about 30-miles north of Boston with a population of 50,000.
“Being a police officer that long would serve me well in Newport,” said Alaimo, who thinks the transition from a big city to Newport would be wonderful “Newport has certain elements I’m familiar with. Downtown Newport is bigger than Methuen."
Alaimo, who has seen a lot of crime in his career, first became a police officer in 1981 and has 28 years experience under his belt. He is a retired United States Navy Veteran. He also worked with a company with the Department of Homeland Security.
Alaimo said his experience as a deputy chief in a large community would come in handy in Newport.
During his time, he served as a community policing supervisor, head of internal affairs with the Methuen Police Department, is a former patrolmen union president and superior officers president. He said he negotiated many union contracts and served on the motorcycle unit. Alaimo also served with the SWAT team.
Alaimo was one of the first responders on the scene during the Malden Mills fire in neighboring Lawrence, MA.
“After 30 years doing police work in that area, this is a refreshing place to come to,” he said. “I think I’m a good fit here. I’m an easy going kind of guy. I like to know everybody. If I’m hired, you’ll see me all over the place.”