Seekonk Police Chief Retires After 33 Years with Department
Seekonk Police Chief Craig Mace has announced he will be retiring, after serving the department for 33 years. Mace has been Police Chief for the past 5 ½ years.
Over the years, Mace has done everything from directing traffic to apprehending criminals to leading the department, while always keeping the safety and protection of Seekonk citizens in mind. Mace’s last day is September 7. “It’s time. It’s bittersweet. I’m looking forward to not being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but I’m going to miss the interaction and camaraderie with all of the police officers,” Mace said.
Mace began his career in law enforcement in 1985 in Seekonk. He left for awhile to go to East Providence and then came back in 1987 and has been in Seekonk ever since. Mace has always taken the responsibility of the job very seriously, he said. He is at the schools on the first day and he has been at every special event at Seekonk Speedway, helping out with traffic or wherever he’s needed. He’s only missed one in 19 years.
He will continue to serve the department as a reserve police officer. “Chief Mace has been a long-standing, devoted member of the Seekonk police department and our community. We wish him the best in his retirement and we are grateful that he has decided to continue to serve our community,” said Selectman Chairperson David Andrade.
Captain Frank John, a 31-year veteran of the department, will be taking over as Chief. He will be installed on Sept. 9. “It will offer continuity for the department which is a good thing,” Mace said. John worked his way up through the ranks, as Mace did.
The department has seen some significant improvements over the past several years. The department’s budget has increased by several million and the staff has increased nearly 20 percent. “In the late 80s under Captain James Healy there was a staff of 34 and now we are budgeted for 40 effective January 1st,” Mace said.
The department now has five detectives, two on day shift, two on night shift and a Sergeant that switches between shifts. The department used to have only three detectives with no supervisor for the division. The detectives have been recognized for their work in cracking down on human trafficking. “They’ve done a great job,” Mace said. “They’ve been asked to speak at local forums because of their experience.”
All the computers at the police station have been upgraded in the past few years and the fleet has also been expanded, including the addition of an all-terrain vehicle. The department’s radio system was overhauled to a multi-band system. Mace credits Communications Director Chris Campbell for coordinating the project. “He brought to fruition what I had dreamt of,” Mace said.
When Mace started, the department did not have a K-9 unit. Now there are two K-9’s – Zuzo, a German shepherd handled by Officer Steven Fundakowski and Mattis, also a German shepherd, handled by Officer Adam Laprade. One of the K-9’s was funded by a grant that the department received. Seekonk’s K-9 unit often offers assistance to other departments throughout the region. ‘”It’s been very successful,” Mace said.
Under Mace’s leadership, a project was conducted (with the help of the Historical Preservation Committee) to organize all the station’s archived records, which date back to the 1930’s. . “I thought that was a big accomplishment,” Mace said.
In addition, Mace says the department has increased its presence in the schools and built on its relationship with the school department. Mace has also brought public safety news into people’s homes by hosting the “Police Beat” program on cable access on Seekonk TV9, as previous chiefs have done, and through social media. “We’ve been recognized for our social media efforts and getting information to the community,” Mace said.
Mace expressed his thanks to the department and to the town. “I wish everybody well and I’m very thankful to all the officers past and present. I’m appreciative of all the supporters in town government and the citizens of the town. Without their support, we couldn’t have achieved what we did during my administration,” Mace said.
Mace also thanks his family and says he’s looking forward to spending more time with them and “decompressing” a little. “I’m thankful to my family for their support. I joked at my installation (as police chief) that it took 20 years to get to a day shift,” Mace said.
As far as the future, Mace says he’ll probably do something else, but doesn’t have definite plans yet. “I want to do something I enjoy and if at all possible, have fun with,” Mace said.