After nearly 30 years with the town’s police force, Hampden Police Chief Jeff Farnsworth has resigned to accept a new position.
In a Dec. 17 letter to town officials, Farnsworth provided a 30-day notice of his resignation in accordance with his contract with the town. His last day with the Hampden Police Department will be Saturday, Jan. 16.
Farnsworth confirmed his resignation, but said he could not speak to his new position until the organization released an official announcement.
Farnsworth has served as chief since 2006. His police career began in 1986 as a patrol officer in Southampton Police Department. He transferred to Hampden Police Department in 1992.
Last year, he was sworn into the role of president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and earlier this month, Farnsworth was selected as the recipient of the 2020 “Chief of the Year” by the association’s executive board. The work that he’s done on behalf of the association in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and police reform was incredible, said Mark Leahy, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association and retired Northborough police chief.
According to Hampden Interim Town Administrator Bob Markel, the plan is to lay out a process on Monday, Dec. 28 and make an interim appointment on Monday, Jan. 4. The interim will likely serve for three to four months, and then the board will decide whether or not to advertise for the position or confirm the interim chief as permanent, said Markel.
The timing of the resignation spurred some concern from Select Board Chair Donald Davenport during the Monday, Dec. 21 meeting.
“I appreciate what the chief has done for us and I can also appreciate the need to advance his career, but it is a difficult time for us,” said Davenport, noting that in the near future the board will be finding a permanent town administrator, negotiating contracts for the police department and making a decision on the future of dispatch services in town.