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Officials react to Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme’s retirement; new chief to be named Thursday

May 03, 2016

WORCESTER – In reaction to the news that Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gemme is planning to retire this month, city officials praised him for his work, especially adding technology and keeping a focus on community policing.

"Gary Gemme is a man of honor and integrity, and one of the brightest minds I've encountered on the subject of law enforcement," said City Manager Edward Augustus, Jr. in a statement. "His intelligence, integrity, and leadership have served this city very well."

Gemme's last day on the job is set for May 13. Augustus said Gemme's replacement will be named on Thursday.

Augustus credited Gemme with modernizing the police department's approach to technology, instilling a culture of accountability, putting an emphasis on community policing, and creating a more diverse police force.

"The chief's willingness to try new things, such as the implementation of ShotSpotter technology and the construction of the Real Time Crime Center, has helped make Worcester a safer place," Augustus said.

Mayor Joseph Petty also applauded Gemme for being a "leader in technology," but still keeping a focus on building relationships in the community.

"In his time as the head of our police force he has overseen tremendous advancements in technology and crime analytics, making Worcester one of the safest of all cities in Massachusetts," said Mayor Joseph Petty in a statement. "His lifelong commitment to our City was exemplified by his belief in community policing and his dedication to relationship building between his department and our neighbors."

Tim Murray, the current head of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and former mayor when Gemme was hired, credited the outgoing police chief with keeping crime down in the city.

"Gary Gemme deserves credit for bringing stability, predictability to the Worcester Police Department and the city at large," Murray said. "I think his most lasting legacy will be the modernization of the police department — using data and statistics to drive deployment, community policing."

Murray noted that there had been a instability in the position of chief in the three years before Gemme was hired. Now, Murray said Gemme's command staff rivals any in the country.

City Councilor Kate Toomey praised Gemme's leadership and his command staff.

"We have a good and effective police department because of his leadership," Toomey said. "He leaves the department in great hands."

Councilor Krystian King also said he had faith in whoever would be named to take over the department.

"I thank him for his public service and I look forward to new leadership that's going to occur at the police department. I'm hoping that the new leadership will continue to build on strength of Chief Gemme's tenure," King said.

City Councilor George Russell noted he and Gemme grew up in the same neighborhoods on the east side of the city.

"I think Gary has had a great career over the years," Russell said. "He has served the city well and I hope he enjoys his retirement."

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