Capt. Steve Stewart to serve as Keene's next police chief

·2 min read

Sep. 15—Captain Steve Stewart, an 18-year veteran of the Keene Police Department, has been named the city's next police chief, City Manager Elizabeth Dragon announced Thursday.

The appointment comes after Steven Russo, who spent 23 years with the department, including five as chief, retired at the end of last month at age 61. Captain Todd Lawrence has led the department in the interim but Dragon previously said he did not apply for the chief position.

"It is my honor to promote Captain Stewart to Chief. I am confident that he will continue the great work of our police department into the future," Dragon said in a news release Thursday. "His inquisitive nature leaves him open to new ideas as he seeks a greater understanding of all issues. This will serve us well as we work to ensure we are a welcoming and safe community for all to live, work, and play."

Stewart, who was promoted to sergeant just two years after joining the department in 2004 and has served as captain of field operations for the past seven years, will be the city's chief effective Monday, the release states. His salary will be $133,517, Dragon said in a phone interview Thursday.

"I'm honored and grateful to have been selected as Keene's next Police Chief," Stewart said in the release. "Keene is a great city and I look forward to leading the fine men and women of this department as we continue to provide high quality police services."

Dragon said Stewart was the only candidate to apply for the position during an internal search. A wider search would have been conducted if an internal candidate was not selected, she previously said.

The team that interviewed him consisted of Keene State College President Melinda Treadwell, Franklin Pierce University Chief Diversity Officer Pierre Morton, City Assessor Dan Langille, Public Works Director Kurt Blomquist, City Attorney Tom Mullins and Dragon, the release states.

That team, according to the release, described Stewart as "highly qualified, someone who leads with integrity, is collaborative and reflective, and will serve the department and the community well."

Ryan Spencer can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1412, or rspencer@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @rspencerKS