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HOLYOKE — Two new police captains were named during public interviews with the city on Feb. 27, as five internal candidates from the Holyoke Police Department were given interviews.

The vacancy in two captain positions came from retiring captains Matthew Moriarty and Manuel Reyes. Reyes retired from the position a year ago after an internal investigation into sexual harassment allegations.

Interviewed were police lieutenants Charles Monfett, Mark Harrison, Matthew Welch, Anthony Sotolotto and Jorge Monsalve. Monfett and Harrison will be the two appointed to the roles due to their high scores on the civil service exam, explained Mayor Joshua Garcia during the interviews.

“As a lifelong resident of Holyoke, I have my home in Holyoke, my children go to the Holyoke Public Schools, and it would be the opportunity of a lifetime to serve as the next captain in the city of Holyoke that I’m very invested in and I do want to see the department move in a positive direction,” Monfett said.

Harrison was also grateful for the opportunity and said he was happy to be part of working on making the city better and doing whatever they can for the community.

“I’m looking forward to wherever we land, we’re going to be taking good steps into the future,” Harrison said.

Normally, these types of interviews have been conducted privately between the mayor and the department.

“We did it openly and publicly, we’re sharing,” Garcia said. “I like to be transparent and open as much as possible so folks understand the process. Most importantly for me, people at home get to know the candidates that we’re looking to put into these critical leadership roles within the police department.”

The new captains will oversee day-to-day management of officers and the department. Garcia expressed gratitude for the candidates who were interviewed as he feels they understand the direction the department should be heading in.
“We’re putting people into two high ranking positions,” Garcia said. “This is an incredible opportunity to set a positive tone, a positive direction for candidates of what we want to see out of candidates when they assume these roles and also, making sure the public is holding us accountable to that.”

The public interview process also served as a conversation and look into broader issues within the police department such as staffing, training and communication. It was a transparent look for the public to also be involved in the process and get to see and hear the candidates.

Despite only two positions open, Garcia, Police Chief David Pratt and Holyoke Personnel Director Kelly Curran interviewed five candidates because when someone else retires in the future, the next candidate from the civil service promotion list will be able to fill the post.

Following the interviews, Garcia said before the decision he had learned there was a disconnect in communication internally in the department from shift to shift, and externally with the public. He added the interviews also shined a light on the context to the department’s staffing problems.

“We have to come up with more ways to be creative and more attractive to people who want to work and grow careers with the Holyoke Police Department,” Garcia added.

Garcia also referenced DEI within the department and said there was room for growth in how the department utilizes it.

“The thing with DEI is about understanding our own internal biases and how we can recognize that and make adjustments in areas that offer opportunities to build up and support each other,” Garcia said. “I feel like there’s some opportunity there we need to work on to learn more what DEI actually is.”

To view the full police captains interview, visit holyokemedia.org or their YouTube channel.

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