Watertown’s New Police Chief Announced by City Manager

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Watertown’s Justin Hanrahan has been named the new Chief of the Watertown Police Department. (Courtesy of the City of Watertown)

The following announcement was provided by the City of Watertown:

City Manager George J. Proakis is pleased to announce the appointment of Watertown native Justin Hanrahan as the new Police Chief for the City of Watertown effective November 30, 2023. Hanrahan, currently a Captain in the department, brings 28 years of experience to the Watertown Police Department. As Chief, he will oversee nearly 80 sworn and civilian staff, providing police and emergency response services spanning four groups in a department with an annual operating budget of approximately $11 million.

Hanrahan began his law enforcement career as a police officer for the City of Keene, New Hampshire, Police Department in 1995. In July 1997, Hanrahan become a police officer with the Watertown Police Department. Most recently, Hanrahan served as the Captain of Field Operations which oversees the Patrol Division, Traffic Division, and the 911 Communications center.

Hanrahan previously served as the Commander of the Community & Staff Development Division, where he oversaw the department’s community policing and school resource officer programs. He also led the department to its initial accreditation at which time Watertown was only the second department in Massachusetts to be both certified and accredited.

Hanrahan holds a Doctorate degree in Law, with a focus on criminal law and procedure from the Massachusetts School of Law along with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

“To be able to the serve the City that has done so much for me is the greatest honor of my life. I truly believe that we have an exceptional police department, with exceptional men and women, and I will work tirelessly to serve the people of Watertown and make the Watertown Police Department the model that other police departments strive to be like. I look forward to spending time in my role as chief, working to build stronger relationships between our community and our police department,” said Chief Hanrahan.

“Justin has a distinguished career spanning over 28 years in criminal justice and law enforcement, bringing a wealth of experience to the city where he grew up.” said City Manager George Proakis. “Justin is one of the most respected police leaders in Massachusetts, with a strong record of mentoring and educating police officers in all areas of policing. He is the state’s leading authority on police legal procedure, and he is a strong advocate of community-based policing and department certification and accreditation. The appointment of Justin Hanrahan as police chief will continue our progress to make Watertown a safer and more vibrant place to live and work.”

Hanrahan will take the role of chief following the retirement of Provisional Chief Thomas Rocca. “Chief Rocca has faithfully served the Watertown community for 37 years. We thank him for everything he has does for the department and this city, especially serving as provisional chief for the past 18 months, and wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement,” Proakis said.

Additionally, City Manager Proakis is pleased to announce the appointment of Police Captain Kenneth Delaney. Captain Delaney has 30 years of law enforcement experience, beginning in 1993 when he started his career serving the community of Shrewsbury for 4 years, until transferring to his hometown of Westford.

Captain Delaney worked in Westford as a patrolman, detective, and sergeant. In 2007, he transferred to the Watertown Police Department. During his time in Watertown, he has served in patrol, then as a member of the Detective Division starting in 2009, where he was assigned to the FBI for two years. He was promoted to Sergeant in January 2012 and in that role briefly served as a night patrol supervisor and then the detective sergeant in charge of the prosecutor’s office. In February of 2016, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant assigned to the night patrol division where he served as the officer in charge for seven years. In April 2023, Lt. Delaney was appointed the Detective Division Commander.

“I am confident that Captain Delaney, Captain Dan Unsworth, and Chief Hanrahan will be the Commonwealth’s strongest police leadership team,” said City Manager Proakis. “Together this team will ensure that Watertown’s police department becomes even more responsive to community needs and not only stays current with innovations and best practices in policing, but soon sets the pace for departments across the state. This is a critical moment in the policing field, and I have no doubt that this leadership team will ensure the department deepens and strengthens its relationship of trust and service with the residents of Watertown.”

Both appointments will be effective November 30, 2023.

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