Mayor Rob Dolan announced Thursday that he will be renewing Chief Mike Lyle's contract.
"I have made the decision to extend Police Chief Mike Lyle's contract for an additional three years," Dolan said in a statement. "His contract does not expire until a year from now; however, per his contract, a decision would have to be made by December 2012.
"I made this decision because now is the time for stability and consistent leadership in the Melrose Police Department. The chief has created an action plan for the department that clearly defines a vision of community policing, strong management controls, public outreach, and customer service."
During a press conference held at Thursday morning, Dolan explained how he plans to keep Lyle on through 2015 when his term is set to expire, referring to him as "Chief for life."
"He lives in the city, he's committed to the city, he's evolving as a chief and he'd certainly admit to that, as we're all evolving," Dolan said. "I wanted to (extend his contract) before the December deadline to send the message that he has our confidence."
Dolan discussed how the police department has a good core of officers in place to help move the department forward in the future.
"I feel that we have reached the point where we have a strong group of lieutenants and sergeants who are growing in experience and will most definitely improve public safety," Dolan said in a statement. "We have a large number of new officers, or officers that have served here less than 10 years, that will benefit from this consistent leadership..."
During the conference, Dolan explained how Lyle has given him an action plan with a timeframe for when certain policing objectives will be met.
"We have developed a vision for police technology from the outside report as well as internal review," Dolan said in the statement. "There were many challenges involving integrating technology into police work. In this year's budget we have funded a full-time public safety IT professional to work with the chief as well as his assigned lieutenants, (Tim) Maher and (Mark) DeCroteau, to implement that vision."
Dolan noted that a new dispatch center has been purchased and is expected to be installed starting in January 2013. The mayor also announced that $480,000 will be spent to upgrade the working environment (not the cell area) of the police station.
Training will also be a priority for the department, as the city will spend $25,000 this year for that purpose compared to $1,000 last year, Dolan said.
According to Dolan, Lyle has proposed the use of a civilian parking enforcement officer to free up another traffic officer that could then focus on areas where speeding and moving violations are problematic in the city.