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Waltham mayor says acting police chief can fill in as chief for up to six months without council approval

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  June 18, 2012 02:17 PM

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Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said that Deputy police Chief Keith MacPherson can serve as acting chief for up to six months without City Council approval as Chief Thomas M. LaCroix faces assault charges and is on paid administrative leave.

McCarthy said that, according to Waltham's city charter, whenever a department head's position becomes vacant, the mayor can appoint a replacement for three months. If the vacancy continues past that initial time, the mayor can allot another three months to the replacement for a total of six months.

Any replacement time beyond that must receive the City Council's approval, according McCarthy.

McCarthy said she is awaiting some resolution in the case before making a permanent decision on the matter.

The mayor, who appointed LaCroix to the top cop’s job in 2008, last week selected MacPherson to fill in for LaCroix while the chief, who has been on the Waltham force since 1986, is suspended with pay. She said in an email last week that LaCroix's badge and service weapon are now in the custody of Watham police.

LaCroix was ordered held without bail Friday at his arraignment at Emerson Hospital, where he was brought after his arrest on charges he assaulted his wife and a female neighbor in Maynard, where he lives. LaCroix was taken to the hospital after suffering chest and stomach pains.


The chief faces a dangerousness hearing Tuesday in Concord District Court at 2 p.m.

Last week, Waltham officials reacted with surprise and concern over the arrest of the police chief for allegedly assaulting his wife and a female neighbor during two separate incidents last Tuesday in Maynard.

LaCroix was arrested by Maynard police last Thursday around 4:30 p.m..

LaCroix is charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for allegedly striking the victims with a bicycle rack and a counter top. He is also charged with two counts of assault and battery, one count of assault, and one count of intimidating a witness, officials said.

LaCroix also is charged with two counts of threats for allegedly threatening to murder the victim or victims, officials said.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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