BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Colonel Kerry Gilpin is stepping down after two years as the head of the Massachusetts State Police. Gilpin, a 25-year veteran of the department, will retire effective November 15.
Gilpin, 49, was sworn in as Superintendent and Colonel in November 2017. She was brought in to restore the public’s trust after a turbulent time in the department that included the resignation of her predecessor over a scandal involving a judge’s daughter.
She kept a low profile as the 2,200-member police force was further rocked by corruption and mismanagement scandals. A widespread payroll scheme has led to criminal charges against at least 10 troopers. There have also been revelations a drug dealer was hired as a trooper. The agency’s head of payroll has pleaded guilty to embezzling. And the former head of the trooper’s union faces federal racketeering charges.
In a letter announcing her retirement Wednesday, Gilpin said serving as superintendent was “the greatest honor of my professional life.”
“The last two years have presented tremendous challenges for the Department. However, I believe that with great adversity comes great opportunity. We have accomplished so much during this difficult time, and I am confident that you will continue to build upon this foundation,” she wrote.
“It remains deeply disheartening to me that a small number of our personnel chose to violate our principles and values. We have taken action to address their transgressions, conducting thorough and painstaking internal investigations as well as criminal investigations. I have been tremendously disappointed that some members of this remarkable organization have betrayed the public trust that so many of us worked so hard to earn. I have been fully committed to restoring that trust to ensure that the actions of a few do not overshadow the reputation and hard work of the vast majority who conduct themselves with the utmost integrity every day.”
Gov. Charlie Baker thanked Gilpin during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “The biggest challenges that she faced, in my view, coming right through the door were dealing with probably one of the most significant scandals in the deparment’s history,” Baker said, referring to the payroll scheme, which led to the elimination of Troop E.
“She has implemented meaningful, lasting changes at every level of the Department, and I am grateful for her service and wish her the very best in her retirement,” Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco said in a statement.
Gilpin chose to go into law enforcement after her sister Tracy was murdered in 1986. A suspect was arrested in March 2018, and the search for justice is said to have inspired her.
Sources told WBZ-TV’s I-Team that Baker has had several high-level meetings with prospective candidates to replace Gilpin over the past several weeks. He’s expected to make an announcement on that appointment by the end of the month.
“There’s a ton of reform work that still remains to be done, and I think it’s gotta be somebody who gets that there’s a lot of work that still remains to deal with a number of issues – administrative and otherwise – that are associated with the state police,” Baker said, of what he’s looking for in Gilpin’s replacement.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)