Lee Police Department

In recent months there have been a number of changes in police leadership within the small towns that dot western Massachusetts.

Whenever there is leadership change in an organization, there are going to be growing pains. However, those pains may be longer and more damaging when it pertains to small town police chiefs who are replaced because of alleged wrongdoing. Brian Buchner is the president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, or NACOLE.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The western Massachusetts town of Lee has named a new police chief for the third time in two years following the firing of Joseph Buffis in August.

“Relieved. Somewhat apprehensive. It’s a new job, but overall excited. Can’t wait to get started.”

Lee Names Search Committee for New Police Chief

Sep 19, 2013
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The town of Lee, Massachusetts has taken another step to replace its ousted police chief.

At Wednesday’s meeting, town Administrator Bob Nason announced a nine-member search committee has been formed to recommend a candidate to serve as the town’s new police chief. Lee’s fire chief, school principal and current interim police chief Ronald Glidden are among the committee members. Nason says he’s pleased with the group’s makeup.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Former Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis has pleaded not guilty to federal money laundering and extortion charges in Springfield, Massachusetts.

In U.S. District Court Thursday, Buffis pleaded not guilty to one count of extortion and three counts of money laundering. He was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month. His attorney, Lori Levinson, has maintained her client’s innocence. 

“He does have a legitimate defense to the charges and we believe after all is said and done he will be exonerated," said Levinson.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

The police chief in Lee has been fired, but not because of recent federal indictments.

“Absolutely stunned by the action of the board and the town tonight.”