A veteran Massachusetts officer has been tapped as the new chief of the Maine Capitol Police.
That comes nearly four months after the previous chief, Russell Gauvin, retired amid an uproar over social media posts promoting falsehoods about masks and the 2020 presidential election.
Matthew Clancy will bring 35 years of law enforcement experience when he takes charge of the agency responsible for securing the State House complex on Oct. 18, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Clancy currently serves as the interim chief of the Plympton, Massachusetts, Police Department, a post he assumed in August 2019. He previously served as that force’s chief from December 2002 to April 2010, according to the Plympton-Halifax Express.
He also has served as the police chief in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
In addition to his roles within Massachusetts police departments, Clancy is an adjunct professor at Bridgewater State University and served more than a decade on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission, the Maine Department of Public Safety said Friday.
“I am dedicated to the advancement of professional and accountable policing. Accountability,
transparency, organizational integrity and community engagement are at the core of my
policing philosophy” said Clancy, a native of Rockland, Massachusetts. “I look forward to this new challenge and working for and with the citizens of Maine.”
Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck said Friday that Clancy’s “leadership style and collaborative approach” will be a “valuable” addition to the Capitol Police.
Clancy will replace Robert Elliot, who assumed control of the agency in January after Gauvin was placed on leave. The decision to place Gauvin on leave came after numerous posts he made on Facebook and Parler, a social media platform popular with the far right, were made public.
He mocked the use of face coverings as a method for controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Gauvin expressed sympathy for a former Maine police officer who called for violence against Black Lives Matter protesters.
In November 2020, Gauvin declared he had “zero confidence” in the outcome of the presidential election, echoing the rhetoric that provoked the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
That provoked a backlash, with Democratic leaders in the State House calling his comments “reprehensible” and 70 lawmakers calling for him to be placed on leave.
He retired from the force in April, saying in a parting statement that the political landscape has led to people being “disfavored and even ridiculed by others simply because they have a different opinion.”