HINSDALE — The town has hired a new police chief to take the reins at the end of the month.
Charles Rataj, a detective lieutenant with the Newport Police Department, said he will be sworn in Monday and begin work March 30.
Rataj, 45, of Unity, is replacing Chief Todd A. Faulkner, who stepped down in January for a full-time position with the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office and the N.H. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Andrew Lavoie, an interim chief provided by Meredith-based Municipal Resources Inc., has run the department in the meantime.
Steve Diorio, chairman of the selectboard, said he was impressed by Rataj’s résumé and also liked the emphasis he placed on community policing during his interview. The selectboard voted to hire Rataj Monday, he said.
Diorio said one of the new chief’s first jobs will be to build up the force. Counting Rataj, the department will have four of 10 budgeted officer positions filled.
“That’s priority number one, it really is,” Diorio said. “And we’re confident that we’ll have some very early successes.”
Rataj named staffing as one of his top priorities — and part of what attracted him to the job.
“They’ve got a lot of great building blocks there,” he said. At the same time, he added, “I realized that Hinsdale has the ability to build a fantastic police department from the ground up.”
Other priorities include getting to know the local community and fighting drugs, he said.
Rataj worked in three Vermont departments — Bellows Falls, Norwich and Windsor — before joining Newport in 2017. He said he likes small-town policing and has never wanted to work in a large department.
“It’s a different style of policing, both internally within the police department and outside in the community,” he said.