Exclusive Interview with Gloucester’s Police Chief

“Do you think you did anything wrong?” Cheryl Fiandaca asks.

Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello responds, “I don’t think I violated my contract or violated the trust of the people of Gloucester at all.”

Campanello is answering questions publically for the first time about the city’s investigation into his personal relationship with two women. Last week the city’s mayor fired him, but three days later the city agreed to let him retire.

“Do you think you were treated fairly?” Cheryl asks.

The Chief tells her, “It’s been a trying few weeks.”

The very public drama started weeks ago when Chief Campanello was put on paid leave while the city looked into allegations of misconduct. The mayor says during that investigation Campanello mislead investigators about the whereabouts of his city-issued cell phone and deleted evidence in the form of text messages he exchanged with at least one of the women.

But the city has now closed the investigation, saying Campanello’s initial termination had nothing to do with his personal relationships but rather with his alleged destruction of evidence. And while the Essex County District Attorney’s office says it’s still reviewing the case, Campanello’s lawyer Terrence W. Kennedy says his client did nothing criminal.

“We haven’t been informed of anything going on with the district attorney’s office. I would be very, very surprised if there was any type of action taken by the District Attorney’s office,” says Kennedy

Last year Campanello was thrust into the national spotlight after starting the Angel Initiative. It’s a program that advocates treatment over arrest for people struggling with addiction. Gloucester Police became the first department in the country to adopt that policy, and Campanello was recognized at the White House.

It’s a cause Campanello says he’s still passionate about.

“I am going to continue to push very hard for reform and addiction recovery and how the system treats people with addiction as a moral and ethical failing versus a disease,” he says.

Campanello says he’s always believed in not judging people and he says he has nothing but respect for the members of the Gloucester Police.

“I think anyplace you work there are people you’re gonna miss terribly, and there are some people that I’m not gonna miss at all. But this overall experience I had in Gloucester, especially with the Police Department and the citizens was fantastic.”

Campanello’s retirement is effective in January; until then he remains on paid administrative leave.

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