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New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira marks his first year in office on June 16. As part of the chief’s commitment to transparency, he agreed to sit down with New Bedford Light columnist Jack Spillane for a one-hour session of The Chat on June 15.

The first-year chief has been candid in sharing opinions. He has criticized the media for negative publicity and the state Legislature for imposing “a ton of restrictions” in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. And he asserts that the city’s police force has experienced hiring and retention challenges due to lawmakers and the media.


Oliveira has ambitious plans for the coming year:

  • He has hired Jensen and Hughes, a nationally known police consultant, to evaluate the department and make sure it is using best practices and procedures.
  • After a period of combative relations with the police union, he wants to build a solid foundation with the union’s new leadership.
  • He wants to “double down” on efforts to connect with Mayan immigrants, whom he described as the city’s most marginalized community.

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