WORCESTER – Worcester Chief of Police Steven Sargent has retired after 37 years with the Worcester Police Department, the last seven as chief.
Sargent began his career in 1986 as a patrol officer who was promoted to Sergeant in 1995, Lieutenant in 1999, Captain in 2004, Deputy Chief in 2007, and Chief in 2016. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army.
According to the City of Worcester, from 2016 to 2022 reportable offenses dropped in Worcester by 29 percent.
The city says that Sargent was instrumental in the creation of the Worcester Police Gang Unit in 1992 and the development of programs for at-risk youth along with programs with numerous groups, including the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester, to link teens with programs and resources.
As chief, Sargent has focused on community policing. He created the Neighborhood Response, Mounted Patrol, and Crisis Intervention Teams, as part of his community policing focus. He has also reinstated the K9 Unit and Traffic Division.
Sargent also embraced new technology systems being implemented, including the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, an Unmanned Aircraft System (drone), and the ShotSpotter Connect system, a crime forecasting system which some describe as predictive policing technology.
Most recently, Sargent created separate precincts in Worcester, which restructured operations into geographical areas.
Sargent’s tenure also included several controversies related to discipline. No Worcester Police officer has been disciplined for unreasonable force since 2015, despite video of acts by officers which appear to show clear use of force policy violations. The city has settled several lawsuits related to actions by police during Sargent’s tenure.
Most recently, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette reported that an independent investigation completed in 2021 concluded that Sargent engaged in a “patterns of inappropriate behavior” against toward an officer under his command. The announcement of Sargent’s retirement comes a day after City Manager Eric Batista told the Telegram that investigation will be reported to the Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission
Current Deputy Chief Paul Saucier has been named interim chief.