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Holyoke to embark upon a search for a new police chief

Holyoke Police Chief David Pratt at a press conference announcing his retirement.
Holyoke Media
Holyoke Police Chief David Pratt at a press conference announcing his retirement.

Holyoke will soon begin its search for the city’s new police chief. That’s after the current chief, David Pratt, recently announced his retirement.

Pratt has been on the job for the last three years, but a member of the Holyoke police force for more than 30. Garcia said during a press conference that he will miss his interactions with Pratt and praised the chief.

As for selecting a new chief, Garcia said a search committee will play an integral part in the process.

"I want this committee to work together and help us try to figure out what are the qualities we want in the chief, what are the criteria we are looking for, and as you evaluate candidates, that you bring forward to me the top three most qualified that best fits that profile," Garcia said.

Garcia added that he will choose Pratt’s successor from the three finalists the committee selects. He said he will consider both internal candidates and those from elsewhere.

Pratt's retirement is effective at the end of July. Captain Isaias Cruz will then lead the department on an interim basis. Cruz is a Holyoke native who has served the department for the past 30 years. He said he is ready to take on the job and pointed out that he is bilingual. More than 50% of Holyoke's population is Latino.

"I have the knowledge and experience to successfully assume the leadership role as interim chief. I want the public to know that I'm also available in Spanish. I speak and understand the language for those who can't speak the language and would like to meet with me at any time, whether it's a phone call or a meeting," he said. "I look forward to working together as a team with all department heads, the police unions, the mayor's office and every councilor as well as the public."

As for Pratt, he said of his retirement: "It's time, I'm ready, I've had a great career."

Pratt thanked all of the mayors he's worked under, including his last boss, Garcia. Pratt said Garcia was a supporter of improvements for the department including in one key area.

"Getting our staffing levels up so we can do more," he said. "We want to do more for the citizens and the mayor has been a strong supporter of that."

This will be Mayor Garcia’s first opportunity to select a police chief since he was elected in 2021.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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