Police Chief John Carmichael Aims to Improve Walpole Community


Devin McKinney

Chief of Police, John Carmichael, highlights his future plans for Walpole during a meeting with high school on October 20. (Photo/ Max Simons)

John Carmichael first became involved in law enforcement because he was enticed by how as a child citizens trusted police officers as integral parts of their communities. For the past 19 years, Carmichael has served as an officer in Walpole and after serving as Deputy Chief for 5 years, Carmichael was promoted to Chief of Police on July 14. As Chief, he has many plans to improve the community and fix issues that are unique to Walpole. 

Recently, the Police Department has instituted a program called “Catching Kids Doing Right.” Officers hand out “Positive Tickets” to kids who are seen doing the right thing, such as wearing their bike helmet or using a cross walk.

“The goal of the Positive Ticket Program is to create an icebreaker to talk to the kids in the community,” said Carmichael.

Carmichael also has many plans for both the town as a whole and the individuals who live in it. “The community-oriented stuff is what is most rewarding,” said Carmichael. He finds that building relationships with people in the community is an essential element in gaining the trust of the people in the town.

In addition to the building of trust, Carmichael values direct connections with the youth of Walpole. He wants to get more officers out of their patrol cars and increase officer attendance at events like high school sports games. Carmichael emphasizes the importance of face to face contact between the police and the community and increasing these connections is one of his primary goals for the future.

“I want to engage our youth and all citizens,” said Carmichael. “I do not want [the youth] to feel afraid of us. We want to work with you guys and build partnerships.” 

Carmichael also sees other areas for improvement in Walpole— especially with the drug problem. He believes that the department needs to deal more with underlying problems of addiction. This year’s Strategic Drug Plan aims to get addicts into rehab instead of constantly making arrests.

“If [we] do not deal with the drug problem we are shortchanging ourselves,” said Carmichael.

Not only does the department have to deal with the addiction issues in Walpole, but they also have to contend with the national perception of police which has been volatile over the past year. As previously stated, Carmichael hopes to improve the community’s view of the police; in addition, he criticizes the media for the negative shadow that they have cast upon all law enforcement officers of the nation. To undermine these ideals, Carmichael employs his most basic beliefs so that the community will be more trusting of authorities.

“[We] use [our] mission, vision, and values as our daily compass,” said Carmichael.

Through actions such as encouraging officers to be a part of the community as well as the “Catching Kids Doing Right” program, Carmichael hopes to accomplish his goals. His forward-thinking and optimistic attitude about the town should be essential in helping him carry through many of the exciting programs that he hopes to implement.   “[In the next year],” said Carmichael. “I hope we have made tremendous gains as far as face to face contact as well as bringing the community closer.”