New Bedford mayor appoints Paul Oliveira as new police chief

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — Paul Oliveira, who’s led the New Bedford Police Department on an interim basis for nearly two months, has officially been named the city’s full-time chief.

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced Oliveira’s appointment at a news conference on Wednesday.

Oliveira, who’s been with the department since 1992, has served as acting chief since former Chief Joseph Cordeiro retired in April.

The newly appointed chief started his career as a patrolman at the age of 22 and worked his way up to a detective in the narcotics division. In 2000, he was promoted to sergeant and served as such in uniform patrol and the detective and narcotics divisions.

Then, in 2007, Oliveira was promoted to lieutenant and served as commander of the professional standards and narcotics divisions.

From lieutenant, he was quickly promoted to the rank of captain and led the professional standards division before being appointed deputy chief of in 2016.

“As we know, policing has changed throughout the past 28 years, but probably the last couple of years has been the most significant change,” Oliveira said Wednesday.

The change he was referring to is police reform.

“Like anything else with change, there’s good and bad, but we will focus on the positive and work to keep the department in line with police reform,” he said.

“It takes more courage than ever to wear this badge, and I want to ensure all that I believe in and support the men and women of the department,” Oliveira added.

When asked what led to the decision to promote Oliveira, Mitchelle said it just simply made sense.

“There’s a learning curve, and if you have someone in place you trust, with all the relevant skills, it makes sense to elevate that person into that role,” he explained.

According to Mitchell’s office, Oliveira will remain as acting chief until a formal swearing-in ceremony is held.

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