Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello Fired
Leonard Campanello, the Gloucester police chief who changed the way police respond to cases involving opioid use and addiction, was fired from his post on Monday morning. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said she made the decision after it came to light that Campanello allegedly destroyed evidence that was part of an ongoing investigation.
At a press conference on Monday, Theken said her office received a complaint in September from a woman who claimed she was in a personal relationship with Campanello and feared for her safety. According to Theken, her office then received another complaint regarding a different woman who was also in a relationship with Campanello and had similar fears for her safety.
Theken and Leonard Kesten, an attorney retained as special council by the city, would not comment on the nature of Campanello’s relationship with the women. Kesten emphasized that Campanello’s termination was due to concerns that he allegedly destroyed evidence and interfered with an ongoing investigation.
According to Kesten, Campanello exchanged 634 text messages with one of the women in a single day, but he did not turn those texts over as part of the investigation and deliberately destroyed them by factory resetting his city-issued phone.
Campanello is widely known for launching a police-assisted recovery program that prioritized medical treatment for those sick with opioid addiction. The program has served as a model for police departments across the country.
Terrence Kennedy, an attorney for Campanello, issued a statement blasting the mayor’s handling of the situation. “This investigation has been a witch-hunt from the beginning and the reasons given by the city for terminating the contract had nothing to do with the original inquiry they were conducting,” the statement said.
Kennedy added that Campanello intends to challenge the decision. “Chief Campanello intends to hold the City Of Gloucester to its contractual obligations despite the fact that throughout this process, representatives of the city continually stated they didn’t care about his contractual rights,” the statement noted. “They were continuously reminded they were violating his contract.”
At the end of the press conference, Theken said the city and the police department would continue to operate the Angel program and noted that at least 10 individuals with addiction issues have sought the department’s help since the chief was placed on leave several weeks ago.