Photo: Belmont Police Assistant Chief James MacIsaac.
Belmont Police Assistant Chief James MacIsaac will be named Wayland’s top cop, replacing Police Chief Robert Irving who is retiring after 15 years leading the department.
The Wayland Board of Selectmen had scheduled an executive session to discuss negotiation strategy in hiring a new chief at its Monday, Aug. 21, meeting.
“I have been offered the position of Chief of Police in Wayland contingent upon me passing the pre-employment screening and background investigation,” MacIsaac told the Belmontonian in an exclusive interview.
“Becoming a police chief has always been a goal of mine. A few years back, I made a list of communities where I would be willing to work if the opportunity should arise. The Wayland job opened up, and I applied,” said MacIsaac.
MacIsaac praised Irving on leadership in Wayland, noting the department received in 2015 a state certification from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.
“Achieving Certification is no easy task, and it’s a tribute the Wayland police personnel and their command staff. I also like that the public safety, police, and fire, operate out of a building that was constructed in 2003,” he said.
A lifelong resident – who has lived all but two years in Belmont – MacIsaac joined the Belmont Police in 1999 and was appointed Belmont’s assistant chief in July 2012.
“I have been fortunate to have Chief [Richard] McLaughlin as a mentor as I do not think I have met a person with as much dedication, integrity, and empathy as Chief McLaughlin,” said MacIsaac.
While achieving a chief’s appointment is a milestone for those in law enforcement, MacIsaac said it is bittersweet leaving a position in his hometown’s police department.
“I can easily say that this has been one of, if not the most, difficult decision I have ever made. I truly enjoy working and living in Belmont. My experiences in Belmont have helped to make me a better person and better police officer. I have benefited immensely from growing up, living and working in Belmont and I will always be grateful to the residents, fellow police officers and town employees who have helped me along the way,” he said.
MacIsaac – known by his friends as ‘Jamie’ – grew up on Grant Avenue with his parents and five brothers and sisters, graduating from Belmont High School in 1985. He and his wife, Joanne, have raised their three children in Belmont.
He also founded in 2015 the Belmont Junior Marauders, successfully reviving the football program for 7th and 8th graders at the Chenery Middle School. MacIsaac was also an assistant football coach at Belmont High School for several years.
MacIsaac earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1990, and his master’s from Western New England College in 2000. MacIsaac also graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, in Quantico, Va. in 2009.
MacIsaac is heading to a town of half the population of Belmont, about 13,400, that according to the website Neighborhood Scout (using FBI statistics) was the safest community in the state in 2015 with a mere seven total crimes including one violent assault. In comparison, Belmont had 162 total crimes in 2015. Recently, the most newsworthy event involving the police was a bear wandering through the town back in June.