Meet the Chief
Woburn Police Chief Robert Ferullo starts his new job today.
He's a police officer, a lawyer, a teacher, and the former vice president of a national hotel chain.
And, as of 12 a.m. this morning, he's your new Woburn Police Chief.
"I’m thrilled," he said Friday morning. "This is a great opportunity. To be selected out of three great candidates (Ferullo, Lt. Robert Rufo and Capt. John Murphy), I'm humbled that I have this opportunity."
Chief Ferullo, 53, a 1976 Woburn High graduate, has worn many hats in his career, including the Woburn Police "cover" since 1993.
The former desk clerk of the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Sheraton Music City (Nashville) moved up the corporate ladder in the 1980s to Divisional Vice President of the hotel company. But when he left in 1992, he decided to look into becoming a full time police officer.
Chief Ferullo was appointed in 1993 and served as one of the department's DARE officers in the Woburn Public Schools.
Working with children and the community was natural for the chief, who grew up in North Woburn near Ferullo Field.
"Every night after supper, we would ride down to Ferullo Field and we would see who the policemen were on duty," he recalled. "Al Donnelly and Walter Callahan would play baseball with us. They would hit balls out of their hands, until it was dark out."
Chief Ferullo said the two men understood the concept of "community policing" before it became a movement in law enforcement.
"We don’t have as many walking beats now, so it doesn’t exist like that anymore," said the chief. "But that was my first impression of Woburn Police."
"It’s important that we’re a community-driven police department," he added.
Chief Ferullo said that the department is committed to the community, both in relationship-building and protection.
"If you remove the fear of the police from the equation, no matter what the incident is, it becomes easier to manage," he said. "If people need to go to jail, they need to go to jail. But we’re in a customer service business and the citizens of Woburn are our customers. It’s a delicate balance between being a good guy and taking the necessary action. At no time will the administration of justice take a backseat to community policing."
"We will react swiftly and effectively to deal with any violence in the city of Woburn," he added.
The city has seen more than its share of violence over the past year, as Woburn Police Officer Jack Maguire was killed in December during a response to an armed robbery and Patrolman Bob DeNapoli was shot several times last month responding to another armed robbery.
Amid all of the police action, Chief Philip Mahoney retired in July and was replaced by Interim Chief Richard Kelley, who had already planned on retiring in October. Mayor Scott Galvin began the search for the next chief, but did not have to look further than 25 Harrison Ave.
For Chief Ferullo, saying goodbye to longtime co-worker Kelley, will be tough.
"He has been a mentor, a friend and a role model," he said. "He’s phenomenal. He is going to be missed by everybody."
The chief was sworn in last Tuesday, with Interim Chief Kelley by his side, as well as his family, wife Mary Beth Mawn, and sons Bobby, 14, and Tommy, 12.
"I am very excited to take on the challenge of serving the city in this capacity," he said Friday. "I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that this position will present moving forward."