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Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent Retires After 37 Years of Service

For Immediate Release: 9/1/2023 1:06 pm

WORCESTER, Mass. – The City of Worcester announced Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, the retirement of Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent after 37 years of service with the department, the last seven of which he served as chief.

“I want to thank Chief Sargent for his dedicated years of service to the City. I value the relationship we established between the department and my administration to the serve the community,” said City Manager Eric D. Batista. “Throughout his tenure, the City achieved a significant decline in the rate of crime as Chief Sargent led with an emphasis on community policing and optimized the department by restructuring and tailoring its operations to the community.”

Throughout his career, Chief Sargent embraced many challenging assignments in nearly every division of the department including Patrol, Detective Bureau, Gang Unit, and Vice, which provided him with the opportunity to enhance his knowledge and skills in law enforcement principles, practices, and techniques.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City that I grew up in and raised a family in,” said Sargent. “To the residents of Worcester, I appreciate all of your support over the years and enjoyed working in partnership as we improved public safety and addressed quality of life issues together.”

“I want to thank the men and women, both civilian and sworn of the Worcester Police Department, for your hard work and dedication. I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most committed, courageous, talented, and selfless men and women I have ever known.”

A U.S. Army veteran, Chief Sargent began his WPD career in 1986 as a patrol officer and was promoted to Sergeant in 1995. In June 1999, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant, the same rank his late father, a retired Worcester Police Officer, attained. Chief Sargent was promoted to Captain in 2004 and became a Deputy Chief in 2007. He was promoted to Chief of Police on May 12, 2016.

One of Chief Sargent’s first assignments included patrolling Great Brook Valley for more than three years. This long-term assignment gave him the foundation of his strong belief in the effectiveness of “community policing” which he referred to as simply “policing.” Chief Sargent experienced first-hand the positive impact of establishing a rapport with community members to strengthen bonds, gain trust, and solve problems.

In 1992, Chief Sargent was instrumental in the creation of the Gang Unit to address growing gang membership and violence in the city While working in the Gang Unit, Chief Sargent saw the need for youth violence prevention and intervention programs. He, along with other members of the Gang Unit, established numerous athletic programs for at-risk youth. Chief Sargent also formed outreach programs with the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester to use special strategies for recruiting hard-to-reach youth and provide them with positive activities. The Gang Unit then went on to collaborate with numerous other youth groups in the city to link teens with programs and resources.

As Chief of Police for the second largest city in New England, Chief Sargent led the department with a strong focus on community policing. He created several new units in the department that reflected his community policing philosophy including the Neighborhood Response Team, Mounted Patrol and Crisis Intervention Team. He also reinstated the K9 Unit and Traffic Division.

During his tenure as Chief, crime in the City decreased significantly. From 2016-2022 reportable offenses for the City of Worcester declined each consecutive year with a gross reduction of 29%.

Chief Sargent embraced new technology to assist with policing strategies. Under his leadership, the department expanded its use of ShotSpotter (gunshot detection system), implemented a Body Camera Program, created a Drone Program, and adopted ShotSpotter Connect (crime forecasting system.)

One of his last major accomplishments was the creation of precincts throughout the City. Chief Sargent restructured the Operations Department into precincts with the goal of solving reoccurring problems in neighborhoods and increasing engagement within the community. Last year, Chief Sargent was proud to announce the launch of the department’s first Cadet program aimed at further diversifying the department, a key priority during his tenure.

Chief Sargent is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award, which is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their support of their employees who serve in the Guard and Reserve.

A life-long resident of Worcester, Chief Sargent holds a master’s degree from Curry College and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is married with three sons, one of which is also a Worcester Police Officer. Recently, Chief Sargent welcomed his first granddaughter.

An interim Police Chief will be announced at a later time.

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