ADAMS -- A 44-year-old Templeton police sergeant who said he helped turn around a department "devastated" by budget cuts has interviewed for the town's top law enforcement spot.
Michael Bennett, a native of Templeton, was the third and final candidate to interview for police chief, a position vacated by former Police Chief Donald Poirot on April 26.
Richard Tarsa, a 29-year Adams Police Department veteran and acting police chief since Poirot's departure, and Scott Heagney, an Attleboro native and resident agent-in-charge for the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Rochester, N.Y., are the other two candidates.
The Selectmen will holding an executive committee meeting Monday night and will announce their decision at Wednesday's regular meeting.
"We're very fortunate," said Selectman Arthur "Skip" Harrington. "We can't go wrong with any of the three."
Bennett described himself as "very fair" during the interview, conducted Wednesday by the town's five-man Board of Selectmen. He said he'd "treat everyone the same" and underscored the importance of communication.
"Everything is open communication," Bennett said. "If you don't have an open dialogue, you can't communicate well, then you're not going to be successful."
"Listen to what the town is saying to you," he added. "They'll tell you what they need."
The top recruit of his 1994 Canton Municipal Police Officers Class of 126, Bennett fielded diverse questions from the board.
He gave his views on mutual aid and resource sharing between local first responders, the small-town rumor mill, police misconduct, bike laws, the role of neighborhood watch programs and the department's relationship with town youth over the interview's course.
In Templeton, dispatch services have been regionalized, Bennett said, and the system he described as working very well.
"I'm open to sharing resources wherever you can," he said.
The candidate pointed to his union experience -- he's served as Area 5 Vice President of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police since 2003 -- as an example of his diplomatic and managerial skills.
Templeton Police Department took 28 percent pay cut several years ago and Bennett said he's been a leader in boosting morale and getting the department back to full strength.
In terms of the town's relationship with town youth and its schools, Bennett advocated a school resource officer -- an individual appointed specifically to work with students, staff and administrators and whose presence would enhance school safety.
Nearing the interview's end, Bennett generalized his police philosophy.
"It's about doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons," he said. "I've lived by that ever since I learned it."