Manchester Police Chief David Mara calls it a career, announces retirement

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Law enforcement from various agencies worked together on a drug sweep executed Nov. 13, 2014.
Law enforcement from various agencies worked together on a drug sweep executed Nov. 13, 2014.


MANCHESTER, NH – After nearly 30 years in law enforcement, Manchester Police Chief David Mara has announced his retirement, effective June 30.

Manchester Police Lt. Brian O’Keefe said that traditionally, police chiefs have not been hired from outside of the agency, but it is up to the Mayor’s office to make that determination. Most likely an in-house candidate will be sought.

The following announcement was released Tuesday afternoon by MPD:

Chief David Mara’s police career began in September of 1986 when he was hired by the Manchester Police Department. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University in 1984 and worked as a patrolman for nine years before earning his law degree from New England School of Law, in 1994.

His degree in Criminal Justice allowed him to pursue and obtain his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer. He grew up in Cambridge, Mass., and he still considers himself a “city kid.” His ability to empathize with a diverse range of people who reside in the Queen City is a trait that shined throughout his career.

He worked the beat for nine years and decided to take a one year leave of absence in 1995 so he could practice law with the city solicitor’s office. His knowledge and skills were evident and he was eventually promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 1996 upon his return to the Manchester Police Department.

After a brief stint in patrol, he was reassigned to the Legal Division, where he once again utilized his law degree. He worked as a prosecutor for several years until he earned another promotion in 2001. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2001 and maintained his role as the department’s prosecutor. He spearheaded this role until he was promoted to Captain in 2003. He was placed in charge of the Department’s Legal Unit and Professional Standards Unit until he earned the designation of Chief of Police in 2008.

His career has had many twists and turns and in the early years, he was known as an “aggressive street cop” who made multiple drug arrests. His early years in Manchester allowed him to view the ever-changing dynamics in a society as drugs became a more prevalent aspect of everyday life. However, he never lost his empathy, compassion and street sense to make the Manchester Police Department the leading agency in the Country.

Chief David Mara during a 2014 press conference at police headquarters.
Chief David Mara during a 2014 press conference at police headquarters.

Chief Mara definitely fit the mold of an “old school” policeman who loved “working his beat.” Upon his promotion to Chief of Police, his impact was immediate. He changed the dynamics of the agency and made six separate divisions, instead of three divisions. He eliminated two Deputy Chief Positions and added more street supervisors. The change allowed more supervision within the patrol division. He also added a Community Policing Division, which has proven effective. Community Policing is a method of policing which has been around since police work began.

Chief Mara wanted a separate division to meet the everyday needs and demands of a rapidly changing city. Community Policing was the division he envisioned in 2008 and as of 2015, it is still paying dividends with positive community relations. He was instrumental in facilitating the construction of our state of the art police headquarters, located at 405 Valley Street.

One of his priorities was a community room within the new police station. The community room is located on the first floor of our agency and is used almost daily. He assisted with the implementation of the Community Advisory Board (CAB), which meets monthly in the community room at Police Headquarters. CAB is comprised of many different business owners, leaders and constituents from various ethnic backgrounds. The tumultuous police/community relations throughout the country have proven non-existent under his watch because of community based programs like CAB.

He has built a foundation of diversity and equality within the walls of the Manchester Police Department, as well as outside our agency. He promoted the first female police Captain and is leaving a legacy behind as he walks away from a place he has called home for the past 28-½ years. Although it is bittersweet, he will always miss the camaraderie of his peers. Even as Chief of Police, he always treated everyone as a peer, rather than a subordinate. His relationships and trust built throughout the years will be sorely missed.

However, his lasting legacy is the positive impression he leaves behind to the current command staff he has put in place. The Queen City can rest easily knowing the current men and women of the Manchester Police Department have grown accustomed to his ideologies and beliefs that continue to keep our city safe. As he walks away from “the job,” we know that his legacy will live on.

As of June 30, 2015 Chief David Mara will work his last shift as a Manchester Police Officer, a title he has proudly worn for almost three decades.


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About Carol Robidoux 5379 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.