NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira is set to remain as the city’s top cop for at least another three years.

Oliveira has signed a new three-year contract that will keep him at the helm of the NBPD through at least June 15, 2027.

“I think the reason for it is simple: he’s performed. That’s it,” New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said in his weekly appearance on WBSM.

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Oliveira said he was "grateful" and "fortunate" for the opportunity to continue as chief.

“It is a great honor and privilege to accept this new contract as I continue to serve as the Chief of Police for the City of New Bedford,” Chief Oliveira said in a release. “I am deeply grateful to Mayor Mitchell for this extended opportunity and his steadfast trust in my leadership. Serving this incredible community is a responsibility I hold with the utmost respect and dedication. I will continue to prioritize safety, transparency, and community engagement.”

“I am equally fortunate to remain a member of this valued team and work alongside all of the amazing men and women who are its foundation,” he said. “To them, I say, I will continue to support you, advocate for you, and ensure that you have the resources to continue to perform your duties safely and effectively. I look forward to continuing our work together in an environment of mutual respect and trust, to ensure the safety and well-being of all New Bedford residents.”

Courtesy City of New Bedford
Courtesy City of New Bedford
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Oliveira was appointed chief in June 2021 after becoming acting chief in April of that year following the retirement of former chief Joseph Cordeiro. Oliveira had previously served as Deputy Chief since 2016 and had been with the department since 1992, working as a patrol officer, narcotics detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and commander of both the internal affairs Professional Standards Division and the Narcotics Division.

“Chief Oliveira is going to continue to do what he’s been doing. I’m glad he’s in a position to do that,” Mitchell said. “He could go to other departments, or he could retire, but he’s not doing that. He’s committed to the city, and I think he’s grown in the job, and I look forward to continued good work.”

Chief Oliveira had reportedly been a candidate for the police chief position in Falmouth in early 2023 following the retirement of Chief Edward Dunne, but did not make the final three.

Mitchell said Oliveira has succeeded despite some of the challenges facing the police department, such as staffing numbers.

“The city has experienced a huge drop in violent crime over the past decade, and it’s continued under his watch,” Mitchell said. “That’s despite a sharp decline in manpower in this police department. It’s been a struggle for us, it’s been a struggle for lots of police departments, I think it’s actually worse here.”

Mitchell pointed to a 58 percent drop in violent crime and a 54 percent decline in property crime from 2014-2023, as pointed out in the City's 2023 Crime Report.

“Those are both significant. If not the best in the country, we’re right up there,” Mitchell said. “The city’s a lot safer than it used to be, and I want to keep that going.”

READ MORE: New Bedford Violent Crime Continues to Drop in 2023 Crime Report

Mitchell said Oliveira’s goals for the next three years “are pretty clearly laid out.”

“It’s to knock down violent crime by five percent and five percent on property crime,” he said. “It’s ambitious but it’s realistic.”

He also said the two-year review recently done on the police department’s practices and policies “lays out the roadmap” for Oliveira.

READ MORE: New Bedford Police Department Releases Two-Year Assessment

Oliveira’s first three years as police chief have not been without hiccups; in October 2023, the New Bedford Police Union voted no confidence in Oliveira. At that time, 135 members of the city’s police union cast a vote, with 121 of them (89.6) voting no confidence in Chief Oliveira. Twelve of the ballots (8.9 percent) did not support the vote of no confidence. One ballot was blank, and another ballot was marked with both choices.

Chief Oliveira and the police union had been at odds earlier that year over the union using its official Facebook page to report on crime in the city before it came from the department itself. Police Union President Lt. Evan Bielski said at the time the union was “cautioned” about releasing information via social media and called for the department to put out such information in a more timely manner.

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