NEW BEDFORD — Acting New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira will become the city's next Chief of Police, Mayor Jon Mitchell announced at a press conference Wednesday.

Oliveira has served as Acting Chief of Police since April 24, after the retirement of former Chief Joseph Cordeiro.

He had previously served as the department's Deputy Chief from 2016 until his April 24 appointment.

Oliveira started in the department as a uniform patrol officer in 1992.

He later worked as a narcotics detective until promotions to sergeant in 2000, lieutenant in 2007, and captain in 2012, also serving as commander of the internal affairs Professional Standards Division and as commander of the Narcotics Division.

While Deputy Chief, Oliveira represented the department on the Police Use of Force Commission, recommending policy upgrades on de-escalation and mandating training on use of force, implicit bias, cultural competency, and working with people with mental illness and autism.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from UMass Dartmouth and a Master's in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College.

"I've known this individual for a long time, and I'm confident that he's up to this challenge," Mitchell said at the press conference.

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The mayor stated that with nearly thirty years of experience on the force, Oliveira's leadership experience as Deputy Chief and his deep knowledge of New Bedford’s neighborhoods and public safety in the city will serve him well.

“Our police force has made significant progress in making New Bedford a safer city, and the residents of the city deserve a police chief who can continue that momentum and enable the officers who protect and serve our residents to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Mitchell said.

"It's a tremendous honor and privilege for me to accept the role of Police Chief in this department that I'm so proud of," Oliveira said. "Policing has changed dramatically throughout the careers of those of us standing here...I have every intention of ensuring that this department keeps pace with the profession."

The Chief of Police is responsible for the overall planning, administration, and operation of the New Bedford Police Department and is appointed by and reports to the mayor.

Oliveira will remain chief in an acting capacity until a formal swearing-in ceremony is held.

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