SOUTH HADLEY - After a comprehensive search which drew more than 25 applicants from five different states and several agencies, South Hadley Town Administrator Michael J. Sullivan has appointed Captain Jennifer Gundersen as the next chief of the South Hadley Police Department. She will take over on Jan. 4, 2019. Retiring chief Steven Parentela will leave on Jan. 3, 2019.
The Town of South Hadley wishes Chief Parentela health and happiness in his retirement. He has served the town with honor and diligence and has left a positive mark on the force.
Captain Gundersen is presently with the Amherst Police Department where she has made impressive and continuous progress from patrol officer to the rank of captain in her 24 years of service. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Stonehill College, a Master of Science degree in criminal justice administration, and a Master of Liberal Arts degree in public administration. She has a solid reputation throughout the region, including Amherst, and is highly regarded by her colleagues. Captain Gundersen resides in Easthampton with her wife and family.
While Amherst is a much larger town than South Hadley, it is a diverse college community. Captain Gundersen well understands ‘Town/Gown” relationships, grasps the need and process for becoming an accredited police department, and is highly regarded in the profession. Although South Hadley is a smaller community, Captain Gundersen’s experience is very scalable and significant for the department.
Sullivan said he is “confident Captain Gundersen will be an outstanding leader in the mold of those who have preceded her as South Hadley police chief,” adding she will “help set a course for the future of the department in the complex field of police work.”
“I would like to thank everyone who gave input to this process, including Assistant Town Administrator Jennifer Wolowicz and Chief Parentela who offered great insight and guidance to the appointing authority,” said Sullivan. “Thank you, as well, to the citizens who participated in the Symposium of Understanding to give input into what they would like to see in a police chief. And thank you to the South Hadley Selectboard for having confidence in me to bring them an outstanding appointee for their approval.”