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City Council Gives Its Initial Approval To New Police Commissioner Proposal

By Marc M. Sadowsky

The Cambridge City Council last night gave initial approval to a proposal to create the position of a civilian police commissioner to head the Cambridge police department.

The civilian police commissioner would be in charge of police-community relations, policy, and management, while the police chief would administer the department's operations.

After a 20-minute debate, the council voted 5-4 in favor of the proposal. During the debate, all four of the opponents voiced their objections to the measure, and one proponent detailed his support.

"It's like a sock in the face," City Councilor Walter J. Sullivan said of the proposal. He added that if the city council created a police commissioner, it would be refusing to give police chief Leo F. Davenport "an opportunity to see what kind of job he can do."

Davenport, a 30-year veteran of the Cambridge police force, was sworn in as police chief last Monday.

Sullivan added that he didn't want to saddle the Cambridge taxpayers with another expenditure that could reach $100,000.

City Councilor Francis H. Duehay '55, a supporter of the police commissioner proposal said, "I regard the appointment of a police commissioner as the best way to strengthen the police force. The reform of the police department is more than a six month job. It is a several year job, and it's more than one person can do," adding that he had supported the concept of police commissioner before Davenport was appointed.

The council will conduct a public hearing about the police commissioner proposal on June 6.

Mayor Alfred E. Vellucci yesterday sent a letter to the president of the National Academy of Science (NAS) asking the NAS to investigate recent reports of "strange creatures," and determine whether they are connected with recombinant DNA experimentation in the New England area.

The Boston Herald American yesterday reported that a "strange, orange-eyed creature" was sighted in Dover, Mass., and that a "hairy, nine foot creature" was seen in Hollis, N.H.

Vellucci last night appealed to anyone knowing of Cambridge citizens older than 107 years to notify his office before the June 8th crowning of the king and queen of the senior set.

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