Smithfield police captain is Stockbridge's new chief

Smithfield police captain is Stockbridge's new chief

SMITHFIELD - Capt. Robert M. Eaton Jr., the Police Department's third-ranking officer, has been named chief of police in Stockbridge, Mass., the small Berkshire town where artist Norman Rockwell spent the last 25 years of his life.

Eaton, who joined the Smithfield force in 1990, will begin his new duties in February when incumbent Chief Richard Wilcox retires, according to Stockbridge Town Administrator Jorja P. Marsden.

Eaton, commander of the local department's administration division, is one of three captains here, and his departure will open a line of promotions, according to Chief Richard P. St. Sauveur Jr.

Eaton moves to a department that is considerably smaller than Smithfield's 41-officer force, which operates with a $4.5-million annual budget.

Stockbridge is a town of fewer than 2,000 residents that maintains a force of five sworn officers and several special officers, with a budget of about $615,000, according to Marsden.

She said that despite its small size, Stockbridge, which is home to the Rockwell Museum and is near the Tanglewood music complex, can host up to 20,000 people on a given summer day. It was also immortalized by Arlo Guthrie in the Vietnam War protest song, "Alice's Restaurant."

Eaton, who is also the local department's director of training and recruitment, recently completed course work for a master's degree in public administration and also holds a bachelor's degree in administration of criminal justice.

A graduate of the FBI National Academy, he has also attended criminology and law enforcement programs at URI and Bryant University.

He is also a former co-director of the Special Olympics Rhode Island Law Enforcement Torch run.