Hanover’s Police Chief on Medical Leave Following Stroke

Nicholas Giaccone

Nicholas Giaccone

Police Chief Nick Giaccone is on long-term medical leave and rehabilitating at a Boston hospital after suffering a stroke last Friday.

Giaccone, who has been with the Hanover Police Department for nearly 40 years, suffered the stroke while at the home of his “significant other” in New London in the morning, Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin said.

After spending several days at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Giaccone, 65, was transferred on Wednesday to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston.

“What was really encouraging was there was never an impact on his mental capacity,” Griffin said. “He still has the sharp mind, he was doing work in the hospital, (he had) his sick sense of humor, that was all good. The good news is (because of) rapid response by (his) significant other and quick action in the Emergency Department, the prognosis is really good.”

Griffin said that Giaccone’s left arm and leg have been most affected by the stroke. While at DHMC over the weekend, Giaccone was using his laptop and cell phone, Griffin said.

Hanover Police Capt. Frank Moran, the department’s veteran number two man, is running the department in Giaccone’s absence.

“We’re rallying, doing the best we can,” Moran said yesterday. “His will is very strong and he’s got challenges ahead of him. I know he is going to work hard to recover. This caught us by surprise. He will have to make the decision when he is ready.”

Officials said they were unsure when Giaccone, who lives in Grantham, would be able to return.

In an e-mail message yesterday, Giaccone said that he was unsure how long he would remain at Spaulding, and declined further comment.

The chief’s stroke is the latest in a series of recent setbacks at Town Hall. Terry Jillson, 55, a longtime employee in the town’s Water Department, died of lung cancer on Feb. 4, and Public Works employee Robert Henry, 63, died of bone cancer on Feb. 7.

“It’s been a tough couple months for the town,” Griffin said. “Nick’s stroke was just the (latest) stomach-punch feeling.”

With 40 years of service time, Giaccone has long been eligible to retire with a significant pension, but has decided to remain atop the department that he has run since 1994.

“ The challenge with losing someone like Nick is his recall of history,” Griffin said. “So often in police work you’re dealing with situations where it’s helpful to know the context and background, and he knows the context and background of just about anything.”

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.