Claremont offers police chief job to current Newport chief

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 6/17/2022 11:03:40 AM
Modified: 6/17/2022 11:03:30 AM

CLAREMONT — Newport Police Chief Brent Wilmot, who served in several capacities as a member of the Claremont police for 14 years, is slated to become Claremont’s next chief.

The three-member Police Commission, which oversees the city’s police department, voted Wednesday evening to make a conditional offer to Wilmot, a Claremont native, to replace Chief Mark Chase, who is retiring at the end of July.

Commission Chairman John Hall stressed that the offer is conditional upon a successful background check but he does not expect any problems to arise in the standard process.

“I think the process should be able to go relatively quickly,” Hall said by phone Thursday, adding that Wilmot’s hire will likely be finalized before the next commission meeting on July 20.

Hall would not say how many candidates applied, but did note that all were from outside the Claremont department and all had strong qualifications.

“We had a great luxury of having all qualified candidates to choose from,” Hall said, adding that they had the education and experience the commission was seeking.

“What the commission was looking for at the end of the day was someone who could be a proven leader and fully engage the community and someone with the local knowledge of the city of Claremont, its history, culture, people and the challenges we are facing,” Hall said. “When looking at the finalists, Brent checked all those boxes.”

Wilmot, who lives in Claremont and is an avid runner, is a 2000 graduate of Stevens High School. He joined the Claremont force in 2005 as a patrolman and steadily moved up the ranks to eventually become the department’s deputy chief. He was hired by Newport in February 2020.

Wilmot said by phone on Thursday that he has enjoyed Newport and its “strong sense of community.”

“But Claremont is my home and I followed my heart,” he added.

Wilmot acknowledged the challenges police departments around the area are facing with recruiting and retaining new officers, including Claremont.

But he also believes Claremont is well-positioned to address those challenges.

“The one thing Claremont has always had is a good culture. Oftentimes you can overcome external challenges if internally you have a good culture and have a dedicated group of folks in Claremont,” Wilmot said.

Meanwhile, Newport Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg said Thursday he expects to have the position for a new chief posted next week. With about four weeks for applicants to respond, interviews will probably start around mid-July, though he could not say whether a new chief will be on board when Wilmot departs.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

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