July 30. 2013 10:07PM

Fremont’s new police chief is ready for a challenge

Union Leader Correspondent

FREMONT — Selectmen have appointed Derry Police Lt. Jon Twiss as the town’s new police chief.

Selectmen chairman Greta St. Germain said the board’s vote last week followed a conditional offer made about two weeks ago.

“It was contingent on his background check and everything was perfect,” St. Germain said Tuesday.

While the appointment is effective Thursday, Twiss won’t officially start work until Aug. 12.

As a part-time chief, Twiss will work 32 hours a week and earn $53,000 a year, St. Germain said.

After 28 years with the Derry Police Department, Twiss said he was looking for a new challenge and expects a smooth transition as he moves to a smaller police department.

“I think police work is police work no matter where you work. In my experience, I think at the smaller police departments the officers work more closely together,” said Twiss, who lives in Derry and was promoted to a sergeant in Derry in 2000 and lieutenant in 2007.

The hiring comes nearly a year after selectmen fired longtime Fremont Police Chief Neal Janvrin.

Among other things, selectmen claimed that Janvrin was physically unstable, confrontational, and failed to observe established procedures and protocols.

Janvrin, who was chief for nearly 23 years, denied the allegations and claimed the firing was “discriminatory.”

Janvrin later sued the town for wrongful termination. Both sides settled the case in June, but the terms of the agreement and any payment that may have been made to Janvrin have not been made public.

The New Hampshire Union Leader filed a request with selectmen Tuesday seeking a copy of the agreement under the state’s right-to-know law.

Twiss is aware of the upheaval within the department after Janvrin was removed.

“I’ve been developing my people skills over the years and I think I’m up for the challenge. I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” he said. “I’m a fair person and I expect professionalism out of anybody that works for me.”

After Janvrin was fired, selectmen appointed Brentwood police Sgt. Denny Wood to the position of acting chief.

The town formed a police chief search committee in April to help selectmen find a new chief. The committee was composed of Fremont residents, including a retired law enforcement officer, as well as two area police chiefs.

The committee interviewed four qualified candidates for the position and presented finalist recommendations to selectmen, who conducted additional interviews. Wood and Twiss were both finalists for the position.