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Donoghue named Watertown city police chief

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WATERTOWN — The son of a retired state police investigator has become the leader of the city’s police department.

Lt. Charles P. “Chip” Donoghue, who has been with the department since 1993, was named police chief at a press conference tonight.

City Manager Sharon Addison appointed him to the position out of three candidates who took the Civil Service exam in March. Capt. Cheryl A. Clark and Lt. Michael J. Mullins also were up for the job.

Lt. Donoghue’s late father, Charles C. Donoghue, had a 21-year career with the state police until he retired in 1974.

A 21-year veteran of the department, Lt. Donoghue is also the cousin of Lt. Joseph Donoghue, the department’s public information officer.

He will replace Gary R. Comins, who received a provisional appointment as chief in July 2012. He did not take the exam in March and will retire at the end of this month.

Lt. Donoghue became a police officer in 1993, was promoted to detective eight years later and was promoted to his current rank in 2012. He also served as training sergeant for seven years and police academy director.

In 1998, he joined three officers who subdued a suicidal man who had slit his wrist. When the officers arrived to the man’s apartment, they smelled natural gas and observed the man playing with a cigarette lighter.

A 1981 graduate of Watertown High School, Lt. Donoghue received a degree in business management at Plattsburgh State University College. He then served in the Army for three years, in the military police.

Previously, he was a correctional officer at the state and county levels before becoming a member of the police department.

Lt. Donoghue received the highest score on the Civil Service exam: 87. Lt. Mullins, who also took it last year and scored an 80 then, received an 81. Capt. Clark, who also took the exam for a second time, scored an 85 last year, and a 77 this time.

All three candidates have been with the department long enough that they received five points for seniority.

The salary range for the position will be $86,650 to $89,500, with either two years as a police captain, four years as a lieutenant or a combined eight years as a lieutenant and sergeant required for the appointment.

Former Chief Joseph J. Goss retired two years ago after a 30-year career.

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