Peter MacDonnell, Class of 1978
Born and raised in Winchester, Peter MacDonnell, class of 1978, is chief of the Winchester Police Department. Although he lives in Reading with his wife, he still considers Winchester home and remains passionate about the Winchester community. His oldest son serves in the US Marine Corp, and his youngest is a sophomore in college studying electrical engineering. They are his greatest pride.
What connection do you still have with Winchester schools and students?
As the police chief in Winchester, I work very closely with the superintendent and the schools. We work together to provide a safe environment for learning. We work together on many shared interests and projects. A function of resident preferences on police civil service lists, most Winchester police officers have grown up in Winchester.
What is a recent endeavor that you have been passionate about?
Currently I have one school resource officer (SRO) who works at the high school and is a liaison between the police and the schools. The SRO is a positive presence in the school, and a terrific representative for the police department. He develops a good relationship with faculty and students and is a resource for them. His training and experience combined with relationships he develops enables him to recognize and address issues or problems before they become more serious or harmful to students and staff. An SRO position at the middle school would benefit the town, the school and the police department. That’s my next goal.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Work hard, study, and do your best. Make good decisions both in and out of school. Understand that everyone makes mistakes, but endeavor not to repeat mistakes, learn from them. Life’s decisions will have consequences, make them good consequences.
Chief MacDonnell is willing and eager to speak with anyone considering a career in law enforcement. He is a member of the Winchester Alumni Association where he can be reached by fellow alumni.