In 1898 the first police chief in Townsend was Mike O’Brien who lived on Smith Street.
At a town meeting March 1, 1926 the town voted to adopt Section 97 of MGL Chapter 41 which provided that a police department be established under the direction of the Board of Selectmen.
The Board of Selectmen was also charged with appointing a chief of police and the other officers that they deemed necessary and to fix the salary of the chief at $25.00 annually and in addition any other compensation that he may receive in the performance of his duties as police chief.
Harry Feltch from Depot St. was appointed chief of police and also served as fire chief, he was replaced by Howard Morse in 1932 that served as the first full time chief in Townsend.
The next chief was Arthur Bliss (a retired chief from Needham) followed by Bud Carlton in 1946 and,Wilfred Hamel in 1947. Chief Hamel purchased the first police cruiser, which also doubled as an ambulance, in 1947. Donald Morse followed in 1948 and Howard Doran in 1956, who retired in 1959. Donald Morse again was chief in 1960. Erving Marshall, Sr. became the chief in 1973, followed by William E. May in 1980, who served until 2002. Erving Marshall Jr. then served as from 2002 until 2015 followed by interim chiefs Robert DeMoura and Rock Barrieau, and then Chief Robert Eaton.
The current chief, appointed on April 25, 2017 is Richard B. Bailey.