UPDATED: Local parishioner, Catholic school graduate is new superintendent of state police
(Photos from video courtesy of WWLP-22NEWS)
By Rebecca Drake
SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Col. Timothy Alben, 53, a member of St. Patrick Parish, here, was sworn in July 13 as the new superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police.
Alben, a resident of East Longmeadow and native of Holyoke, is a 30-year veteran of the state police department, having begun his career as a state police trooper in 1983. He had previously served as an investigator in the Hampden District Attorney’s office and as head of a state police organized crime unit in western Massachusetts.
Most recently, Alben served as commander of the Division of Field Services, the largest unit within the state police. His appointment to the top job came as no surprise to Sisters of St. Joseph Cornelia Roy and Maureen Broughan, both of whom knew him as a student at Holyoke Catholic High School.
“He was a good student, a quiet student and an athlete,” Sister Roy, who taught freshman English, told iobserve. “And he had a good sense of humor.”
Sister Broughan echoed that assessment, saying, “He was really intelligent, had a tremendous sense of humor and had a real kindness about him.”
“And he used his humor in a nice way,” sister Broughan continued. “He was well-liked by his teachers as well as by the students.”
“His gifts of intellect, kindness and sense of humor will serve him well in his new position,” said Sister Broughan, who taught U.S. history and government at Holyoke Catholic. “We’re very proud of him.”
Asked how Alben’s experience at Holyoke Catholic may have helped form his character and professionalism, Sister Broughan said, “Holyoke Catholic was and still is a very special school. There was a sense of loyalty, commitment and respect. The students truly liked their teachers… and that spirit is still there today.”
Sister Broughan said that Alben’s appointment as superintendent of the 2,300-member state police department is “a wonderful honor for all of the Catholic schools he attended.” That sentiment was echoed by Father William H. Lunney, pastor of St. Jerome Parish in Holyoke and a high school classmate of Alben's.
Father Lunney told iobserve that Alben's appointment as state ploice superintendent "is a great honor for Holyoke Catholic High school and for the city of Holyoke."
Father Lunney agreed that "Catholic education does make a difference" in the moral formation of students and said, "Tim learned we have to be concerned with the poor and the vulnerable and the least among us... and he does bring that to his profession." He said the social justice focus of Catholic education is based on "the belief that there is a loving God that cares for all of us and that we do what we can to care for each other."
Recalling his high school days, Father Lunney said Alben "was always a very friendly, great person."
Alben’s professional achievement also was lauded by Holyoke resident Fred Glidden, who said that Alben “was like a third son in our house” and was especially close to the Glidden’s late son, Chuck, who died of cancer in 1993 at age 33.
“They were two great kids who grew up to be wonderful men,” Glidden said of his son and Alben, who were born on the same day and “were virtually inseparable until we lost Chuck.”
Asked to comment on Alben’s character, Glidden said, “If you want to find a man with strength of character, you find one who is a catcher in baseball.” He said Alben has maintained “the mindset of a catcher in baseball” that has helped him tackle the tough job of police work.
“He’ll do a great job (as superintendent),” Glidden said, expressing pride in the fact that Alben is “a Holyoke kid.”
In a July 13 Associated Press article, Alben said his goals as superintendent include strengthening ties between the state police and local police departments, continuing the process of modernizing the state police crime lab and updating the department’s record keeping.
As Alben works to accomplish these goals, Sister Roy said his faith will be an important asset. “The message of the Gospel is a call to be of service to the needs of others, and Timothy Alben’s faith will be the strength that keeps him on the road of service to all people.”