MSP Announces Retirement of Deputy Superintendent, Appointment of Replacement

The Massachusetts State Police announce that Lieutenant Colonel Barry J. O’Brien, Deputy Superintendent of the Department, has retired after 32 years of honorable service to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Department, praised Lieutenant Colonel O’Brien for playing a key role in instituting major operational and fiscal reforms within the Department, as well as for his outstanding work in various assignments throughout his career.

“Barry O’Brien capped a long and distinguished career with the State Police by playing a vital role on my Command Staff in ensuring the continued success of the Department as a full service police agency and for laying the groundwork for future improved efficiency,” Colonel Gilpin said. “I am forever grateful to him for his counsel and friendship, and wish him all the best in retirement.”

Lieutenant Colonel O’Brien is widely respected throughout the State Police and among the Department’s federal and local law enforcement partners. He was appointed Deputy Superintendent by Colonel Gilpin in November 2017. Prior to that, he served as Commander of the Division of Investigative Services, overseeing all State Police detective and forensic units.

From January 2010 to June 2017, then Major O’Brien commanded Troop B within the Division of Field Services, overseeing all patrol operations in seven barracks in western Massachusetts. Prior to that, he served in a supervisory position at the Commonwealth Fusion Center, in the Office of Media Relations, and in the State Police Detective Unit for Hampden County, where he investigated homicides and other major crimes. He also previously served in the K-9 Unit and at various barracks postings within Troop B. He was a member of the 67th Recruit Training Troop, which graduated from the State Police Academy in December 1986.

Colonel Gilpin today announced that she has named Lieutenant Colonel Christopher S. Mason (photo included), most recently the Commander of the Division of Investigative Services, as the Department’s new Deputy Superintendent. The Deputy Superintendent is the second-in-command of the Department and oversees day-to-day operations.

“I hold equal admiration for the talent and leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Mason, who has also served the citizens of Massachusetts honorably in a variety of important positions. “

Lieutenant Colonel Mason most recently commanded all State Police detective and forensic units. From July 2015 to November 2017, then Major Mason commanded the Commonwealth Fusion Center, the state’s criminal intelligence center responsible for gathering, vetting, and disseminating intelligence about criminal and terrorist threats to partner law enforcement agencies. Prior to that, Lieutenant Colonel Mason served as a Trooper, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain in the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands, and commanded that unit for several years. He graduated from the State Police Academy in October 1993 as part of the 71st Recruit Training Troop.

“As a member of my Command Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Mason has been at the center of discussions and decisions that have led to numerous improvements within the Department’s operations,” Colonel Gilpin said. “He, like Lieutenant Colonel O’Brien, is someone whose opinions and ideas I highly value, and as Deputy Superintendent he will continue to work by my side as the Department continues to fulfill its mission of protecting the lives, safety and property of the people who live, work, and raise families in our state.”

“Like his predecessor as Deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Mason will be a strong advocate for the safety and wellness of all Department members,” Colonel Gilpin said.

Upon being appointed Colonel-Superintendent in November 2017, Colonel Gilpin selected both MSP veterans as members of her Command Staff and charged them with key roles in instituting numerous changes and reforms to improve accountability, supervision, and officer safety.

Colonel Gilpin also promoted Major Phillip R. Dowd to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and appointed him to replace Lieutenant Colonel Mason as Commander of the Division of Investigative Services. Lieutenant Colonel Dowd previously served as Deputy Commander of that Division, and prior to that, as a Detective Lieutenant, commanded the State Police Detective Unit for Worcester County. He graduated from the State Police Academy in October 1993 as part of the 71st Recruit Training Troop.

“Lieutenant Colonel Dowd has valuable experience supervising investigations into serious crimes, including homicides and drug trafficking, and will play an important leadership role in ensuring that we have the tools, training, and resources necessary to hold violent offenders accountable and speak for their victims,” Colonel Gilpin said.


Photo of Deputy Superintendent Christopher Mason.