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Court appearance moved for fired police chief

Created: 12/04/2013 7:49 PM WNYT.com
By: Abigail Bleck

LEE, Mass. - A court appearance for a fired police chief was moved - on the same day his successor was sworn in.

Residents are hopeful the new top cop will put the bad guys behind bars, instead of ending up there himself.

Jeffrey Roosa, 40, was promoted to Lee Police Chief on Wednesday. He replaces Joseph Buffis who was fired for billing the town for his personal cell phone.

Buffis is also the target of a federal probe after, prosecutors say, he made a deal with a couple who ran a bed and breakfast, to donate money to a charity he was running.

In exchange for the donation, it's alleged Buffis did not file charges related to prostitution against the couple.  Despite turmoil at the top, the new chief maintains, the force has been unaffected.

“There has never been a departmental problem.  Everyone here is a capable officer.  We're blessed to have a police department that runs itself,” says Jeffrey Roosa the new Lee Police Chief.

Now Roosa is tasked with running it.  He has ideas for change, but implementation will be gradual. The most prominent problems Lee Police Department faced were internal. Still, safety and security is a top priority.

“It's small town America. It's a good place to bring up kids,” says the new chief.

Roosa has been with the department for the last 13 years and he was born and raised in Lee.

“The fact that he's from the town I think that’s a good thing,” says Kathleen Ward, a Lee resident.

A town proud of its New England history is, however, now happy to put the past behind them.

“As he said he'd be out and about and I’m looking forward to that,” says Ward.

Buffis faces four years in prison if convicted on the extortion charge.  He was a member of the Lee Police Department for 34 years.

Joseph Buffis, the former Lee Police Chief
Photo: File / WNYT

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