LOWELL | Interim Police Chief Erik Matson has been named the permanent chief in a unanimous Lowell Town Council vote Tuesday.
Councilman Donald Parker, D-3rd, suggested a contract not to exceed three years drawn be drawn up by the Lowell Police Commission and town attorneys. It was supported by all but Councilman Robert Philpot, R-2nd.
Matson, who was caught by surprise when the council appointed him interim chief March 14, said Tuesday "being chief was never part of the plan."
However, he said, "At this point in my career, this is the best thing for me and the best thing for the department."
Besides getting back to a full roster, Matson said he wants, as a long-range goal, to reintroduce a canine cop program in Lowell.
Matson became interim chief following the resignation of John Shelhart on March 4. He had been chief since 2006.
At the time, the Town Council had retained an outside investigator to examine activity in the Police Department.
Last year, Matson received special recognition for exemplary police work in 2011. In particular, he was recognized in ceremonies hosted by the District One Law Enforcement Council and the Northwest Indiana Public Information Officers Association.
He was lauded for demonstrating significant leadership and productivity.
Matson served as the manager of the department's reserve officer program, field training officer coordinator and special events director.