PROVINCETOWN — Bobby Anthony, 74, a retired police chief and native of Provincetown, hopes to win a third term on the select board in the June 30 election.
A Vietnam War veteran of the Navy and Provincetown High School graduate (class of 1965), Anthony was a cop in his hometown from 1972 to 2002. For his last decade on the force, he was chief, at a time when hate crimes — often against gay people — were common, and he, along with other leaders, served on a hate crimes task force. After the implementation of community policing and other measures spearheaded by the task force, the number of hate crimes in Provincetown dropped from 29 in 1992 to zero in 1997, Anthony said.
Now, Anthony is one of two select board members serving on the recovery coalition, which has been recommending policies to allow for a tourist season during a pandemic.
Both the hate crimes task force and recovery coalition brought together health, safety, and town government leaders who cooperated and “really got to know each other,” he said.
Anthony came back from the recovery coalition meetings earlier this month and made an extreme recommendation to his board. He wanted the public ordered to wear masks everywhere on Commercial Street, regardless of the ability to maintain six feet of distance.
“When there are public safety needs, you always had the obstacle in front of you,” he said. “With the pandemic, no one knows where it is at, but you know it’s from droplets. So, my way of thinking, when you’re isolated in your home for 90 days, you watch a lot of TV, and I was watching the experts, and all of them were saying ‘masks, masks.’ ”
He was outvoted in favor of a mask order in the central district only.
“I’m the type of guy, I can take a negative vote and I don’t get offended by it,” he said.
Anthony said the pandemic convinced him that he should serve a third term. The financial and psychological toll has created a crisis worse than any Cape Cod has seen in years.
“I don’t want to blow my own bugle, but I feel I have the experience to deal with it,” he added.
His main goal, beyond providing leadership this summer, is to persuade voters to approve a police station. The full-court press by town officials to get the station constructed on Jerome Smith Road was derailed last spring by failure to add another $3.9 million to the earlier approved $8.6 million.
Lately, the opposition has focused on location, with Fire Chief Michael Trovato arguing that it should be constructed at the former V.F.W. site, where there is room for added bunk space for his firefighters.
As a next step, Anthony said he supports a $50,000 feasibility study of Trovato’s idea.
Trovato is also talking about a new ambulance, a new EMT coordinator, and separating from the regional ambulance service, Lower Cape Ambulance. All of this costs money, as does delaying construction of a police station.
“But people vote on emotions, they really do,” Anthony said.