TOWNSEND — Townsend’s police lieutenant will face a hearing in coming weeks after the town received a private investigator’s report about him Thursday, a move that prompted further frustration from residents who see the department — already under investigation for other matters — as unfairly targeted.

Thursday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting lasted mere seconds. The board voted formally to receive the report about Lt. Mark Giancotti, who only last month was put in charge of the department on an interim basis after Chief Robert Eaton was placed on administrative leave in a separate matter.

The report was compiled by private investigator Arthur Parker, former police chief for Williamstown, Carver and Hanson.

Town Administrator Jim Kreidler declined to comment on the contents of the so-called “Parker Report.” Town officials said Eaton commissioned Parker to complete the report, but they declined to comment on when that action was taken.

However, they said the report became a public document when the board voted to accept it and that it could be released if a public records request was submitted in writing. The Sun submitted a public records request following the meeting.

Giancotti declined to comment to a reporter after the meeting.

Board of Selectmen Chair Carolyn Smart said Thursday’s meeting, which was scheduled to be held in executive session but opened to the public at Giancotti’s request, was short because it is a necessary step in the legal process. The board will hold a full hearing at an undecided future date, and it plans to hire an independent third party to preside over those proceedings.

Dozens of residents packed the selectmen’s chambers and an overflow room, most hoping to show support for the lieutenant during what they expected to be a disciplinary hearing. Many have been vocally protesting recently amid a town counsel investigation into the department’s alleged unauthorized use of background checks on private citizens.

Some residents said they feel the latest report about the lieutenant is another development in a town “witch hunt” against police.

“It is unacceptable to our town and disrespectful of officers in our department,” said resident Kelly Kelly. “Officers can’t even sneeze without a complaint being filed against them.”

Petitions to recall Selectmen Cindy King and Gordon Clark are circulating, and residents submitted articles for the upcoming Special Town Meeting seeking the reinstatement of Sgt. Randy Girard, who resigned during town counsel’s investigation, the termination of Kreidler and the termination of Kopelman and Paige as the legal firm providing town counsel.

After the meeting, many attendees approached Giancotti to embrace him or offer words of encouragement. One woman told him, “I don’t even know you, but I’m here to support you.”

“He is a gentleman and a top-notch police officer,” another resident, who declined to give her name, said.

Giancotti has been the lieutenant for about two years and with the Townsend Police Department for more than two decades. He is currently in charge of the department because Eaton was placed on paid administrative leave last month after he wrote a statement on Facebook criticizing town counsel’s investigation as “strategic assassination” of his employees.

In that statement, Eaton wrote that a state Department of Criminal Justice Information Services report “unequivocally exonerated” his employees from allegations of performing unauthorized checks. However, the DCJIS report, which was released by the town several weeks later, found there was one check performed during the timeframe it examined that had “no official criminal justice purpose.”

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisLisinski.