Entire police force quits in small Massachusetts town

Mar 2012
57,304
38,831
New Hampshire
#1
Apparently this is starting to happen in quite a few other areas.

The police cruiser sat at the edge of the parking lot in front of the town offices, angled toward the road as if an officer inside were waiting to catch speeders.

Only there was no officer inside. Nor, for that matter, was there a Blandford police officer to be found anywhere else on Tuesday. The entire local police force in this western Massachusetts town had just quit, and the cruiser was the law enforcement version of a scarecrow. “We refuse to put our lives on the line anymore for a town that seemingly cares so little about us,” read a statement signed by Roberta Sarnacki, the interim chief, and the three officers. So they turned off the lights, locked up the police station and said they weren’t coming back.

Officials had been considering a merger of law enforcement services in Blandford with the nearby town of Chester as a way to cut costs. That concept, Levakis said, had threatened and angered Blandford’s own officers, who, he said, had never before complained about their safety. “You’ve got to move with the future,” Levakis said.

Around the country, towns with shrinking tax bases and rising costs have been forced to make hard choices. In some cases, that has meant merging local police departments or cutting them altogether. Earlier this year, Brooksville, Florida, shuttered its 30-person police department and handed law enforcement duties over to the local sheriff. Other departments have disbanded after problems; Galesburg, Michigan, for instance, closed its police department in January.

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2018/07/31/blandford-police-department
 
Likes: 3 people
Sep 2017
5,469
6,536
Massachusetts
#2
Apparently this is starting to happen in quite a few other areas.

The police cruiser sat at the edge of the parking lot in front of the town offices, angled toward the road as if an officer inside were waiting to catch speeders.

Only there was no officer inside. Nor, for that matter, was there a Blandford police officer to be found anywhere else on Tuesday. The entire local police force in this western Massachusetts town had just quit, and the cruiser was the law enforcement version of a scarecrow. “We refuse to put our lives on the line anymore for a town that seemingly cares so little about us,” read a statement signed by Roberta Sarnacki, the interim chief, and the three officers. So they turned off the lights, locked up the police station and said they weren’t coming back.

Officials had been considering a merger of law enforcement services in Blandford with the nearby town of Chester as a way to cut costs. That concept, Levakis said, had threatened and angered Blandford’s own officers, who, he said, had never before complained about their safety. “You’ve got to move with the future,” Levakis said.

Around the country, towns with shrinking tax bases and rising costs have been forced to make hard choices. In some cases, that has meant merging local police departments or cutting them altogether. Earlier this year, Brooksville, Florida, shuttered its 30-person police department and handed law enforcement duties over to the local sheriff. Other departments have disbanded after problems; Galesburg, Michigan, for instance, closed its police department in January.

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2018/07/31/blandford-police-department
I saw that on the NYT a couple days ago. It'll be interesting to see what comes of that. Probably most towns are over-policed, anyway. Does a rural town of 1,200 people, in a low-crime state, really need four police officers? Wouldn't it do better to pool its resources with surrounding towns to have a single force that can cover them all, or just rely on county- and state-level policing?
 
Last edited:
Likes: 2 people
Mar 2012
57,304
38,831
New Hampshire
#3
I saw that on the NYT a couple days ago. It'll be interesting to see what comes of that. Probably most towns are over-policed, anyway. Does a rural town of 1,200 people, in a low-crime state, really need four police officers? Wouldn't it do better to pool its resources with surrounding towns to have a single force that can cover them all, or just rely on county- and state-level policing.
Its a good point. We now have several towns like this up here and even are now using "volunteer" police like we do fire. But its tricky since many of these officers might have pensions or whatever and thats problematic. I know when school districts merged the teachers also were furious as they lost everything. But we just dont need so many teachers anymore in these tiny towns where few live anymore.
 
Feb 2016
4,089
687
Yoknapatawpha County
#4
Just how is it they cannot properly provide a functioning police force? No offence but Massachusetts has been known as Taxachusettes for literally decades.
 
Mar 2012
57,304
38,831
New Hampshire
#5
Just how is it they cannot properly provide a functioning police force? No offence but Massachusetts has been known as Taxachusettes for literally decades.
Many towns that are much smaller today than decades ago still have to pay for retirees out of their tax base. But with so many fewer residents, they cant afford new ones as well. So they must meet obligations to their retirees and do without newer ones by merging or using state police. My town currently has more police officers retired than we do on staff. It poses a huge issue for small town America.
 
Likes: 4 people
Feb 2016
4,089
687
Yoknapatawpha County
#6
Many towns that are much smaller today than decades ago still have to pay for retirees out of their tax base. But with so many fewer residents, they cant afford new ones as well. So they must meet obligations to their retirees and do without newer ones by merging or using state police. My town currently has more police officers retired than we do on staff. It poses a huge issue for small town America.
I live in "small town America." However, due to a number of circumstances; no unions to speak of, a fairly high birth rate (red state), and those god damned Californians fleeing their own state we can still afford police protection.

Sorry about you guys tho.
 
Mar 2015
29,233
14,753
Mad Prophet
#7
I'm confused. How did the town not care about the police department? Because it did not have enough money to pay them? That's not about "caring" it's about money. Cutting federal taxes has a detrimental affect on local taxes because that is what local taxes are based on -- federal taxes.

In Maryland, our Governor had already cut taxes, fees, fines and anything else we could do to help put more money in our citizen's pockets. When federal taxes were cut, it messed us all up. We worked very hard to deal with this monkey wrench.

Guys, you can only cut taxes so much and then you create a bad situation with no easy fix. I would have much preferred that Trump balanced the budget.
 
Likes: 2 people
Mar 2015
29,233
14,753
Mad Prophet
#8
I live in "small town America." However, due to a number of circumstances; no unions to speak of, a fairly high birth rate (red state), and those god damned Californians fleeing their own state we can still afford police protection.

Sorry about you guys tho.
Are you speaking for all towns or just yours?
 

Southern Dad

Former Staff
Feb 2015
40,604
8,537
Shady Dale, Georgia
#10
I saw that on the NYT a couple days ago. It'll be interesting to see what comes of that. Probably most towns are over-policed, anyway. Does a rural town of 1,200 people, in a low-crime state, really need four police officers? Wouldn't it do better to pool its resources with surrounding towns to have a single force that can cover them all, or just rely on county- and state-level policing?
I don't know. What do you consider to be a good response time? If the town that you live in is in the corner of the county, how long does it take for the Sheriff's Office to respond to your calls? As for having four officers? There are 168 hours in a week. How many hours do you want officers patrolling the streets and responding to calls? Four officers covering 168 hours is ONE officer on the street at a time. Each officer will be working a 42 hour work week.
 

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