Ashby Police Department
This year has been one of transition for the Ashby Police Department. The most obvious area to reflect these changes is that of personnel. Steven C. McLatchy was appointed Acting Lieutenant in March while John R. Dillon was appointed a full-time Patrolman in May. Also in May, the voters at the Annual Town Meeting approved two additional Patrol Officer positions for the Department. One is a Town Funded position while the other is contingent upon Grant Funding. It is our hope that we will fill this slot with funds from the COPS/UHP Federal Hiring Program. In July, George D. Reidy was hired to fill the Town Funded position. George subsequently attended the Lowell Police Academy where he earned recognition in his Recruit Class when he tied for second place for over-all academic standing. Reidy also garnered further notoriety when he earned the "Top Gun" award for taking first place in firearms training. I am also pleased to mention that we currently have two full time academy trained Reserve Officers on the Department. Zygmunt "Zyggy" Choroszy comes to us from Florida with a wide degree of education, experience and training. Dale Rose, who recently graduated the MCJTC Academy at Boylston, joined the organization in December. These appointments reflect my commitment to attract and retain qualified officers for the Department.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Massachusetts State Police for their assistance with several cooperative efforts with which they have assisted us over the past year. Last spring, we hosted a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement class with members of the State Police Truck Team. Officers from neighboring Towns joined Ashby Officers in this training which has allowed us to better enforce the new and intricate Commercial Driving Laws. Troopers also assisted us this fall when residents became overwhelmed with the amount of commuter traffic that flows through our town on a daily basis. Their presence allowed traffic enforcement in town to continue while we directed our attention in other areas. Lastly, we have been very fortunate to have the State Police assisting us with the DARE program while we train our own officers.
Another area that has seen a noticeable change is that of activity. Over the past three years, the Department has averaged 33-arrests per year. As of December 31, 2000, we had 82-arrests for the year. This number reflects only those persons taken into physical custody and does not indicate the number of criminal complaints that were filed with the court. While increased motor vehicle activity has played a large part in these numbers, we have also investigated several major criminal incidents as well. This has resulted in the successful prosecution of many of these cases. We have also seen an increase in domestic violence. We are presently working to establish a domestic violence victims advocate position. The advocates role is to support victims in accessing the various services that are available to them. We intend to support this position with grant funding and hope to find other communities to share the advocates time. The Middlesex County District Attorneys Office provides special training for these domestic violence advisors.
We have implemented the PAMET computer system, which allows the Department to better track incidents as well as keeping better control over our record keeping system. I have also instituted an Assigned Cruiser program for the full time officers that live in Town. By having the cruiser assigned to them, the Officers are allowed to take the car home at the end of their shift. Should an incident occur that requires additional personnel or resources, our Officers are able to respond immediately. This program provides a higher level of service to the residents of Ashby with a more rapid response. In fact, the plan has already shown its value during a reported home invasion this past fall, when the responding officer needed additional back up to safely arrest the perpetrators.
In closing, I would like to mention that on March 15, 2000, I was appointed your Police Chief. It was one of the greatest honors of my life. That day, I took two Oaths of Office; the first I recited to the Town Clerk. The other, I simply recited to myself:
" I will provide Ashby with the best Police Department possible, staffed with caring, competent officers who are determined to perform their duties to the best of their abilities under any circumstances".
Although it has been a position filled with mixed emotions, I remain committed to the good people of Ashby. My position is unwavering and my determination unyielding. This organization is committed to service and success without compromise. Thank you for your continued support.
James A. Victoria
Chief of Police