Just thought I would drop a note to your readers as my first year as Chief of Police comes to an end. It has gone by very fast and first and foremost, I want to thank the City Administration, the officers and staff of the Gloucester Police Department, and most of all the residents of Gloucester for their assistance, guidance, and support throughout the year. Whether it was a hurricane, a super storm, an earthquake, flooding or any crisis we faced, the support has been tremendous and I truly appreciate it.
We have accomplished a lot in the past year. We have addressed some of the major issues that the Police Department faced and have worked diligently at forming collaborations with the community in as many ways possible. We have also started to change to a philosophy of what we are calling “alternative policing” in keeping with the needs and desires of the community. Alternative policing entertains the notion that the police have many options, not simply arrest, in dealing with situations and we need to develop as many partnerships as possible with the community in order to take advantage of all of them. From an in-house perspective, we’ve made some changes, both tangible and philosophical, that should bode well in the future. These include changes in our command structure, accountability, policy and procedure, training, Records Management, and IT support. While the list of all changes is probably too long for me to write down here, I welcome any discussions your readers would like to have with me regarding any issues, or changes that are being made.
Coming up, we have our second Citizens Police Academy gearing up for October 15 and I’d invite your readers to apply. It will be twice a week for four weeks and encompass just about everything we do on a daily basis (we include tours of Middleton Jail as well as Ride-Alongs and an opportunity to fire our service weapons). This is a great way for police and residents to interacts in a positive atmosphere. Please call the station and ask for Lt. John McCarthy for more info. We will also unveil our SAFEWATCH program, designed to assist in interactions between the police and those who may have a mental issue which would otherwise make an encounter with police inflammatory. SAFEWATCH also assists in returning those who would have a propensity to wander back to their safe environment. We are partnering with Cape Ann NAMI ( National Association of Mental Illness) on this. We are excited to be at the forefront of building positive relations with this segment of the population, and their families who often live with fear that something may happen to their loved ones. We will be addressing drug issues in very noticeable ways, with the ideas of Alternative Policing in mind. Coupling with my previously mentioned strategy of zero tolerance for drug dealers, help for drug users, and cooperation with the community, we have forged a strong partnership with Healthy Gloucester Collaborative and are working regionally with communities such as Danvers and Beverly to share ideas and blanket this problem so that we address the issue from all angles. Another first for Gloucester.
On a daily basis, we continue to work on quality of life issues and plans for addressing issues with animal control, neighborhood disturbances, and concerns surrounding our reservoirs and quarries. Over the winter months we will be developing strategy with the DPW and Environmental Engineering to help solve some of these QoL issues.
Joey, thank you for all your support this past year and for providing me with an outlet to reach so many in Gloucester, and a very heartfelt thanks to your readers, whose engagement of their community makes my job so much more fulfilling. I’m very honored to be here and look forward to serving you in the coming year. I encourage your readers to contact me at anytime with questions or concerns.
Chief of Police
City of Gloucester, MA