The entire police force in Blandford, Massachusetts, resigns over poor working conditions. (Image source: WGGB-TV video screenshot)
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The entire Blandford, Massachusetts, police force has resigned because of poor working conditions, according to WGGB-TV.
What are the details?
According to WGGB, Blandford's interim police chief and three officers who made up the force resigned without apparent warning this week. The news outlet reported that the officers resigned because of poor working conditions.
In a statement sent to WGGB, Chief Roberta Sarnacki, Officer Chris Anciello, Officer Gage Terlik, and Officer Krysten Scapin said that they were leaving their positions effective immediately over the "current situation with the department" as well as "unsafe working conditions."
The outlet reported that some of those conditions included inadequate staffing, improper radio communication systems, mechanical issues with patrol cars, poor bulletproof vests, and issues with wages.
The statement added, "We refuse to put our lives on the line anymore for a town that seemingly cares so little about us."
"We regret leaving the town without a town police force, but we have no choice given the situation that we face," a portion of the statement said.
On Monday, the town's selectboard released a statement acknowledging the department's resignation and castigated Sarnacki for leading an "officer walk-out."
The statement read:
For the past two months Interim Chief Sarnacki has done a fine job with our police officers and our police department. It is unfortunate that she led this officer walk out as she would have been considered as one of our candidates for Acting Chief position as we pursue the future opportunities with our police force. We have had multiple public meetings with our police force and have offered them the opportunity to engage and provide their opinions for the direction of the force.
We have reached out to our neighboring communities to insure the safety and security of our citizens. Until such time residents should continue as normal to dial 911 in the event of any emergency and local or state assets will be dispatched to assist them. The Town of Blandford is continuing its already posted search for a new Police Chief.
Later on Monday, the Blandford Police Department issued a statement on Facebook noting that local residents should continue phoning 911 in the event of an emergency.
The posting also referred residents to call the Massachusetts State Police for other police-related issues.
The posting read, "Attention Blandford residents: If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, please continue to call 911 as you normally would. Until further notice, please call the Russell State Police Barracks at 413-862-3312 if you need any other police services. The entire Blandford Police Department resigned this evening, effective immediately."
According to WWLP-TV, talk of Blandford combining its police force with neighboring Chester occurred just last week.
The outlet reported that the towns of Blandford and Chester held a joint selectboard meeting last week to discuss the creation of a regional police department.
According to WWLP, Cara Letendre, Blandford selectboard chair, said, "It looks like a lot of towns are having similar issues that we are having. So the discussion of merging different shared services came up and one of them that came up is police services and Chester had the same concern so we ended up meeting with them and we're gonna go forward and see whether or not we decide to merge."
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