To the citizens of our community,
On behalf of the men and women of the Townsend Police Department, we would like to extend our prayers, sympathy, and condolences to the family of George Floyd and the entire community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. We are shocked and deeply saddened by the actions of the officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd. His death was a failure by all in uniform who had an opportunity to intervene and is not reflective of the mission and values of the Townsend Police Department or the community we serve.
The Townsend Police Department works tirelessly to build and maintain trust within our community. We work with community groups, organizations, and leaders to build trust, legitimacy, and partnerships. I can assure you that the Townsend Police Department is committed to providing safety and security for all members of the Townsend community. Our on-going training, whether in de-escalation, defensive tactics, use of force decision making, or implicit bias is aimed at providing our officers the tools to protect you, the public, and themselves, in a competent and professional manner.
As a profession, we must consider how to strengthen public trust when it has been violated so egregiously. We will continue our efforts to assess and critique our policies, training and procedures to ensure that they are consistent with recognized best practices. We will also continue to work hard to attract and hire men and women who seek to provide services consistent with the high ideals of policing a free society. You can rely on our officers to treat people with dignity and respect; the core principles of procedural justice and police legitimacy.
We want to thank you for your ongoing, and critically important, support during these difficult times. The Public are the Police and the Police are the Public. Please stay safe and be kind to one another.
Chief of Police
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962 National Police Week “pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.” Sadly, due to COVID-19, this year’s events in Washington, DC have been cancelled.
In solidarity with our fallen brothers and sisters and in recognition of National Police Week, the Townsend Police Department hereby authorizes the wearing of memorial badges/mourning bands effective 5/10-5/16/2020.
As you are aware, the Governor issued an Order Assuring Continued Operation of Essential Services in the Commonwealth, Closing Certain Workplaces, and Prohibiting Gatherings of More Than 10 People which went into effect on 3/24 and will remain in effect through 4/7/2020 at 1200.
With respect to enforcement, the order provides that “The Department of Public Health, along with any board of health or authorized agent pursuant to G.L. c. 111 § 30, shall enforce this Order and if necessary may do so with the assistance of State or municipal police.” The order spells out a number of alternatives for enforcement ranging from a warning to criminal penalties. As such, reports of non-compliance should be forwarded to the Department of Public Health at 978-772-3335. Reports made to the police department will be forwarded to the Department of Public health in the same fashion. Our main goal here is to inform the public of the order, its importance to public health, and to seek voluntary compliance. Compliance through the variety of sanctions available is not the objective of the Department of Public Health; the health of the general public is.
We have been impressed and highly encouraged by those in the community taking these orders to heart by staying home and adhering to proper social distancing protocols when out. This is a public health matter and we all need to remain good community stewards. Officers will continue to patrol and respond to calls for service consistent with our COVID-19 protocols. Blatant, egregious, and repeat violations of the Governor’s orders will be documented and referred to the Board of Health for furtherance.
As we continue to adapt to the changes in our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to re-assure the community that we remain on duty and willing to serve. We have directed officers to focus their patrols to vulnerable targets for crimes of opportunity such as vacated schools and places of business and we will increase patrols for visibility in essential areas that remain open under the Governor’s order
Please use these orders to spend quality time with loved ones. Play games, read, get caught up on Netflix, exercise, and above all; take care of each other. We are all in this together.
Interim Chief of Police
In spite of the public health crisis, social service agencies are doing their best to continue to provide critical services to those who need them. Many of these organizations are offering online and phone support as many of their in-person services have been suspended.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) continues to run support groups via telephone. The number for all meetings is 508-206-8720 and no password is required. For more information, email email@example.com Meetings are Monday (6:30PM), Wednesday (7:30PM) and Saturday (10AM). You can find information on these critical programs here: https://namimass.org/online-and-phone-support-options/
Well Connection is a program available for those who have Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health Insurance. Users can speak live with medical professionals for both medical and psychiatric concerns. Meetings are confidential and secure, and doctors are available 24/7. Users can sign up here: https://wellconnection.com/landing.htm
Eliot Community Human Services offers a variety of services including mental health, children, youth and family services; emergency psychiatric services, homelessness services, and brain injury services. http://www.eliotchs.org/
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers online support groups for these living with depression and bipolar disorder. These groups are peer-led and are available for young adults, friends, and family members. You can find more information here: https://www.dbsalliance.org/…/chapte…/online-support-groups/
With many AA and NA groups unable to meet in person, many organizations have begun to hold meetings virtually with apps such as Zoom and GoToMeeting. For more information: http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php
To help support individuals in recovery from substance use disorder, Addiction Policy Forum has partnered with CHESS Health to launch the Connections App, a free smartphone app that is scientifically proven to support patients in recovery by reducing relapse and promoting pro-social engagement. https://www.addictionpolicy.org/connections-app
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 for those either in distress or who have a family member or friend who is struggling by calling 1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Turn 2 Me hosts free online support groups for anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression, stress management, and general mental health issues https://www.turn2me.ie/
7 Cups has online forums for mental health concerns. Volunteers are available to speak 24/7 either online or with a licensed therapist. https://www.7cups.com/
Interim Chief of Police