As this report is being written construction on the new public safety building approaches the 50% completion mark. Anticipated move in date is slated for October 1 of 2010. So much hard work has been done over the past several years but the work has paid off and a state of the art energy efficient building will be something the town will be proud of for years to come.
Michael Dreslinski and John Rousseau-both of Clinton-were sentenced to 15 years in prison for their string of arson cases in Holden and other area towns.
A Worcester home contractor was charged with fraud and related charges in relation to a home improvement scheme in Holden and other Central Massachusetts towns.
A Civil Service study committee was formed after the annual May town meeting to study the issue of maintaining the Police Chief’s position within the state civil service system.
Equipment from the Holden Police Department will be part of a national exhibit at the National Law Enforcement Memorial Museum in Washington DC when it opens.
Ten Wachusett Regional High School students are charged with vandalizing school property.
Officer Jon Santimore honored by the Holden Area Chamber of Commerce for his investigation of a WRHS assault incident in 2008.
Holden Police Department participates in an international Homicide/Suicide study in conjunction with Northeastern University.
Overall accidents, arrests, incidents, and motor vehicle citations were down for 2009. Crime, as reported, remained relatively the same for the town. I have included crime data and statistics for the department. We are blessed with low crime rates for a own of our size but our staffing and per capita costs for police spending remain among the lowest for Worcester County. We look forward to 2010 and the opportunity to move into our new facility. To view our departmental statistics and comparisons, click here.
George R. Sherrill
Chief of Police
Detective Bureau 2009
The Holden Police Department Detective Bureau is responsible for following up on preliminary crime reports patrolman investigate and also serious crimes such as sexual assaults and robberies. To accomplish this task, the officers assigned to the Detective Bureau work closely with the patrolmen of the department as well as other law enforcement agencies and detectives in New England.
Since criminals and crimes are not restricted to municipal boundaries, Detectives participate in certain specialized organizations such as: the Worcester County Counter Crime Task Force, Worcester Police Street Violence Prevention Group, New England State Police Information Network, National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. The Detectives also participate in a number of training seminars provided by District Attorney Joseph Early’s office.
Again, crime has remained at a relatively low level even for a community of 18,000 individuals. The crime rate in Holden remains low for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is the residents of Holden call the police department immediately upon seeing something suspicious or unusual. Another reason for the low crime rate is due to the activity of the Patrolmen.
During 2009, as in past years, we continued to investigate scams. The majority of scams involve wiring money upfront to receive a large payout. These can be foreign lottery scams, sweepstakes scams or a variety of different types of scams. If you are asked to pay a fee to receive money, it most likely is a scam. Other types of scams involved overpaying for an item and sending the excess money back to the person. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any questions or concerns about Identity Theft or Internet Safety please contract the Detective Bureau.
The Holden Police Department continues to investigate Identity Theft cases. To protect yourself from being a victim of Identity Theft do not give any personal information to anyone you don’t know. This includes phone calls you receive, and email and other internet communications. Also you should check your credit report by contacting one of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian or Equifax. You are able to receive one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus yearly. Please review your credit card/bank statements each month to limit your losses.
The Detective Bureau uses an email alert system to provide residents information about criminal activity occurring in and around Holden. To receive these alerts please sign up on the Town of Holden webpage and select Police Alerts. (http://www.townofholden.net/subscriber)
Det. Sgt. Christopher Carey
Det. Albert Bourget
Traffic Division 2009
As the Sergeant in charge of the Traffic Division of the Holden Police Department, it is my duty and responsibility to ensure that our officers are maximizing every opportunity to keep our roads safe for all drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
The constant increase in vehicle volume moving around and through town presents a significant challenge when working toward safer streets. In spite of this, continuing to vigilantly patrol our major roads and neighborhoods while implementing new, innovative programs and ideas maintain HPD’s reputation as consistent enforcers of state and local traffic laws.
Citations issued are down about 21% from 2008, with a total of 3,607 tickets written in 2009. This decrease is partly due to drivers becoming accustomed to the new traffic patterns implemented by the state over the last couple of years. Citations are given for a wide variety of traffic offenses ranging from speeding to red light violations to faulty equipment. To help us pinpoint where some of our safety problems are, we continue to offer the opportunity for drivers to request enforcement at particular “hotspots” which are of concern to them, via our online Traffic Enforcement Request Form. This tool has become a popular website destination for residents as well as an extremely effective communications pathway for your police department. The form offers a place to request radar, crosswalk enforcement, and stop sign observation, in addition to space for additional information to help us better target our efforts. To access the Traffic Enforcement Request Form, visit the following web page: http://www.holdenpd.com/trafficrequest.htm
In addition, we continue to assign our officers to a specific radar location each day. Along with other safety information, this monthly radar schedule is available to the public on our website. Since our goal with radar is to slow traffic down (not to give out more citations), we have found publishing the radar schedule to be an extremely constructive way to alert people to areas where they may tend to drive too fast for the terrain, conditions, and traffic volume. To see our Monthly Radar Location Schedule, use the following link: http://www.holdenpd.com/radar.htm. For additional traffic safety information, try these pages: http://www.holdenpd.com/tickets.htm and http://www.holdenpd.com/links.htm .
Back at the station, we are proud to have two certified child safety seat installers on staff. Officers Janet Bourget and Gregg Sculthorpe attend various training seminars and complete frequent updates in order to remain certified. This program allows us to offer free safety seat installation and checks to parents, grandparents, and caregivers. If you wish to have a seat installed, moved, or checked, or if you have questions about child seat laws or recommendations, please call our business line at 508.829.4444 at any time to make an appointment when one of these officers is next on shift. These services are offered to Holden residents only.
Of course, the ultimate goal of all of our safety initiatives both on and off the street is to prevent accidents and injury. Fortunately, despite increased volume, our accident statistics for 2009 are positive. In 2008, the Holden Police Department responded to 216 accidents, our lowest number since 1999. In 2009, we responded to 192, which is a decrease of about 11%. One of these accidents, a one-vehicle crash involving a motorcycle, resulted in loss of life.
In large part, these efforts center around our most dangerous drivers; those under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Even with tougher new laws, operating while impaired poses a significant danger to innocent drivers and pedestrians. Frequently, erratic operation is called in to our dispatch center by concerned, observant citizens. In many cases, these calls result in an OUI arrest. At other times our patrolmen stop cars they have seen weaving, randomly slowing or stopping, or disregarding traffic signals, the conclusion of which is an OUI arrest. In 2009, our department made 27 such arrests, compared with 38 in 2008. Clearly, this nationwide problem is of strong concern on a local level. HPD will continue to arrest and prosecute this serious offense strictly and consistently as we begin the second decade of the 21 st century.
In conclusion, I personally wish to thank the residents of Holden for their continued support of the Holden Police Department and our traffic enforcement efforts, and extend to you best wishes for a very safe new year.
Richard E. Horrigan
Sergeant, Traffic Division
Midnight Shift 2009
As the Sergeant in charge of the midnight shift it is my responsibility for coordination of police services between the hours of 11:00pm to 7:00am. Although there are generally less requests for service on midnights, we still deal with the same variety of calls as the other shifts. This includes being the first responders on medical and fire calls. Particularly during the winter months, we closely monitor weather and road conditions to ensure that the motoring public is as safe as possible.
The Holden Police Department has developed an excellent working relationship with business owners in our community. As such, one of the most important duties for officers working midnights is to conduct routine checks of all the businesses in town. On a given night, our officers will check the doors, windows, and locks for about twenty businesses. If something is found out of order the business owner receives a call and is apprised of the situation. We have found that this is not only an effective way of deterring crime, but also a good opportunity to enhance our partnerships with the business community.
In addition to conducting business checks during the night, we are proactive in patrolling the neighborhoods. The call volume on the midnight shift is significantly less than the other shifts. This provides us with a good opportunity to spend the majority of are night actively patrolling the neighborhoods in town. We become so familiar with particular neighborhoods, that spotting suspicious vehicles and people become fairly easy. The end result is, crime is often deterred or prevented because our officers are so diligent in patrolling the neighborhoods.
I also coordinate the Rape Aggression Program for women. The RAD program consists of a series of classes that combines rape awareness education and physical self-defense techniques that teach women how to defend themselves in the event that they are attacked. To date over fifty women have graduated from the HPD sponsored program and hundreds more have gone through the same program taught in conjunction with Wachusett Regional High School.
We have recently just formed the first Holden Police Department Honor Guard. This specialized unit will represent the Holden Police Department at a variety of functions including sporting events, parades, memorials, and funerals. The Honor Guard is made up of five dedicated police officers that practice once or twice a month so that we can be ready when called upon to represent the department.
Sergeant Timothy J. Sherblom
Holden Police Department
Support Services 2009
As Sergeant in charge of the 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. shift, my responsibilities lie with the support services section of the department. Along with the basic everyday operations of the evening shift, I am also tasked with firearms training for the officer’s of this department, teaching the basic firearms safety course for civilians interested in obtaining firearms licenses, NIBRS/accidental/racial profiling/report error clearing, and finally LEAPS/NCIC testing for all officers.
For 2009, the department purchased approximately 5600 rounds of handgun ammunition, 250 rounds of shotgun ammunition, and 4600 rounds of rifle ammunition all for training purposes.
This year, firearms training was conducted in two phases – a daytime basic qualification course in which each officer was required to pass the course with a minimum score of 80 out of 100 with their department issued duty handgun, a shotgun, and rifle. Two other courses are included in addition to the basic round of qualifications. These courses are used to add stress and adversity to the training environment, forcing the officer to implement the skills they have learned in a more realistic setting.
The second phase of training, referred to as our “low light” training course was held in the police department parking lot inside of a trailer owned by Blue Line Corporation. The trailer provided the officers with a low light training environment during daylight hours which allowed for greater training efficiency. An added feature of the trailer was the live fire interactive system which played out true to life shoot/don’t shoot scenarios, an excellent training benefit. The use of simunitions (simulated paint ammunition) is also utilized as part of our training regimen. This particular type of training ammunition provides a very real world approach with live interaction in multiple scenarios.
Other responsibilities include checking all reports for errors before they are submitted to NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting System). Of these reports for 2009, 796 were incidents, and 272 were for arrests. Racial profile data is also submitted by the department to the state.
All officers and dispatchers are tested and certified to use the LEAPS/NCIC terminals. The information received from these terminals helps facilitate a more productive, more efficient police officer.
Sgt. Christopher K. Noyes, Jr.
Animal Control 2009
2009 was another satisfying year for us as the number of calls to this office continued to decrease, signifying the positive effect we are having in the community. We received a total of 368 calls in 2009 versus the 390 calls we received in 2008, a 6% decrease. This continues the downward trend we have observed yearly since 2005, the start of my tenure as the full-time Animal Control Officer. This is despite the fact that the number of dogs in our town has steadily increased. Our office has been quick to respond to citizen complaints of all natures and is constantly visible throughout town with frequent patrols, and this has obviously had the desired impact. Our major areas of concentration follow.
LOST & FOUND calls lead the list this year but decreased 12% from the 98 calls received in 2008 to the 86 calls we received in 2009. We maintain a Lost & Found listing at dispatch here at the Holden Police Department, and the Animal Control Officers will patrol and keep an eye out for both dogs and cats that are reported lost. Beyond that, we advise owners that they need to be constantly vigilant in securing their dogs, and having children or a broken fence is no excuse for a dog escaping.
WILDLIFE calls continue unabated as we received 77 calls in 2009, a slight uptick from the 75 calls received in 2008 (3% increase). This continues the upward trend we have seen since 2007. The majority of the calls we received in 2009 were for foxes in the neighborhoods. None of these animals were observed to be sickly or acting strangely, so we don’t believe there is any cause for alarm from the standpoint of any animals having rabies. Coyote and raccoon sightings were the next most frequent calls received, with just one raccoon needing to be put down. This animal was not acting aggressively, which is typically the case if rabies is a factor. As before, we advise people to take in their garbage, bird feeders, cats and small dogs and wildlife will usually move along looking for food elsewhere.
We are happy to report a large decrease in LOOSE dog complaints, falling to just 69 calls in 2009 compared to the 85 we received in 2008, or a 19% decrease. This office is quick to respond to these complaints as the town of Holden has a 24-hour leash law by-law. The fewer dogs we have running loose results in fewer accidents with motor vehicles, less incidents of dog bites, and less complaints of a general nuisance. Please remember that your dog must be under your control at all times, whether on your property or while walking your dog with a leash on a public way.
BARKING complaints remained virtually constant with 26 calls received in 2009 versus the 25 calls received in 2008. This is not a lot, but at the same time this understandably bothers citizens more than most anything else. These types of calls amount to a disturbance of someone’s peace. This office reminds dog owners that their pets should not be left outside all day while they are at work if they are prone to barking. Likewise, their dogs should be taken in at night so people can get their sleep.
One last area worth mentioning concerns calls we receive regarding cats. These are usually of the nature where someone believes a cat is stray or abandoned. We like to remind people that they should not feed any cats that are not their own. This will better enable us to determine whether the cat is truly a stray or abandoned animal after a period of days has elapsed. There is no leash law concerning cats, and some people let them roam free outside. We certainly do not want to confuse the two and remove a cat owner’s pet. Feral cats do not seem to be a problem here in Holden.
The Office of Animal Control is located at the Holden Police Department, 1420 Main Street, and is staffed by one full-time officer and one part-time officer. The direct dial is 508-829-0215. In case of emergency please call the general business line at the Holden Police Department at 508-829-4444.
Michael S. Sendrowski
(Full-time Animal Control Officer)
Thomas S. Walsh
(Part-time Animal Control Officer)
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