Welcome to the official Amherst Police Department blog!

We hope to use this site as a way to share information with, and receive information from, our community members in the town of Amherst. If one of our posts is of interest to you, please add a comment. You can also visit our website at www.amherstpd.org for other valuable information.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Help S.T.O.P. Thieves and Protect Your Property

  Knowing that students often leave their belongings behind, thieves will commonly target areas with high student populations.  In the majority of these thefts, entry is made through unlocked doors and windows. By following a few simple steps prior to leaving for break you can deter a thief from targeting your home. The Amherst Police Department has adopted the STOP initiative to help spread awareness of these simple steps.

Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is reminding all college students to protect their local residences during fall and winter breaks. Traditionally, during this time period the volume of burglaries rises considerably.

S. Secure all doors and windows. A quick check of your residence before departing is possibly the best way to protect your belongings during fall and winter breaks.

T. Take your valuables with you. Highly valuable items such as laptops, jewelry, IPods, and game systems should be taken with you if possible.

O. Out of sight. Invest in window coverings and make sure they are utilized.  Keep all of your valuables out of sight. Valuable items in plain view can attract the attention of a thief and make you a target.  

P. Patrols. The Amherst Police Department will be utilizing directed patrols in an effort to deter/apprehend any offenders during the breaks. These directed patrols will include plain clothes officers on foot in and around areas of student housing. We also welcome you to report any and all suspicious activity.  If it doesn't look right it probably isn't.

The Amherst Police Department welcomes you to visit our website for additional tips on how to protect yourself from crime.

WINTER PARKING BAN ALERT!


Amherst Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone announced today that the overnight parking ban will be in effect from December 1, 2014, to April 1, 2015.  During this time period no overnight parking is allowed on any town streets from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.  Vehicles left on streets between these hours are subject to be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.  Parking is allowed in the meter lot on Pray Street and also on the lower level of the parking garage however, vehicles there must be removed by 7:00 a.m.

 For further information please go to the Amherst Police Department webpage.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Amherst Police Department Awarded Grant to Enhance Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety


To help make sharing the road in Amherst a safer place for pedestrians and bicyclists, the Amherst Police Department was recently awarded a $5,000.00 grant by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) Highway Safety Division from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The funding comes from $285,500 specifically provided to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety in the Commonwealth.  Amherst is one of 70 police departments to receive part of this funding.

According to the Massachusetts Traffic Records Analysis Center (MassTRAC), there have been 320 fatal injuries and 3,456 serious or incapacitating injuries sustained by pedestrians in motor vehicle crashes from 2008 to 2012. During the same time frame, bicyclists sustained 1,106 serious or incapacitating injuries and 43 fatal injuries as a result of motor vehicle crashes.  In fiscal year 2014, there were 7 crashes involving pedestrians and 9 involving cyclists, with zero fatalities in Amherst.

“Bicyclists and pedestrians are particularly vulnerable road users because they may not be immediately visible to drivers and unlike those in vehicles, nothing protects them from impact,” said Chief Scott P. Livingstone. “All users need to learn to share the road safely and be mindful of one another and the law.  We’ll use the grant for education, enforcement and outreach we believe will help protect our pedestrians and cyclists from injuries and fatalities.”

The grants will fund targeted enforcement and decoy patrols, breakaway signs and crosswalk reflective tape.  A combination of enforcement techniques and equipment will help the department analyze and crack down on drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists who do not share the road appropriately, putting themselves or others in danger.

The Amherst Police Department, in partnership with EOPSS, recognizes that traffic crashes are preventable and is committed to using this grant to reduce the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries involving pedestrians and bicyclists in Amherst because any death or injury on our roadways is one too many. 

Questions regarding this grant program can be forwarded to Captain Jennifer Gundersen via email or 413-259-3012.  For additional information concerning the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Highway Safety Division please go to their website.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fill the Wagon Food Drive


Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce that the Amherst Police Department will be hosting its 1st annual Fill the Wagon Food Drive.  The collection will take place on Tuesday, November 25, 2014, at the Amherst Police Department from 9:00AM to 6:00PM.    During the food collection hours, the Amherst Police will have two metered parking spaces bagged off in front of the Police Station to allow for donations to be quickly dropped off.  

Coordinated by Officer Marcus Humber, collected food items will be donated to Not Bread Alone and Craig’s Door Homeless Shelter.  We are requesting only non-perishable food items be donated.    The items collected will be divided equally between both organizations.  Questions regarding the event may be forwarded to Officer Marcus Humber at either humberm@amherstma.gov or 413-259-3000.
 
 

Monday, November 3, 2014

$300,000 Department of Justic Grant Awarded to the Amherst Police

The Town of Amherst Police Department has received a $300,000 award from the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.  This federal grant was obtained in collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Police Department, the University of Massachusetts Center for Women & Community (CWC) and the Northampton Police Department.  The award will continue to fund one full-time and one part-time Civilian Advocate, who will work on site at the Amherst, Northampton and University of Massachusetts Police Departments assisting survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  The civilian advocates are employees of the Center for Women & Community.
Since the project began in October 2010, over 350 survivors of sexual and/or domestic violence have been directly served by the Civilian Advocate.  The grant has enabled 260 community and campus professionals, including nearly 200 police officers, to receive training on related issues such as stalking technology and survivors with disabilities.  In addition, the grant has significantly enhanced the coordination of efforts by the Amherst Police, UMASS Police and the Northampton Police to prevent and respond to sexual and domestic violence.  It allows us to continue to improve the investigation of crimes of sexual and domestic violence and to provide better support to survivors. The grant will also support the Center for Women & Community’s coordination of the countywide Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) that includes members of law enforcement, health care, the District Attorney’s Office and advocates. 
Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone made the following statement, “The collaborative program with the CWC, Northampton Police and the University Police Department has made a positive impact on our communities by filling a void with survivor advocacy.  We are very fortunate to have received additional funding from the US Department of Justice to continue this great program.  With this funding we will continue to focus our efforts to have a regional and collaborative approach to impact and reduce the cycle of domestic, dating and sexual violence.” 
For more information regarding these initiatives, please contact Amherst Police Captain Jennifer Gundersen, at (413) 259-3012 or via email, UMASS Police Deputy Chief Ian Cyr, at (413) 545-2121 or via email, Northampton Police Department Captain Dorothy Clayton at (413)  587-1144, or the Center for Women & Community Associate Director Rebecca Lockwood at (413) 545-5832 or via email.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

After 35 Years of Exceptional Service to Amherst, Lt. Bob O'Connor Retires


Chief Scott P. Livingstone announced  the retirement of Lieutenant Robert J. O’Connor, effective October 21, 2014, after 35 years of service to the Department and the Town of Amherst.

Lieutenant O’Connor joined the Amherst Police Department as a Community Service Officer on June 1, 1979, was appointed to the position of Special Police Officer on July 14, 1981 and was appointed as a Patrol Officer for the department on July 1, 1982.  He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on August 3, 1986, and was assigned as a patrol supervisor. O’Connor was then promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on April 3, 2000, and was assigned as an operations supervisor.

 Lieutenant O’Connor graduated from the Springfield Police Academy, Municipal Police Officer Training Class, on March 14, 1983.   He is a graduate of Springfield Technical Community College where he obtained his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice in May 1980 and Anna Maria College where he received a BA in Criminal Justice in May 2002.

During Lieutenant O’Connor’s tenure, he has served as a member of the department’s Search and Rescue Team and Property and Evidence Unit.  In 2010, Lieutenant O’Connor was awarded a Letter of Appreciation from the Amherst Police Department for his role in the creation and implementation of the department’s Safety Response Plan for the Amherst School District.  In addition, he received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Superintendent of Schools for his outstanding support of the Amherst-Regional Public Schools. 

Lieutenant O’Connor has been instrumental in the organization and execution, as well as participation of the Amherst Police Department in the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics. The Law Enforcement Torch Run program not only raises funds for Special Olympics Massachusetts but also brings together members of the police department with Special Olympic athletes.  Due to Lieutenant O’Connor’s commitment and support the Amherst Police Department was been able to make substantial contributions to this very worthy organization that makes a difference in the lives of many Special Olympic athletes.  

Lieutenant O’Connor has been a dedicated member of the Amherst Police Department for 35 years” said Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone. “He had many responsibilities at the police department beyond his patrol duties, such as training, outreach and school safety.  He will be missed greatly and I wish him the best in his retirement.”

Lieutenant O’Connor resides in Hadley with his wife Barbara.  They have two sons, Joseph and Kevin.   

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Underage Alcohol Enforcement Grant Program


The Amherst Police Department was awarded $10,000 in grant funding as part of the FFY 2015 Underage Alcohol Enforcement Grant Program from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). This program provides overtime funds for enforcement of underage alcohol laws through activities such as compliance checks, reverse stings, party patrols, surveillance patrols, and Cops in Shops.

The Amherst Police Department will be conducting increased enforcement campaigns to address underage alcohol law violations.  The emphasis of the additional patrols will be to combat underage drinking and those violating the town’s ban on open containers of alcohol on public property.  Enforcement efforts will include criminal summons, town bylaw citations and arrests.

This enforcement initiative will utilize both uniformed and plain clothed officers in addition to members of the department’s bicycle patrol unit.  Amherst Police Officers will be concentrating their efforts in areas of town that have historically experienced high incidents of alcohol law violations.  In fiscal year 2014, the Amherst Police Department charged 150 persons with being minors in possession of alcohol.  It is the goal of this department to improve the quality of life for those living in these areas by diligently enforcing alcohol law violations. 

 In addition to the enforcement aspect of this mobilization, there is an educational awareness component to this program.  Officers will educate citizens on the Town Bylaw prohibiting open containers of alcohol on public property, keg permits, and Operating Under the Influence.

Questions regarding this enforcement initiative can be forwarded to Sergeant Todd S. Lang at 413-259-3000 or via email. For additional information concerning the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Highway Safety Division please go to their website.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bicycle Safety, "Be Seen, Be Safe"


Amherst Police Department Awarded Traffic Enforcement Grant


The Amherst Police Department was awarded a $15,000.00 grant by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Highway Safety Division.  This grant will be used through September 2015.  The funding from this award will be utilized to fund the Speed and Aggressive Driving, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, Distracted Driving and Click It or Ticket mobilizations. 

The traffic enforcement mobilization titled “Speed and Aggressive Driving” is being conducted October 10, 2014 through October 31, 2014.  The goal of this campaign is to reduce speeding and aggressive driving through education and enforcement of traffic laws. 

The Amherst Police Department considers speeding one of our top priorities in traffic enforcement. We have had very few serious motor vehicle crashes occur in the town of Amherst and we believe that this is due to the fact that motorist travelling on our roadways observe that we aggressively enforce speeding laws.
Aggressive driving is a growing and dangerous traffic issue usually representing a combination of unsafe and unlawful driving actions that demonstrate a conscious and willful disregard for the safety of others.

Questions regarding this enforcement initiative can be forwarded to Sergeant Todd S. Lang at 413-259-3000 or via email. For additional information concerning the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Highway Safety Division please go to their website.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

OUI Crash Leads to Significant Injuries


On October 5, 2014 at approximately 1:27AM, several officers were dispatched to the area of Northeast Street at Shutesbury Road for the report of a motor vehicle collision. Responding officers found that it involved a single motor vehicle that had struck a tree.

Two passengers in the motor vehicle were injured and were transported to Baystate Medical Center, a 21 year old Bolton man and a 21 year old Arlington man. One of them has been treated and released, the second remains at Baystate Medical Center with significant injuries. The injuries are not life threatening.

The operator of the motor vehicle, Sean M. Foster, was arrested at the scene.

Sean M. Foster, Age 22

173 Forbush Mill Road

Bolton, MA  01740

 

Charges:          OUI/Alcohol Causing Serious Bodily Injury

                        Operating to Endanger

                        Speeding

                        Failure to Stay Within Marked Lanes

 

Foster is a student at the University of Massachusetts.

Foster is expected to be arraigned today at the Eastern Hampshire District Court. The matter remains under investigation.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Amherst PD receives MADD Award


 
 
 
 
 
(L to R: Accepting the Amherst PD MADD Award, Det. Rich MacLean, Ofc. Rita Contardo, Ofc. Benton Carr, Ofc. Andrew Hulse and Ofc. Nick Chandler)
MADD to Honor the Everyday Heroes of Amherst Police Department
Amherst PD named as September ‘s MADD Police Department of the Month

 

(Amherst, MA) September 29, 2014 –On Tuesday, September 30th at 12 noon, MADD Massachusetts will honor the men and women of the Amherst Police Department for their commitment to enforcing drunk driving laws and their work to prevent underage drinking by presenting them with MADD Massachusetts “Police Department of the Month” award at their headquarters located at 111 Main Street in Amherst, MA.
Every month the award will be presented to local police departments across the Commonwealth who have displayed a strong commitment to enforcing OUI laws as well as efforts to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking. The monthly awards will culminate with the presentation of a “Department of the Year” award which will be selected from the monthly award winners.

"Keeping our roads safe is dangerous and thankless work," said David DeIuliis, MADD Massachusetts program manager. "We consider the men and women of the Amherst PD everyday heroes and this award is MADD's way of saying thank you for their commitment to keeping our communities safe. The Amherst PD is a top notch department that always goes the extra mile when it comes to the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking. We are honored to present this award to Chief Scott Livingstone and his officers.”
Removing drunk drivers continues to be a year round public safety priority for the Amherst Police. To date in 2014 Amherst Police Have arrested 77 persons for Operating Under the influence. In 2013 Amherst Officers arrested 127 persons for Operating Under the influence
In addition to strict enforcement, the Amherst PD believes that preventing and deterring drunk drivers and underage drinking also reduces the risk to the public.
“The men and women of the Amherst Police Department are truly committed to the safety of our community and I am very proud of their hard work enforcing the OUI laws and keeping the roadways of Amherst safe,” Said Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone.  “We do not have the benefit of having a dedicated traffic enforcement division, as many communities do, so this extraordinary effort is indicative of the dedication of our personnel.  The Amherst community is lucky to be served by such hard working and committed men and women.” 
The Amherst Police Department regularly participates in national crackdown and mobilization efforts like “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” as well as routinely conducting Sobriety Checkpoints with the Massachusetts State Police.
Nationally, every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash and every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime. In Massachusetts 123 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012, representing 35% of all traffic fatalities in the Commonwealth.

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Founded in 1980, MADD's mission is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. For more information about MADD visit our website at madd.org