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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Safe Entry Lock Boxes for Amherst Seniors

Great article in the Hampshire Daily Gazette regarding the Amherst SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) and the Hampshire County Sheriffs TRIAD Safe Entry Program:


Amherst seniors offered lock boxes for house keys


By EMILY HEWLINGS Gazette Contributing Writer


AMHERST — The Center for Extended Care and the Arbors of Amherst recently donated $1,000 to the Amherst TRIAD/ Seniors and Law Enforcement Together Council’s Safe Entry Program to allow Amherst seniors to have a lock box installed outside their home at no cost.


Affiliated with the Safe Entry program, the lock boxes are small containers located beside the door that hold house keys securely. The boxes are protected with a code of the resident’s choosing.


In the event of emergency, the responding officer or paramedic will have access to the code— which will be on file with the Amherst 911 Dispatch Center— by phoning a dispatcher. That allows the responding officer or paramedic to open the lock box and enter the house to provide immediate assistance.

The $1,000 donation will allow the Safe Entry program to purchase 50 additional boxes.


Seniors living in Amherst are eligible for a free lock box. While seniors do not have to pay for the newly purchased box or even to have a qualified volunteer install one, the Safe Entry program relies on donations for the purchase.


The interest in lock boxes arose in response to an incident that occurred at the home of an unidentified Amherst woman in May. The woman was unable reach the phone to call for help after suffering injuries as the result of a fall. A Meals on Wheels driver arrived at the woman’s house for a delivery and found the door locked at the time. She notified emergency personnel, who then entered the house through an open window. The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment.

While the fall was not life-threatening, the incident concerned officials at the Amherst Senior Center. They urged seniors to find an approach that would provide immediate assistance in event of emergency, especially if they are unable to call.


In an interview following the May incident, Police Capt. Jennifer Gundersen said the Safe Entry program is an effective approach for immediate assistance.

“We think it’s an excellent program here and through it, we can continue to ensure the safety of our senior community,” Gundersen said. Gundersen suggested lock boxes as a way to improve response time in the aftermath of the incident.


A total of 40 lock boxes have been installed in Amherst homes to date.


To receive a free lock box, send a written request including name, address and telephone number to Amherst S.A.L.T. Council, P.O. Box 206, Amherst, MA, 01002.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Mental Health First Aid

Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce that all members of the Amherst Police Department have recently been certified in the curriculum Mental Health First Aid for Law Enforcement. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches officers how to help someone who is experiencing a mental health problem or a mental health crisis. The training helps officers identify, understand, and respond to signs of addiction, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental illness. The course provided information on multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction. Additional goals of this training included increasing officer confidence and the likelihood of improving their response to incidents involving an individual in distress and also addressed strategies to positively affect the officer’s physical and mental wellbeing. Mental Health First Aid training was provided by Clinical and Support Options Inc., a behavior health agency providing services to community members in Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden and Berkshire Counties.

The costs associated with training Amherst police personnel in Mental Health First Aid was funded by a recent grant of $33,615 awarded to the Amherst Police Department by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health under the DMH Jail Diversion Program. In addition to funding Mental Health First Aid, over fiscal year 2016, the grant will additionally fund the training of 25% of the department in the Crisis Intervention Team model (CIT). The CIT model is a specialized police-based program intended to enhance officers' interactions with individuals with mental illnesses or severe emotional distress and improve the safety of all parties involved in mental health crises. Specifically, CIT is a police-based specialized police response. The CIT program provides self-selected officers with 40+ hours of classroom and experiential de-escalation training in handling crises. These trained officers then serve as specialized front-line responders who are better informed to redirect individuals with mental illnesses, when appropriate, to treatment services instead of the judicial system. The CIT model of training and deploying police officers leads to improved rapport-building skills, de-escalation abilities, and communication between officers, patients and their family members, as well as better outcomes for patients in terms of referrals to mental health services.

“No less than one in every ten calls for our police officers involve a community member suffering from a mental health problem or crisis,” said Amherst Police Chief Scott P. Livingstone. “And these incidents are only increasing because police officers are the 24 hour responders offering an immediate solution to these problems. However, the CIT model forces us and our mental health partners to commit to working together, following up on these calls to ensure that community members with mental illnesses are not ending up in jail, but diverted to mental health providers that can assist them.”

Questions regarding the grant or program can be forwarded to Captain Jennifer Gundersen.

North Amherst School Bus Crash

On June 22, 2015 at approximately 1:37PM several Amherst Police Officers responded to the area of Henry Street for a reported motor vehicle accident involving a school bus. Preliminary investigation has revealed that the collision was a singular vehicle and that the bus left the roadway and struck a utility pole. The incident caused lines to fall in to the street and that roadway remains closed at this hour.
The bus did have children onboard at the time of the collision, and fortunately no injuries were reported. The children were placed under the care of the school department and were transported back to the school for reunification with their parents.

The investigation is in its infancy and is ongoing. The name of the bus operator is being withheld until proper notifications can be made.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Amherst Police Looking to Check the Well-Being of Matthew J. Perry

UPDATE:  Matthew J. Perry who was considered missing from Amherst has been located in Southampton, Massachusetts.  He was found safe and in good health.  The Amherst Police appreciates the assistance received from the public and all law enforcement agencies who contributed in locating Mr. Perry.  Mr. Perry has been re-united with his family.

The Amherst Police are attempting to locate Matthew J.Perry to check on his well-being.  Mr. Perry is a resident of Amherst and was last seen in Northampton in the late afternoon of June 11, 2015.  Mr. Perry is 21 years of age.  He is a white male with short brown hair and brown eyes.  He was last seen wearing a blue and white striped shirt and jeans.
Anyone who may have had contact with Mr. Perry is urged to contact the Amherst Police Department at 413-259-3000.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Received

Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce the recent award to the Amherst Police Department of $92,164 in funding from the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program offered by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Office of Grants and Research (OGR).
The Amherst Police Department requested this funding to promote community policing and problem oriented policing by implementing an Amherst Safe Neighborhood Liaison Police Officer to work in partnership with community members in the town of Amherst and our three institutions of higher learning, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst College and Hampshire College.    “While numerous factors led to the need for this position” said Chief Livingstone, “the recent expansion of student rental housing in what had been traditionally family and owner-occupied neighborhoods has caused issues and quality of life concerns.  This officer will be effective in addressing these shared concerns within our neighborhoods.  This position will also assist the Amherst Police in promoting our sector based policing philosophy by encouraging partnership development and problem solving.”
Stakeholders include not only the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College and Hampshire College, but also downtown businesses, Student Leadership at the 3 campuses, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, the Business Improvement District, and Amherst property owners.   The University of Massachusetts Office of External and Community Relations is slated by this coming academic year to hire a civilian Neighborhood Liaison staff member and it is envisioned that the Amherst Safe Neighborhood Police Officer and the UMASS Neighborhood Liaison will work closely together on projects of mutual concern.
The Amherst Police Department intends to have this position filled by an existing Amherst Police Officer by August 1, 2015.  Upon reassigning an officer to this position, the grant funding will be used to pay the salary and benefits of a new hire for the 15 month grant cycle.  Amherst Police are currently recruiting to hire a new police officer.

Questions regarding the grant or program can be forwarded to Captain Jennifer Gundersen at gundersenj@amherstma.gov.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amherst Home Invasion

On 5/14/15 at approximately 9:43 PM Amherst Police Officers responded to 1040 North Pleasant Street for an armed home invasion.  According to residents/victims, their home was entered by force by an individual armed with a firearm.  The resident/victims subdued one individual within the home and disarmed him, while Amherst Police Officers detained a 2nd individual who was fleeing the scene in a vehicle.  One resident/victim reported injuries during their struggle with suspect Lamont Thomas, these injuries did not require immediate medical attention.  A firearm was recovered at the scene of the incident.  This incident is currently under investigation and persons with information are asked to call the Amherst Police Department Detective Bureau at 413-259-3015. 

Click It or Ticket Enforcement

From May 11 to May 25, the Amherst Police Department will be teaming up with Massachusetts State Police and more than 191 eligible local police departments statewide to promote seat belt usage through increased traffic enforcement.  Amherst will be taking part in the national Click It or Ticket (CIOT) seat belt enforcement mobilization, which is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD).  

 According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, there were 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the United States.  Forty-nine percent of the people killed (10,458) were unbelted.  “The number of lives lost is needless,” said Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone.  “Amherst is focusing our enforcement efforts on safety belts to increase usage and save lives. In fiscal year 2014, eighty persons were issued citations for failing to wear their seatbelt, that number is just way too high.”

NHTSA reports that the national seat belt usage rate is 87%.  Massachusetts is lagging behind at 76.6%.  During the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, Massachusetts had a lower rate of restraint use among fatally-injured passenger vehicle occupants than the rest of the nation.  “If we increase our seat belt usage rate, we save lives.  It’s plain and simple,” said Chief Livingstone.   

 “Officers will be out in full force issuing citations to anyone traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children.  The goal is not to hand out tickets, but to keep the public safe.  Your seat belt is your best defense against impaired, distracted, and aggressive drivers as well as against your own mistakes,” said Chief Livingstone.

 For more information contact Captain Jennifer Gundersen at gundersenj@amhestma.gov or 413-259-3012 or visit www.mass.gov/highwaysafety.  


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Care.com Scam

The Amherst Police Department has received two recent reports of persons being scammed out of money with the similar story.  See link of report below.  Beware

"The RP came into APD to report a larceny of money through an
internet scam.  The RP set up a profile with CARE.com, an
internet babysitting service.  A scammer advised they were
interested for her services and sent her a check in the
amount of $2750.00 to be a nanny for their 2 year old over
the summer.  She was instructed by the scammer to return
$2450.00 and to keep the $300.00 as a down payment. The plan
was for the parent who was coming into Amherst to be a
mystery shopper at "Best Mark" for the summer.  The RP was
going to nanny the two year old while the parents stayed at
a local hotel.  The $2450.00 that she sent was via Western
Union in two payments. The RP reported the scam to Bank of
America who holds her bank accounts.  They advised her to
report the matter to the police first.  The matter is under
investigation.  Incident #15-190-OF."

Friday, May 8, 2015

May 8 Vehicle Crash

On Friday May 8, 2015 at 3:07PM Amherst Officers responded to the area of 585 East Pleasant Street for a vehicle crash involving a bicyclists.   The cyclists, a 17 year old Amherst female was transported by Amherst Fire Department to Baystate Medical Center with serious but not life threatening injuries.  The Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Team was requested by the Amherst Police to respond and investigate the crash.  Neither the cyclists nor vehicle operator will be identified at this time.   For approximately 2 hours East Pleasant St. in the area of #585 was reduced to one lane to allow the Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Team to conduct their investigation.   East Pleasant Street is now open.

Captain Jennifer Gundersen
05/08/15, 7:00PM

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Commencement Traffic Friday May 8, 2015

Commencement at the University of Massachusetts is set for 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon, May 8, 2015. The Amherst Police Department anticipates a large increase in the amount of traffic that has historically led to congestion and delays. We are encouraging travelers to seek alternative routes to avoid the traffic patterns that will be altered beginning at 1:30PM on Friday afternoon.

With the exception of local traffic, there will be no vehicle access in the following areas:

·         No traffic allowed North on University Drive from Amity Street

·         No traffic allowed on North Pleasant Street south from Eastman Lane to UMASS campus

·         No traffic West on Fearing Street from Triangle Street

·         No traffic West on Eastman Lane from East Pleasant Street

The impact on Amherst roadways is expected to last until approximately 8:00PM on Friday evening.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Patrol Officer Linda Newcomb Retires

Chief Scott P. Livingstone announced the retirement of Patrol Officer Linda Newcomb, effective May 1, 2015, after 26 years of exceptional service to the police department and the Town of Amherst. 
Officer Newcomb was appointed a Patrol Officer with the Amherst Police Department on August 1, 1988.  Prior to becoming an officer in Amherst, Newcomb was a patrol officer at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. 

Officer Newcomb received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Northeastern University, Boston, MA in June 1981 and graduated from the Boston Police Academy, Class 1485 on September 13, 1985 after successfully completing the training program. 
During Patrol Officer Newcomb’s tenure, she served as a Field Training Officer and was a member of the department’s Property and Evidence Unit and Sexual Assault Investigation Team.  She was also the police department’s liaison to the Amherst Homeless Shelter and Jessie’s House in Amherst, which offers emergency housing for families.  Officer Newcomb was awarded a Letter of Commendation from the department in December 2007 for her courage, lifesaving aid and professionalism in response to the Emerson Court Gas Explosion on August 16, 2006.
“Linda Newcomb has been a valued member of the police department for the past 26 years” said Chief Scott P. Livingstone.  “Working most of her career on the evening shift, Linda gave 100 percent to the Town of Amherst.  She will be missed but we wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

22nd Amherst Rafters College Town Classic 5K and 5 M, May 17

SUNDAY MAY 17, 2015, 10:30 AM
Rafters Sports Bar & Restaurant, University Dr., Amherst, MA
5 Mile Run or 5 K (3.1 mile) Run or Walk
22nd YEAR!!!  Help us support our charitable causes, the Jimmy Fund and the Amherst Police Relief Association at this family friendly event.  This 5 mile and 5K has a safe and fast course through downtown Amherst.
 ****Commemorative Tee to 1st 300 Entrants, Age Group Awards, Water Stops, Mile Markers, Professionally Timed****
Post Race Barbecue: Burgers, Veggie Burgers, Dogs, Fruit, Yogurt, Juice, Bagels, Cookies

REGISTER ONLINE AT: www.accu-specracing.com  
race page with downloadable application is www.amherstpd.org/roadrace