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.

Monday, January 5, 2015

B&E Suspect Arrested After being Located Inside Residence


On January 3, 2015 at approximately 8:25PM, several officers responded to the area of Lincoln Avenue for the report of a suspicious male walking through back yards in that neighborhood. Responding officers began an area search, and eventually located a home on Lincoln Avenue that they believe had been entered through a basement bulkhead.

With the assistance of a K9 from Hadley Police Department, officers searched the interior of the home and located a suspect hiding in the attic. He was identified as Thomas P. Bridges and he was promptly placed under arrest. The ensuing investigation revealed that he had forced his entry in to the home and was in the process of stealing clothing when interrupted by responding officers.

There were additional incidents of breaking and entering in to homes in that area, and the investigation is ongoing to determine Bridges’ connection to those crimes.

Thomas P. Bridges, Age 25

Streets of Amherst

Charges:          Breaking & Entering/Night Time

                        Larceny from Building (clothing)

                        Default Warrant-Holyoke District Court, Shoplifting

                        Default Warrant-Springfield District Court, Shoplifting

 
Bridges was held in custody in lieu of $5000 cash bail. He was arraigned at the Eastern Hampshire District Court this morning.

 Lieutenant Ronald A. Young

Friday, January 2, 2015

Man Arrested After Sending Bomb Threat


On Tuesday December 30, 2104, at approximately 4:00 P.M., the Amherst Police Department received a bomb threat directed at the Amherst Police Facility, located at 111 Main Street.  The threat was made via an email sent to all Amherst Police Officers and several random email addresses not associated with the police department.  The police facility was search and no device was discovered.

After a short investigation which involved the tracking of internet service provider information used to send the message, along with other information obtained, the subject was identified.  On Wednesday December 31, 2014 at 6:45 P.M., Amherst Police Officers arrested:

George L. Checkal, age 34
Provided his address as "The Streets of Amherst"
Charge: False Bomb Threat

Checkal was held at the Hampshire County House of Correction in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.  He was arraigned Eastern Hampshire District Court on Friday January 2, 2015.

The matter remains under investigation.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Sergeant David Knightly Promoted to Lieutenant

 Chief Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce the promotion of Amherst Police Sergeant David R. Knightly, Jr. to the rank of Lieutenant effective December 29, 2014.  Sergeant Knightly was promoted after an extensive selection process which included interviews with Chief Livingstone, Town Manager John P. Musante and Human Resources Director Deborah Radway. This promotion will fill the position that was vacated with the retirement of Lieutenant Robert J. O’Connor.

David R. Knightly, Jr., a native of Amherst, joined the Amherst Police Department as a Community Service Officer in 1985.  He was appointed as a Special Police Officer in 1987.  On January 1, 1989 he was appointed as a Patrol Officer and was assigned patrol duties until his reassignment to the Detective Bureau in 1997.  Knightly was promoted to Sergeant on April 3, 2000, and was assigned as a patrol supervisor.  In 2010, he was reassigned as a supervisor in the Detective Bureau.

 Knightly was an original member of the bike patrol unit and developed both the department’s Search and Rescue Unit and Warrant Entry Team. He is a Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor and Defensive Tactics Instructor.  In addition, he is the coordinator for two community policing programs the Amherst Citizen Police Academy and Youth Fishing Derby.

 Knightly received his diploma from Amherst Regional High School in 1984 and attended Bridgton Academy in Maine. He received his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice from Holyoke Community College.  Knightly graduated from the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Academy in Agawam, a member of the 13th Municipal Police Officers Class, in May of 1989. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Suspect Placed Under Arrest After Motor Vehicle Break-ins


On December 19, 2014 at approximately 6:20AM. Officers of the Amherst Police Department responded to the area of Newell Court for the report of a suspicious person who may be breaking in to motor vehicles. The responding officers located Timothy R. Lakota in the area, and through their investigation learned that Lakota had been involved in several criminal acts in that area.
The investigation revealed that Lakota broke in to and entered at least three vehicles and stole contents from within. He was also found to have taken deliveries left at the door of nearby homes. All of these items were recovered from Lakota’s vehicle and will eventually be returned to the rightful owners.

Lakota was arrested at the scene:
Timothy R. Lakota, Age 26
121 North Main Street #5
Belchertown, MA 01007

 

Charges:          Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle (3 counts)

                        Larceny under $250 (2 counts)

                        Larceny over $250 (1 count)

                        Possession of Burglarious Tools

 

Lakota is being brought to and is expected to arraigned at the Eastern Hampshire Court this morning.
The case remains under investigation.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Toy Drive!

Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce that the Amherst Police Department will be hosting a “Toys for Joy” holiday gift drive from December 5, 2014 through December 19, 2014.  All donations will benefit Jessie’s House and the Center for Human Development which provides temporary housing to displaced families in the Amherst-Northampton area.  The Amherst Police Department is collecting unwrapped gift donations and gift cards (no cash) for children 6 months to 12 years old.  Toys and/or wrapping supplies can be brought to the Amherst Police Department located at 111 Main St., Amherst, MA.  For more information contact Officer Marcus Humber at (413) 259-3008 or humberm@amherstma.gov. 

PSA on Drive Sober Campaign this holiday Season




Drive Sober PSA




Sunday, December 7, 2014

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign Slated for 2014 Holidays

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over mobilization.  This campaign is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD).  
Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce that the Amherst Police Department will join the 191 eligible local law enforcement agencies and the MA State Police running extra patrols through the New Year as part of the national

“It’s time for all drivers to get the message,” said Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone. “Drunk driving isn’t a victimless crime.  You could kill yourself or someone else.” 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2012 in Massachusetts, 123 people were killed in crashes that involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.  Nationally, in December of 2012, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one driver with a BAC of .08 or higher.  Twenty-six of those deaths occurred on Christmas Day.  In fiscal year 2014, the Amherst Police Department arrested 104 persons for operating under the influence.

As part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement campaign, police will increase patrols, conduct sobriety checkpoints, and conduct public outreach through local media with hopes of delivering their life saving message to drivers.  If you’re drinking and driving, the Amherst Police Department will find and arrest you.  No warnings, no excuses.  You’ll face jail time, fines, loss of your driver’s license, towing fees, and other OUI expenses, totaling $10,000 on average.

 The Amherst Police Department suggests anyone drinking should designate a sober driver ahead of time, call a friend or family member, use public transportation, or call a taxi.  The alternatives are all far less expensive than the $10,000 cost of being caught and charged with OUI or taking someone’s life. 

In addition to reminding all drivers to drive sober, the Amherst Police Department is calling on everyone to be alert.  If someone you know is about to drive after drinking, take their keys and help them get home safely. For more information, contact Captain Jennifer Gundersen at 413-259-3012 or via email.

Friday, December 5, 2014

RAD Class! Dec 2014


Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce that the Amherst Police Department will be hosting a R.A.D self defense course for women.   The Rape Aggression Defense System is a program of self-defense tactics and techniques for women. The RAD System is a comprehensive, women-only course that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training. R.A.D. is not a Martial Arts program. Our course is taught by Amherst Police Department Officer Jessica Damon and Detective Janet Lopez who are nationally certified R.A.D. instructors.   RAD is for women of all ages, and is open to women from other communities.  The class will be held in the Amherst Police Department Community Room on the following dates and time:

Wednesday December 17th 6pm-9pm

Thursday December 18th 6pm-9pm

Monday December 29th 6pm-9pm
Tuesday December 30th 6pm-9pm

Space is limited so all participants must pre-register by contacting Detective Janet Lopez at 413-259-3196 or via email at lopezj@amherstma.gov.    

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.