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.

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

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nonprofit Raises over $15,000.00 to Equip Mass Police Dogs with Ballistic Vests

The Amherst Police Department’s K9 Dash is being awarded a bullet/stab resistant vest thanks to a nonprofit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The charity hosted a motorcycle ride August 25, 2013, “Hog Wild for K9s”, which raised over $15,000.00 to be awarded to (16) Massachusetts K9’s.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA. Whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. Each vest costs $950.00 and has a 5 year warranty. The nonprofit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four legged K9 Officers. Through private and corporate sponsorships, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 1320 law enforcement dogs in 49 states with protective vests since 2009 at a cost of over $1.2 million dollars.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. announces their 7” plush stuffed German Shepherd K9 Hero, "Cesar", and company ambassador of Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. now for sale online for $15.00 at www.vik9s.org. Proceeds from the sales will provide bullet and stab protective vests, for police dogs actively working without the potentially lifesaving equipment.

The organization orders the U.S. made vests exclusively from distributor Regency Police Supply in Hyannis, MA. who also does the custom embroidery on the body armor.

New K9 graduates as well as K9's with expired vests are eligible to participate. The program is open to law enforcement dogs who are US employed, certified and at least 19 months of age.

For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Tax deductible donations accepted via mail to: Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9, East Taunton, MA 02718 or via the website.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Distracted Driving Crackdown

The Amherst Police Department will join the 191 eligible Massachusetts law enforcement agencies in the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. mobilization to crack down on motorists who text while driving.  The campaign, which combines traditional and innovative enforcement strategies, is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD) from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The mobilization begins April 10, 2015 and continues through May 1, 2015.  

 “Driving and texting is illegal and irresponsible.  People who break our state’s texting law will be stopped and fined.  If you drive and text, you will pay,” said Chief Scott P. Livingstone.  

Texting while driving was outlawed in Massachusetts effective September 30, 2010.  Adult drivers who write, send, or read electronic messages or browse the Internet while driving face a $100 fine for a first offense – even if the vehicle is stopped in traffic.  Juvenile operators are entirely prohibited from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving, including to make phone calls.  The fine for a juvenile first offense is $100 and includes a 60 day license suspension and required completion of a driver attitudinal course.  These costly violations underscore the danger inherent in the use of electronic devices while driving.  Nationally in 2013, there were 3,154 people killed and an estimated 424,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes involv­ing distracted drivers.  

According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s 2012 “Teen Driver Distraction Study,” 25% of teens respond to a text message at least once every time they drive.  20% of teens and 10% of parents admit that they have multi-message text conversations while driving.

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving.  It creates the proverbial ‘perfect storm’ for a crash, and no one has the right to put another person’s life at risk like that,” said Chief Livingstone.

“It’s not that complicated: if you text and drive, we will see you, pull you over, and fine you.  We’re serious about enforcing texting laws,” said Chief Livingstone.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Busy Downtown This Saturday 4/18/15, parking limited

On Saturday, April 18, 2015, the Amherst Police Department anticipates a significant increase in traffic throughout the community. Along with numerous other events being held in town over the weekend, the UMASS Cannabis Reform Coalition will be holding a rally on the town common. Historically this event is heavily attended and has created parking concerns.

No parking areas along many of the narrow side streets will be posted in an effort to allow emergency vehicles access. The Amherst Police will be enforcing all parking laws and vehicles that are parked in the posted areas will be towed.

The Amherst Police Department encourages attendees to make use of the parking areas designated by the Cannabis Reform Coalition and to take advantage of the available public transportation.



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

2015 Youth Adventure Academy Dates Posted

The Amherst and University of Massachusetts Police Departments are pleased to announce the dates of the Amherst and UMASS Police Youth Adventure Academy.  The 2015, Amherst and UMASS Police Youth Adventure Academy is a ONE week program, being held Monday, July 20 to Friday, July 24, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Students entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grades are eligible to attend.  The cost is FREE and academy size is limited to 20 participants, so preference will be given to Amherst residents and UMASS affiliated families (ex. parent/guardian works or is a student at UMASS).  Similar to a Citizens Police Academy, students will attend morning classroom sessions held at both the Amherst and UMASS Police Departments.  The classroom sessions will feature lectures, role-plays, and interactive demonstrations by police officers from both agencies, focusing in the areas of law, crime scene investigation, defensive tactics and patrol procedures.  Most afternoon sessions will be held at the Amherst Adventure Based Ropes Course at the Notch Visitors Center where we will promote teamwork, communication, and strategy development.  Additional information concerning the Amherst and UMASS Police Youth Adventure Academy is available on the Amherst Police Department website, www.amherstpd.org.  Applications may be obtained at the Amherst Police Department lobby, UMASS Police Department lobby or downloaded off the Amherst Police Department website.  The application deadline is June 8, 2015, so please don’t delay!  Questions regarding the Youth Adventure Academy can be forwarded to either Amherst Police Officer Yvonne Feliciano at felicianoy@amherstma.gov  or Officer Marcus Humber at humberm@amherstma.gov or at 413-259-3000 or UMASS Police Officer Brian Kellogg at 413-545-9461 or via email at bkellogg@admin.umass.edu


Thursday, March 26, 2015

BEWARE: Tax Season is Also "Scam Season"

Please be aware of a scam being perpetrated on our residents by individuals claiming to be representatives of the Internal Revenue Service or IRS.

The scammers tell residents they are entitled to tax big refunds, or that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS. When unsuccessful the first time, sometimes phone scammers call back trying a new strategy.

Please be advised that the IRS does not generally communicate with taxpayers by telephone. If they do, it is only after first sending correspondence by US mail.  Also, legitimate IRS representatives NEVER asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.

According to the IRS webpage, if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  •  If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.
  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.
Please DO NOT provide the caller with any personal information such as your date of birth or your social security number, and NEVER give banking information or credit or debit card numbers to them.

More information about this scam can be found on the MoneyGram webpage.  In addition, there is useful information on how to report an incident to MoneyGram, if MoneyGram was used as a result of a scam.