An entire police department of a small Massachusetts town announced their resignation on the department’s Facebook page.
“Attention Blandford residents: If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, please continue to call 911 as you normally would. Until further notice, please call the Russell State Police Barracks at 413-862-3312 if you need any other police services. The entire Blandford Police Department resigned this evening, effective immediately,” read the post on Blandford Police Department’s Facebook page.
All four members of the department resigned citing unsafe working conditions. Their complaints were repeatedly ignored leaving the local police force in Blandford, Massachusetts, with no choice but to quit.
“We refuse to put our lives on the line anymore for a town that seemingly cares so little about us,” read a statement signed by Roberta Sarnacki, the interim chief, and three officers who resigned with her.
While talking to a local news station, Sarnacki explained how officers attempted to patrol in cruisers that don’t even work. They were also forced to wear bulletproof vests that didn’t fit them properly.
Blandford Police Department was made to work with inadequate radio communications equipment. And they weren’t even paid properly for working in these circumstances.
All these complaints that were unaddressed were reason enough for the four members of the department to quit. However, as news of the department’s resignation made waves, other reasons that may have fueled their decision were discovered.
According to Bill Levakis, a member of the town’s board of selectmen said that officials were considering merging Blandford’s law enforcement services with the nearby town of Chester as a way to slash cost.
Officers working with Sarnacki believed she would be replaced, this added more to their frustration. “I think you take a little bit of the town’s identity away if you take the police department away or move it to a different area,” she said in an interview.
However, small towns across the country have been forced to make tough decisions of either merging police departments or cutting them altogether because of higher costs and decreasing tax bases.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Pool, Greg Derr, The Patriot Ledger