Entire Police Department Resigns At Same Time

The Blandford Police Department's entire police force resigned on Monday night and said it wasn't safe for them to work.

Blandford, MA – The interim police chief of Blandford led a walkout of the entire police department on Monday.

"For some time we have been dealing with unsafe working conditions. Policing is inherently dangerous, however it has been made much (more) so by our town's administration," said a letter signed by the chief and three officers of the Blandford Police Department who submitted their resignations.

The resignation letter, which was signed by Interim Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki and Officers Chris Anciello, Gage Kerlik, and Krysten Scapin, made their departure from the Blandford police force effective immediately.

The four-member Blandford Police Department said town administrators have failed to invest in the police force for a number of years, and the lack of funding has made it an unsafe work environment for the town’s first responders, MassLive reported.

"To summarize, the town is asking officers to patrol in cars that have no a/c (air conditioning), no snow tires, and no four-wheel drive ... They are asking us to do this with no radio coverage, no real backup if needed, and all for $14 or $15 an hour. Would you put your lives on the line in these conditions?" the resignation letter signed by all four members of the department read.

Officers frequently have to respond to calls in their personally-owned vehicles because the best patrol car the department has is a 2010 Crown Victoria that was purchased used from Otis Police Department.

That cruiser has no air conditioning, a seat that’s stuck permanently in the recline position, and the engine frequently overheats, according to MassLive. The brakes were also failing on the other two patrol units.

Also, neither of two remaining patrol vehicles has four-wheel drive despite the fact the town is located in the very snowy Northeast and officers frequently have to respond to calls in blizzard conditions.

"We regret leaving the town without a town police force, but we have no choice given the situation we face," the officers said in their resignation letter. "We refuse to put our lives on the line anymore for a town that seemingly cares so little about us."

The officers highlighted three recent police shootings in Massachusetts, one of which left an officer dead, and said they cannot be working without adequate equipment and protection, MassLive reported.

The resignation letter went on to say that all of the Blandford Police Department’s bulletproof vests were previously worn by other officers and do not properly fit the current officers. Also, the ballistic quality of vest deteriorates over time and all of the vests Blandford issued to their officers are past their expiration dates.

Officers also pointed to the fact that the Blandford police has had three vacancies on their force for an extended period that the Board of Selectman has not allowed to be filled. The town has been considering a merger of their police department with the nearby town of Chester’s police force and that possibility has left the current officers in limbo and without suitable backup.

But even if there were enough officers to respond as backup, much of the time Blandford’s police radios do not work anyway, the officers pointed out in their resignation.

This becomes doubly problematic when it’s factored in that there is no cell service or limited cell service in many parts of the Blandford community, MassLive reported.

Former Interim Chief Sarnacki told WWLP that the town’s board was more worried about the potential merger with the Chester Police Department than on the existing problems within the Blandford police, most of which would not be solved by the blending of the two departments.

Blandford Selectboard Chair Cara Letendre did seem more focused on sticking it to the former interim chief than addressing the very real issues raised in the former officers’ resignation letter.

“For the past two months, Interim Chief Sarnacki has done a fine job with our police officers and our police department,” Letendre told WWLP in a written statement. “It is unfortunate that she led this officer walk out as she would have been considered as one of our candidates for Acting Chief position as we pursue the future opportunities with our police force.”

Letendre said the town was already advertising for a new chief.

Blandford Selectman Eric McVey told MassLive the town was working with the Massachusetts State Police to make sure they had enough coverage in the absence of the town’s entire police force. And Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi announced he was sending six deputy sheriffs in marked patrol units to provide a "public safety presence to a Hampden County town in need."

"I cannot allow one of our communities to have the appearance that the town will go unprotected. My team will stay in place throughout the night and we will reassess with the town of Blandford's select board on their needs in the morning," Sheriff Cocchi said.

Comments (37)
No. 1-31
ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

Sometimes town/city board members seem more interested in their own agendas and not necessarily looking out for the true good of the community they are supposed to be serving, which appears to be the case here. Maybe they need to take over patrol and see what the police department had to deal with ...

Jones24
Jones24

I am appalled they had to work like that!

PB62
PB62

Good for them!! Unbelievable what they have had to put up with!!

Copfamily
Copfamily

Blanford LE deserve much better conditions, not to mention pay. Consider what they are being asked to do... Wise-up, town, and equip your men/women in blue with what they need to be successful Protecting Your Asses.

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

I'm not far from Blanford........and what they've had to deal with over the last decade ? I'd have left for greener pastures long ago. Kudos to them for their dedication to their community and the job.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

America has had so many little departments for so long that it is a difficult adjustment for the police department employees, and for the town to consolidate or contract out or whatever. Hope they land on their feet. They probably will -- policing is a growth industry -- rare bright spot on the American economic landscape. Maybe they can even get unionized jobs.

HonestC
HonestC

The town board of Blandford should be ashamed of themselves for purposely allowing the equipment of their own police department to deteriorate the way it has. Also, what are they thinking in not filling the three open positions? The town they want to merge with better take another look. Is this the type of town board you really want to merge with?! One that does NOT support their officers?

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

What is wrong with a town that fails at every move to properly equip its cops? I don't blame the officers one bit. It was the only thing they could do that would get the attention of its residents. Perhaps there will be changes in the faces of the "Selectmen" (how do they get by with that in todays world?) in the next election!

hampshire
hampshire

Townsfolks call on them all the time and if in trouble really call on them GOOD they are leaving.. unbelievable---- town leadership !!

LEO0301
LEO0301

I've worked with some crappy equipment but nothing like these officers had to contend with. I hope they have better luck finding a city that takes the lives of the officers that serve them a little more seriously.

Memaw187
Memaw187

Selectmen screw up,blame cops. So typical these days. They did the right thing,hope they get jobs where they are appreciated and treated better with better pay. Maybe fast food? Sad,sad,sad

NDNBORI
NDNBORI

and the Town's residence say what? Are they so Lefty they are anti- Law Enforcement? Can these people be recalled, someone held responsible? Towns budget has what other priorities? smh ...........

When they call 911 one day, it'll be too late to realize, they asked for this.

State Police can only do so much and when things go really sideways ... trust me there will be other priorities.

4bconsulting
4bconsulting

In rural communities it sometimes takes a properly equipped LEO up to 30-45 minutes to get to the calling party. MA has a problem because I don't believe they are a "castle doctrine" State. If you live in this town your in deep poo poo

pixiepup
pixiepup

Very sad they don’t provide for their police!

Bstn199
Bstn199

Shameful on selectmens part not equipping their police dept acuratley, and not filling the vacant 3 slots, I support these Officers 100% on walking out, hopefully they get rehired with nearby agencies. And its a little Ironic the Sherrif sends double the amount of ifficers to the community than the town had in its entire dept, sounds like he will try to become the agency who will take over law enforcement for the town, even though MASS State Police in past practice (prop 2 1/2 days) The State Police generally take over for towns with no police force. I wish these officers luck!! And if I were a resident Id be looking to get rid of these selectmen and get new ones who actually care about community and the police dept!

VWells
VWells

Shameful indeed! Glad they all walked out! Smart decision!

russ88
russ88

13 dollars an hour? That’s minimum wage in MA pretty much. Such a shame, theyd be making just as much money working walmart or fastfood. Good for them to walk out

joaquinradioman
joaquinradioman

Wow...How embarassing...These city officials need to get off their butts and get more funding if they don't have the money!!

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

I think Barney Fife had better support from their city council than these officers did. I hope they find a department who will hire and support them with a decent wage and gear. let the council patrol and do their jobs to see how they like it.

C911
C911

Wow! Talk about unworkable conditions! Leo’s have one the hardest jobs in the world today and your city won’t even try to set them up for success. Hopefully, the county will hire these people. And the city can pay dearly for the county taking over.

Lori1
Lori1

God Bless all of you, Officers. You shouldn't

Lori1
Lori1

God Bless all of you, You shouldn't have to work under those conditions..Your Job is difficult as it is. I always keep all Law Enforcement Officers in my Prayers🇺🇸

stxnpx
stxnpx

Even if they hadn't resigned, it's obvious that the town wasn't protected anyway, and without patrol cars it didn't even have the appearance of safety. I hope these officers find good-paying work at legitimate police departments.

Saints
Saints

14-15 $$ an hour!?!?!??.... to risk your lives!! Be much safer doing work at McDonald's or Burger King... good for you officers...

Sheman
Sheman

Its getting that way not just in this town but all over .not to mention police are more targeted an have to always justify their actions always at they do on top of all the bs

Sheman
Sheman

If people dont want cops .then good let the projects kill eachother ..police stop putting your self in risk over people that are cop killers

CFried
CFried

KUDOS to one and all . If you all left and moved to Texas you could get picked up and make a living wage #Texas

attybv
attybv

Good for you officers. It's time police began stating a stand when they are shown so little concern or respect. This situation sounds like its out of some fictional novel it sounds so bad.

Bella911
Bella911

I applaud the Officer's for taking the actions they did it's pathetic that the get paid about the same way as someone at McDonald's, at least there they have a better chance of coming home to their families at the end of the shift. It's pathetic that the town doesn't care enough to give these Officer's the tools they need to protect the town. Borrowing another town's police force isn't the answer fix the problem, don't just stick a bandaid on it and hope it doesn't spring another leak

burgerallday
burgerallday

I like to just spout off and make stupid comments hoping that someone will respond. Otherwise I have no one to talk to.

burgerallday
burgerallday

I like to make stupid comments so I have someone to interact with