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Blandford Officials 'Shocked' After Mass Police Resignation

All four members of the Blandford Police Department resigned, citing shoddy equipment and low pay.
Ryan Johnson
Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/northcharleston
All four members of the Blandford Police Department resigned, citing shoddy equipment and low pay.

The resignation of the entire four-member police department in Blandford, Massachusetts, came as a shock to the head of the town’s Select Board.

Board Chair Cara Letendre found out about the mass resignation of Blandford police officials –all of whom work part-time- in an email sent during a board meeting on Monday, she said.

"We were shocked, there was no prior notice,” Letendre said.

A resignation letter from the chief cites shoddy equipment, and low pay for their departure, Letendre said. But most of those complaints were never brought before the board, according to Letendre.

Interim Chief Roberta Sarnacki could not be reached for comment.

For now, 9-1-1 calls are being routed through the state police –who are also increasing their patrols in the town- and the Hampden County Sheriff's Department is providing six deputies there.

It's important for the town to keep a visible law enforcement presence, said Sheriff Nick Cocchi. That’s especially because news of Blandford's lack of a police department has spread quickly.

“What comes into play that can be a nuisance is people that know that the police department resigned,” Cocchi said. “Some folks may try to cause havoc in that particular town.”

In the short-term, Letendre isn't worried about public safety in Blandford.

"I think that with the extra support of the State Police, and Sheriff’s office, we’re OK for right now,” Letendre said.

But the town is already looking for a new interim police chief.

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