The following was published in the July 2016 Longmeadow Police Department Monthly Report.
|Longmeadow Police Chief- John Stankiewicz|
It’s your spouse asking you when you’re going to bid off the midnight shift and your 8 year old daughter calling to make sure you are safe. It’s missing your son’s Saturday soccer game and a Christmas dinner at home with your family.
It’s also putting a compression dressing on an accident victim who has a severe laceration while re-assuring them they will be all right and being ridiculed and sworn at by a woman for arresting her husband who moments before had punched her in the face.
It’s manning a public information booth at Longmeadow Days and engaging in conversation with adults and children alike and giving a tour of the station to a group of wide eyed boy scouts.
It’s talking to teenagers who have questions as to whether an officer can search their backpack for alcohol and answering the mundane question of a stranger; “where is a good place to eat” or “how do I get to……”? And, the mind numbing chore of checking businesses, The Meadows and side streets at 2, 3, & 4 AM.
It’s conducting an investigation and working on leads to locate stolen jewelry that has profound sentimental value in hopes of being able to return it to its owner and performing CPR on a 17 year old who OD’d on a lethal dose of alcohol and opiates while in the background hearing the mother’s and father’s screams of anguish and despair.
Although there has been extensive media coverage replaying the actions of overzealous officers, with more than 12,000 agencies operating in the US and more than 477,000 law enforcement officers, the number of incidences of misfeasance, although appalling, is minuscule.
A warrior one minute and a guardian the next, an officer must adapt. With the fatal ambushes of police officers both in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, the job has changed. Even in Longmeadow, officers are a little more cautious…. It has changed the way we patrol. When conducting a traffic stop, officers are taking more time to assess the situation before exiting their cruiser and approaching the vehicle. Responding to calls for service in a remote or desolate area in Town has evoked a level of vigilance that wasn’t a concern a month ago; could someone be concealing themselves or lying in wait?
Officer are reminded to check their weapons before every shift, to discuss officer safety best practices, and to rely on their tactical training that was learned in the academy and is reviewed every year during in-service training.
Fortunately, over the last month there has been an outpouring of support from the community. Adults, children and seniors alike have been stopping by the station and bringing in gifts of food, soft drinks and yes, even donuts. These gestures and well wishes are humbling yet confirm that the officers and staff of the Longmeadow Police Department are professionals, are providing a valuable service and their work is appreciated by the community.