To the editor:
This is an open letter to the citizens of Wenham from the Wenham Police Benevolent Association. We have a critical issue that requires the immediate attention of voters this Saturday at Town Meeting.
Your is requesting the replacement of four police cruisers. Our newest marked police cruiser already has 67,000 miles. It is not our preference to be asking for four cruisers at once, however for the past several years our equipment needs have been denied due to financial constraints placed on the department, despite the best efforts of the Chief of Police to secure this funding.
We have a cruiser replacement schedule that was not followed in order to save money. During this time other town departments have added to their vehicle fleets. We now find ourselves in dire straits with the depletion of an effective cruiser fleet.
We routinely have to jump start cruisers to get them running to start patrol. We have had cruisers towed away from scenes. We have sent four officers to the hospital to be checked after exposure to hydrogen cyanide gas from an overcharging battery. The department has been .
We need to have cruisers available to rapidly expand patrol when emergencies arise. Officers routinely use their personal vehicles for training and court due to lack of vehicles. While in a pursuit of a suspect vehicle a radiator hose burst causing the officer to be completely blinded by steam and antifreeze on the windshield while the suspect fled and later crashed.
It is vital to acquire new police cars to provide efficient police service to the community. We have had an incident where an officer was requesting back up with a stolen motor vehicle suspect. The back-up officer had to jump start a cruiser that was out of service for safety reasons to assist him. As Police Officers, we are routinely in harm’s way to protect the public and we willingly accept that risk. However, we are not willing to tolerate unnecessary risk due to faulty, unsafe vehicles. This is the reason why we are respectfully requesting your assistance and support in this matter.
We are asking for your support at the on May 5. We ask that you please consider supporting our request for cruisers at this critical juncture.
Sgt. Jon Gray, President
Wenham Police Benevolent Association