Safety improvements will be coming to Bay and Chebacco roads thanks to the work of a high school intern at the .
Zach Bird, a senior at , is the department’s second intern in recent years. Bird, who participated in last year’s , is interested in a career in law enforcement and reached out to Chief Russell Stevens about the possibility of an internship with the department.
After meeting with school officials and Bird’s parents, Bird came on board as an intern.
Stevens says he holds high standards for interns – he expected Bird to dress professionally in a shirt and tie each day, keep a daily journal and write a reflection paper at the end.
Bird wrapped up the internship last Friday and said his work with the department confirms his interest in law enforcement – specifically as a small town police officer.
“I’m pretty sure I want to work in a small town like Hamilton,” Bird said in an interview at the police station last week. “I don’t want to be a badge number; I want to know the people I’m helping.”
Bird said the internship was “eye-opening,” and said his experience – about two hours a day afterschool since January – defies the idea that “nothing ever happens” in Hamilton.
“What we try to do is give him a little bit of everything,” Stevens said, noting he went on a ride-along on all three patrol shifts, worked at Ipswich District Court for a week, worked in the local probation office and got to know the department’s record-keeping system.
In addition to those experiences, Bird assembled two reports outlining improvements that could be made to two main roads in Hamilton.
On Chebacco Road, there is a spot where a trail, part of the trail network, passes under the road. Along the side of the road on the overpass were rocks and industrial cable – but the cable is mostly gone, some boulders have fallen off the side of the overpass and other have sunk into the ground.
“If someone had an accident there they would go right off the road,” Bird said.
Bird researched guardrail requirements and laws and took measurements and pictures, coming up with a plan to install the proper safety barriers along the side of the road. He made a presentation about the existing dangers – and needed improvements – to Town Manager Michael Lombardo and Director John Tomasz.
“I was a little nervous for the (presentation),” Bird said. “I made it clear it is a liability issue.”
The improvements outlined by Bird will be installed this summer, said Hamilton Police Lt. Scott Janes, who directly supervised Bird during his internship.
The second roadway safety project was along Bay Road, where Bird talked to engineers and studied the requirements for creating a school zone in front of both the Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and campus and .
“We completed the paperwork and Zack filled out the permit,” Janes said.
If accepted, it would create a school zone that would lower the speed limit to 20 miles per hour during school hours or when children are present.
Two years ago, Regional senior Vitto Mammola also had a spring internship at the police department.
Stevens said he encourages high school seniors with a serious interest in law enforcement to take part in an internship with the police department.
“I’m a firm believer in internships,” Stevens said.
Bird, 18, is will head off to Westfield State College this fall, where he plans to major in criminal justice. And he’s already heard about what is offered there, as Hamilton Police Officer Michael Wetson went there.