Welcome to the official Amherst Police Department blog!

We hope to use this site as a way to share information with, and receive information from, our community members in the town of Amherst. If one of our posts is of interest to you, please add a comment. You can also visit our website at www.amherstpd.org for other valuable information.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Community Shred Event





 
The Amherst TRIAD/ “Seniors and Law Enforcement Together” (SALT) Council, in partnership with the Amherst Police Department, Office of District Attorney David E. Sullivan, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office, Valley Green Shredding and PeoplesBank are sponsoring a “Community Shred Event” to be held on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M., IN THE PARKING LOT of PEOPLESBANK, 56 AMITY STREET, AMHERST, MA. This three (3) hour event will be open to all Hampshire County community members.  Participation is limited to residential shredding only and not open to businesses.
 
Consumer fraud and identity theft are on the rise.  As older adults are often the targeted victims of identity theft, the partners in this project want to raise awareness and promote prevention. We hope that the “Community Shred Event” will provide the community with a responsible way to dispose of sensitive documents.  You are welcome to bring as many boxes of documents as you would like. Documents such as old bills, credit card information, cancelled checks or any materials that may have your identifying information can be shredded. All documents will be shredded on site.
 
Valley Green Shredding of Westfield, MA is donating their services.  They are a document destruction company solely dedicated to on-site paper shredding, the most secure, convenient and cost-effective method for destroying and recycling confidential documents and materials. 
 
Please join us in putting a dent in identify theft!  For further information you can contact Chris Geffin at the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, 413-586-9225 or Captain Jennifer Gundersen at the Amherst Police Department 413-259-3012.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Canine Dash Receives a Vest from Vested Interest in K9s

The Amherst Police Department’s K9 Dash has received a bullet/stab resistant vest thanks to a nonprofit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. The charity hosted a motorcycle ride August 25, 2013, “Hog Wild for K9s”, which raised over $15,000.00 to be awarded to Massachusetts K9’s.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 1,700 protective vests, in 49 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 1.6 million dollars. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $1,050. Each vest has a value between $1,795 – $2,234, and a five-year warranty and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There are an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination via the website www.vik9s.org or mailed to Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Click it or Ticket Campaign May 2016


Amherst Police Department will be teaming up with State Police and local police departments statewide to promote seat belt usage through increased traffic enforcement.  Amherst will be taking part in the national Click It or Ticket (CIOT) seat belt enforcement mobilization, which is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD).  
 
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2013, there were 21,132 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the United States.  Forty-nine percent of the people killed (10,458) were unbelted.  “The number of lives lost is needless,” said Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone.  “Amherst is focusing our enforcement efforts on safety belts to increase usage and save lives. In fiscal year 2014, eighty persons were issued citations for failing to wear their seatbelt, that number is just way too high.”

NHTSA reports that the national seat belt usage rate is 87%.  Massachusetts is lagging behind at 76.6%.  During the five-year period from 2009 to 2013, Massachusetts had a lower rate of restraint use among fatally-injured passenger vehicle occupants than the rest of the nation. 
 
“Officers will be out issuing citations to anyone traveling without a buckled seat belt or transporting unrestrained children.  Your seat belt is your best defense against impaired, distracted, and aggressive drivers as well as against your own mistakes,” said Chief Livingstone.
 
For more information contact Captain Jennifer Gundersen at  413-259-3012 or visit www.mass.gov/highwaysafety.  

 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Amherst Police Awarded Accreditation


Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is please to announce that on May 5, 2016, the Amherst Police Department was awarded state accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.  On February 2, 3 and 4, 2016, the Police Department was subject to an extensive peer review by the Commission’s assessment team.  While here and as part of the verification process, assessors examined the department’s policies, procedures, operations, staffing, equipment and facility maintenance to demonstrate adherence to the Accreditation Commission’s strict, best practice standards.  The Amherst Police Department successfully passed all 257 mandatory standards and exceeded the required optional standards by 71%.

 

In order to maintain state accreditation, which recognizes law enforcement professional excellence, the assessment team must verify, every three years, that the Amherst Police Department meets the Commission’s standards.  In 2001, the Amherst Police Department became the second police department in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be awarded accreditation status, and was successfully reaccredited in 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2013.

 

Being recognized as an accredited agency requires commitment and continued professionalism from all members of the Amherst Police Department and further confirms a dedication on their part to provide the highest degree of police service to this community.  Questions regarding the accreditation process can be forwarded to Lieutenant William Menard at 413-259-3167 or via email at menardw@amherstma.gov.
 
Photo receiving the award today, May 5, 2016:  left to right, Lt. Bill Menard, Chief Scott Livingstone and Sgt. Gabriel Ting

 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Distracted Driving Enforcement this Month


 

The Amherst Police Department Joins Statewide Distracted Driving Effort to Increase Public Safety

 
April 4, 2016

The Amherst Police Department will partner with the 202 eligible local Massachusetts law enforcement agencies and the Massachusetts State Police in the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. mobilization to crack down on motorists who text while driving.  The campaign, which combines traditional and innovative enforcement strategies, is funded by a federal grant administered through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD) from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The mobilization begins on April 8, 2016 and continues through April 29, 2016. 

“Driving and texting is illegal and irresponsible.  People who break our state’s texting law will be stopped and fined.  Distracted driving is a major problem in Massachusetts, and we’re trying to keep the public safe by fining violators.  If you drive and text, you will pay,” said Chief Scott P. Livingstone. 

Texting while driving was outlawed in Massachusetts effective September 30, 2010.  Adult drivers who write, send, or read electronic messages or browse the Internet while driving face a $100 fine for a first offense – even if the vehicle is stopped in traffic.  Juvenile operators are entirely prohibited from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving, including to make phone calls.  The fine for a juvenile first offense is $100 and includes a 60 day license suspension and required completion of a driver attitudinal course. 

These costly violations underscore the danger inherent in the use of electronic devices while driving.  In 2014, across the United States, 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

A 2013 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that any activity that diverts a driver’s eyes from the road for two seconds or more, such as texting or otherwise manipulating a mobile device, increases crash risk by a factor of three.  This level of impairment is similar to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08. 

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving.  It creates the proverbial ‘perfect storm’ for a crash, and no one has the right to put another person’s life at risk like that,” said Chief Livingstone.


“It’s not that complicated: if you text and drive, we will see you, pull you over, and fine you.  We’re serious about enforcing texting laws,” said Chief Livingstone.

 If you have questions concerning this mobilization please contact Sergeant Todd Lang at 413-259-3000 or via email at langt@amherstma.gov. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ofc. Nick Chandler receives DRE Certification

The Amherst Police Department welcomes back from training Officer Nick Chandler. Ofc. Chandler is among a very small number of police officers that successfully graduate from the rigorous training program for Drug Recognition Officer. DRE training is necessary to combat OUI-Drugs, a crime that kills each day. The DRE training, funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, included 80 class room hours, 12 rigorous narcotic evaluations and a comprehensive written exam. The trainings were held both in Franklin, Massachusetts and Tempe, Arizona. Ofc. Chander, who is also a member of the Crime Scene Unit, can use his DRE skills immediately. Chandler has been formally recognized by both the Amherst Police Department and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for his enforcement of the OUI laws. Well done Nick Chandler!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Credit Report Assistance at Amherst Senior Center



March 22, 2016
 
Chief of Police Scott P. Livingstone is pleased to announce an event to assist our senior community with accessing their free credit report online.

It is important that community members, including our senior community, review their credit report at least annually to ensure that they have not been a victim of identity theft.  Many seniors neglect to obtain their credit report as they find the process difficult or confusing.  In accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), individuals may request and obtain a free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

On Tuesday, March 29, 2016 the Amherst S.A.L.T. Council (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) in partnership with the Amherst Senior Center and the Amherst Police Department will be hosting an event to assist seniors with running their credit reports online.  Using the secure computers and internet connection in the Amherst Senior Center, Amherst Police will assist and guide seniors with accessing the online database to print out a current copy of their credit report.  The event will be held in the Amherst Senior Center computer room from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. 

This event is free and pre-registration is not required. If you need more information, please contact Captain Jennifer Gundersen at 413-259-3012 or gundersenj@amherstma.gov.

 

 

 

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 5 Summary


 
AMHERST, Mass. – The primary goal for March 5 to provide a safe environment free from any large-scale disturbances has been accomplished successfully. The Town of Amherst will maintain vigilance tonight to ensure the safety of the community. Police officers staged in various locations within the community reported cooperation, respect and positive communication with the community members and students.

 Extensive planning, preparation and collaboration with community stakeholders, including students, was key to the success of the day, said Amherst temporary Town Manager Pete Hechenbleikner. He credited the Amherst and UMass Police, Amherst Fire Department, university administration, students, law enforcement mutual aid partners, downtown bar owners, retail establishments and property owners for their cooperation and hard work. “This was a total team effort and I thank everyone who was involved.”

Amherst Police reported seven arrests and 10 summonses, and the University of Massachusetts Police reported no arrests.

At a free afternoon concert for UMass students at the Mullins Center, Amherst Fire and UMass Emergency Medical Services treated three persons at the concert and one was transported to Cooley Dickinson Hospital to be treated for intoxication. Three other intoxicated individuals were responded to by the Amherst Fire Department.

 Last year, 19 students were treated at the Mullins Center, and the Amherst and UMass Police reported a total of six arrests.

 Following the Mullins Center concert that drew 3,200, Enku Gelaye, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life, said this year’s’ event built on the lessons learned in 2015.

 “We are continuing down the road to changing the culture around this weekend,” said Gelaye. “All of our partners and our students are to be congratulated for making today a safe and enjoyable event.”

 She also credited months of extensive planning with Town of Amherst officials, including the police and fire departments, for creating an atmosphere of respect and cooperation among students, residents and law enforcement personnel.

 "Making our community a safe place is always our ultimate goal and I’m grateful to everyone who contributed to today’s success," said Gelaye.

 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Media Advisory #2


AMHERST, Mass. – The Town of Amherst, the Amherst Police Department and their regional law enforcement partners report that the community is safe and the police have received cooperation, while reporting some increased activity throughout town.
There are no reports of injuries or property damage.  The Amherst Police have placed four persons into custody, three for liquor law violations and one for disorderly conduct. Six others are being summonsed to court for liquor law violations.

Since 11 a.m., several gatherings have been reported within the Town of Amherst, including at the Sunset Avenue area and lower Main Street area. Two reported fights, one on Main Street and one on Salem Place, were gone on police arrival. 

The Amherst Fire Department reports no increase in calls for service as compared to a normal winter Saturday.
 
The objective by the Town of Amherst, its police department and regional partners remain to ensure the safety of the community, safety of first responders and protection of private property. The Amherst Police Department continues to monitor groups of pedestrians that are walking throughout the community.

Downtown Amherst shops and restaurants are open for business and there have been no calls for service to the downtown area.
At UMass Amherst, approximately 3,200 students are in the Mullins Center, where the second act finished at 1:15 p.m. The main act to under way around 2:20 p.m.

The Amherst Fire Department triage unit, in conjunction with UMass Emergency Medical Services, has had two patient contacts at the Mullins Center, including one who was transported by AFD to Cooley Dickinson Hospital for intoxication. Amherst Fire Department reports another transport from a UMass residence hall for intoxication.

Contact: David Ziomek, Assistant Town Manager, Town of Amherst ziomekd@amherstma.gov
The next media update will be at 5 p.m. at the Amherst Town Hall, 2nd Floor Town Room, 4 Boltwood Walk, Amherst.

March 5 Media Advisory #1


*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***


 

March 5, 2016

Media Briefing 11 a.m.

  

AMHERST, Mass. - The Amherst Police Department, with their regional law enforcement partners, reports that the community is safe and the police have received cooperation from persons travelling throughout town. Downtown businesses are open and normal foot traffic has been reported.

 
Officers and apartment complex security are on duty in the North Amherst neighborhoods and officers are interacting proactively with students and town residents.

 
The Town of Amherst, its Police Department and regional partners are committed to ensuring the safety of the community, safety of first responders and protection of private property. There have been minimal calls for service. There are no reported areas of traffic congestion and buses are running normally.

 
UMass Amherst officials report no issues as of 10:30 a.m. Small groups of students have been entering the Mullins Center since the doors opened at 10. The concert is scheduled to begin at 11.

 


Contact:         David Ziomek, Assistant Town Manager, Town of Amherst ziomekd@amherstma.gov

 

The next media advisory will be released at 2:00 p.m.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Arrest for counterfeit $100 bills


On February 28, 2016, the Amherst Police Department responded to the CVS Pharmacy on University Drive for the report of a man trying to pass a counterfeit $100 bill. The Amherst Police had knowledge that there had been several counterfeit bills passed in the Western Massachusetts area in the last several weeks. Responding Officers were notified that he man had fled the store and was leaving the area in the company of another man. Officers located the vehicle in which the suspects had fled bordering the Amherst College property. The suspect were eventually located, identified and placed under arrest:

Justin A. Lewis, Age 21

165 Howard Avenue #2L

Brooklyn, NY  11233

Charge:                        Uttering a Counterfeit Note

 
Abdoulaye Sanogo, Age 19

113 Sutphin Boulevard #2F

Jamaica, NY  11435

Charge:                        Uttering a Counterfeit Note

The ensuing investigation revealed that the suspects have been involved with other incidents in various towns in the region. Amherst Police investigators will be coordinating with those and Federal agencies as part of this ongoing investigation.

Both men were held without bail at the Hampshire County House of Corrections. They are expected to be arraigned this morning at the Eastern Hampshire District Court.