The Early Years
Over 360 years have passed since Newton was founded, then a feeble settlement and later in 1688, a small country town. In the progress of time, the town grew larger and the municipality outgrew the town system of government and became a city in 1873. The city adopted a charter, with such by-laws and ordinances more suitable to the more systematic and thorough management of its affairs and with a swell of municipal pride, Newton established its own police force. Newton historian M.F. Sweetser observed proudly, "that constables may be relied upon in a town to keep the peace, but a self respecting city must have a police force."
The proper conduct of the affairs of the city required a building commonly known as city hall, where those who had the responsibility of conducting all the business of the city could gather. With the establishment of the new city government, a police headquarters was set up in the city hall at the corner of Washington and Cherry Streets.
The Police Headquarters at City Hall, and the First Congregational Church
The first corps of patrolmen consisted of seven men from different parts of the city, and they were as follows: Revillo L. Hinds, Frank C. Hinds, Otis Anderson, John Peck, Thomas Briggs, John Annetts and George Chick, followed later in the year by John Kennedy, who was to become the Judge of the Newton Police Court.
On Saturday afternoon, January 10, 1874, a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen was held at City Hall for the purpose of doing business connected with the organization of the new city government. Mayor Hyde occupied the chair and every member of the Board was present. Some of the business transacted that day, was a petition to appoint Revillo L. Hinds as Chief of Police, with regard to the appointment of a chief of police, the Mayor remarked that for the present at least, such a position could be dispensed with. Since he would be at the City Hall each day, he could receive the reports of the officers and give the necessary orders should any emergency arise; this would result in an annual saving of $1000. The suggestion of the Mayor to dispense for the present with a chief of police was unanimously adopted. "An Ordinance Relating To The Police Department" became effective, and the Newton Police Department became an institution. The ordinance declared that "the Mayor, ex-officio shall be chief executive officer of the Police Department, and shall have entire control of the Department.
On that same day another petition was to be heard by the Board, it had been filed by 100 residents of North Village protesting against the appointment of Revillo Hinds as a police officer. It is interesting to note that from the annual report of Officer R.L. Hinds, that during the past year, 123 arrests were made at this same North Village, far outstripping any other section of the city. This was apparently due in great part to the fact that "tippling shops" did abound there.
Another forcible reminder that Newton was changing to city ways not only in name, but also in deed, was an incident that took place in North Village just before Christmas in 1873. It seems that, "one John Roach, employed at Aetna Mills, while upon a spree fell into the clutches of one Daniel Ragan; in whose company he visited the premises of Catharine Eagan. Here he was plied with liquor and robbed, finding when he came to his senses that his watch and pocket book, containing $8 was missing. The watch and pocket book were found upon Ragan, and both he and the Eagan woman were arrested by Officer Hinds."
It appears that this Eagan woman had something of a history. Several years before the above incident, she was run over by cars of the Boston and Fitchburg Railroad, for which she received $5000.00, "a considerable portion of which had been spent in answering the demands of a debased appetite."
Not all the trouble in Newton took place in North Village, a few weeks after the above incident, on January 12, 1874, a party at the home of one Cornelius Mahoney in Auburndale resulted in a fight, "in which knives, stones, hot water, etc. were freely used, During the melee one of the parties, named James Haney, got his whiskers pulled out, skin and all; Thomas Frieckes got his arm badly scalded, and received three severe gashes in the head." Officer Hinckley arrested the parties.
In Newton Centre the police investigated a report of a prize fight that had allegedly taken place at the Boston Tunnel construction site, and in West Newton the local police made two visits to Michael McGrath's bar room on Derby Street. The first call was made at about seven o'clock, and one barrel of beer and several quarts of spirits were taken. After the officers had left McGrath laid in a fresh stock, and the police learning of the fact visited him again at nine o'clock, and found a barrel of beer and some four quarts of rum and whisky.
On March 14, 1874, the force had expanded to nine officers, and by the 31st of December 1874, the entire force consisted of ten regulars and nine special officers. By the end of 1875 it comprised sixteen regulars and five special officers, with a budget of $14,845.99 and a total of 389 arrests.
One day in December of 1874, the eleven-year-old daughter of Judge Lowell of the United States Courts was on her way home to Chestnut Hill from a skating excursion to Hammond's Pond when she was assaulted by a tramp armed with a knife, wounded, and robbed of her pocket book. The tramp escaped into the adjoining woods. As the news of the assault spread, people turned out by the hundreds. "The police of Newton, under the personal direction of the Mayor, made a skillful disposition of their numbers, surrounding the wood and entire region of the country in every direction." Boston and Brookline police officers assisted in the manhunt. The fugitive was finally captured at the Medway Almshouse that night. the pocketbook and the stolen money together with the knife used were found upon the suspect.
In 1876, Mayor Speare apparently did not want to be directly involved with chasing criminals, to go along with his other duties and administrative tasks; because on Monday evening January 21, 1876, the Mayor in Executive Session of the board of Aldermen nominated, and the Board unanimously confirmed, Revillo L. Hinds as the Chief of Police of the Newton Police Department with a salary of $1500 and a horse and all necessary equipment along with a mandate to visit each of the city's villages at least once a week. The title was changed sometime later to that of City Marshal.
The first City Marshal of Newton earned his position by fearlessness and hard work in bringing into subjection an unlawful element that existed in North Village for several years under the old town government. It is stated, "that the inhabitants of the North Village are engaged in a praiseworthy effort to banish some of the disturbing elements in the shape of "tippling saloons," from amongst them. One dealer has abandoned the business and others have been warned that if they continue the traffic, they will be visited with the full penalties of the law."
Although criminal activity did continue to exist in Newton after that, there was not very much. The most common cause of arrests was drunkenness, which accounted for about one third of all the arrests made. On June 20, 1874, a man named Mills from North Village was arrested and charged with, "cruel and unusual punishment of his child of 12 years of age, by beating him with a stick upon the back and drawing blood." Arrests were also made for non-felonious assault and battery, disturbing the peace, simple larceny and violation of the liquor law, to name the most common. Only a handful of felonies occurred each year.
While walking their beats at night, patrolmen examined public property and often reported defective street lamps, sidewalks and streets. They secured any buildings found open and were active in fire fighting as well, extinguishing minor fires themselves and sounding the fire alarm when warranted.
In the early years the police force also had other duties which are today carried out by other departments of the city. Police officers enforced health regulations, issuing citations for "adulterated" milk or Hamburg, and for "exposing for sale oleomargarine without label." They reported "dangerous trees," licensed and shot dogs. Actually there were more dogs licensed than arrests made each year, and yes, they did shoot horses too.
One of the more burdensome duties given to the Newton Police Department was the distribution of city documents, notices and tax bills to the citizenry of Newton. City Marshal Hinds continually objected to the force's being given these additional tasks and shortly thereafter the police department was relieved of these responsibilities.
They also enforced conduct that is today considered private. Early annual reports list "insane cared for" and citations issued for nonsupport, neglected children, and "neglecting to provide for parent." Prior to the turn of the century, the only "crime" for which Newton women were arrested more often than men was insanity. The police also arrested "stubborn children," "aided lost children found," made arrests for "cruelty to dumb animals" and cared for tramps.
On January 21, 1878, John Ryan, a native of West Newton whose father Edward was the first Irishman in the City of Newton, was appointed a patrol officer. He would retire 35 years later with the rank of Captain of Police. John Ryan was thirty-one years of age when he joined the force, but what makes him interesting, is his prior military record. John Ryan's military record reads like a what's what of American combat experience: Battle of Second Bull Run, 1862; Battle of Antietam, 1862; the Siege of Petersburg, 1864; the Battle of Washita, 1868; the Yellowstone Campaign, 1873; the Black Hills Expedition, 1874; and finally the Battle of the Little Big Horn, 1876.
Among the 7th Cavalrymen fighting at the Little Big Horn, Ryan stands out as the sole member who also took part in so many other classic engagements, campaigns or expeditions. His only rival for such renown would have been George Armstrong Custer himself. Indeed, between his Civil War and Indian War experiences, Ryan took part in more than 40 engagements. Yet, after surviving the perils of so much combat, he moved on to carve out a fascinating career as a high-ranking officer in the Newton Police Department. In 1993, a memorial was dedicated to him. It stands in the park next to the present headquarters building.
On July 19, 1883, City Marshal R.L. Hinds was removed from office by a 5 to 2 vote of the Board of Aldermen on charges brought by the Mayor Ellison.
On August 3, 1883, Mayor Ellison appointed David M. Hammond, at the time, a Police Lieutenant with the Boston Police Department as the new City Marshal. He was 41 years of age, and veteran of the Civil War.
In 1883, communications and transportation presented serious problems to the Newton Police. One important innovation at this time was the installation of a telephone at police headquarters. Prior to this, the only method of communication was face-to-face communication, which at times required transporting oneself across the city by foot. Newton had yet to find it financially feasible to have more than one horse available to its patrol force, and the sergeant of night patrol used that horse almost exclusively. In 1884, the telephone was extended to the home of the City Marshal. Later, telephones were installed in the homes of two Newton patrolmen.
In 1885 there were eighteen sworn officers on the force, the number of arrests was 485, and budget expenditure was $19,408.17.
Certainly one of the most important changes that took place in the first twenty years of the department's existence was the introduction of the civil service examination by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To a degree the use of the civil service examinations diminished
the political aspects of an appointment to the police force. In addition, the examination introduced some standardized qualifications for police officers.
On March 12, 1888, the "Great Blizzard" struck the East Coast and literally buried New York City. For two days the metropolis was completely cut off from the world. Newton was also affected, although in a lesser degree. For days there was no milk supply. Houses were isolated. Five trains were buried in snow east of Worcester. The thermometer fell to 11 below and stayed there for three days. One drift was officially measured at 60 feet in height. It took days for the city to dig out. The police department managed to function during the entire period.
On July 2, 1888, City Marshal Hammond was removed from office by unanimous vote of the Board of Aldermen on Charges brought by Mayor Kimball.
On July 2, 1888, Mayor Kimball appointed Captain Charles F. Richardson of the Newton Police Department City Marshal. He was born in Lowell on August 27, 1844, and came to Newton in 1866, when he joined the fire department. He was appointed a patrolman April 4, 1876, and promoted to sergeant on February 16, 1880. On January 17, 1887, he was promoted to captain. He was a man with experience in police matters, naturally bright and keen and possessed knowledge of the law, having been an assistant court clerk. For his legal abilities Chief Richardson was held in high esteem by court officials throughout the Commonwealth, and was noted for his shrewd sense of having something to say and then saying it. His circle of acquaintances among judges was a great assistance to him in the performance of his official duties. His opinion in all legal matters was often taken in preference to those of the legal fraternity.
Chief Charles F. Richardson
Newton Police Department (1888 – 1898)
The Newton Police Department of the late 1890s was markedly different from that established in 1874, for instance it is often assumed that it was traditional for policemen to wear uniforms. Actually, for over twenty years, the Newton Police Department did not have an official uniform. It was not until the late nineties, under City Marshall Richardson, that the Newton Police would have an official uniform. The force had been increased to over fifty patrolmen. Those patrolmen were uniformed, were appointed on a permanent basis and by means of a civil service examination, and were paid a salary. Transportation and communication had been improved and the distribution of public documents and health affairs had been removed from the department.
Although the telephone was an important innovation for the Newton police and one, which would have greater impact when brought into more widespread use among the public, some improvements initiated in the 1890s were of greater immediate significance.
One of these was the purchase of a patrol wagon in 1890. Four additional patrolmen were required to operate the wagon. This represented the largest expansion in the force since 1875 and signified the importance attached to the use of the patrol wagon. The patrol wagon was used extensively until the introduction of the automobile in the twentieth century. So useful was the wagon that it was in service almost too frequently, making it unavailable for many of the medical emergencies that arose.
In 1897, a small ambulance was purchased for such emergencies. Also in 1897, a prison van was purchased to carry prisoners to the jail in East Cambridge. Another important improvement was the installation in 1890, of the police signal system.
About one-third of the arrests in these early years were for drunkenness, and violent crimes were uncommon; the first officer assigned to Waban in 1890 was instructed to "be alert for tramps and for thieves raiding gardens." Adultery, bastardy, fornication, lewd and lascivious cohabitation were among the "victimless" crimes which Newtonites committed during the "gay nineties" era.
In 1895 the Newton Police Department had increased to 46 sworn officers, the number of arrests was 993, and the budget expenditure was $52,226.17. After the years of initial growth, the department began to adjust to the realities of a police force entering the twentieth century. Symbolic of this adjustment was a change in the title of the head officer of the department. In 1898, a few months before his death, City Marshall Richardson's official title was changed to that of the "Chief of Police." The change in title was little more than that, but it did reflect a desire to conform to the standard title then in vogue in most American departments.
The Middle Years
Chief Michael T. HughesNewton Chief of Police
(1931 - 1944)
Michael T. Hughes, a veteran of twenty four years on the force, was appointed Chief of Police on September 8, 1930, and immediately set about to improve the delivery of public safety services to the citizens of Newton. On December 4, 1931, the new Newton Police Headquarters building and the new District Court building were simultaneously opened in West Newton. The two buildings were quite similar in design and size. They were constructed at a cost of $115,000 each and furnishings for each cost about $5000. They replaced the antiquated, unsightly wooden building built a couple of generations prior, to be used as a school house, and was used as a combined police headquarters and court house
New Police Headquarters c. 1930
One of the darkest days in the history of the Newton Police Department took place during Chief Hughes' administration on August 21, 1937. Two of Newton's officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Officer Henry Bell and Officer Lawrence Murphy were shot and fatally wounded by Edward Simpson, a notorious criminal and jail breaker.While on patrol the attention of Officers Whelan and Bell was drawn to a gray sedan that answered the description of a "getaway car" used in a robbery recently. The vehicle was stopped on Watertown Street near the intersection of Capital Street. After questioning the occupants their suspicion was aroused, and while Bell stood by the car, his partner took the cruising car to the nearest patrol call box to check with headquarters on the registration. At this same time Officer Murphy called in to the station and was sent to the scene on his motorcycle. Meanwhile, the female operator of the vehicle-diverted Bell's attention just long enough for Simpson to put a gun in his back and order Bell to drive the car. As they drove away Officer Murphy overtook the car and forced it to stop. As Murphy dismounted from his motorcycle the gangster opened fire on Murphy and he fell to the ground. Simpson then turned his gun on Bell and fired two rounds into his right side, and fled. Although seriously wounded, Officer Murphy rose to his knees and fired at the fleeing Simpson hitting him at least once. Simpson was captured a week later in an apartment in Dorchester in a raid led by Chief Hughes.Out of this tragedy came another major milestone in the history of the Newton Police Department. Declaring that there was a serious defect in the protection of Newton policemen due to the lack of two-way radios in the police cars, because there was no practical way to communicate with headquarters from the cruising car Patrolman Bell was left alone beside the gunman's vehicle, while his partner, Patrolman Whelan found it necessary to go to a police call box to notify headquarters. The Board of Aldermen approved the funds for the adoption of a two-way radio communication system to be installed in the police cars stating, "it should not be necessary for an officer to leave the scene to talk to headquarters."During World War II, the police force found itself undermanned and turned to citizen volunteers to provide general assistance. The Newton Auxiliary Police was formed and training was provided in police work to civilian volunteers to assist the regular members of the force when a larger number of men than the department could possibly provide was necessary for special assignments. This practice is still continued today, during the running of the Boston Marathon and other events throughout the year.Chief Hughes died in office on September 20, 1944, and on that day Captain Nicholas Veduccio was appointed acting Chief of Police. Nicholas Veduccio joined the force on January 1, 1915; he was promoted to sergeant on August 7, 1925, to lieutenant on September 24, 1930, to captain on September 5, 1933. While a captain, in 1937, he was directly involved in the arrest of Edward Simpson, the man who murdered Officers Murphy and Bell. He was appointed Chief of Police on June 4, 1945. He retired January 1, 1948, with 33 years of service. He was replaced by Captain William P. Mahoney.
Chief William Mahoney was appointed a police officer in Newton on January 1,1911, promoted to sergeant on May 5, 1922, to lieutenant on February 14, 1934, to captain on December 1, 1945, and was appointed acting chief on January 3, 1948. Chief Mahoney suffered a heart attack and died in office on August 13, 1948, at the age of 60, with a total of 37 years service.
The Post War
The post-war changes had a profound effect on police work as far as community service was concerned. During these years transportation, communication, science, and many other aspects of urban life in America had undergone radical changes with profound effects upon our society. These changes in turn had their impact on police work. During this decade, the United States population grew by 18 per cent. Families were larger and moving to suburban areas. People looked for advantages for family living such as religious and medical institutions, recreation and schools for their children. Many found what they wanted here in Newton, which came to be known as the Garden City. As the city grew, entire new sections of the city were developed. This growth brought a natural increase in the number of housing units by 28 per cent and this growth brought a natural increase in the number of lawless persons, in the number of crimes, and in the number of officers needed to keep the peace.
Another by-product of this post war social progress, was the reduction of the workweek and the police were very interested in this progress. At that time, police officers were entitled to one day of rest every six days. They were looking to equate themselves with the rest of the labor pool as far as the five-day workweek was concerned. At this same time, one major need of police service was the protection of children walking to and from school. As more children were born, or were moved into the city for its schools, the need became greater.
Chief Philip PurcellNewton Police Department
(1948 – 1968)
In September of 1948, the recently appointed Chief of Police, Philip Purcell devised a plan that could solve both of the above problems. The plan was to hire a group of women, preferably mothers of school-age children to supervise school crossings. They would have limited powers under Chapter 90 of M.G.L. They would be trained to direct traffic and to cross children. They would be uniformed in a modified police uniform. Their purpose was to relieve many police officers for other police work. At first there was great resistance to such an idea by members of the law enforcement community. Notwithstanding these objections, Chief Purcell submitted his plan to Mayor Lockwood for the appointment of 20 women to be known as the Newton Auxiliary School Patrol. The mayor accepted the idea and also by freeing up police officers, the department now had enough coverage to implement the five-day workweek, which was approved at the same time.
|The original 20 are:
Mrs. Thelma H. Adkins of Auburndale
Mrs. Alice J. Akerman
Mrs. Valerie C. Boynton
Mrs. Margaret M. Hart
Mrs. Virginia S. King
Mrs. Eleanor T. Smith and Mrs. Rose A. Whalen all of Newton
Mrs. Caroline M. Blake
Mrs. Helen D, Carroll
Mrs. Theresa B. DeStefano
Mrs. Margaret L. Durbano
Mrs. Dorothy C, Fournier
Mrs. Ann Maxcey
Mrs. Clara E. Mitchell and
Mrs. Wada Smith, all of West Newton
Mrs. Alberta S. Morrison of Newton Lower Falls
Mrs. Mona M. Nyman of Newtonville
Mrs. Mary F. Williams and
Mrs. Bertha H. Seymour, both of Waban
and Mrs. Katherine DiRusso of Newton Highlands.
Newton Auxiliary School Patrol
On May 10, 1954, Officer Frederick Bell while escorting an ambulance to the hospital was involved in a collision with a lumber truck at the corner of Watertown and Walnut streets. He was thrown from the cruiser, but was not believed to be seriously injured. On September 5, 1954, Officer Bell was rushed to the hospital and died shortly after arrival from unexplained circumstances. A post-mortem examination showed that his death resulted from head injuries suffered in the cruiser accident in May. He was the fourth Newton officer to die in the line of duty. Frederick Bell was the brother of Officer Henry Bell who was shot to death in the line of duty in 1937.
Officer Frederick BellKilled in the line of duty
September 5, 1954
Chief Philip Purcell would make many more major innovations aimed at improving, and modernizing the work of the department during his twenty years as head of the force. He was the first Chief of the Newton Police Department to be elected to the office of President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Purcell would die in office in 1968.
The Progressive Years
The Newton Police Department in 1968, had 219 sworn officers, 70 crossing guards, cadets, interns and civilian clerks totaling 318 employees, a far cry from City Marshal Hinds and his six original officers.
On July 2, 1968, Mayor Monte G. Basbas appointed William F. Quinn as Chief of Police, at that time the youngest police chief of any major New England police department. The Newton Police Department was about to make a quantum leap into the world of modern day policing. Chief Quinn, who was born in Allston, entered police service in Newton on November 23, 1952.
Upon assuming command of the department, Chief Quinn instituted a number of innovations, including: the installation of the original 911 emergency telephone system, the hiring of women police officers for regular patrol duty, computerizing the records system. He also implemented the current ambulance system, which provided the first 24-hour paramedic service in the Commonwealth.
Chief William F. Quinn
Newton Chief of Police
(1968 – 1989)
Social issues during the late '60s and early '70s had a profound effect upon the Newton Police Department, with student protests on college campuses and demonstrations against the war in Vietnam; the sixties were to bring a new type of policing into focus. Officers had to be trained and ready for riot duty and crowd control. Chief Quinn directed Captain Richard Dully to form and train a Tactical Patrol Force to be available in case of civil disorders in Newton. A force of 60 officers including a canine unit, was trained and equipped. The Tactical Patrol Force was used not only in Newton, but was dispatched to Cambridge over 25 times during the Harvard riots. It was during these incidents, which involved trying to coordinate officers from several different police departments, that it became apparent that a major communication problem existed. Each police department from a separate jurisdiction had radios that were not compatible with each other.Chief Quinn, through the sponsorship of the Greater Boston Police Council, which he helped create, and was Chairman of, instituted the Boston Area Police Emergency Radio Network (BAPERN). This radio network was the first in the nation that enabled different law enforcement units to communicate with each other on a compatible frequency.During these same years of campus unrest, large numbers of Newton Police Officers were attending colleges and universities pursuing degrees in Criminal Justice, Public Administration and other related fields. This was a result of the federal Law Enforcement Assistance Act, which provided funds for tuition costs.On March 23, 1975, the department appointed twelve female police officers raising its total complement to a lofty 237 sworn police officers. This was the first large group of female officers ever to be hired for regular street duty. This group of law enforcement pioneers has performed their duties in a manner that they can be proud of.Almost ninety years after the "Great Blizzard" of 1888, the "Blizzard of 1978' slammed into New England on February 4th and brought the city to a standstill. Hundreds of vehicles and their occupants were stranded on Route 128. People were marooned in their homes without food or fuel. The Newton Police would have to respond to all of these emergencies. All types of rescue vehicles were to be put to use. Newton police officers could be seen operating 4-wheel drive vehicles and snowmobiles to answer calls for service. They
were even using toboggans to take sick and injured citizens to the hospital. For two weeks, the police worked long and hard to bring the city back to normal.On the evening of December 3, 1978, Sergeant James Carter, while making a routine traffic stop on the eastbound lane of Rt. 9 near Dudley Rd., was struck and killed by three youths operating a stolen car. They were fleeing from the scene of a robbery in Auburndale. They were arrested in South Boston the next day. Sergeant Carter was the fifth officer to be killed in the line of duty.
Sergeant James Carter
Killed in the line of duty
December 3, 1978
In 1980, Chief Quinn would follow in Chief Purcell's footsteps and become President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).On July 29, 1989, by complying with over 900 standards of compliance set by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., The Newton Police Department became the first nationally accredited city police department in New England.
Under Chief Quinn's twenty five year stewardship, the Newton Police Department underwent so many changes and accomplishments, that lack of space allows for only some of the major innovations to be mentioned. Chief Quinn retired in 1992 after completing forty years of service to his adopted city.
In 1982 the voters of Massachusetts passed Proposition 2-1/2. This would have a significant impact on the department. One section of Proposition 2-1/2 did away with binding arbitration for police unions, but what was more critical was that it limited the amount of revenue a city could raise by taxation. This in turn would cause the police budget to either remain at level funding or in fact be reduced. The natural consequence was a reduction in personnel. The force began to shrink, first to 201 officers, then in 1991 to 186 officers, in 1992 down to 177 and finally to the present complement of 173 sworn officers.
Chief of Police Frank R. Gorgone
Newton Police 1992 - 2002
Captain Frank R. Gorgone was appointed Chief of Police by Mayor Theodore D. Mann on September 5, 1992. Upon his appointment, Chief Gorgone had inherited a police force that had been scaled down 27% since 1975. The scarcity of economic resources, and reduction in personnel created a climate within which the department was forced to reevaluate its priorities of service and explore alternative means of providing it. In order to improve the city's police service to the community, Chief Gorgone decided to reinforce the supervisory and middle management capabilities and deploy patrol officers based on service demand. In so doing, he was able to continue such important programs as "DARE" and establish new ones, such as the "Newton Domestic Violence Program," which is considered a model for the rest of the state. Officers were trained in the use of video equipment and they produced an award-winning program on domestic violence entitled, "You’re Not Alone."
At a time when there was rapidly growing recognition of the interdependence, which exists among all the public safety agencies, there was also an increased awareness of the benefits to be derived from pooling resources to solve problems that transcend the departmental boundaries. With the arrival of the state mandated Enhanced 911 system, Chief Gorgone recognized this fact and became the standard bearer in the plan to combine the dispatching functions of the police and fire into one centralized dispatch center. The result was the ultra modern Newton Emergency Telecommunication Center located in the recently renovated police headquarters building. The Emergency Telecommunication Center not only has the capability to dispatch all public safety units, but with its powerful IBM R/SC/6000 computer it is capable of managing all the records and files of both the police and fire departments. It is also connected to a fiber optic backbone that connects with city hall, all fire stations, and the rest of the city network, providing instant communication between the different departments.
As the department settles into its renovated quarters, new ways of providing public safety services through community policing.
The Community Policing Unit is an important component of the Newton Police Department’s philosophy of maintaining strong partnerships with all of our eighty thousand neighbors. The Community Policing Officers dedicate themselves to the on-going responsibility of creating and supporting community partnerships in the thirteen villages that make up the City of Newton. The community partnerships combine the resources of the police, local government, businesses, schools and local volunteers to reduce neighborhood crime, and solve neighborhood problems.
The Community Policing Officers are all members of the Patrol Bureau and provide the public safety services required of all police officers when not engaged in scheduled community activities.
J.J. O’Brien is a 33-year veteran of the Newton Police Department. Starting as a patrol officer in 1973, he worked his way up the ranks by displaying solid analytical and problem solving skills, an outstanding work ethic, and a deep commitment to the Newton community. As a Captain for 16 years from 1986-2003, J.J. served as Traffic Commander, Accreditation Manager, Night Patrol Commander, Patrol Commander, and Community Policing Unit Commander. Throughout his tenure with the Department, J.J. O’Brien has been a team builder, an effective manager, and his intimate knowledge of the City of Newton and the members of the Newton Police Department make him a great choice for Chief.
Chief O’Brien is inheriting a Department that is largely responsible for Newton being the Safest City in America. Besides the lofty expectations, Chief O’Brien and the NPD face the challenges of modern man-made and natural threats to our security. Our planning and preparedness for emergencies may be the single most important task our Department will carry out in the foreseeable future. The Newton Police Department is as well equipped and well trained as any other Police Department in the Commonwealth, and I know that J.J. O’Brien will continue the Department on its road to excellence. It is my pleasure to introduce the next Chief of Police for the City of Newton, John J. O’Brien.
The Newton Police Department will be faced with a wide range of challenges and opportunities over the next decade, and its management team will be called upon to determine how to address them. Tolerance to change will be one of the more valuable attributes for police managers. Change does not occur overnight. As we have seen in the preceding pages, each significant event in the history of the Newton Police Department was shaped by smaller events, whose impact shaped the future like waves relentlessly shaping the shoreline.
We try to plan for the future, knowing it will be different, yet we persist in meeting uncertainty with denial. Rather than ask questions, we take it for granted that certain things just can't or won't happen. Who would have believed, ten years ago, that law enforcement funding would consistently shrink through the '90s?
As we approach the millennium, imagine the environment facing a police agency in the next ten years: Funding will be at or below current levels; no increases in personnel; as police agencies shrink, the demand for services will continue to grow. A markedly different law enforcement entity will emerge from that which exists today. How will those changes occur? Which trends will push public safety into untested waters? What municipal police services and financial support considerations will exist by 2010?
The future of the Newton Police Department is neither something, which will just happen nor something that will be imposed upon it by an inevitable destiny. That future will be shaped to an important degree by the decisions we are making today.