I’m usually a pretty humorous guy but what I heard last night at the selectman’s meeting gave me pause. Officer Pilone wanted the BoS to consider getting each of our officers a military assault rifle. And if that’s not enough he wanted to requisition a HUMMER. What’s next, an Egremont SWAT team? What on earth are we preparing for? We have gone from mace to tasers; now these guys want full scale assault equipment. Officer Pilone, I know you want to bring us into the 21st. century; but we more closely resemble Mayberry than Miami Dade, perhaps you should consider moving on to a big city. I was concerned when they asked for the tasers; now I’m downright afraid. I’m sorry, but we really have to ask ourselves if we are going too far. Maybe we should get each of the officers a set of ghillies as well. I don’t mind when individuals gear up for the end of world scenario; but do we as a town have to become survivalists? What on earth is happening to Egremont?
Another thing that concerned me is that Officer Carlson had an incident where he had to use mace to subdue a man Right out in front of Mom’s. He said it took him 11 minutes to wrestle the man into submission. He used the situation as a shameless plug for tasers. I’m sure he felt the use of force was necessary and I would never question his judgment; but now I have to wonder if this will turn into another lawsuit against the town. When was the last time you remember any of our officers using mace? Say what you will about Chief Bucknell but she knew how to use her head to subdue criminals. I felt safe when Reena was in the Chief’s seat; I don’t feel safe now. I don’t know about you, but have I no confidence in our present police force. Reena had her finger on the pulse of the townspeople; sometimes literally. The new force has their finger on the trigger.
Speaking of the Chief, after spending $10,000.00 on the investigation stemming from officer Pilone’s litany of accusations against the Chief; we now have to cough up God knows how much more to actually investigate the allegations. Two weeks ago at the BoS meeting I asked what was going on with the investigation of the allegations against the Chief. Chairman Turner told me that there was no investigation and there were no allegations. I’m sorry; I was there. I also listened to the recording of that meeting. Officer Pilone rattled off over a dozen allegations and most of them were based on his feelings and perceptions. Charlie Flynn said he takes these charges seriously and that they warrant investigation. I’ve listened to Officer Pilone’s side of the story, but we haven’t been allowed to hear Chief Bucknell’s side. I guess we'll have to wait until the BoS releases the report to the public. Meanwhile the Chief is sequestered until her trial.
The Chief told me that she would return to duty in a heartbeat if she were asked. She said it would be back to business as usual and she would put aside any hard feelings she may have against her accusers. I know it wouldn’t be easy but I believe she has the character to do it. She has always been the consummate professional. Right now she is afraid to step foot into town. The way she was treated last time she was here she is afraid she’ll be arrested. How can a couple of Johnny com lately big city police officers come in and run our Chief out of town while they’re still on probation. What is happening in this town? Everything is being turned upside down and we need to get it right. Hopefully we’ll start at the next town meeting.