Webster’s new Police Chief, Michael Shaw has been in his new position for 7 months and is working hard with his department to keep the residents of Webster safe. In his bi-annual report to the Selectmen, Chief Shaw says making Webster safer is his number one long-term goal. The first step in realizing this goal was to fully staff the department. Over the past 24 months, the Police Department has been operating at about a 20% shortfall in staff due to retirements, attrition and unfortunately the untimely passing of two beloved Police Officers—Detective Cindy Johnson and Officer Michael Lee. In the past two months, two new officers transferred into the department from the Framingham Police Department. Officers Hurton and Mroczek are great assets to our community and we hope they serve the people of Webster proudly for a very long time.
The Department also has a new officer in training, Francesca Cedeno, ready to start when she finishes the Police Academy later his summer. Back in January, with the promotion of Michael Shaw to Chief of Police, we also saw the promotion of Tobby Wheeler to Deputy Chief, and Gordon Wentworth to Lieutenant. With these recent new hires we see Officer Desantis with a promotion to Sergeant along with Officer Joe Reed to Detective. We welcome all the newcomers and those in new seats at the Police Department—we know you will continue to serve us well.
The last 6 months have been busy ones for Chief Shaw and the Department. With the increased staff, we are seeing notable increases in citations and arrests in Webster. Notably, there were 618 citations issued in the first six months of 2018. During that same length of time in 2019, 1,516 citations were issued. Not only do these citations make our community safer to drive, but many of these citations lead to further action by the police department. For instance, with some steadfast investigative work, the Department was able to seize a Kilo of cocaine and remove it from the streets—which all started from a minor traffic violation. There have been several notable arrests recently including two narcotic arrests, an arrest in a stabbing incident and most notably the arrest of the man who abducted a 12 year old girl from the May Street Park. Chief Shaw described the hard work that goes into these cases as “Some of the finest police work I have seen in my career. I have said it for years, the officers of this department are the finest in the area, and I am fortunate to be their leader. I can never say thank you enough to all of the men and women of the PD for the hard work they do.”
Our Police Department does more than just fight crime, they also save lives. On the Fourth of July, Sergeant Patrick Perry, with the assistance of others, heard a call for a distressed swimmer in the lake and promptly acquired a boat and was able to locate the distressed swimmer. Sergeant Perry jumped in the water and saved the man moments before he would have drowned. Also, our officers routinely save lives as they administer Narcan to overdose victims. The Department does an excellent job following up on these overdoses and helps those with an addiction get the assistance they need to overcome.
Recently, Webster Police Officer Aaron Suss and police dog Bandit were recognized for their efforts in solving a shooting in the neighboring town of Oxford. You also may have seen the department’s recent deployment of its new monitoring trailer camera. The trailer will be assist in areas of high traffic or crime and is just another tool available to the department to keep us safe.
The Webster Police Department is also very active in the community. They truly believe in being an active part of community events. One of the biggest town events, National Night Out was held this past Tuesday. Hundreds flocked to Memorial Beach for games, food and some community bonding. Other police hosted events include Hoops for Hope at Park Ave Elementary, the Duck off at French River Park and a Car Show behind the Police Station. When they aren’t hosting, the Police Department takes part in other events such as Earth Day, Halloween events, and Winter Wonderland.
Going forward Chief Shaw and his Department will continue with their goal to keep Wester residents safe. They will continue to partner with Town departments to identify nuisance properties and work to grow relationships with other local agencies to continue to make Webster a better place.
We welcome the new Officers, congratulate the Officers with promotions, and thank everyone at the Webster Police Department for their hard work.