On Wednesday, January 18, 2012 100 police detectives and K-9 officers gathered with the police chiefs and city town clerks of Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough and Westford at the Dracut Police Department Headquarters. A ceremony was held and the city/town clerks administered the oath of office to the 100 law enforcement in attendance. All were sworn in as special police officers in the towns and city of the region, in effect granting them full police powers in their neighboring communities.
Over the last year the seven chiefs would discuss various strategies and innovations aimed at addressing local and regionalized crime issues. The (7) law enforcement agencies listed above consist of 500 Police Officers and serve a population of 276,000 residents.
The aforementioned members of this strategic working group came to the consensus that the most serious crimes and the most serious offenders are not confined by local jurisdictional boundaries but are in fact regional in nature. Further, it is believed that 75-90% of the violent crimes committed in these communities in recent years have but one common denominator or recurring theme-drugs.
Dracut Police Chief Kevin Richardson stated, “the fact is crime doesn’t stop at town or city lines. Swearing in these officers will assist in investigations that may lead to another city or town. Also if there is ever a need to establish a task force, the departments involved in this MOU will have a pool of officers to pick from an assignment of that type.”
Lowell Superintendent Kenneth Lavallee added, “The swearing-in ceremony which occurred today ushers in a new era of cooperation, coordination, and collaboration amongst the law enforcement agencies in the Lowell area. This type of arrangement is unprecedented in the Merrimack Valley and is only the second such agreement established in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I applaud Chief Rosa, Richardson, Murphy, Mulligan, McEnaney and their town Administrators for supporting this initiative.”
As result the 7 departments have a Memorandum of Understanding, which shall become effective yesterday, January 18, 2012. The Parties to the agreement recognize that in certain situations the ability of police officers to exercise sworn police powers outside of the territorial limits of their respective municipality where such officers are legally employed may be both necessary and in proper order to preserve and protect lives, safety and the property of the public in each participating community.
Notwithstanding the absence of a specific statutory source for the appointment of Special Police Officers within the cities and towns of this Commonwealth, the legitimacy of special Officer Appointments has been expressly and implicitly acknowledged and sanctioned in numerous statutes and judicial decisions.