Westwood Police Department 2015 Annual Report
The mission of the Westwood Police Department is to enforce the law and to protect life and property by engaging in proactive problem solving partnerships with our community to reduce crime, the fear of crime and social disorder to promote a better quality of life for all.
The Westwood Police Department is comprised of 31 sworn police officers, 7 full-time and 3 part-time public safety dispatchers, 1 full-time animal control officer, 1 part-time animal control officer, two administrative clerks and 13 crossing guards. The duties and responsibilities of each member encompass many different areas.
In 2015, the police department was able to complete field training for our newly hired police officers after a successful recruiting campaign that yielded 692 applicants and over 400 exam takers. With the hiring of our most recent police officers, we were able to fill existing vacancies, enhance service by adding 1 detective, 1 patrol sergeant and begin to address to the significant increase in demand for service caused by overall growth, traffic and expansion related to University Station.
The Police Department again marched for only the 2nd time in over 30 years to honor our town and its residents in the Memorial Day Parade. All officers volunteered their time to come out on this special day and symbolically demonstrate the commitment to service that our officers have for this community. We have also continued to strengthen its regional partnerships through agreements in Norfolk, Middlesex and parts of Bristol County and its participation in MetroLEC (Metropolitan Boston Law Enforcement Council). The Police Department provides police officers with various areas of expertise to the regional law enforcement group and those officers receive not only advanced training that benefits the town, but also the ability to utilize the regional group in times of need whether those needs may include SWAT, cyber-crime or search and rescue efforts.
Enhanced Services and Training
The Police Department now has a fully trained K9 team comprised of Officer Sean Pillai and his partner “Duke” and have already seen the benefits of Westwood’s first-ever Police K9. The ability to use a specially trained police K9 allows the Police Department to service the town in ways that had previously not been as easily accomplished such as searching for lost children or confused residents, public relations in our town’s schools along with building searches, apprehension and article tracking. Officer Sean Pillai and his K9 partner are on patrol to assist and enhance our public safety efforts as well as our community interaction in the school and recreational programs.
The Police Department also recently started a new initiative called the Community Crisis Intervention Team (CCIT) which involved partnering with town officials, local and state mental health practitioners, clinicians and service providers. This group meets regularly to discuss best practices for invention, treatment and handling of sensitive mental health related issues – whether they are a long term condition or an present acutely due to drug use and addiction issues. This team employs specially trained Westwood Police Officers to provide these services and who work to train all of our officers internally to maximize the efficiency of our service in a way that is humane, forward-thinking and most productive for those residents and visitors we serve who may be suffering from sort of mental health and/or addiction issue. This paradigm shift in the way we police represents another first for our department in addressing long existing and overlooked problems with new tactics, collaborations and commitment.
Professional training of all personnel is a vital necessity in the law enforcement profession, and is a paramount interest to the Administrative Division of the Department. To keep up with the yearly changes in the law, court decisions, policies and procedures, and law enforcement initiatives, the Department conducts its own 40-hour-in-service training program. In addition to outside subject matter experts, such as the professionals and clinicians from the Westwood Lodge, the Police Department partnered facilitate specialized training in-house for the first time addressing mental health issues, to complement our medical training such as CPR/AED recertification, firearms requalification and defensive tactics training.
The Department regularly reviews the annual 40-hour training program to ensure that all officers receive the necessary ‘tools’ to do their job safely and effectively. It is the goal of the department to provide as much “in-house” training as possible. This allows us to tailor the curriculum to the needs of the community and the personnel who serve it.
The Department’s detectives, assisted by our detective assigned as the Court Prosecutor, conducted follow-up investigations on cases initiated by patrol officers. The manner in which cases are handled by our investigators vary from case to case, but they consistently require significant investments of time requiring extensive allocation of personnel hours and investigative resources. The caseload is also impacted by self-initiated investigations which can include drug investigations, fraudulent activity, and quality of life issues Detectives Derrick Stokes, Don Murphy assisted by our Court Prosecutor, Detective Paul Toland, conducted hundreds of investigations resulting in the arrests, prosecutions and convictions of numerous criminals, the seizure of illegal narcotics and the return of thousands of dollars in property to victims.
As the techniques and tactics used by those individuals who seek to victimize our residents, businesses and merchants evolve, so too must the Police Department evolve to keep Westwood the safe and cohesive community that we call home. Whether it is surveillance, undercover or painstakingly methodical follow-up, our detectives continue to distinguish themselves as highly competent, truly committed and unrivaled in their professionalism to serve the Town.
Illegal narcotics and cash proceeds taken off suspected narcotics dealers
The volume of traffic and the speed at which it travels continues to be a shared concern of many residents. Selective enforcement is a strategy employed by the Department to target traffic violations at specific times and locations, often based on resident complaints, and continue to be a priority of the Patrol Division. With assistance from some new records management tools and traffic control devices, our traffic enforcement efforts and assignments can be more efficiently and effectively implemented. The Department has 1 traffic enforcement speed trailer and 1 portable traffic message board that are often deployed along major travel routes to advise motorists of the speed at which they are traveling in an effort to boost voluntary compliance with speed limits. Although speed enforcement may be the most obvious means of dealing with speeding violations and other traffic safety issues in making the roads of Westwood safe, we place significant value in driver education which we conduct on a daily basis through varied officer interactions.
Chief Jeffrey Silva (left) and Sergeant Paul Sicard (right) talking to students at Xaverian Brothers about the dangers of Distracted Driving and Destructive Decisions
The police department was successful in the Governor’s Highway Safety grant for the “Click it or Ticket” campaign as well as Operating Under the Influence enforcement.
Goals and Accomplishments
Goals and Accomplishments The Police Department made several exciting accomplishments with many more planned for the year head including:
ENHANCED COMMUNITY SERVICE
Officers Maryellen Smith (left) and Kathryn McCarron (right) at the Council on Aging
Westwood Police Officers marching at the Memorial Day Parade
The Westwood Board of Selectmen, all of our town departments, our Finance Committee, town boards, and especially you – our residents – have always been supportive of your Police Department’s needs to keep this community safe. “Committed To Service” is not just the slogan on our town’s police cars, it is the philosophy that drives everything we do.
The Town has and continues to undergo changes that require your police department to change with the times so that our best efforts meet industry best practices to police this community in a manner consistent with the level of service you, our residents, expect with the professionalism and progressiveness that I, as your police chief, demand. Your support goes neither unnoticed nor unappreciated and we look forward to serving you in the years ahead so that together we can overcome the challenges that individually would not be possible.
Jeffrey P. Silva
Chief of Police