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Earlier this month we shared a story with you about Charlene Smith, a 20 year old woman with Down syndrome, who wandered away from the home she lived in in North Brookfield and disappeared. Luckily there is a state police barracks in the nearby town of Brookfield, and the state police collaborated with the North Brookfield police to set up a search perimeter to find the girl before it became too dark to do so. It was 4 PM and there wasn’t a moment to lose. Charlene’s chances of making it through the night drastically decreased if they couldn’t find her before the sun went down.
Luckily a state police officer found her a quarter mile from the house, in a wooded area, crying by herself. A state police helicopter was flying overhead as well. It’s safe to say that the state police and their quick response time very well may have saved this woman’s life.
Naturally the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has responded by deciding to close the Brookfield State Police barracks. Because the fact of the matter is that no one in Boston gives a shit about anyone that lives west of 495. You literally don’t matter and neither does your safety. It’s the same reason it costs us money to travel into Boston on the Mass Pike while everyone streaming in from the North and South Shores gets in for free.
The Brookfield barracks is set to close on December 12. Here’s a map of the towns they currently cover in C-3:
As you can see, this is the boonies. When the big city in your coverage zone is Spencer, you’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The big problem here is that a lot of these towns don’t have overnight police, which is inconvenient when criminals decide to break the law at night. New Braintree has no police force and they rely completely on the State Police for coverage.
So what are people in these towns going to do when they need the police? Well whoever is in charge of this scam has redrawn the boundaries and put each town in another barrack’s zone:
As you can see New Braintree is now in the Belchertown zone. So if you have an emergency situation in New Braintree they’ll be there to help you out in about an hour or so.
Oakham and North Brookfield, two very small towns, are now in the Sturbridge barracks zone. Just a reminder that if Charlene Smith had gone missing with this reconfiguration, there’s a good chance they would not have found her that night because the response time would’ve been a lot longer.
Either way, it was the shady, backroom way in which this was done that’s got people pissed off. State Senator Ann Gobi pretty much represents every town being affected by this, and no one bothered telling her, or any of the police chief’s in the effected towns that this was going to happen.
The biggest problem here is that the Brookfield barracks has a jail where prisoners are processed before going to court in East Brookfield. Now they have to go to either the Holden SP barracks, which is a million miles away, or the town of Spencer police barracks, which costs money for local police departments.
But then again, none of you people actually matter because you live in the vast wilderness that lies beyond 495. Luckily Senator Gobi has filed legislation to put this on hold. If you live in this area and want your voice heard here’s the contact the people who represent you on Beacon Hill:
Leicester: Kate Campanale: [email protected] 617-722-2488
Everything else: Donald Berthiaume: [email protected] 617-722-2090
Ann Gobi: [email protected] 617-722-1540
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