Selectmen ratify police mutual aid agreement with Worcester
Northborough- The Board of Selectmen filled what Police Chief Mark Leahy said was a critical gap in the community’s police mutual aid agreements by ratifying a pact with the city of Worcester. The board approved the decision during its March 10 meeting.
Leahy said Northborough has put a consistent set of mutual aid agreements with some 75 communities around the state in place over the past four years, but that Worcester was an important holdout.
“Our officers find themselves increasingly spending time in Superior Court in Worcester and in Worcester hospitals as part of the investigations we do,” Leahy said. Without the agreement, he added, “Our officers are essentially armed civilians there.”
The new agreement establishes that officers in the two communities have police powers while in the other community.
“If a suspect assaults an officer during a court appearance, this makes it clear that would be assault on a police officer,” Leahy said.
The agreement may also be useful to Northborough if it requires specialized services more likely to be found in a larger, urban department. “Worcester is an enormous department with a lot of resources and in the event we ever need those resources, now we have access to them,” said Leahy.
The chief also updated selectmen on two bylaw proposals he is advancing for the upcoming Annual Town Meeting. One would enable the department to fingerprint individuals seeking solicitation permits so that they can be run through federal and state databases prior to being given permission to canvass local homes. A second would make it illegal to discharge a firearm within 500 feet of a home or other occupied building without written permission from the property owner. That bylaw stems from a recent court case in which abutters objected to a firing range being located close to their homes, Leahy said.
Northborough will be holding its Annual Town Meeting Monday, April 28, starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Algonquin Regional High School auditorium, 79 Bartlett St.
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