By Vicki Greene, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Police Chief David Giorgi joined the city’s police force in 1999, and was promoted to chief three years ago following the retirement of longtime Chief Mark Leonard. A native of Marlborough, he believes his years as a patrolman and promotions to sergeant and captain all helped prepare him for the top job.
Over the past two decades there have been many changes and additional challenges, he noted.
Currently he oversees a department of 52 patrolmen and 17 command officers.
“When I became chief, we had had 48 patrolman for 25 or 30 years,” he said. “One of the biggest changes that I’ve been happy with is that [Mayor Arthur Vigeant] has given us four additional patrolmen since I’ve been in this position.”
In addition, in the past year full-time School Resource Officers (SRO) from the department have been assigned full-time to Marlborough High School and the 1st Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School – that officer is also the liaison for the elementary schools. Giorgi said he doesn’t believe any staffing changes need to be made with the addition of the new elementary school, citing a low number of incidents and the new school’s proximity to the high school and middle school.
Giorgi said he has met with Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School Superintendent Ernest Houle to recommend the hiring of a full-time SRO, a positon which is funded by the school. He said the recommendation came as a result of the state’s 2018 Criminal Justice Reform Act.
The safety of the schools, in this day and age, is always a concern for police departments. Giorgi said he has met with the SROs and other officers, as well as city officials, to discuss measures to keep the city’s school population safe.
“In 1999 there might not have been these kind of meetings to talk about school safety, or the police chief wouldn’t be involved in discussions of locks in schools back then,” he said.
The opioid epidemic, particularly heroin overdoses in the city, has been “constant,” he said. A new shared tracking database is helping to allow police departments to track their own residents across jurisdictions. He said that Marlborough is one of 31 cities in Middlesex County that is entering data into the CIMS (Overdose Critical Incident Management System). Police enter data including the address of a person who overdoses in a community and sends an email alert to the person’s hometown police department allowing officers to perform follow-up check-ins at the homes to see if Marlborough police can direct the person to additional resources.
What worries him the most, Giorgi said, is “the safety of our own people out there because you see so much in other places of the officer being victimized or somebody attacking the police officers and in some cases you can’t always prevent it.”
He said the officers do more tactical active shooter trainings than they used to by using schools and corporate buildings in the city that have volunteered their spaces.