2018 was certainly a year of change for the Wakefield Police Department. Chief Kenneth Fifield retired after 28 years of service. We are truly grateful for all that Chief Fifield did for the town of Wakefield as well as being a leader for our department. Since being sworn in as your Chief on April 2, 2018, we now have a roster consisting of 14 Officers. There have been multiple promotions within the department in 2018 which has proven to be beneficial in all aspects of operations.
Our Facebook page has become an asset as a form of contact for residents to reach out to us with questions and concerns. It has also been a great way to share news relating to our recovery of lost animals, as well as weather and traffic alerts.
This year Officer Matthew Martino was named Officer of the Year. Throughout the year we have received multiple phone calls and correspondence regarding the outstanding job performance and integrity of Officer Martino.
The 2nd floor of the Public Safety Building was completed and on February 10, 2018 we held an Open House for the citizens of Wakefield to come and tour the facilities. This building is not just an asset to the Police and Fire Department, but also to visitors and town employees. The PSB also serves as a building for a variety of training for the both the Police Department and the Fire Department. The Public Safety Building space has also been utilized by the Secret Santa program in past years, as well as 2018.
We have seen a significant decrease in burglary incidents in Wakefield this past year. This is due to the hard work and dedication of our officers, as well a prominent police presence.
We continue to offer the SHIELD program at the Paul School and also offer a Firearm Safety/Gun course.
Through proactive policing, training for our officers, and increased engagement with the community, we continue to see positive results in prevention of crime and drug violations.
With funding from the Department of Highway Safety we have been able to conduct patrols to ensure safer driving and enforce traffic violations in Wakefield/Brookfield. I feel that has been a very effective tool for our department as we have seen a decrease in motor vehicle accidents. We were also awarded a 50/50 grant for the purchase of a radar trailer. This equipment will help us gather data for times of day and locations where there are people violating the speed limit. We were also awarded grant money from the Bulletproof Vest Partnership towards the purchase of vests for our officers.
We had 462 calls for service connected to Animal Control with 150 of those being related to Civil Forfeitures.
We have been successful with reuniting dogs and cats with their owners, as well as 1 dog and 1 cat finding homes through our Adoption Program. The rabies and neutering clinics were successful once again and we look forward to again offering a facility for this to take place that is convenient for animal owners in Wakefield and Brookfield to access.
Chief John Ventura