To the Honorable Board of Selectmen & Residents of Aquinnah:
I begin this year’s Town Report as I have in previous years with the personnel of the Aquinnah Police Department. On May 30, 2008 Officer James Neville graduated from the Plymouth Police Academy and is the department’s newest Officer. Officer Neville joins Sergeant Paul Manning and Officer Charles Chaprales as the full-time Officers of this department. Part-time Officers that worked for the department during 2008 were Ryan Maher, Ryan Natichioni, Steven Mathias, Christopher Brown, and Timothy Chiappini. Ryan Maher resigned from the department in June 2008 to join the Worcester, MA Police Department. Ryan Natichioni worked during the summer of 2008 and returned to college at Cortland University. Steven Mathias, Christopher Brown, and Timothy Chiappini continue to work for the department on a year-round part-time basis.
2008 marked a few firsts for the Town of Aquinnah and the Aquinnah Police Department. One of these was the sale of beer & wine with a meal at establishments that seat no less than 15 people. One of the two establishments that were eligible to apply for a beer & wine license was the Outermost Inn, who did apply for and was granted the license by the Board of Selectmen. The police department did not experience any problems at the Outermost Inn due to the serving of beer & wine.
Another first was the implementation of bicycle patrol at Aquinnah Circle. The department purchased a Trek police mountain bicycle from Cycle Works in Tisbury and Ofc. Natichioni used the bicycle while on patrol at Aquinnah Circle. By incorporating the bicycle, the department saved on fuel by not having to use one of the cruisers. The bicycle was also easier than a police cruiser to maneuver at Aquinnah Circle.
The Board of Selectmen also approved to add additional parking at Aquinnah Circle for the 2008 summer season. The additional parking was due to less tour buses visiting the area. Approximately 6 more parking spaces were created on the left hand side of Aquinnah Circle, prior to the bike & moped parking, in addition to allowing parking in a portion of the bus stop. The creation of these additional parking areas has led to less traffic congestion at Aquinnah Circle.
Another Board of Selectmen approval regarding parking was the approval to raise the fine for parking in a restricted area from $15 to $50. The Dukes County Parking Clerk informed the Board in early 2008 that they could statutorily raise the parking fines and the Board voted to raise the fine. The department issued 194 parking tickets in 2008 compared to 176 in 2007.
On July 19, 2008 radio station WVVY 93.7 held the Aquinnah Music Festival inside of Aquinnah Circle. The festival included many local musicians and drew a large crowd. In preparation of the large crowd, Aquinnah Fire Chief Walter Delaney, Tri-Town Ambulance Coordinator Martina Mastromonaco, the Aquinnah Board of Selectmen, and I met with the Festival Organizer, Jim Glavin, to discuss public safety concerns. Due to these discussions, the Festival was safe for the public to attend. Other public safety organizations, which included the MA State Police, Dukes County Sheriff’s Department, and Oak Bluffs Ambulance, assisted the Aquinnah Police Department and Tri-Town Ambulance during the Festival.
The department was again awarded a Community Policing grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security in the amount of $11,299.00. Most of these funds were used towards the last lease payment for our 2007 Dodge Charger police cruiser and some was used for unforeseen computer maintenance associated with our Records Management System (R.M.S.) and Computer Aided Dispatch (C.A.D.). We are grateful to receive this grant as it allows us to purchase items that we would otherwise be unable to purchase with our operating budget.
The department continues to participate with other island police departments on regional issues. The most recent regional initiative has been the formation of a Tactical Team comprised of highly trained & motivated officers from each of the island police departments to deal with emergencies that exceed the patrol officer’s capabilities, such as an active shooter or hostage situation. This department does not have an Officer on the Team; however, this could change in the future. Even though the department does not physically contribute to the Team, the Team is still available for our use.
In closing I would like to thank the Officers of this department for their hard work. The Town should be proud to have such professional officers working for this department. I would also like to thank all the other island police departments & MA State Police for their assistance, Tri-Town Ambulance, the Aquinnah Fire Department, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Natural Resources Department for the assistance they provide to this department.
Also thanks to the Board of Selectmen and the residents of the Town for your continued support.