HANSON — The Board of Selectmen voted on Tuesday, June 28 to approve a police mutual aid agreement.
Police Chief Michael Miksch explained the approval was necessary to permit Hanson Police Department officers “to act as officers when they witness crime while they’re off duty.”
Without it, case law only provides policing power within the community unless certain conditions are met, he said.
“It spells it out in very specific terms so that it protects us if somebody comes in from another town,” Miksch said. “We already are part of a permanent mutual aid agreement through … an anti-crime task force. This is similar in a lot of ways. It just makes life simpler.”
It also fosters their participation in regional search and rescue, dive team and SWAT programs, such as the South Eastern Mass. Law Enforcment Council (SEMLAC), and the sharing of equipment. Another use has been a motorcycle unit under development for crowd control and escort services.
“For the cost to us it is a great insurance policy,” he said.
Town Administrator Michael McCue said he has reviewed the agreement with town counsel and there had been no objections raised.
The program was one of the points Miksch made in the first of what will be rotating monthly reports to selectmen by department heads or town boards to provide status updates. He has also asked them to provide him with monthly written reports from which he can update selectmen.
Miksch said the department has handled 8,058 calls, up slightly from the same period last year when between 15,000 and 16,000 total calls were logged all year.
Of the 8,058 calls, 42 have resulted in arrests, 67 resulted in a warrant or summons being requested and 99 motor vehicle accidents.
“These numbers are right on line with what we’ve been doing annually for the past couple of years,” he said. There have been 257 traffic offenses resulting in more than $11,000 in fines. But he cautioned the board against being too excited about the money because most of it goes to the state.
Miksch also reported there have been three overdose deaths last year and was critical of a recent news report placing Hanson as the second-highest number of overdoses per capita in the state.
“Statistics are a really funny thing because you can manipulate them in so many ways,” he said. “That second was six overdoses.”
Fire Chief Jerome Thompson Jr. and Miksch researched the cases they responded to and could only account for three. Brockton had 47.
The others in Hanson reported by the Department of Public Health went by the residency on death certificates.
“We dealt with three overdoses and can’t find the others,” Miksch said.
He said he thinks the town has been out-front in terms of dealing with opioid abuse. East Bridgewater HOPE’s drop-in center has been a service they have called on.
Last year nasal Narcan was administered 34 times, he said. So far this year, it has been used only four times — two of those for other medical issues. One was an unwitnessed asthma attack and the other a heart ailment.
“We’re starting to see the need for more than one dose on people at times,” he said. “When we see someone, regardless of age, the first thing we eliminate is [the possibility of] an opiate overdose.”
There is also an up-tick in requests for licenses to carry firearms with 105 pending at the moment.
He also said use of force, including Tasers, is investigated after the fact and, in six months, the Tasers have only been used three times, down from last year.
Miksch also offers kudos to the work some of his officers have been doing to help Hanson residents.
He credited Sgt. Peter Daley with the work he did on the Dec. 23 Winter Street crash in which a Hanover nurse out for a Boston Marathon Training run had been killed. That investigation led to a grand jury indictment on two felony charges against the driver.
Miksch also thanked the Hanover Police Department for their work on the case.
He lauded DARE and School Resource Officer William Frazier for his work, which has been commended by the School District, as well as for his community outreach work.
Detective O’Brien executed a search warrant on Spring Street earlier this year, seizing more than four pounds of marijuana, more than $4,000 in cash and 40 pounds of edibles, baked with hashish oil.
“People said it was only marijuana,” Miksch observed. “It’s illegal [and] a lot of home invasions that go on revolve around marijuana because it’s a cash business.”
Because it is still in violation of federal law, even where marijuana is legal under state law, money from the trade can’t be deposited in the bank, Miksch said.
The hashish oil-making process is also a fire hazard.
The department has undergone autism awareness training thanks to the fund-raising efforts of Hanson resident Laurie Hammond and, as a result, officers were able to locate a missing autistic boy in about two hours after he wandered away from home in early June. SEMLAC also helped. Miksch commended officers Peter Calogero and Kevin McCarthy for their work on that search.
The chief also thanked Town Meeting voters for the funds to help address radio problems.
Selectmen also voted to appoint Christopher Dominguez and Brent Peterson as police officers and liquor control agents. They had been extended conditional offers of employment about two months ago, but had to pass a background check and Dominguez had to wait to see if his Florida police certification was accepted in Massachusetts. That was granted a few weeks ago.
The liquor control designation allows the officers to investigate business that sell and/or serve alcohol on behalf of the licensing authority.