Gardner MA Police – Producing the Next Chapter

Executive Summary of Police ReportCLICK HERE.

For the past 3 months, the Gardner Police Department has been without an appointed Chief and Deputy Chief.  But it hasn’t stopped working to “first and foremost, protect all citizens who live or visit this community.”   A new K-9 officer was appointed, a drone program was utilized, partnerships were still undertaken, such as the Drug Take Back Program taking place this Saturday 4-30-22 at Price Chopper from 10am to 2pm.    Officers have stepped up including Lieutenants Eric McAvene Jr. and Nicholas Maroni who together have helped manage the department. While the future of the leadership of the department is still unclear, according to Mayor Nicholson, “It’s something that’s now a discussion that needs to be had, until any finalized plans happen.” Complete 4-28-22 interview with Mayor Nicholson below:

dispatchers honored

Dispatchers Adrianna LeBlanc, Taryne Swan, Nicholas Gray & Natalie Andrews were honored about a week ago by the state 911 Department for their outstanding service and dedication to the profession of 9-1-1.

The dozens of individuals who comprise the officers and staff of the Gardner Police Department serve the Chair City of Gardner MA in all seasons at all hours of the day and night.   Despite some of the negative press due to the recent Police Investigation, these community members continue to serve “With Pride and Integrity.”   When you see a Gardner Police employee this week, tell them, “Thank you for your service.   You are appreciated.  We love you.”

An interview with Mayor Michael Nicholson

Mayor Nicholson of Gardner

Gardner Magazine publisher Werner Poegel asked Mayor Nicholson a number of questions regarding the Chair City including some regarding the Gardner Police Investigation and Review: Link to Executive Summary of Report – CLICK HERE

Poegel: First of all, in what way do you believe that Gardner benefitted by your insistence that the investigation be conducted above board with an outside investigator?

Nicholson: “Anytime situations like these come up, we want to make sure things are done right because our jobs is to make sure we are watching the best interests of the taxpayers who are here.” “We want to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed …we just cover our bases…remembering that even the people who are subjects of investigation…in this case have decades of service to the City…that they have all their due process rights”

Poegel: The administrative leave was described as “non-disciplinary.”   With facts now in hand, does that characterization still hold true?

Nicholson: “It still holds true.  It still holds true.  It’s something that’s now a discussion that needs to be had until any finalized plans happen…It’s not disciplinary in nature, but it’s problem-solving in nature.”

Poegel asked about names on the City of Gardner website.

Nicholson: ““Jennifer Law can certainly be removed because she resigned from her position. …  Everything else, the changes will be made once everything gets completed.  Any potential changes I should say because there are no one way or the other, whenever we do investigations,…”

Poegel: Let me ask it this way: Obviously you have to appoint someone to the job of Chief of Police and someone to the job of Deputy Chief of Police.  Is it fair to say that Richard Braks and James Trifiro are still potential candidates for those positions or have  you ruled them out completely?  

Nicholson: ““Until the investigation’s done, there’s a 100% absolutely chance that that’s still in the running.”

Poegel: How do you feel the two lieutenants have done filling in?

Nicholson: ““I honestly feel they’ve been doing an excellent job over there. We checked in with some of the different agencies who interact with the Police Department …Since the two lieutenants have been in charge, we’ve checked in with some of the subordinate employees…., we’ve checked with people who have had interactions with the police since then , we’ve gotten very good feedback with how the department has been run since.”

Poegel: Do you intend to get involved with drafting future policy with regard to how the Gardner PD is managed, so that consistent with the report, praise can be imparted publicly and criticism privately, in an effort to maintain the highest morale of officers and staff?

Nicholson, ““Absolutely. We should always be working to improve the morale of the people here,…It helps us improve our operations in the end. So there will be a complete review of the policies of the Police Department no matter what the investigation process is.”

Poegel: How do you feel about the Gardner PDs usage of drones?

Nicholson: “It’s been a strong tool, helpful in missing persons cases there, particularly the infrared camera in locating people in a wooded area.   It’s something that several other police departments across the state have already used, so we’ve been able to kind of not reinvent the wheel, but build off of what they’ve been able to learn…It’s not something that goes out every day. It goes out when needed and when a tool is required to be utilized.   Between the drone and Rocky coming to the Police Department, it’s really gonna help us, that if ever there is a situation where someone’s missing or there’s someone who’s run away from the police,…caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing, it severely reduces the time our officers are on the street…it helps get the individuals being looked for quicker. It is efficient and more safe for the public involved”

Poegel: Do you have some other additional tools you believe the Gardner Police could use to enhance services, and if so, where would that funding come from?

Nicholson: ““One of the jobs Lieutenant Maroni has is as the police department’s grant writer…we’re constantly, probably 3 or 4 times a week submitting grant applications for new equipment.  One of the highlights of my next goals for the Police Department is to upgrade our radio system.”  The city uses a single band radio system currently while other departments in the area use dual band or multi-band.”  The Mayor says the City looks towards the COPS grant, the Office of Community Oriented Policing, a federal agency. To learn more about the COPS OFFICE, CLICK HERE

FYI: The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

Poegel: During all of this, the Gardner PD still had to do its job over the last 3 months. Are there individuals you’d like to single out publicly for praise?

Nicholson: ““The two lieutenants have really stepped up in running things there.  We’ve gotten several different thank you letters re officer Dennis Siaw to thank  him for really introducing himself.  Alot of these times, particularly with Officer Siaw and Officer Alexa Morgan, the officers were doing details and just reached out when they saw something that was happening. The sergeants have all stepped up to make sure their communication has increased….  Dispatcher Adrianna Leblanc is currently filling in as the person overseeing the dispatch department….Adrianna’s done a great job…even the Fire Chief Greg Lagoy has checked in, making sure that things seem to be going OK, particularly with the dispatch department. “

Gardner PD – A Department of Pride and Integrity

distracted driving month

Officers put in an extra effort during Distracted Driving Month in April to help prevent car accidents and save lives.

More on distracted driving from the NHTSA, CLICK HERE.

officers reach out to boy

Officers continued to reach out to the community to even their smallest fans.

The Gardner PD even has a Police Explorers unit. For more information, CLICK HERE.

School Resource officer

Lieutenant Maroni and Officer Lawrence were honored as part of School Resource Officer Appreciation Day.

For more on the School Resource Officer of the Gardner PD, CLICK HERE.

Gardner  PD Autism Awareness

Gardner PD participated in Autism Awareness, showing their concern for the mental health of citizens and situational awareness of circumstances they may come across in the course of their work.

For more about Autism resources, visit the Autism Speaks website. CLICK HERE.