Graduates of Junior Police Academy, Gardner PD Officers, and Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson
Gardner Police Headquarters
Gardner Police Headquarters

Gardner PD – Junior Police Academy – Why It’s Such a Big Deal

20 students have been congratulated for completing the Gardner Police Department Junior Police Academy and the officers have been thanked for putting it on.  This is the third year the Gardner PD has run the program and its largest class to date.  The Academy was fully funded from the Commonwealth’s Shannon Grants, which totaled $11.2 million dollars across the State of Massachusetts.

Community Safety Initiative Grant

In February, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative Grant (CSI) would fund 15 municipal grants consisting of 27 cities and 14 research partners.  Governor Baker in February 2022 stated,” “The long-term positive impacts of the programs funded by Shannon grants demonstrate the importance of a collaborative approach to addressing youth violence and improving the safety of our communities.” And Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito stated, “Shannon grants support the collaborative spirit and vital teamwork that achieves safer communities, violence reduction, and sustained positive life decisions for at-risk youth.”  The 2022 award for Fitchburg with Gardner as a partner community was $416,812.00  More details, CLICK HERE.

Why Demographics Prove it is so Important to Engage Youth

The percentage of the population which lives in poverty in Massachusetts is: 9.4%, Fitchburg: 15.7%, Gardner: 13.9%.    There have been changes in crime for young people ages 10 to 24 from 2017 to 2021.  Simple assaults in Massachusetts decreased 25%, but in Fitchburg/Gardner decreased 37%.    Aggravated assaults in Massachusetts decreased 20%, but in Fitchburg/Gardner decreased 61%.   It’s important to productively engage youth as the High School Dropout Rate in Massachusetts was 1.6%, Fitchburg 3.7%, and Gardner 3.6%.     Details in pdf, CLICK HERE.

Core Strategies

The OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model is “a set of five core strategies—community mobilization, opportunities provision, social intervention, suppression, and organizational change and development—that offer a comprehensive, collaborative approach designed to prevent and reduce gang violence.”


Here’s an overview of the Five Core strategies, CLICK HERE.   And here is a Law Enforcement Guide, CLICK HERE.   Fortunately, Gardner is blessed with a community not filled with all of the negative experiences of elsewhere, and even discussing it may come as a surprise to some, but as much as Gardner would wish it, it’s not totally crime free.    That’s why efforts like the Junior Police Academy are such a Big Deal – Gardner wants the character of the Chair City to continue moving in a positive direction and for there never to be a huge gang problem.

Cadet Training

Handouts for Cadets from the Junior Police Academy are intense and include many aspects of law enforcement training. CLICK HERE.    Graduates certainly have an appreciation for the rules of society and perhaps some will decide to become Greater Gardner MA Police Officers as adults.