Public Safety Update

Covering firefighters' and police officers responses to emergencies, community service, and more over the past five months.

Above: Southborough’s Fire Chief recognized police officers and firefighters with Letters of Merit for their response during the August 5th fire on Sears Road. (photo from Facebook)

Although I’ve shared most of the biggest news out of Southborough Fire and Police departments over the past few months, there’s quite a lot that I haven’t covered. 

Here’s my roundup of what our public safety departments have been up to since my last round up in July.

(This doesn’t duplicate the news that I have been sharing.)

Emergency responses, incidents, and public service

This summer, I wrote about two house fires in Southborough. Those were just two of many fires that the SFD responded to since my last roundup in mid-July. Other fires included homes in neighboring towns, brush fires, a lawn mower, and one resulting from a car crash. The SFD also responded to at least 5 other car crashes that required a hospital transport.

On Facebook, the SFD posted photos (some of which I included below) and details about their responses to those incidents, plus their rescue of an injured hiker:

  • On July 31st, crews provided mutual aid at a house fire in Northborough.
  • On August 1st, another truck rammed into the (low clearance) River St railroad bridge.
  • On August 12th, a 2-car collision caused a rollover and a driver transported to the hospital with “minor injuries”.
  • On August 13th, EMS helped a hiker “who sustained a significant hip injury” and worked with Westborough Fire to transport her off the trails by UTV (utility task vehicle).
  • On August 20th – at least August 23rd, SFD firefighters were among the agencies that fought a multi-acre brush fire in Marlborough and additional brush fires that popped up in the region.
  • On September 23rd, a car that crashed on the MassPike resulted in a hospital transport for two occupants, one with “serious injuries”.
  • On September 30th, a commercial lawn mower caught on fire.
  • On October 17th, a car burst into flames after hitting a deer and being struck by another car. The driver was transported to the hospital for minor injuries.
  • On October 28th, crews responded to another MassPike collision with “minor injuries”.
  • On October 30th, crews provided mutual aid at a Marlborough house fire
  • On Halloween, a serious head-on crash between a car and truck on Johnson road required extrication of one driver, transported to the hospital “with non-life threatening injuries”.

July Northborough house fire Aug 1 - Truck v Bridge from SFD Facebook August 12 collision at 30 Turnpike Rd Aug 13 hiker rescue Aug 20 Marlborough brush fires Marlborough brush fires Sept 23 Mass Pike crash from SFD Facebook Sep 30 lawnmower fire Oct 17 MassPike crash with flames Oct 28 MassPike Crash minor injuries Oct 30 Marlborough house fire Halloween head-on crash pics cropped from SFD Facebook post

Looking a the activity reports posted by the chiefs, there were a lot more emergency responses that weren’t detailed on Facebook.

The Southborough Fire Department’s quarterly report for July through September shows:

  • SFD Report for Q3-22Responses to 388 emergency calls/incidents, over 15 of which were fires.
  • The department calculated a 90% performance response time.
  • Fires (excluding vehicles and brush) are estimated to have resulted in a loss of $1,523,300.
  • More than 200 emergency responses were for EMS (Emergency Medical Services).
  • About 25 were HAZMAT, and over 20 were generically termed “service”.
  • There were more than 75 false alarms and around 40 “good intent” calls. (Those are calls reporting concerns about a percieved or potential emergency that turn out to not be.)
  • There were also a handful of response calls labeled “Natural Disaster” or “Special”.
  • Staff were involved in 169 activities that included inspections, reviews, and “Community Risk Reduction Interactions”.
  • Mutual aid was given on 32 calls and recieved on 15.
  • 14.6% of incidents occurred at the same time as at least one other incident.

For the first time, the Southborough Police Department posted a monthly activity report. Theirs covers October incidents, and shows that officers:

  • SPD October statsMade more than 5 arrests
  • Issued 13 Criminal citations
  • Issued 125 non-criminal citation (tickets, etc.)
  • Handled more than 10 assaults/domestic disturbances and more than 5 harrassment or restraining order complaints
  • Took 5 reports of larceny/forgery/fraud.
  • Responded to close to 35 vehicle accidents.
  • Assisted 11 motorists and made 9 well-being checks.
  • Followed up on over 30 alarms, and more than 45 “911” hang-ups or open lines.
  • Participated in 19 “Community Police Services”.

Some of those community services likely include public relations, like their “Coffee with a Cop” event, public outreach at Heritage Day, a visit from a Daisy Troop, and taking part in Community Reading Day at Neary, and the pre-Halloween Trunk or Treat. But they also include special services like the Free Car Seat Inspection Day held in partnership with Southborough Kindergroup and assisting with a Trails Committee hike.

On a more somber note, the department sent representatives to the funeral services for the two police officers murdered in the line of duty in Brisol, CT.

Staff recognitions, ceremonies, and training

Below are public safety personnel promotions, new hires, special recognitions, and accomplishments (that I haven’t already covered), since my last roundup.

On November 1st, the SFD held a ceremony to promote 8 employees:

SFD Mass promotionsLast night the department recognized the promotions of five Captains and three Lieutenants. Through recent collaboration and formal agreement, the town, department, and its members were able to realign and revise the rank structure of the department; recognizing the roles, responsibilities, and high level of accountability required of our supervisors. These promotions established and affirmed the department’s commitment to succession planning, professional growth, and career development. This opportunity was both unique and unprecedented, as it was the first time the department has elevated the positions of this many members at any one time. Formally sworn in by Town Clerk Jim Hegarty during a ceremony that included families, friends, peers, and town officials were Captain Christian Dano, Captain Neal Aspesi, Captain Kenneth Franks, III, Captain Christopher Shanahan, Captain Scott Navaroli, Lieutenant Benjamin Wilmot, Lieutenant Dana Amendola, and Lieutenant Jason Roach.

Two months prior, they welcomed two new full-time (probationary) Firefighter/EMTs — Tabitha Conway (who had served as a call-member) and Adam Kaminski-Miller.

Letters of Merit for August 5 house fire responseIn September, several officers and firefighters were recognized for their “superior performance” at the August 5th house fire on Sears Road. In October, two firefighters were among the many on the District 14 Technical Rescue Team that were recognized for helping to successfully locate a missing person in the woods through a wide area search of the woods along the Hopkinton-Milford border in July.

The SPD boasted about officers trained to take on new responsibilities:

  • Officer Austin Chapski was certified through a series of courses on Crash Reconstruction
  • Officer Jeff Norton qualified to teach DARE in Southborough public schools.
  • Norton was also certified to conduct baby/child car seat safety inspections. (To get assistance, the public can call 508-485-2121 to book an appointment with either Norton or Officer Landry.)

The SFD boasted about Firefighter Brittaney Doane who made headlines as a nationally competitive Olympic weightlifter.

The SFD also posted pics from some of their specialized training sessions:

  • Rescuing victims from a downhill, difficult to access area.
  • Testing Southborough Emergency Management’s preparedness.
  • Simulating the treatment and removal of a critical patient from an elevated location.

Charitable Works

This month, the SPD is raising funds for the “Home Base No Shave” campaign:

No Shave Home Base - SPD patchHome Base No Shave, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program, is dedicated to healing the invisible wounds for Veterans of all eras, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen through world-class clinical care, wellness, education, and research. . . .

Every Southborough Police Department member that is taking part in this great program, will be donating $50 each to earn an exemption from the department’s facial hair policy. We have also a camouflage version of our uniform patch, which is now for sale- with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Home Base No Shave.

To request a patch (as seen [right]), please send a self-addressed stamped envelope- as well as a check for $10 per patch- made out to the Southborough Police Association, 32 Cordaville Road, Southborough, MA. 01772 (Attn: Det. Steve Neivert). ** You can also purchase a camouflage patch in the lobby of our station, from our on-duty dispatcher. **

Earlier this month, Officer Landry provided an escort for local veterans passing through town on their 7th annual, 90-Mile March to raise funds and awareness for issues related to veterans.

Last month, the department held its annual Pink Patch fundraiser for Breast Cancer research and awareness.

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