Pittsfield Police Restructures Command Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Police Department is restructuring its command staff following the retirement of Capt. Patrick Barry.
Barry is a 27-year veteran of the force and announced his retirement from the department effective Jan. 3. He was the commander of the detective bureau for 15 years. He was briefly appointed acting chief at one point. Despite his retirement, he will remain in the profession as the chief of police in another community.
With his position open, the department is making a number of changes to top positions, which be be in place in the next few days.
"Captain Barry's departure led to an opportunity for internal discussion and some personnel assignment changes," Police Chief Michael Wynn wrote.
Capt. David Granger will take over command of the administrative services division as of Sunday, Jan. 10. He will assume responsibility for records, procurement, and human resources. He will also be the department's primary public information officer.
Granger has been with the department for 31 years with the last 10 being the commander of the uniformed patrol division. Prior to that, he worked as a supervisor in both the detective bureau and the the drug unit as well as the patrol supervisor.
Capt. John Mullin, the current commander of the administrative services division, will switch with Granger to become the division commander of the uniformed patrol division. He will be in charge of all patrol functions, traffic, K9, and special events. He also will be the department's liaison to the Traffic Commission, the Pittsfield Community Connect program, and the Elizabeth Freeman Center. He assumes the new job on Sunday, Jan. 10.
Mullin has been with the department for 29 years with the last eight being the commander of the administrative services division. Prior to that, he was shift commander and patrol supervisor in the uniformed patrol division.
Lt. Michael Grady will be interim commander of the detective bureau — filling the vacancy left by Barry's retirement. Grady has been with the department for 21 years and has most recently been the detective lieutenant — second in command — on the evening shift. He takes over the commander position on Sunday, Jan. 10. He assumes command of the detective bureau, drug unit, and crime scene services pending completion of a formal civil service promotional process.
"The department's senior commanders have spent between five and 15 years in their current assignments. While each division commander assignment places various requirements and demands on the commander, they all present significant challenges, time commitments, and personal investment. Captain Barry's departure has presented us with an opportunity to make some changes, mix things up, and interject some fresh perspective into our organization and operations," Wynn wrote.
"We wish Chief Barry well in his new endeavors, and I'm looking forward to the energy that these new assignments will bring to the Department."
Multiple Berkshire County Schools Subject Of Bomb Threat
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Numerous schools were the target of bomb threats Thursday afternoon triggering responses from police and fire departments.
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said targets were identified in five communities but he did not reveal which ones.
"There was a timeline given in the call and an indication that the caller would make another call," Wynn said.
However, the time elapsed without incident and the individual never called back. Wynn said the caller making the threat was "scratchy" and "difficult to hear."
"We're working it an as active case," he said.
At least two of those targets were schools.
Both Lanesborough and Lenox have reported that just before 2 p.m. bomb threats were made on the schools. The call were made to Pittsfield Police dispatch.
"This afternoon at 1:49 p.m., Lanesborough Elementary School received a notice from the Lanesborough Police Department of a bomb threat identifying several targets throughout Berkshire County including Lanesborough Elementary School. School personnel conducted a thorough search of the building and its perimeter, joined by town police and fire officials. The chiefs of the Lanesborough Police and Fire Departments were on the scene immediately and determined that no students or students were in danger," wrote Lanesborough Principal Martin McEvoy.
Police Chief Timothy Sorrell said police and fire initiated its "bomb scare protocol" and ultimately found no threats. Lanesborough Police were notified of the threat around 1:45 and claimed the bomb would go off a half hour later.
Cheshire Elementary went into a "soft lockdown," according to a Facebook posting by the Cheshire Police Department because the threat mentioned the Cheshire post office, which is not far from the school.
"I want to reiterate that the Cheshire Elementary School was never mentioned in the bomb threat," state the post, presumably by Chief Timothy Garner. "Post office employees were notified and they made their contacts as well."
Once the time frame of the threat expired, the school went back to normal.
Two schools in Dalton were reportedly included in the threat but neither were evacuated unlike Lenox Memorial Middle and High School.
The Berkshire Eagle reported
that Lenox Memorial Middle and High School was evacuated because of the threat. That too was found to be unsubstantiated by Lenox police and fire.
Principal Michael Knybel told the Berkshire Eagle: "In the interest of student and staff safety and security, we have sent students home early... Our first concern is the safety of our students and we will make every attempt to ensure this matter is thoroughly investigated and safety is restored."
Updated with information from Cheshire Police.
UPDATED: Greylock Federal Branch Robbed at Knifepoint
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Greylock Federal Credit Union branch near the Lanesborough border was robbed Tuesday night.
According to Greylock CEO John Bissell, the branch was robbed by knifepoint just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday night. The branch will remain closed until Monday, Jan. 4.
"At about 5:55 p.m. on December 30, the Lanesborough branch of Greylock Federal was robbed. The perpetrator showed a knife and demanded money. In these types of unfortunate circumstances, our number one concern is for the safety of our employees and our Members. We are gratified and relieved that no one was hurt," Bissell wrote.
"We are pleased that all employees reacted in exactly the way they are trained to do. We appreciate the prompt response of state and local law enforcement and we are cooperating fully with the investigation being conducted by the Pittsfield Police Department. The Lanesborough branch will remain closed on December 31, and will reopen Monday, January 4."
The robbery apparently took place just minutes before the regular closing time. The office is located at 1664 North St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.
On Thursday Police released photos of the suspect and is asking for help identifying him. The suspect is decribed as a black male, approximately 5'10" tall, around 200 lbs. and between the ages of 25 and 30. He walked from Lakeview Street, entered the bank, displayed a knife, demanded money and then exited back toward Lakeview Street.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Detective Bureay at 413-448-9705 or email email@example.com.
Pittsfield Man Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Charge
UPDATED: Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015 at 11:39 a.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Timothy Gill pleaded not guilty to a single count of murder in Berkshire Superior Court Tuesday.
Gill is being charged with murdering his wife Halena Irene Gill. Her body was found inside of her Madison Avenue apartment last week and an autopsy determined she died of strangulation.
Timothy Gill was arrested on Monday. On Tuesday Judge William Rota ordered him to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail. Timothy Gill will appear in court next on January 14, 2016 for a probable cause hearing.
UPDATED: Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 at 4:35 p.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police have arrested 38-year-old Timothy Gill for allegedly murdering his wife last week.
Halena Irene Gill was found dead in her Madison Avenue apartment shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday. An autopsy performed over the weekend by Dr. Andrew Sexton, an associate medical examiner for the state, ruled the death homicide by strangulation.
On Monday, Police arrested Timothy Gill and charged him with a single count of murder. He is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Central Berkshire District Court.
According to her Facebook profile, Halena Irene Gill studied criminal justice at Westfield State College and she once worked as a leadership coordinator at the United Way. She had just celebrated her 37th birthday on Nov. 17.
Her photos indicate she and Gill were married last year.
A picture of Halena Gill taken from her Facebook page. Police are asking anyone who had seen Gill in the last few days to contact them.
Original Post: Thursday December 10, 2015 at 5:19 p.m.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating the death of a Pittsfield Avenue woman.
Shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday Police found the body of Halena Irene Gill, 37, inside an apartment at 144 Madison Avenue. Police are now asking for information from anyone who may have seen Gill over the past several days.
An autopsy is expected to be conducted sometime Friday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke to determine the cause of death.
According to her Facebook profile, she studied criminal justice at Westfield State College and she once worked as a leadership coordinator at the United Way.
She had just celebrated her 37th birthday on November 17.
Pittsfield Investigating Four Fires; One Individual Detained
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters spent Tuesday morning fighting a series of what appears to have been intentionally lit fires in the Morningside neighborhood.
Deputy Chief Daniel Garner released a report saying four fires were started in the early hours and that an individual has been detained by police.
The morning started with Engine 2 responding to a fire inside of the apartment building at 40 Perrine Ave. at about 2:30 and was quickly followed by two outside rubbish fires on the nearby Plunkett Street and a fully involved vehicle fire on Kellogg Street.
"All fires were brought under control quickly and there were no injuries," Garner wrote.
The first fire was in a common hallway of Perrine and Engine 2 "made quick work and ensured extinguishment." Engine 3 was subsequently dispatched to 76 Plunkett St. for an outside fire.
"They found household rubbish ablaze in front of the residence. Subsequently, they found a similar fire in front of 72 Plunkett as well," Garner wrote.
"An area search found a fully involved motor vehicle fire in close proximity to the residence of 41/43 Kellogg Street."
All of the engines, Tower 1, and a command vehicle responded to the vehicle fire. Garner also reports that state and Pittsfield police have detained an individual in connection to the fires.
Pittsfield Police say Jeffrey Benoit, 26, of Hinsdale was arrested and will be arraigned in district court Tuesday.
The Fire Department and the Police Department are both investigating the incidents.
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