Police Chief Michael Wynn provided opening and closing remarks.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some 23,721 law enforcement officers have been died in the line of duty since 1791, according to Police Chief Michael Wynn.
Five of them died in Pittsfield: Capt. Michael Leonard, in 1898; Jailer James Fuller, 1901; Secret Service Operative William Craig, 1902; Officer Leo Sullivan, 1956; and Officer Timothy Shepard, 1988.
In honor of National Police Week, the Pittsfield Police Department took time on Wednesday in remembrance of those five, officers throughout the nation, and those currently in the field.
"Who chooses to do this work? Why do they choose to do it? Critics will say they have an attitude, that they are biased, or they have something to prove. I haven't found that to be the case. In my experience, most people who become police officers become officers because they truly feel called to serve. They recognize that among us there are those who will willingly do harm to others. They recognize that most people would prefer not to admit that, deal with it, or confront it," Wynn said.
"They recognize that in all civilized societies, some chosen few must make the decision to place themselves between chaos and order."
The department has been holding the event for years to recognize both National Police Week and National Peace Officer Memorial Day on May 15. The national recognition began under President John F. Kennedy in 1962 when May 15 and the week in which it falls was dedicated. In 1994, President Bill Clinton directed that all flags on government buildings be lowered to half staff on May 15.
In Washington, D.C., a candlelight vigil and memorial service is held and the names of officers who died on duty are inscribed on a memorial.
"For many years the Pittsfield Police Department has commemorated Police Week by holding our own memorial service during or shortly after the national events," Wynn said.
Wynn said, throughout the nation, an officer dies every 53 hours. In 2018, 163 officers died in the line of duty and so far in 2019, 42 have.
The ceremony at the First Street Common featured Mayor Linda Tyer reading a proclamation honoring the day; Chaplain Russell Moody providing the invocation and benediction; Christina Wynn reading the poem "The Thin Blue Line"; Sgt. Cheryl Callahan reading "We Honor Our Fallen"; Mary Brinton playing "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes, and Cameron Martin playing taps after roses were laid on the common's stage in front of pictures of the five officers who died locally. Various law enforcement agencies in the region had representatives sitting on stage during the ceremony.
Chief Wynn, however, said just recognizing the officers who died isn't enough.
"It does us no good to recognize the fallen if we don't take steps to protect and preserve the living. Equipment is important, training is important, however, across all of our chosen law enforcement agencies, access to screening services, counseling, wellness initiatives, resiliency education, fitness programs, and other protective measures are vital," Wynn said.
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Hancock Shaker Village Opening For Baby Animals, Outdoor Spaces
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hancock Shaker Village will hold a limited opening on Thursday, June 4, as part of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's Phase 1 initiative.
The Village will open only its outdoor spaces — including its beloved baby animals in outdoor fenced-in areas — to the public Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This schedule will be in place at least through June, as the Village plans for a full reopening in Phase 3.
Leaders of the iconic living history museum have been working for weeks on a reopening plan with new measures in place to ensure the safety of visitors and staff. Such health and safety measures include online and timed ticketing, guest capacity limits, one-way paths to control guest flow, clearly designated distance markers ranging from 6 to 10 feet, enhanced cleaning protocols, more hand sanitizer stations, and COVID-19 training for all staff.
Visitors will be required to pre-purchase timed admissions, available online at hancockshakervillage.org or by phone at 413-443-0188. Members are always free, but must reserve a time slot prior to their visit. Guests and staff are required to wear face coverings.
"The health and safety of our community remains our top priority," Director Jennifer Trainer Thompson said. "With guidance from Governor Baker, we are looking forward to once again welcoming visitors and continuing our mission of connecting people to the Village and the stories of the Shakers."
The museum has been offering virtual programs such as a stream on YouTube of a dance performance by Reggie Wilson and Fist and Heel Performance Group in the Round Stone Barn and virtual talks with authors and Shaker collectors. The Village also expanded its social media presence, offering programs such as Facebook livestreams from the farm and popular Zoom with Baby Animals sessions. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village also made the decision to plant its 5-acre vegetable garden, which supports a 65-member CSA and provides 15 percent of its crops to local families in need.
"We know people have been eager to visit the farm when it is safe to do so," Thompson said. “Self-guided discovery has always been important to the museum experience here, and with baby animals, the trails, the architecture, and the gorgeous gardens, we’ll offer what has always been a hallmark of the Village: an inspiring, holistic experience."
The donation, which was made in honor of all BHS employees and medical staff, will be designated to support two major programs that provide reliable access to healthy food for residents of Berkshire County. click for more
Any other year, the graduates of Berkshire Community College and their friends and families would be filling The Shed at Tanglewood in Lenox.
But instead of taking the stage, speakers stood alone in front of a backdrop. And instead of being handed their certificates and diplomas, the more than... click for more