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Adams to Begin Preliminary Interviews for Police Chief

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — The town has narrowed the field of police chief candidates down to 11 from 37 applicants and anticipates beginning preliminary interviews next week. 
Interim Chief Troy Bacon is participating in the search committee to find his replacement after informing the town he would not be seeking the permanent position and returning to Indiana. Bacon had been hired in the summer on the retirement of Richard Tarsa.
"I was surprised to hear geographically where a lot of the applicants came from," said Selectman Joseph Nowak at Tuesday's workshop meeting. "Last time around, it was basically either New England and you, Chief Bacon, you're the exception. And now ... you just previously mentioned, why we got applicants from different geographical areas far away."
Green said, "we went fishing in a bigger pond." The town had advertised "in the right places" this time around, he said, "and advertising like that we've got a really good pool." 
The town had used a couple of New England regional websites that had attracted the attention of candidates from as far away as Arizona, Bacon said. "There are several candidates that applied who have ties to New England or to Massachusetts. Even the ones far out in Arizona."
Selectman Richard Blanchard thought that with some of the recent situations in larger cities, a smaller community like Adams might be attractive. 
Bacon said there were some from larger departments, some from departments the size of Adams and "everything in between."
"That's kind of the challenge when you have a broad spectrum of applicants, and such qualified applicants, because it was tough weeding it down because there's candidates that are good that just didn't make the cut," he said.
Selectman John Duval wanted to make sure that the applicants were asked why they wanted to come to Adams, particularly those from farther away. Bacon said many of the applicants had some links to the region and that Adams is known. 
"It's a vibrant community, a nice community. And people know that. And the more we advertise it on social media and the things we do and the community connections, those pay off," he said. "Those pay off like getting good quality applicants whether they're in Arizona, or Massachusetts."
The preliminary interviews will be conducted remotely over three days by Bacon, Green and a civilian who had been asked but not yet been able to confirm their availability.
Duval noted the board had been through this process six months before, when it had been searching for a permanent police chief. The board had known what it was looking for then and he assumed that the basics hadn't changed. So what would the screening interviews be looking for? he asked.
"The chief is going to be looking for a specific skill set that has to do with police knowledge," Green said. "I will be looking at managerial ability and control, ability to handle, frankly, the mundane tasks of being a department manager. We feel the third person is a good for fit for the feel of the community."
The rest of the interview will be random and Green said his brief perusal of some of the applications show the candidates fit the basic qualifications and have a wide variety experiences. He and the chief will work the number down for the board to choose from the best possible fits for the job. 
Chairwoman Christine Hoyt said she wanted a "manageable" number for the board.
"The smaller the number that comes before the Board of Selectmen ... makes an applicant more likely to go through the process," she said. "But if we tell 11 people that they are going to be identified in the media and the finalists are interviewed publicly ... they might not be comfortable with that."
Those who think they might not be in the top tier could withdraw so their employers won't know, she said.
Duval said the precedent has been three but if they wanted a broader variety, it could be four or five; Nowak said that was workable but he'd rather leave it up to the chief. "Certainly he's more aware of what makes a good police chief than I," Nowak said. 
The first round of interviews will take place Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week; Hoyt said she'd like to stay ahead of the holidays and get the second round done by the second week of December. 

Tags: candidate interviews,   police chief,   

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St. Stan's Students Get Crash Course in Accident Reconstruction

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — State Troopers Kyle Cahoon and Sean Curley, members of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (CARS) Unit, met with St. Stanislaus Kostka middle school students to provide an in-depth look into the process and science behind accident reconstruction.
On Friday, May 17, the troopers showed students how they determine the causes of vehicular crashes and identify who may be at fault. Curley said CARS is not called to every accident but only the worst of the worst that conclude in severe injury, death, or considerable property damage.
"If we have a real bad crash where somebody is likely not to make it, that's when we get a phone call," he said. "The officer on the road will realize that this is a very, very serious crash, and it might be outside of his scope of what he does. He'll call the State Police."
He added that there are four CARS units across the state, but theirs covers the largest distance in Western Mass — from Worcester to Berkshire County.
"So, there are response times for us that are a long time," he said. "I have driven for almost two hours with my lights and sirens on."
According to Cahoon, there are three common elements that contribute to a crash: the driver, the vehicle, and the environment. He emphasized that accidents are rarely caused solely by vehicles. Instead, human factors, such as driver distraction or adverse road conditions, are typically the primary causes of accidents.
"It's not typically just an accident," Cahoon said. "Like they might be speeding and not paying attention, they might be on their cell phone when they shouldn't be. Ninety-nine percent of crashes we investigate are not accidents."
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