Hilltown Voices: New Chesterfield police chief meets with residents

For the Gazette
Published: 12/12/2016 12:13:33 AM

New Chesterfield Police Chief Edward Murray met with residents at the Chesterfield Community Center Sunday.

Murray, a full-time patrolman with the Easthampton Police Department for 23 years, was hired in November as the town’s part-time chief. He replaces Denise Wickland who served as interim chief for 16 months after the retirement of her father, Gary Wickland.

Denise Wickland, who also serves as police chief in Williamsburg, will remain on the Chesterfield force as a police sergeant. Town Administer Sue Labrie said the town searched for a full-time chief, but was unable to find a candidate that was a good fit.

“We decided to search instead for part-time chief and we received four applications. We interviewed two and chose Ed Murray,” Labrie said. “What we really like about him is that he is very involved in community policing in Easthampton, and is more about prevention and outreach rather than being heavy handed.”

In Easthampton, Murray started a “coffee with a cop” program, where residents casually meet with officers once a month to talk about ideas or concerns while sharing a beverage at a local cafe or park.

That program sparked the first annual “Cookout with a Cop,” which drew over 1,000 attendees in August.

“I absolutely love my job,” Murray said. “The best part is working with the public and getting to know the community. I am very excited about the meet and great because Chesterfield is a great little community.”

Murray said that he will work on a full-time rotating schedule in Easthampton and 20 hours a week in Chesterfield.

The Chesterfield Police Department currently has one part-time sergeant and one part-time officer who work 20 hours a week, as well as five other officers that are on call between on and 12 hours a week, Labrie said.

“I have gotten a very good reception and cooperation from the other officers, the interim chief has been very helpful, and the board of selectmen and town administrator have been extremely helpful as well,” Murray said.

Born and raised in Palmer, Murray, 47, lives in Westhampton with his wife Brenda, and has two children in college.

Winter Music Cafe

The Williamsburg Grange will hold its first Winter Music Cafe of the season on Friday, Dec. 16.

The event will feature The Rear Defrosters, a Brattleboro band that will perform its unique blend of high-energy authentic honky-tonk and rockabilly/country.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with an open mic from 7 to 7:45 p.m. The main act will begin at 8 p.m. The Grange is located in the center of town at 12 Main St.

This event is sponsored by Florence Bank. There is a suggested donation of $10 that will go to the Grange Building Fund.

Living, aging, dying

The Cummington Council on Aging is sponsoring an ongoing community discussion group entitled “Living Fully, Aging Gracefully and Befriending Death.”

Open to all Hilltown residents, the group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m., and explores one of the three topics. Tuesday’s topic will be about aging gracefully.

Meetings are held at the Community House on Main Street. For further information please contact Wynne or Lucy at 634-5576 or wynlucy@verizon.net or Annie at annieb@crocker.

Ideas for this column can be sent to Fran Ryan at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.




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