Moms Talk: Has the Pride in the Stoughton Police Department Returned?
Moms sound off on the Stoughton Police Department, their improved reputation and what they would like to see from the SPD going forward.
The Stoughton Police Department has definitely been in the forefront of the media as of late. Since Saturday, they have had many news worthy events, such as the handling of the Page Terrace shooting and the collaborative drug bust of two Stoughton roommates.
The department also kicked off National Police Week with an awards banquet, the first of its kind, to recognize some very deserving officers. Then, of course, there is the most recent milestone…Town Meeting’s overwhelming approval to fund the purchase of tasers.
However, this isn’t the first time Stoughton Police Department has been news worthy. Sadly, it was for a very different set of circumstances. Most residents will recall, vividly, the sense of shame the town endured. Suffice to say, that during this time period, the SPD was been anything but a source of pride for our town.
In attempt to rectify, both the embarrassment and instability facing the town, the Board of Selectmen initiated a nationwide search for a permanent Police Chief. This long search came to a close about 15 months ago, with the appointment of Paul Shastany as Stoughton’s new Chief of Police.
In 15 months, a new leadership team has been established and additional or redefined practices have been adopted.
But has it made a difference?
It seems like an opportune time for residents, moms in particular, to contemplate and share their thoughts surrounding the status of the Stoughton Police Department, as it functions today.
Members of the Stoughton Mom’s Council have provided the following feedback:
A Mom from the West School District writes…
“I have heard positive things about the new chief. It seems to have revitalized the opinion of the department and seems like a real effort is being made to update the department and become more visible. I think it would be great if they were able to share more publicly whenever they change or update any procedures, etc.”
A Mom from the Gibbons School District shares…
“I follow the police department on Facebook. I like reading about all of the ways the police department is working to improve the safety of our community.”
“I think the department should make more of the community aware that they are on Facebook (currently, there are only about 1,100 people following the department.) Perhaps an ad in the Pennysaver or on the public access channel?”
“I think the department should take every opportunity to make the community aware of their efforts and to allow the people of the town a chance to provide feedback. The department should start a blog on Patch. That way, people in town has the opportunity to comment anonymously. People may wish to provide feedback, but Facebook does not allow for anonymity.”
A Mom from the South School District writes…
“Because I keep up with what is reported in the Stoughton Patch and Snyder's Stoughton and other media outlets, not too much on the Facebook page, I feel that seeing positive news about the police department is great for the reputation of the department.”
“However, I do feel like the damage was pretty severe and when former officers are retried it brings up the old news. Then the gains the department has made are slightly diminished in terms of public perception (a two or three steps forward, one step back kind of idea)."
“It seems that the new police chief has brought a positive change to the department.”
“Overall, I do feel like the department is heading in the right direction, however, I'm concerned with the direction of the town. There seems to be a lot of more violent type crimes lately. I'm not sure why, but as a mom I am concerned.”
A Mom from the Hansen School District commented…
“It was so bad before.”
“I guess I am now of the mindset that the less you hear about them the better because if it were bad, we would know!”
“We can only hope that this [progress] continues”
So there you have it. From these quoted statements and other “off the record” comments, it appears that Moms still have their guards up a bit. It became clear that they are looking for the Police Department to basically scream from the rooftops any and all tangible progress that is being made. Hopefully, this can be included in the list of many priorities that Chief Shastany shared with the MOMS Club of Stoughton on Monday.
What's your take? Let us know in the comments section. You don't have to be a mom to answer!