Ross A. Atstupenas
Chief of Police
15 St. Paul St.
Blackstone, MA 01504
For Immediate Release
Friday, Oct. 3, 2014
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Letter to the Editor from Blackstone Police Chief Ross Atstupenas
Note: This letter appeared in the October issue of The Blackstone Enlightener. Please credit the Enlightener for running this letter first.
To the editor, and to the people of Blackstone:
These past few weeks have tested us. They have tested our resolve and our faith.
As police officers, we train every day on how to respond to and handle emergency situations. We work hard to prevent crime, and our community policing efforts put our officers out into the community on a daily basis. But we all realize, when you see a police car driving by with its lights and sirens on, that something bad has happened, and that person is on his or her way to it.
We train and practice and drill for every imaginable situation. Then, we respond to a house in our own backyard, in a neighborhood of family houses and ball fields, and we realized that our training could not have prepared us for what we saw there.
I want to say three things to the people of Blackstone and our surrounding communities.
First: Thank you. Your patience and support has made all the difference. You did not complain when streets were closed, emergency vehicles filled the roadway, or bus routes had to be realigned temporarily. You knew that something was wrong, and you did your part to help us. For that, we are grateful.
Second: The Blackstone Police Department has been trying to be as transparent as possible as the situation on. St. Paul Street unfolded. We have been out in the community. We have been open to the media, which has come into Blackstone from all directions. We brought in a communications team that specializes in police emergencies. We have made public statements and released our records whenever possible. At the end of the day, BPD is responsible to the people of Blackstone, and we are keenly aware of that responsibility.
Know, however, that there are certain things that the unfolding court process and ongoing criminal investigation precludes us from discussing publicly until the proper time. We will not withhold anything from our community, but we also have a sworn responsibility to ensure that justice is served.
Finally, this tragedy has given all of us in the Blackstone Police Department — as it has with all levels of town government — pause. This happened in our neighborhood. We feel what every neighbor for several blocks around St. Paul Street feels, and we have asked ourselves since the first minutes of this investigation: What more could we have done? Why did this happen? Why didn’t we know what was going on?
We may never be able to answer those questions, but we are not too proud to acknowledge that we as a police department can do more, looking forward.
Therefore, stick with us over the next several months. We will be developing neighborhood programs and resources that we hope will make our community even stronger and our officers even more effective at aiding the town that we love and serve.
Thank you again for your continued support and faith.
Chief of Police