Mark Segalla, Chief of Police
15 Union St.
Reading, MA 01867
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Statement of Reading Police Chief Mark Segalla
READING — Police Chief Mark Segalla issues the following statement in regards to a photo, sent to members of the news media, that appears to depict a Reading police officer using a cell phone while in a police cruiser:
“I have been made aware of a photograph that was sent to members of the news media that depicts a Reading Police Officer, driving a marked police cruiser, holding a cell phone in his left hand.
“As police chief, I appreciate the diligence of citizens to bring something like this forward. The Reading Police Department, at my direction, has begun an investigation to determine exactly what is happening in this photo.
“We are not looking to rush to judgment – at this early stage we do not know if the vehicle was being driven or was parked along the side of the road — but if the investigation shows that the officer was driving while using a mobile device, we will address that violation appropriately.
“I want to take a moment to address the greater concept of distracted driving. We havel relatively new laws banning texting and handheld phone use while driving. Police are engaged in an aggressive enforcement campaign to stop and prevent distracted driving, and certainly we must set the example.
“I think one of the major problems we face as a culture is that the urge to grab your cell phone is so ingrained in us. The temptation is so great to reach for the phone or even glance down at it. If we are going to change our bad habits, it is going to take a deep cultural shift, and we all have to look inwards.
“The fact is that it is too easy to get distracted for even a second, and that is all you need to have a tragic result. So, we are going to investigate this incident, but we are going to use it, and work with our partners in the media, as a way to spread a message to everyone that we need to put the phones down.”