Suffield Police Department, Serving Our Community

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I had the privilege to meet Suffield Police Chief James Canon and then sit with Captain Robert Palmer and Lieutenant Ryan Burrell for an informal interview.

Organization Structure:

The SPD runs a very efficient and effective organization, always looking for ways to improve. The Command Staff is made up of the Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, complimented by an Administrative Assistant, a Records Administrator, three full-time and two part-time Dispatchers with one position vacant due to a retirement in 2023. There are four Sergeants and fourteen patrol officers. There are no less than two to three dedicated police vehicles patrolling our streets at any one time. There is one full-time School Resource Officer who rotates amongst the schools. There are no part-time patrol officers as their training requires everything a full-time officer would require and is just not cost-effective for the town.
Over half of the SPD’s employees are residents of Suffield.

Crime Summary
2022 – 2023:

The largest increase in one area of crime is fraud. There were 45 complaints in 2022 and 112 complaints in 2023, a 150% increase. Fraud includes everything from identity theft to someone calling and demanding money because their son/daughter etc. is in jail and needs bail money. My father and I were subject to this particular crime. Luckily with a quick check and confirmation from a relative, there was no loss. The Suffield Police will take action on any fraud reported to them, but these investigations are challenging even when there is an actual financial loss. Often a fraud case investigation hinges on how quickly the victim reports the crime to the police; money can disappear very quickly. Mental Health calls increased 110% from 2022 to 2023. Domestic Disturbances increased 40% from 2022 to 2023. Medical calls were down 15% but still totaled 1,575 for the year. Larceny complaints stayed about the same. Motor vehicle accidents decreased 34% totaling 321. Motor vehicle stops increased 27% resulting in 1,216 citations. There were 138 DUI/Erratic Operator stops. Arrests increased 40% totaling 125.

Community Outreach:

The SPD hosts numerous events throughout the year to get to know the community and for the community to get to know them. SPD hosted events include but are not limited to; Coffee with Cops, Citizens Police Academy, First Responders Meet and Greet, reading events at Spaulding and McAlister schools, National Night Out, Christmas Luncheon at the Senior Center, just to name a few. Look for these events on the Town website calendar and printed in The Suffield Observer.

Suffield Public Schools:

Randy Roman is the full-time School Resource Officer. He covers all schools, but his main focus is on high school and middle school. He takes pride in building relationships with the students and for them to get to know him. He fields many questions from the students, and he is always interested in maintaining a positive relationship with them. Officer Roman works with the three Safety and Security Specialists who are school system employees. Officer Roman has both an SPD radio and a radio dedicated to the Safety and Security Team. Besides the day-to-day interaction with the students, Officer Roman is part of just about every event the school system has, whether it be home sporting events, proms, graduations or volleyball night, you’ll find him there.

In closing, I just want to thank Captain Palmer, Lieutenant Burrell and SRO Roman for taking the time to sit/speak with me. These officers do dangerous work. Each motor vehicle stop, each domestic disturbance can turn into something more than just “routine”. The biggest takeaway I got from the department as a whole is that they care. Their objective is to make Suffield residents as safe and secure as they possibly can. These officers and employees live, work and have families of their own. They want to ensure Suffield stays safe and secure. When the SPD marched by in our Memorial Day parade, I and everyone around me gave them an extra-long round of applause, just as I have done since I was a kid in the 1960s. If you see a police officer out and about at a town event, etc., say hello and thank them for their service.

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