Outside the Hinsdale, Massachusetts fire department on Wednesday, the district attorney was surrounded by county law enforcement officials and vehicles to make the announcement.
âThe new violent crime section brings together officers from various local county departments to jointly investigate sexual assault, high-risk domestic violence and human trafficking cases,â Harrington said.
Eight officers from the Great Barrington, Lee, Pittsfield, Hinsdale and North Adams Police Departments will make up the new section.
“The law enforcement task force began as a collaboration between detectives from the Pittsfield Police Department and soldiers assigned to the Berkshire district attorney’s office,” the prosecutor said. “It has since evolved into a sophisticated unit dedicated to investigating major drug trafficking operations. Today’s expansion will build on that legacy and broaden its impact to reach some of our most victims. vulnerable.
The Harrington office will fund overtime for local officers assigned to the new section, with an estimated cost of $ 110,000 based on 2020 expenses.
âThe Violent Crimes Section will provide additional resources to address gender-based violence historically under investigation in our community,â she continued. “This section will support local services in complicated and complex criminal investigations that would often otherwise be the sole responsibility of a patrol officer. They will initiate and execute investigations that cross city borders, which is absolutely essential for this job. . “
Harrington, a first-term Democrat, explained what sets the new section apart from other subdivisions of the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force.
“So we have the high risk initiative, this is the high risk domestic violence initiative,” she explained. monthly basis. It’s more about communication, prevention-type measures. And then we have the Domestic Sexual Violence Task Force, which is a community effort to change the culture of violence against women in Berkshire County. This group is really dedicated to the investigation, what we found in our prosecutions is something that in order to prosecute and get convictions we have found that we really need more investigation. “
“During my career, I have worked as a sexual assault investigator and I know that it takes time, resources and most of all passion to protect and serve the community to conduct these investigations into these types of crimes.” Hinsdale Police Chief Susan Rathbun said. She heads a department with an operating budget for fiscal year 2022 of just under $ 340,000 in the community of approximately 2,000 residents.
âSmall agencies like mine rise to the occasion when asked to do more for less,â said Rathbun. âWe are not sacrificing public safety in the face of personnel and budget issues. I see this partnership as a tool to improve the work we do every day, and to bring additional expertise and more resources and the ability to be more proactive policing to every section of Berkshire County. “
2sd Berkshire District State Representative Paul Mark of neighboring Peru said the creation of the new section is timely.
âIf anyone has experienced COVID, and I know we all have, living in one of the hill towns myself, it was extremely isolating, it was extremely lonely,
said Marc. âIt was a very stressful and difficult time. And we’ve seen it translate into an increase in domestic violence, an increase in gender-based violence. And it’s so important that as we come out of this pandemic, we are working together as county and state officials and city officials and police and law enforcement agencies to ensure that we are doing everything we can to not leave these issues in the shadows, for them. come out in the open to make sure people get the resources and help they need. “
Harrington told reporters she plans to publish a report on the activities of the Violent Crime Section in about six months.