This town’s entire police force resigned over working conditions

The police force for a small Massachusetts town resigned Monday, making the announcement via Facebook.

“If you have a police, fire or medical emergency, please continue to call 911 as you normally would,” the department told residents. “The entire Blandford Police Department resigned this evening, effective immediately.”

The four-member department cited inadequate staffing, poor pay and the quality of equipment as their reason for resigning, reported Tuesday. Interim Chief Roberta Sarnacki told local news that officers had been dealing with “cruisers that don’t work, bulletproof vests that are not fitted to them or might be expired, poor radio communications, inadequate staffing and improper wages.”

Sarnacki told local news that Blandford police officers made $14 and $15 an hour, adding that the department’s best car would overheat, had no air conditioning and that the electric seat is stuck in the reclined position. The department is also reportedly down three officers and a request for new hires had recently been turned down.

The department had previously discussed combining with a second police department, reported, and had planned on continuing discussions next month. Sarnacki said town board members had been more focused on the merger than fixing the department’s issues, triggering the resignation.

Massachusetts State Police announced via Twitter that residents of Blandford could continue to rely on state police to protect the community, adding that it had “for decades” provided supplemental services to the town, especially during the overnight shift.

Blandford sits on the western end of Massachusetts, about 41 miles north of Hartford, Conn., and has a population of 1,253, according the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016.