Southwick’s first policing started in the 1900’s with the election of constables at the Annual Town Meeting.
In the 1920’s, Southwick became home to one of the first State Police contingent, stationed at a home on Depot St. (corner of Depot St. & Sheep Pasture)
Southwick began it’s own part-time police department in 1923, appointing Joe Morehouse, Acting Chief and Charles Matthews as the first Special Police Officer. Morehouse elected Constable in 1923 and he retired in 1963. He was Chief of Police for 40 years.
As time went on, the State Police moved to Agawam and then to their present location in Russell.
Morehouse retires in 1963, Charles Wolfe Jr. appointed Acting Chief.
The town votes in a full-time department in 1966 and they first hire Richard Ryan of Northampton. Citizen’s were upset with the choice since they wanted the local favorite, Charles Wolfe. After a very brief time as Police Chief, Ryan resigns. Then the Town hires Henry Earle of Agawam and he too, abruptly resigns too due to public pressure. Finally, the Town hires a local officer but not Wolfe instead, James Curran, is appointed full-time Chief of Police.
Small addition added on to the town’s firehouse which became the police station.
By 1970, the department consisted of 5 full-time officers and 9 special police.
It was around 1970 when the town’s 911 emergency system first became operational. Now the police department was providing 24 hour coverage and two equipped cruisers.
On June 18, 1975, Charles Wolfe Jr. is finally appointed Chief of Police after Curran retires.
As result of a growing community & police department, more space was needed, under Chief Wolfe’s administration, additions were constructed during the 70’s & 80’s.
Mid 1980’s, the Police Association, through fund raising, purchased a Boston Whaler so now police patrol included the Congamond Lakes.
Chief Wolfe retires in 1990 and Henry F. LaBombard is appointed to the Chief’s position.
Under LaBombard’s leadership there is a considerable amount of change. Creating new positions such as a lieutenant, sergeants, additional patrolmen and even a detective.
In August of 1990, the department has two officers trained in the D.A.R.E. Program which started in the schools that fall.
In 1994 the department takes a step into the computer era. Now dispatch, records, & patrol are brought into a new computer system.
Recently, through grant money, patrol cruisers are equipped with laptop computers (MDT’s) enabling dispatch to better communicate with patrol. Also allows an officer to obtained motor vehicle info & warrant checks directly from the Registry & NCIC
In 1996, the department adopts the community policing philosophy, receiving state grant money to support different community programs.
Also under Chief LaBombard’s reign, the department had trained officers in several different fields of law enforcement such as specializing in accident reconstruction, D.A.R.E., dive & recovery, crime scene photography, community services, rape school, grant writing and creates a canine unit. First K-9 dog is Thom and along with his handler, Officer Joseph Brewer. Presently our K-9 officer is Officer Tom Krutka and his dog, Jax.
June 2004, Chief Henry LaBombard retires.
September 13, 2004, Mark Krynicki of Wilbraham is hired as the new Chief of Police. Under his term as Chief he has officers trained in Womens R.A.D. and the r.a.d.KIDS programs.
Our present Chief of Police, David Ricardi. He started with our department in 1988 as a patrolman. He previously was an officer for Enfield, CT and reserve for Agawam Police Department. Promoted to Sergeant 1991 and made the department’s first full-time detective. He is then promoted to Lieutenant in 2003 and promoted to Chief of Police June 2013.