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Halloween Safety Tips

Fall is upon us and as you know it is that time of year where many people both young and old put on their best costumes to head out to celebrate Halloween. To ensure that this Halloween is a day of fun-filled event the members of the Southwick Police Department would like to offer our residents some tips on how to make this a safe holiday.


• Before children start out on their ‘trick or treat’ rounds, parents should:

• Make sure an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.

• It’s best to take the little ones out early.

• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow and know the names of older children’s companions.

• Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.

• Cross only at corners; never dart out between parked cars.

• Cover one side of the street at a time, no crisscrossing.

• Never accept a ride in a car.

• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and NEVER to enter a stranger’s home.

• NEVER allow your children to go through a backyard to get to a home.

• NEVER allow your children go to a back door at a house.

• Establish a return time. Know the neighborhoods they will be visiting. Have the children stay in groups.

• Tell your youngsters not to eat any treat until they return home and the treats are checked by an adult.

• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety rules & precautions, including pedestrian & traffic safety rules.
• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address & phone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

• Make sure your own home is well lit and that there is a clear path to the door. Items such as bicycles, lawn furniture, electrical cords and Halloween decorations can trip Trick-or-Treaters walking in the dark.


• Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.

• Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.

• Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional Halloween injuries.

• If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of reflective tape should be used to make children visible. Use flashlights for extra visibility.

• Children should wear sturdy footwear and temperature appropriate clothing under their costumes.


• Children should understand and follow these rules:

• DO NOT enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.

• WALK, do not run, from house to house. DO NOT cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.

• WALK on sidewalks, not in the street. WALK on the left side of the road, facing traffic in areas where there are no sidewalks.


• Watch for children and adults darting from between parked cars.

• Watch for children and adults walking in roadways, along sidewalks and in parking areas.

• Enter & exit driveways, side streets and alleys carefully.

• At twilight & later in the evening, watch for pedestrians in dark clothing.

• Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. Use facial make-up instead.

• When buying special Halloween make-up, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Additives”, “Laboratory Tested”, “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics”, or “Non-Toxic”. Follow manufacturer’s instruction for application.

• If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.


• Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.

• Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.

• Carrying flashlights will help children see better and be seen more clearly.


• To ensure a safe Trick-or-Treat outing, parents are urged to:

• Give children an early meal before going out.

• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.

• Throw out anything that appears tampered with, homemade or home-packaged foods unless you are certain of the source.

• Inspect fruit closely and take away treats that may not be age appropriate. Young children may choke on things like hard candy or peanuts.

• Wash fruits and slice into small pieces.

• Be aware of food allergies.

• When in doubt, throw it out

Thank-you Chief Dave Ricardi

We are doing it again !!!

We are doing it again !!!

The Southwick Police Department is pleased to announce that it will kick-off its 17th Citizen Police Academy program starting this evening. The classes will be conducted on Tuesday evenings at the Fire Department Training Room. The current class has a full roster of 25 students.
Those students participating in the program will be introduced to all phases of the Police profession as well as the Criminal Justice System. The Citizen Police Academy is an eight week educational program which offers local residents and business owners an opportunity to learn about the Southwick Police Department’s practices and services. Topics that will be covered include but not limited to Court Procedures, Patrol Procedures, Criminal Law, Safety Officer Duties, Dive Team Program and Demonstration, Emergency Dispatch Functions, the history of the Department, ID Thefts, Scams & Fraud, Drug Identification, and Use of Force. The students will participate in a ride-a-long with an Officer, Firearms training simulation and a K-9 unit Demonstration.
The program is not intended to train participants to perform the duties of a Police Officer, but to create a nucleus of Citizens who are well informed about the Police Department Operation.
We are hoping to schedule another Citizen Police Academy for the spring of 2015. Anyone interested in participating in our next class can call Sergeant Sanders at 569-5348 ext. 624.

Chief Dave Ricardi


Officer Daniel F. Ryan #285


School Resource Officer in Place

I believe that it is important that the citizens and students of Southwick know that the Police Department added its first School Resource Officer (SRO) position to its roster in November of 2013. Shortly after the position was established I appointed Officer Daniel F. Ryan to fill the newly created position. Officer Daniel F. Ryan was given the task of establishing the School Resource Officer position within the Southwick-Tolland-Granville school campus.
Shortly after the announcement was made Officer Ryan attended the required training program sponsored by the National Association of School Resource Officers. Upon completing the training program Officer Ryan began to develop the SRO curriculum which he would first implement during the fall semester of 2014.
Officer Ryan has developed several goals for himself in his new position. The goal at the top of his list is to ensure that our students and staff are safe while attending or working at the Southwick – Tolland- Granville school district. Officer Ryan knows the importance of promoting positive relationships and maintaining open lines of communications between the Southwick Police Department and the youths of this community. I am sure that everyone will find that Officer Ryan is an approachable individual who will do his best to make our schools a safe learning environment..
As an SRO, Officer Ryan will serve as a Law Enforcement Officer, teacher, role model, an advocate for teachers, students and families. Amongst other things, the SRO position will bring personalized policing to families, students, and staff members.
Once the first phase of current construction project has been completed at the High School Officer Ryan will have an Office. He will normally be available Monday through Friday from 6:45 am to 3:15 pm. When Officer Ryan moves into his office sometime after November 1st we will post his contact information on this site.

Chief Dave Ricardi

Appreciation to Southwick Rotary Club

Appreciation to Southwick Rotary Club

The members of the Southwick Police Department would like to publicly thank the Southwick Rotary Club for recognizing all of the First Responder groups at their annual Steak Roast, which was held at the VFW on September 10, 2014. The Police Department was one of the recipients of a customized recognition flag which was designed to show appreciation for the services we as First Responder provide to the citizens of Southwick.

We are proudly displaying the customized flag we were awarded out on the flag pole in front of the Police Department. This flag will accompany our American Flag for the remainder of this month and every September here after.

It was truly an honor to be recognized by such an esteemed and prestigious organization.


Chief Dave Ricardi


Caution – School is in Session

The summer is now officially over and the schools will be in session beginning on Tuesday, September 2nd. We all can expect to be faced with an increase in various types of traffic.
The students will be making their way to school by utilizing a number of different modes of transportation. Some students will either be driven to school by bus or a parent while others will get some exercise by either walking or riding their bicycles to reach their ultimate destination.
This begins the season for an obvious increase in School Bus traffic. It is important that we keep in mind the traffic rules related to School Buses. Remember these vehicles are transporting our future leaders so drive carefully. A school bus driver will display the yellow lights on the bus when they are approaching a bus stop. Once the bus is stopped the driver will activate the red lights and the extended stop sign. When the students have safely exited the bus driver will deactivate the red lights and the stop sign.
If you are travelling before the schools are in session or directly after the schools are released for the day you can expect delays. We are asking that you be patient and understanding of the situation that everyone will be faced with until next summer.

Thank you in Advance
Chief Dave Ricardi

19th Annual Southwick Police Association Golf Tournament!!!

Come and join us at our 19th Annual Southwick Police Association Golf Tournament.
When: October 13, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Edgewood Golf Course. 161 Sheep Pasture Rd, Southwick MA.
For more information, contact Lt. Kevin Bishop. 413-569-5348 ext. 604



On Friday July 25th, Southwick will have the Town’s annual fireworks display, set to go off at approximate 9:15 pm. The fireworks will be set off from Whalley Park and can be viewed from the surrounding school fields. There is a considerable amount of construction in and around the area, so please use caution.
The Southwick Police Department will have numerous officers in the area to assist with traffic and parking. We ask that everyone be patient and considerate to others during this brief delay. Thank you and enjoy the fireworks!!!


Fireworks Laws


The 4th of July Holiday is quickly approaching us. This is a holiday that traditional brings about the illegal use of fireworks throughout the Town. Our Officers will be enforcing the laws where possible. Our main focus is to make sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Chapter 148, Section 35 Possession of Bombs and Explosives

· No person shall have in his/her possession or under his/her control any bomb or other high explosive, as defined by the rules and regulations made under Section nine (9), contrary to the provisions of this chapter or any rules or regulation made thereunder.

· Penalty M Whoever violated this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment for not more than two and one half years, or both, and any bomb or explosive found in his/her possession or under his/her control on such violation shall be forfeited to the Commonwealth.

Chapter 148, Section 39 Illegal Possession and Exploding of Fireworks

· No person shall sell, or keep or offer for sale, or have in his/her possession, or under his/her control, or use, or explode, or cause to explode, any combustible or explosive composition or substance, or any combination of such compositions or substances, or any other article, which was prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or detonation.

· Fireworks Includes: For the purpose of this section the word “Fireworks” shall include compositions, substances or other articles and shall also include blank cartridges or toy cannons in which explosives are used, the type of toy balloon which requires fire underneath to propel the same, firecrackers, cherry bombs, silver salutes, M-80’s torpedoes, sky-rockets, Roman candles, sparklers, rockets, wheels, colored fires, fountains, mines, serpents, or other fireworks of like construction or any fireworks containing any explosive or flammable compound, or any tablets or other device containing any explosive substance.

· Fireworks DOES NOT Include: The term “fireworks” as used shall not include toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices in which paper caps or plastic caps containing twenty-five hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are used, if they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for the explosion, or toy pistol paper caps or plastic caps which contain less than twenty hundredths grains of explosive mixture, the sale and use of which shall be permitted at all times; and provided, further, that this section does not apply:

· Penalty M Whoever shall sell or keep for sale or offer for sale any fireworks in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1000) or by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year or both.

· Penalty M Whoever shall have in his/her possession or under his/her control, or whoever shall use or explode or cause to explode any fireworks in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than ten dollars ($10) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100).

· The mere possession of fireworks is a non-arrestable misdemeanor. An Officer may seize the fireworks (since they are contraband) and later seek complaints. This does not mean that in extreme cases Officers are precluded from using other charges such as disorderly or disturbing the peace.

· Note on Seizure: Any Officer qualified to serve criminal process shall seize all of the fireworks mentioned herein without a warrant, and the fireworks seized shall, upon conviction of such violation, be forfeited to the Commonwealth.

· Notice of Seizure: Notice of such seizure of the fireworks shall immediately be sent to the Fire Marshal by the Officer making the seizure, and the fireworks seized shall be held and securely stored by the Department until the Fire Marshal or his authorized representative takes them into his/her possession for disposal.

· Fireworks DOES NOT Include: The term “fireworks” as used shall not include toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices in which paper caps or plastic caps containing twenty-five hundredths grains or less of explosive compound are used, if they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for the explosion, or toy pistol paper caps or plastic caps which contain less than twenty hundredths grains of explosive mixture, the sale and use of which shall be permitted at all times; and provided, further, that this section does not apply:

· To the sale of any fireworks to be shipped directly out of the Commonwealth, or

· To the sale of any such article for the use of, and its use by, persons having obtained a permit for a supervised display of such fireworks from the Fire Marshall or some Officer designated by him/her therefore, under any provision of section thirty-nine A, or

· To the sale of flares, lanterns or fireworks for the use of and their use by, railroads, railways, boats, motor vehicles or other transportation agencies, or other activity, lawfully permitted or required to use any or all of such articles for signal purposes, illumination or otherwise, or

· To the sale or use of blank cartridges for a duly licensed show or theatre or for signal or ceremonial purposes in athletics or sports, or to the sale of special blank cartridges and their use in the proper operation of industrial tools and equipment only, or

· To experiments at a factory, for explosives, or

· To the sale of blank cartridges for the use of, or their use by, the militia or any organization of war veterans or other organizations authorized by law to parade in public, a color guard armed with firearms, or

· In teaching the use of firearms by experts, or

· To the sale of shells for firearms, cartridges, gunpowder, and for the purposes of using, and their use, or in connection with the hunting of game or in target practice with firearms, or

· To farmers and fruit growers who, having obtained a permit under section thirteen of chapter forty-eight, sue firecrackers for control of damage to their corps by birds

Chief Dave Ricardi



SCAM ALERT…..SCAM ALERT……There has been several reports of phone scams in town as well as other surrounding areas. The calling party is stating that your family member has been in a car accident and money is needed immediately for treatment. There has also been calls stating that a member of your family, whether it be a niece, nephew, grandchild, son or daughter, is on vacation in the calling party’s area and, has been arrested and needs bail money immediately. DO NOT SEND MONEY OR PROVIDE ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION!!!!

These are scams. Hospitals do not solicit money before treating a subject that is in their Emergency room. DO NOT SEND MONEY! If a person has been arrested, that person would be calling you for bail money, not the police or any other law enforcement official where said subject was arrested, DO NOT SEND MONEY!!!

If you receive any calls similar to the ones described above, call you local police department and they will assist you.

Calls for Service involving Wildlife…..

As of 06/01/2014, the Town of Southwick Animal Control Officer(s) can not and will not handle calls for service regarding routine wildlife complaints in or at a residence or business within the borders of the Town.

· Our State laws prohibit the removal or relocation of wildlife. Our Animal Control Officer(s) can dispose of wildlife providing it is suspicious of having rabies and posing a threat to life.

· In the event there is a wildlife issue at a residence or business and it poses a threat to life or danger of serious injury to the public or animals or any situation that is a threat to public safety a Southwick Animal Control Officer will be dispatched to the problem location to assist.

· Our Emergency Tele-Communications Dispatchers will evaluate the information provided by the complainant to establish if an Animal Control Officer will be sent out to assist.

· Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 131, section 37, gives property owners the right to use lawful means to destroy wildlife in the act of causing damage or threatening personal safety. Landowners may only destroy wildlife actually causing damage or posing immediate threats. No one may randomly destroy wildlife simply because it is on their property. It is also illegal for anyone (Including Problem Animal Control agents) to live trap a problem animal and move it or release on other public or private property.

If the property owner cannot resolve a wildlife problem on his or her own, the property owner may contract with a licensed Problem Animal Control Agent (PAC). PAC agents act on behalf of the landowner and are constrained by the same regulations regarding capture, release, transport and euthanasia (e.g. animals captured by PAC agents may not relocate elsewhere). Fees may be charged for PAC services. When a property owner calls on a PAC agent, it is expected that the agent will also provide information and suggestions which prevent future wildlife problems.

PAC licenses are issued to individuals, not to groups or companies. Licensed PAC agents are the only individuals who may work with problem wildlife. PAC agents are not municipal Animal Control Officers, though Animal Control Officers are allowed to have a PAC license. Unless otherwise licensed as PAC agents, municipal Animal Control Officers may not legally handle wildlife unless the animals are sick or injured or present a threat to public health or safety.

· PAC agents may harass, take, and destroy, or may release or liberate on site as stipulated in 321 CMR 2.14 (23) non-domesticated reptiles, birds, and mammals the actions of which have or are endangering the life and health of humans or domestic animals; damaging the property of a person, obstructing the reasonable and comfortable use of property by the owner or tenant thereof or otherwise producing such material annoyance, inconvenience, and discomfort that can reasonably be presumed to result in damage or harm to persons or their property.

· PAC agents may legally handle the following species: skunk, muskrat, raccoon, weasel, red fox, gray fox, porcupine, Norway rat, mice, voles, red, grey and flying squirrel, opossum, chipmunk, rabbit, woodchuck, snapping turtles, moles, pigeon, house sparrow, starling and certain species of bats.

· Coyotes may be handled only by licensed PAC agents who have successfully completed a Massachusetts Wildlife training and certification program specifically pertaining to coyotes.

· It is strongly recommended that you not confront nuisance wildlife and to call a pest control agent to address your problem.

· If you are in need of assistance with nuisance wildlife the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife maintains a vast amount of materials which address various aspects of how to deal with wildlife and the conflicts which may occur. Their website which can be found my going to www.MA.Gov and searching for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. One on the site you will have an opportunity to review topics such as: “Wildlife in Your Home, Yard, or Neighborhood”, “Living with Wildlife”, Preventing Conflicts with Wildlife and “General Tips of Preventing Wildlife Conflicts.” You will also be able to find a list of PAC agents for the Western District.

Thank-you in Advance for your Understanding & Cooperation

Dave Ricardi – Chief of Police