The Amesbury Beat: Community involvement initiatives in transition

So, an era has come to an end! With Officer Tom Hanshaw’s retirement at the end of July, the Amesbury Police Department has lost a true community partner, one who will be difficult to replace.

However, when I took over as chief of police in July 2017, I knew the day would come and that it wasn’t in the distant future. I made it known to the members of the Police Department, city officials and some members of the community that it was important to us that we, the Police Department, be involved with the community on a multitude of levels.

I also promised Tom that his 36 years of dedication to building community partnerships would not end when he retired.

I began my law enforcement career with the Salisbury Police Department in 1982, did a few years each with the New Hampshire State Police and Exeter, New Hampshire, police departments, and came to Amesbury as a reserve officer in 1988.

I began my full-time position with Amesbury in 1995, where I immediately began assisting Officer Hanshaw with community-based initiatives.

In 1998, I was promoted to sergeant and became the supervisor overseeing the majority of police/community-based programs, most if not all of which were spearheaded by Officer Hanshaw. During this time, under Officer Hanshaw’s tutelage, it became apparent that with the community’s involvement, our jobs became easier in many instances.

Since I began my career, policing has changed significantly from law enforcement based to more of a services-based profession.

Today, our officers are tasked with dealing with a myriad of issues far beyond law enforcement and having trusting, professional relationships with other individuals, organizations and businesses that can assist us is a crucial piece of our ability to help those individuals within the community when needed.

This is where the rewards of Officer Hanshaw’s efforts have paid off and the list of resources and contacts available to us is extensive.

In keeping with my promise, “The Amesbury Beat,” will continue as a regular part of the Amesbury Police Department’s commitment to the community, though it will no longer be the responsibility of one person.

Beginning this week, a new initiative will get underway starting with the command staff. Each week, the column will feature a new author and address issues important to the community just like in the past.

Many of the people writing the articles you may already know, others will be new to you, but regardless of the author, our focus is on sharing who we are, what we do, and provide information to keep our community informed of important issues and events in and around the city.

To all of you who have enjoyed Officer Hanshaw and “The Police Beat” over the last 23 years, thank you. To our new readers, welcome!

If you have any requests or concerns that you would like to see addressed, please contact Lt. Kevin Donovan at the Amesbury Police Department.