Thursday, February 13, 2020

Maynard Police Department

Plaque at Maynard Police Station showing
what is on the current uniform patch.
At the very first town meeting, April 27, 1871, the need for law enforcement was seen as essential. Three constables were elected: Fred Fletcher, William Maxwell and Thomas Farrell. Their responsibilities included keeping order, distributing town warrants, and for an extra $10 per year, school truant officers. The following month the town approved construction of a brick lock-up, 14 x 14 feet, consisting of two cells. The location was behind Railroad Street. Twenty years later, the town voted to build a new lock-up, also of brick, behind the Nason Street fire station. It was in use until 1934, then demolished in 1984 to make way for the Paper Store building at 36 Nason Street.

As late as 1900, the entire annual budget for the Police Department was $500 per year, but with the growth after the American Woolen Company bought and enlarged the mill, a larger police force became necessary. In 1930, crosswalks and yellow lines were painted in various places for the first time for traffic safety, indicating increased automobile traffic. A few years later police headquarters, including a lock-up, were moved to the building on the west side of town hall. The department got its first police car in 1938, added two-way radio in 1946, became responsible for managing the newly installed parking meters in 1951. Recent years have the meters bringing in about $40,000 and parking tickets $20,000.  

On October 4th, 1955, the department moved into the new combination police and fire station at the corner of Summer and Main Streets, to reside there for 54 years. After several years of planning and failed attempts to gain voter approval, a new station got a “Yes” vote at town meeting in 2007. The site was the building west of Town Hall, vacated by the Maynard Public Library, which had moved in 2006 into what had been Roosevelt School. The Board of Selectman attended the ground breaking ceremony on April 22, 2008, the ribbon-cutting ceremony one year later.

The police department uniform patch has its own history. From 1965 to 1982 it featured an eagle clutching arrows and olive branch, and a shield, all loosely borrowed from the Great Seal of the United States. In 1982 the Maynard Clock Tower replaced the stripes on the shield. Ten years later the shield contained the present-day Maynard Seal, with a smaller eagle clutching the US and Massachusetts flags. Lastly, in 2007, the eagle vanished, leaving space for the town seal centered on a blue background, with the words MAYNARD (above) POLICE (below). The trim on the clock tower image is shown as bright red. Through the years, the clock tower trim has been painted many colors: white, grey, bright red, and the present-day brick red.    

Maynard Police Headquarters, Maynard, MA
Present day, the Maynard Police Department headquarters are adjacent to Town Hall. Staffing is 21 officers (2 women) and 7 civilians, mostly dispatchers. Fire and Police Communications (dispatch) were combined into one communications center in 2015. Maynard has 2.0 officers per 1,000 population. That is below the national average of 2.4 per thousand. The completion of the Assabet River Rail Trail catalyzed a decision to purchase two electric-powered bicycles. Completion of Maynard Crossing, at 129 Parker Street, may necessitate increased staff.

According to, the 2018 crime index in Maynard was 3.3 times smaller than the U.S. average, but higher than in its surrounding towns. ‘Crime index’ is a City Data score that combines crimes against people and crimes against property. The great majority of reported crimes are thefts of property. There has been only one murder in the past 20 years. Week after week, the police report in the Beacon-villager is mostly loose/lost animals, vehicle accidents, family disputes and arrests for impaired driving.   
The town was not always so benign. Back around 1900-1940 there was a murder almost every other year! Circumstances were the usual: robbery, revenge, jealousy. Lorenzo Barnes murdered Acton Street resident John Dean in 1896 after robbing him of $70; Barnes was the last criminal in Massachusetts to be executed by hanging. In 1919, Luigi Graceffa was found floating in Charles River, knife wounds. He had testified as a witness in a murder case in Waltham, and this was thought to be a revenge killing. Referred to in the Boston Globe as the "Mill Pond Murder," Lila Taryma, mother of four, disappeared the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday, 1953. Her body was found weeks later in the mill pond, lashed to a heavy radiator. Cause of death was head injuries. Her husband, Anthony Taryma, was initially charged with her murder. They had been seen arguing at a bar that evening, but he left and she remained. Anthony was not brought to trial due to insufficient evidence.

Police Chief: From 1902-1925, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen acted as chief of police. After that: John Connors (1925-1936), Henry F. Piecewicz (1937-1954), Michael T. Zapareski (1955-1968), Albert J Crowley (1968-1980), Arner S. Tibbetts (1980-1986 as interim chief, 1986-1994), Edward M. Lawton (1994-1999), James F. Corcoran (1999-2012), Mark Dubois (2012-2019), Michael A. Noble (2019-present).

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