Maynard, MA, USA: Beacon-Villager newspaper column on local history, observations on nature and recreational activities, plus an occasional health-related article. Columns from 2009-11 collected into book "MAYNARD: History and Life Outdoors." Columns from 2012-14 collected into book "Hidden History of Maynard." - David A. Mark
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 city-data.com, 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).