READING – Select Board Chair Vanessa Alvarado late Wednesday issued a statement regarding the treatment of members of the Reading Police Department at the Select Board’s meeting of Tuesday February 11.
Roughly 40 people, remained at the Select Board meeting, for a discussion of the Police Chief hiring process. at 9:50 p.m. The audience was mainly members of the Police Department and also local residents objecting to the delay in the naming of a new Police Chief by the Select Board.
About an hour into the discussion in which the delay was blamed on Select Board Chair Alvarado, Select Board member Andy Friedmann made an statement that he felt intimidated, referring to the number of police in the room, who drive around carrying guns.
This prompted an exodus in disgust by most of the Police Officers present.
Later in the meeting, Friedmann directed a comment to Deputy Police Chief Davif Clark (who is the unannounced choice for the Chief’s position) saying “I know I offended your officers and I know they are not going to shoot me down in the street” adding that police can be intimidating.
For his part Clark responded that his departmen’s officers were highly professional and they are trained not to react to statements, often much worse, leveled at them in the course of their duties.
Apology by the chair
Statement regarding events at Select Board Meeting - Feb. 11. 2020:
"Yesterday evening, the Select Board held its first public discussion on the hiring process for the police chief position. During this meeting, a member of the Board made a statement that reflected poorly on our police department and that offended many residents.
"I want to state unequivocally; the Select Board fully supports our officers and public safety staff for their many contributions to our town. They are an exemplary organization. They walk into uncertain situations every day they put on a uniform. They are who we call when we are in need or in danger. They are who our children admire and respect.
"For their professionalism and dedication to our town, I give our officers in blue my deepest gratitude and respect. For any offense that may have been caused yesterday evening, I offer my sincere apologies."