End the ugliness, support Chief Eaton
To the editor:
It was very heartening to read Dan Valenti's intelligently written letter (and quite a number of others) regarding Police Chief Robert Eaton of Stockbridge and the efforts of some town residents to have his contract renegotiated. "Stockbridge's chief is right leader for times," letter, Jan. 14).
As I stated in a previous letter, I share Mr. Valenti's perspective in full. We and a number of other merchants were victimized by counterfeiters recently, and just barely missed catching these people, by just a few minutes. It is entirely possible that if we had just one more officer on the street at that time, the criminals would have been arrested. But make no mistake about it, we are very blessed to have our chief, his highly professional outlook, and a terrific staff of officers.
The opposition to his contract that Mr. Valenti calls puzzling is in fact not a puzzle at all. The unmannered vocal minority that shows up at meetings is on a type of vendetta it seems, a type of mob rule that is demeaning to not only the town but also to themselves.
The behavior at Town Meetings has been anything but civil. Certainly the opposition seems personal and not based on anything factual. It is based on the fact that their friend or friends were not chosen for this position, that somehow being local is more important as a job qualification than being at the top of your game as Chief Eaton is.
To be even more specific, Stockbridge is seeing a large and noticeable increase in visitors, traffic, speeders, events, crowds, and yes, crime too. We need the most expert policing that we can find. Tens of thousands of people are in town every year, and those numbers keep going up.
Our town is not some little burgh in the middle of nowhere that no one visits. People come to Stockbridge from all over the world, and unfortunately not all of them are nice people. The Harts in particular should be aware of this as they are directly dependent on the tourism business as many of us are.
We can not cave in to these foolish demands to reduce our police coverage or methodology. We are not underpoliced in any way. Should Chief Eaton's contract come up for renegotiation, it is my hope that he will be not only retained, but also provided a long term opportunity to leave his mark in Stockbridge.
I am sending a copy of this also to the Stockbridge Select Board and town administrator as there are voices out there for whom this is very important.