WILLIAMSTOWN — Amid calls for the resignation of Williamstown Police Officer Craig Eichhammer, little publicly is known about him or his performance on the force.
And under a barrage of negative news coverage, his friends are concerned for his well-being.
According to one acquaintance familiar with Eichhammer’s situation, his dedication to the town’s Police Department hasn’t wavered.
“He grew up in town, got the job he always wanted as a police officer in his hometown, and is dedicated to the town,” Tony Boskovich said. “This is his community.”
He also noted that after all the negative publicity, Eichhammer likely would have a hard time finding another job in policing. “He’s kind of stuck, and the people around him are very worried about him,” Boskovich said.
Two letters — one was from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the other from the NAACP Berkshire County branch — requested that the town terminate Eichhammer’s employment.
They cite the fact that a photograph of Hitler hung in his locker for about 20 years, which Eichhammer has said was a practical joke on a fellow officer in 1999.
They also refer to his sexual aggression toward a Williamstown resident in 2011, for which he was disciplined at the time, and his recent placement on the Berkshire district attorney’s “do-not-call” list because of the 2011 incident.
Eichhammer started with the Williamstown Police Department in 1990, according to interim Police Chief Michael Ziemba.
In 2004, Eichhammer was awarded the Medal of Valor for showing restraint in apprehending a suspect suffering from mental afflictions and committing break-ins in town. When police went to apprehend the suspect, he pantomimed pulling a gun, and the officers would have been justified in using severe force, but did not, and apprehended the suspect to get him the help he needed, Ziemba said.
In a post on the Williamstown Police Department’s Facebook page, it was reported that, about a month ago, Eichhammer was called to the scene of a nonresponsive heroin-overdose victim and was able to save the man’s life by administering Narcan.
One fellow police officer, who asked to remain anonymous because of the volatility of the issue, said that Eichhammer has made mistakes and has worked hard to overcome errors. He described Eichhammer as dependable and dedicated.
“He does his job and he does it well,” the officer said. “He has saved lives, solved crimes and he has been good for this town. But, the good stuff gets overlooked.”
Eichhammer “is getting hit from all sides right now,” Boskovich said. “The attacks are very personal, and it’s almost a daily wave of outrage. He’s walking around with a target on his back. It’s relentless, and it seems orchestrated.”