To the editor: I am calling on the Williamstown Select Board to work with Town Manager Charlie Blanchard and fire Williamstown Police Officer Craig Eichammer over having a picture of Hitler in his locker for 20 years.
The standard for who gets to police this town has to be higher than "not a Nazi." We pay these people. They are accountable to us. And our lives are literally in their hands — the potential for harm is enormous, and so is the level of accountability to which we must hold them. We need police officers who are sensitive and responsible, who can respond to calls from people of different racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds and treat them with respect.
Whatever Officer Eichammer's intention behind hanging that picture, whether or not it was a "joke," it shows a shocking lack of judgment to hang that picture for a single day. To do so for 20 years is simply appalling. We need police officers who are trustworthy. I do not trust an officer who has a picture of Hitler in his locker, and I can only imagine how people of color, Jewish people, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities might feel. This is why we need Williamstown CARES: to uncover and uplift the voices of people who have been silenced by racism and classism; to unearth the insights, needs, demands and strengths of the whole community. It is an investment in a healthy future for the town.
That some Select Board members have remained silent about both Town Manager Blanchard's rationalization of the photo and his attempts to axe Williamstown CARES blows my mind. Please: Speak up and stand up for the safety of our people. Thank you for your service.
Rachel Payne, Williamstown