'Born to do it': Egremont police chief to be sworn in Saturday
EGREMONT — Erik Josephson, the town's new police chief, got the same introduction to law enforcement as most of us did — playing cops and robbers.
In his case, the game stuck.
Josephson, 57, will be sworn in as chief of the Egremont Police Department on Saturday during a small ceremony and open house for the community.
The 32-year veteran police officer, who most recently spent his professional time protecting and serving in Vermont, said he has always been interested in the impact police officers have on their communities.
"I remember watching the O.J. [Simpson murder] trial, but I was interested before that, in the 70s and 80s," Josephson said. "I wanted to make myself into the best all-around officer, pursuing degrees," he said."This can't be a pick-up-your-paycheck-on-Friday job; you've got to be born to do it.
"I like being involved in the community. Sometimes it's the regulation side of things, with handcuffs, but I do like the positive side of the work."
Josephson was hired to be the Egremont police chief in February. The town needed a new chief after Tyler Race resigned from the position after serving in the role for about a year.
Josephson was chosen from a pool of 14 applicants and will earn $73,000 a year to run the department, which has three full-time and eight part-time officers and staff.
He said he plans to move closer to Egremont to better oversee the department.
"He's got a very impressive background in large towns, small towns," said Select Board Vice Chairman George McGurn. "He's very big on community policing."
Before coming to Egremont, Josephson was a sergeant on the St. Albans, Vt., police force.
Now, Josephson, a Rhode Island native, is in the midst of finalizing his work to earn a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from New Hampshire-based New England College. He has two children and has been married for 28 years. In his spare time, Josephson said he enjoys riding his motorcycle.
Among Josephson's law enforcement accomplishments of which he is proud, getting women out of sex work ranks high.
"They're working the street and they don't like being arrested, but it wasn't personal," he said. "One or two got back on track, a lot of guys would consider that a success."
He also enjoyed working with a former department's gang task force, which focused on keeping children from joining gangs.
"The reality is you're 14 years old and you've been put into this life and you join a gang because you don't have options," Josephson said. "One kid got out."
In Egremont, Josephson said one of the law enforcement challenges is keeping an eye on seasonal properties. In the future, he wants to look into hiring another full-time officer.
"If you can go through your whole career and save one person or have a positive impact, it helps you love what you do," he said.
Kristin Palpini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @kristinpalpini on Twitter, and (413) 629-4621.
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