Letter: Chief probation officer was court's heart, soul


To the editor:

On Friday, May 31 at 4:30 p.m. William D. Gale, chief probation officer of the Berkshire Juvenile Court, walked out the front door for the last time as chief. Such a bittersweet moment. We are happy for Bill on his retirement after 30 years of service, but sad for us and our community. He was the heart and soul of our court.

I do remember our first meeting on July 1, 1997 in the hall outside the courtroom at Pittsfield District Court. We did not even have a building yet, but we all pulled together and trained and traveled and put into action an institution which has striven for compassion, fairness and justice since that first day.

We will miss his passion and excitement for the work we do. We will actually miss his face turning red when he got excited or the way he could calm any situation. We will miss his love and dedication to the work he did and the families that he helped over the years. He loved being on the front lines and he cared and respected every child that has come through our court. He led us with caring and compassion. Adult kids to this day still come through the front door looking for Bill and his probation officers. They share their stories of success and are grateful to have someone in their lives that cared about them. The juveniles who came through our court were always treated with respect and were given many chances to succeed. Some we could not help. But we always did our best, especially with Bill's guidance.

I cannot imagine what it is like to wake up on a Monday morning without an alarm with the whole world waiting for you to start your next chapter. But, Bill, enjoy your family and your free time! It's well earned! Look out deer, fish, and turkeys, he's coming for you! We'll keep up the good work here! Thank you for your service!

Julie Salatino,




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