Selectmen appoint Zachary Townes to police force

Edgartown police chief Tony Bettencourt congratulates newly named student police officer Zachary Townes at town hall on Monday. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Edgartown selectmen unanimously approved the appointment of special police officer Zachary Townes as a student officer in the Edgartown police department, a standing that will give him a better chance of entering a 26-week police academy training course.

“This will put Zach into an early police academy this winter,” police chief Tony Bettencourt told selectmen. “When he gets out he’ll be a full-time Edgartown police officer. He’s going to pay his own way, but we’re promising him when he gets out, he’ll have that position.”

Chief Bettencourt explained that the demand for entrance to police training academies is so great that most academies are accepting only candidates who already have full-time police department positions.

Officer Townes will fill the open position created by Sgt. Kenneth Johnson’s retirement earlier this year.

“I’m very excited, very happy,” Officer Townes said following the meeting, as he accepted good wishes from family, friends, and five police officers who attended in support. “Anxious to get through the academy and get back and serve Edgartown.”

He is a 13-year employee of the town, beginning in the Parks Department at Recreational Field and on South Beach. He worked in the Edgartown School’s Bridge Program for students with intensive educational needs, then most recently with the police department. He has already completed a reserve police officer training course.

Officer Townes, along with Curtis Chandler, was one of two special officers appointed to full-year, part-time positions in August. Chief Bettencourt had high praise for Mr. Chandler.

“Eventually I hope to have both of these officers on the force,” he said.