Chilmark selectmen honor town police department

Selectmen commended the members of the town police department for good work in troubled times.

Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi, left, thanked the selectmen for their expressions of gratitude to his officers: From left, Pierce Harrer, Bill Fielder, Jack Collins, Sean Slavin, Whit Hyde, Kyle Sutherland, and Bret Stearns. Seated at the table are selectman Bill Rossi, left, and town administrator Tim Carroll. — Rich Saltzberg

Against the national backdrop of recent attacks against police, Chilmark selectmen reserved the start of their regular Tuesday meeting to acknowledge the hazardous daily work of the members of their town police department.

“It’s a tough job, and we want to thank you for doing it,” chairman Warren Doty said to the Chief Brian Cioffi and the assembled members of the department standing in uniform in the town hall meeting room.

Selectman Jim Malkin added his thoughts. “I think this is a horrific time in this country for lots of people — in fact for everyone — and for anyone who puts on the uniform and goes to work or just goes to work to be thinking all the time whether your life is in jeopardy, or your safety is in jeopardy, or the people you serve or protect or your neighbors are in jeopardy,” Mr. Malkin said; “it’s got to be terribly unsettling and a frightening situation. So just as we appreciate what you do, we also recognize for everyone involved — stripes and colors and creeds — it’s a really, really difficult time. And we support everyone. And we support you and your service here.” 

Selectman Bill Rossi highlighted the community relationship. “I feel like I’m friends with everyone of you,” selectman Rossi said. “I think I’m lucky to live in this community where I can feel that way. And I know I appreciate everyone’s evenhanded approach to policing. I know community policing is a major concern for this force, and I think you treat everyone the same. I really respect that and admire that about you guys.”

Police Chief Brian Cioffi, who rose through the Island ranks to head the department, said his officers work hard, train hard, and strive to be strongly community-oriented.

“We kind of function as a family,” he said. “And the old saying, Oh well, it’s the Vineyard, nothing happens — well, things do happen. We appreciate the selectmen, our governing body of our town, for taking the opportunity to have us come in and thank us for our service.”

He added, “We thank you guys for doing this. It’s not done very often for law enforcement. Nice to have this happen.”

The officers received a hearty round of applause after the chief spoke.

Squibby squabbles

In other business, the selectmen listened to follow-up reports from beach committee member Margaret Maida and Chief Cioffi concerning tour vans unlawfully entering the Squibnocket Beach parking lot. Ms. Maida said van drivers ignored requests not to enter the lot.

Chief Cioffi said he cannot prevent the vans from rolling up to the edge of the lot because it is a town road, but the lot is another matter. He said his department has contacted five of the six tour-van companies on-Island and warned them that they won’t be allowed past the stop sign. And If they do go past the stop sign, they could be subject to criminal trespass and/or a $250 motor vehicle trespass ticket.

He said the five companies his department reached said they will stop the practice.

Selectmen voted unanimously to deny Left/Right Productions permission to film a reality-based TV program on Lucy Vincent and Menemsha beaches at the beginning of August.

They also heard a detailed update from Vineyard Power president Richard Andre about offshore wind farm progress.