Opie hits the road

Massachusetts Environmental Police Sgt. Scott Opie has left the Vineyard. — Courtesy Massachusetts Environmental Police

Massachusetts Environmental Police Sgt. Scott Opie has left the Vineyard. As The Times previously reported, Sgt. Opie began work on the Vineyard in 2020, much to the satisfaction of local officials. Opie previously patrolled the Vineyard four days a week. His departure comes in the midst of archery season for deer and just ahead of shotgun season. 

“Currently, the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) are working to quickly fill the vacant sergeant position located on Martha’s Vineyard,” MEP wrote in a short statement. “In the meantime, available area MEP officers will provide Martha’s Vineyard with coverage. Additionally, the public safety agency is developing specific plans to provide coverage during the shotgun hunting season.”

The Environmental Police gave no reason for Opie’s departure. The Vineyard has had difficulty keeping MEP officers and forest personnel. Housing has been a critical factor. Despite efforts by state Rep. Dylan Fernandes D-Falmouth, an empty house within the bounds of the Manuel Correllus State Forest has not received legislative authorization to become state employee housing. 

Opie will finish out any open cases despite his departure.

“Should an open case before the Edgartown District Court require his presence, Massachusetts Environmental Police Sergeant Opie will attend the hearing,” MEP wrote. 

“The MV police chiefs are disappointed that MEP Sgt. Opie was allowed to bid off the Island without the Environmental Police having his replacement already established, especially as hunting season is currently upon us,” wrote Edgartown Police Bruce McNamee, president of the Vineyard Chiefs of Police Association. “As we have long stated, our Island enjoys a great deal of outdoor activities, both recreational and commercial, all of which need to be regulated by subject matter experts like the Environmental Police. In the absence of a locally assigned EPO (Environmental Police Officer) Island police officers will continue to do our best to protect our natural resources until a more permanent solution to the rotating door of EPOs is finally addressed at the state level.”