The Hatfield Massachusetts Police Department
Brief History by Matthew Barstow and Chief Thomas Osley (Ret.)
1670 -The town of Hatfield was incorporated after separating from the town of Hadley on the east side of the Connecticut river. As part of Hampshire County in Massachusetts, Hatfield was required to elect a constable to enforce both the bylaws of the town and the laws of the county and state. The law required that a constable be appointed each year at the annual town meeting. Constables served for one year and were not obligated to serve two consecutive years but did have to remain in their position until another had been appointed to replace them. If someone was chosen by the town to be the new constable and he (or she) refused the position, he/she was fined $20.
1924 - Two hundred and fifty years after incorporation, the town of Hatfield established its own police department. The first chief, Arthur R. Breor, was appointed on February 27, 1924 and was chief for twenty-three years. His duties as chief were part-time. He had the use of a town vehicle and his annual salary was $2,100. He was also required to be the welfare agent and dog officer for the town. He carried the one gun that belonged to the department and wore only a police hat--there was no police uniform.
1947 - Chief Breor resigned from his position as chief after a controversy developed over the chief's salary. James McGrath was appointed interim chief and would remain in that position for seven years.
1954 - Henry J. Sliwoski was appointed chief of police in July of 1954. He would serve as chief for twenty-eight years, until he retired in 1982. His salary was $75 a month and the position was still part-time. There was no police cruiser and still only one gun for the entire department that was passed from officer to officer when they went on patrol. All of the officers were part-time and patrolled in their own cars and were paid mileage by the town.
Hatfield Police Auxiliary Circa 1954
From left to right – Front Row: Adolf Ciszewski, William Symanski, Anthony Sikorski, Stanley Jagodzinski, John Besko, Harry Lize. Back Row: Robert Thayer, William Slowikowski, Ralph Vollinger, Henry Szych, Stanley Symanski, Frank Godek. Not in Photo: David Omasta, Thaddeus Kabot, Walter Harubin.
Policemen's Ball 1958
From Left to Right - Front Row: Mitchell Kempisty, Peter Malinowski, Stanley Filipek, Henry Sliwoski, John Brennan, Stanley Malinowski, Back Row: George Omasta, James E. McGrath, William Podmayer, Peter Kubosiak, Stanley Prunal, Joseph S. Wilkes, Anthony Malinowski, Henry Kosakowski, Peter Backiel
1966 - The town purchased their first ambulance for $3,254.10. This eliminated the need for the officer on patrol to transport injured parties to the hospital.
1970 - The police department obtained their first two-way radio from the
Massachusetts State Police for use in their cruiser. This allowed the officer on patrol to communicate directly with the state police barracks in Northampton, which received many of the police calls for Hatfield.
1973 - The police department hired its first police woman, Patricia E. Cady.
1976 - Through the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) program, the town hired three full-time police officers. All three would eventually leave the department or become part-time officers.
1979 - The Massachusetts State Police modernized its radio system and replaced the one radio in the Hatfield police cruiser with a compatible one.
1982 - Chief David M. Hurley was appointed to replace Chief Sliwoski. In order to comply with the current state law, all police officers in town were now required to attend formalized training at the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council police academy in Agawam.
1983- Crocker Communications in Greenfield hired to serve as police dispatch for all emergency calls in town. Before this date, a "blue phone" network had served the town, where blue police phones were installed in various resident’s homes who agreed to be available to answer police calls during predetermined times of the day.
1984- First Hatfield Police Department policies and procedures manual was implemented.
1985 - Gregory Weeks hired as the town's first regular full-time police officer. A parking clerk was also appointed and parking tickets were obtained by the town to enforce parking laws. Although the parking by-laws were created thirty-six years earlier by Chief Sliwoski in 1949, they were not enforceable until a parking clerk was appointed.
1994 - The Town of Hatfield joined the Massachusetts State Police Public Safety
Answering Point (PSAP) regional dispatch center at the Northampton State Police barracks, replacing Crocker Communications as police dispatch. As a result, the town was now equipped with Enhanced 911 (E911) telephone service, allowing the name and address of a caller dialing 9-1-1 to appear on a computer screen in the dispatch center.
1996 - Tom Osley was appointed the second regular full-time police officer.
1997 - The Hatfield Police Department gets its first four-wheel drive police cruiser
2005 - The Hatfield Police Department obtains its first lidar (laser) speed measuring device for enforcing speed limits.
2005 - As part of a Homeland Security Grant, the Hatfield Police Department obtained a four-wheel-drive all-terrain vehicle for reaching those places inaccessible by a full-sized police cruiser.
2007 - Chief David Hurley retired as police chief after 25 years of service. Lt. Thomas Osley became acting police chief.
2007 - Lt. Thomas Osley was appointed as the permanent police chief. Serving in this capacity until his retirement on June 30, 2017
2017 – On July 1st of this year, Lt. Michael Dekoschak was appointed to the position of Police Chief. He still serves in this role.