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City Of Chicopee
A man by the name of William Pynchon settled in the City of Chicopee in 1638. William Pynchon bought the land in 1641 from the Nipmuck Indian tribe. The land was not officially settled until two brothers by the name of Henry, and Japhet Chapin, bought the land from John Pynchon in 1659. The city name derives from the Indian word, “Chicopee”, and is translated to mean “Violent or Raging Waters”. The land around Chicopee was mostly farmland for about 150 years, in and around the Connecticut River.
The city of Chicopee became an industrial center in the early 1820’s, because of the river locations and the people’s ability to build factories and use the rivers for power. The city was one of the states planned industrial communities, with manufactures building mills and housing for the workers.
Chicopee requested to break from Springfield in 1844. The state legislature granted Chicopee its own charter in April of 1848. The town prospered until the recession of the 1930’s, which slowed production. You can still see the left over factories from this era in the center of Chicopee; some of the old factories have been converted into apartment buildings. The City of Chicopee is also known for one of the world’s largest Polish celebrations. The city has about 75,000 people come for the Kielbasa Festival. The city has not had the festival for a few years because of logistic problems. The City of Chicopee also has the shad run in the fall. The shad run attracts fishermen from all over New England to fish the Chicopee River.
The City of Chicopee is also known for Westover Air Force Base, built in the 1940’s. The base and all the military personnel provided a large economic surge in the city’s economy. The base and its runways are still used today for the 439th Airlift Wing. The 439th Airlift Wing has some of the biggest planes in the world. The 439th operates and maintains the C-5 Galaxy transport plane. The base’s runways are very highly maintained, because it is the third landing zone for the Space Shuttle for NASA. They hold an air show every two years, which is the biggest in New England.
The City of Chicopee started its own police department in 1859. There were two constables appointed in 1859, with the addition of ten more in 1867. The first chief was appointed in 1867. His named was A.J. Marks. The city’s first Marshall was James Barnes who was appointed in 1891 by Mayor Taylor. The office was then changed to Civil Service in 1911 where the title of Chief of Police was formed in 1923. Frank O’Callahan succeeded Barnes in 1923 to become the first Chief of Police. He held this position until his retirement in 1940 when Francis Linehan succeeded him.
The City of Chicopee is about 25.7 square miles or 15,800 acres in size. The city is bordered by Holyoke to the north, to the east by South Hadley and Granby; the south, by Springfield, and by the west, by the Connecticut River. The city’s average height above sea level is about 154 feet. The average temperature in January is about 26.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The average temperature in July is about 74.1 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual precipitation is 43.9”. The city has only 26,920 registered voters. The largest percentage of voters are Democratic, they hold about 57.1% of the vote. The city has no hospitals located within the city limits, but the city has five long term care nursing homes, and one rest home. The city of Chicopee has five distinct villages: Aldenville, Fairview, Willimansett, Chicopee Falls, and Chicopee Center. If you look at the new department patch for the police department it contains five stars across the shield. Those stars represent each one of these districts.
The City of Chicopee has approximately 56,632 people living within the city limits. There are about 2,475 people per square mile. The labor force of the city is about 26,146, and there are about 25,272 people who are employed; which leaves about 874 people unemployed who live in the City of Chicopee. The total annual payroll in the city is about $612,006,282 dollars, making the average single person income about 30,118.
The city of Chicopee’s Police department has about 127 people on the payroll. The payroll consists of 102 Patrolmen, 12 Sergeants, 4 Captains, 7 Lieutenants, 1 Deputy Chief, and 1 Police Chief, whose name is John A. Ferraro Jr. The department also employs three civilian clerks. The department has 6 districts, Center, Burnett Road, Aldenville, Fairview, and the Willimansette District, which is split into two districts. The department usually has about nine cars out on the road at any given time. The department has one car for every district plus three floating cars. The three floating cars are called Alfa 1 (city north), Alfa 2 (city south), and Alfa 3 (the whole city). The department has two traffic cars that are called Tango one, and Tango two. The department has 17 cruisers, one dirt bike, four mountain bikes, one boat, and one Special Reaction Vehicle. The department has 17 detectives. Of those 17 detectives, we have three Drug Unit detectives, 1 DEA task force detective, and 1 FBI taskforce detective.
The police department building was built in 1976. The building contains seven cells in all, one juvenile cell, three female cells, and three male cells. The building has its own garage, which can hold all of the department’s cars. The department recently installed a new weight room with modern equipment, paid for by grants. The department also has its own gas pumps on department property. The building is connected to the fire department headquarters.
The police department averages about 40,000 calls for service per year. They had about 1,900 arrests, 4,000 incident reports, 1,800- 1,900 accident reports, and maintains about 3,000 active restraining orders per year. The department has nine people on the SRT team, and one K-9 officer.
The most horrific crime ever committed in Chicopee was the Bridal Path murder suicide, which happened in the 1980’s. A husband came home, killed his mother and stuffed her body in the garage. He then killed his wife and his three children and then took his own life. The man’s name was Grochmal. It was an open and shut case. The police still don’t know what the motive was for Grochmal killing his family. This particular area of Chicopee is one of the nicest areas, because it is where the most affluent people of the city live. There are also a series of rapes from the 1960’s that are still unsolved which happened behind the Fairfield Mall on the sand dunes.
The City of Chicopee has mostly Blue-collar workers. The houses consist mostly of Cape and Ranch style. The police department participates in Kid Care and the Dare Program. The department also has four full time school resource officers. Chicopee also participates in community policing programs with two walking officers in the summer time. The department has also set up substations in the city with the community policing grant money. The department has come a long way from when it first started with two officers, and will continue to develop and improve as time goes on. I look forward to working on the department for the next twenty-five years and being a part of the changes that will happen in the 21st century.
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