Located at 465 County Street, the Somerset Police Department is an accredited police agency under the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. Originally constructed in 1965, the Department was partially renovated in 2004 when a two-level, 9,000 square foot addition was added to the south side of the building. There are currently three adult male holding cells, one female holding cell, and one separate holding area for juvenile offenders. The main building consists of two floors, with the top floor accommodating command staff and the Detective Division and the lower level housing communications and our patrol staff offices. The older area of the building now contains the secured booking/cellblock area, records room, evidence, and the patrol sergeants’ offices.
In 2019, with the help of our taxpayers, we were able to totally renovate our communications area. All new radio systems and ergonomic call-taking positions were installed. These areas were not addressed during the 2004 renovations, and the updates were badly needed. Going forward, our call-takers now have the finest equipment on the market to support officers in the field and to assist our citizens with their daily needs.
Staffing is currently at 32 sworn full-time officers, which includes two officers assigned to the Somerset School Department as School Resource Officers. Support personnel include 6 full-time, Emergency Medical Dispatch and 911-certified dispatchers, 20 reserve police officers, 5 part-time dispatchers, a part-time records clerk, and full-time maintenance/custodial personnel.
Vehicles, Equipment, and Technology
The patrol and undercover fleet is made up of marked and unmarked cruisers, and a K-9 patrol vehicle. These are primarily Ford Explorers. The Department also deploys Harley-Davidson police motorcycles, and mountain bikes specially outfitted for law enforcement duty, as needed to support special operations such as parades and major events, or to assist in targeted police operations.
Every front-line police vehicle contains innovative technology to better serve our community and to facilitate crime prevention and detection. Our mobile computers allow each officer to communicate simultaneously with State and Federal Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Courts, and our own in-house dispatching and records systems. In 2019, we were among the first Massachusetts agencies to implement the e-Citation program. With printers now installed in every front-line police vehicle, officers can generate and print citations immediately, accurately, and quickly from the scene of a violation or crash. Medical devices such as automatic defibrillators, oxygen, and other life-saving equipment are also standard in every front-line cruiser. Patrol officers also have at their disposal radar guns, tint meters, portable breath test equipment, and other tools that are deployed as needed by the officers
The Somerset Police Department is led by the Chief of Police, George McNeil. Supporting him is a captain, two lieutenants, a detective lieutenant, a detective sergeant, and three patrol sergeants who supervise the daily activities and duties of the patrol officers. Aside from general supervision of daily operations, the command staff takes on additional duties to the support the Department, including evidence storage, firearms licensing, accreditation, and information technology. The captain also acts a Court liaison within the Second District Court division.
The Patrol Division handles the bulk of all calls in any police department, and the Somerset Police Department assigns a minimum of three patrol officers and one patrol supervisor to each of three shifts from 12a to 8a, 8a to 4p, and 4p to 12a. Each of the three shifts is staffed by a minimum of 6 patrol officers, one sergeant, and a lieutenant who is the shift commander.
The Detective Division is currently staffed with two detectives and a detective sergeant, who are commanded by the detective lieutenant. This division is assigned to drug investigations, sexual assaults, and in-depth cases which are frequently referred by the patrol division when their resources are exhausted.
The Somerset Police Department also maintains a Communications Division, staffed by 6 full-time call takers supported by part-time call takers and our reserve officers, who are mandated to learn all facets of the Communication Division as part of their training to become full-time officers. The Communication Division is commanded by a sergeant from the Patrol Division, with all operations overseen by the captain.
In addition to the standard divisions, the Somerset Police Department maintains several specialty units. These units are deployed to assist with crime prevention and detection activities, and to respond to calls for service that require specialized training.
The K9 Unit is one of our most highly trained and they are utilized often by not only Somerset officers, but also area departments who lack K9 resources. Our K9 officer, Viepo, and his handler, Patrolman Jared Linhares, have received hundreds of hours of training in tracking, locating, and apprehending wanted persons, along with drug detection in several different classifications.
The Department also assigns two patrol officers as School Resource Officers. These are positions appointed by the Chief of Police, with one officer assigned to the K-8 schools and the other assigned to the Somerset-Berkley Regional High School. Both officers receive specialized training and work together with school administrators to ensure the safety of our community’s children.
Beginning in 2019, the Somerset Police Department implemented the POP Unit (Problem Oriented Policing) to deal with intensive problem areas or situations which require more individualized attention than can be offered by the Patrol Division. Two officers are currently assigned to the POP Unit, and they handle Town issues which can range from ongoing neighbor disputes to specific problem areas where criminal activity is elevated. These issues don’t always involve criminal activity, and frequently focus on quality-of-life issues or simple assistance with everyday issues our citizens may face.
The Motorcycle Unit consists of two Harley-Davidson police motorcycles, which are operated by several of the patrol officers who have received specialized training. These motorcycles are frequently deployed to assist with Town parades and events, and they are also used for regular patrol duties. The Motorcycle Division also assists the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLEC) in funeral duties and very large events requiring multi-jurisdictional responses.
Similar to the Motorcycle Unit in assisting with large events, the Department also staffs a COBWEB-certified Bicycle Unit. This Unit can patrol areas such as our Town beaches and undeveloped areas, where motorized units cannot. Also, during parades or large events the bicycle officers can operate among civilians to ensure a safe police presence.
Policing in the 21st century involves much more than simply responding to calls for service. The Somerset Police Department is very proud of the multitude of programs we provide, and we invite you to explore this website for detailed information about our many programs. These include our partnership in SEMLEC, TRIAD, and the Police Explorers program.
Our Police Athletic League (PAL) program is among the best in the area, and three of our officers work tirelessly to ensure it stays that way. This interaction between our community’s youth and the police department is vital to developing strong bonds for the future with these children.
While we remain strongly committed to existing programs like our long-standing Child Passenger Safety and Domestic Violence programs, we continue to implement new programs as the need arises. In 2019, the Chief of Police enrolled the Department an intensive opioid interdiction program which seeks to identify, track, and offer services to those addicted to these drugs. This program brings together multiple Bristol County agencies, using computerized tracking methods, to ensure we are doing as much as possible to assist those in need.