By Casey Quackenbush
August 1, 2018

An entire police department in Massachusetts resigned en masse Tuesday after complaints about unsafe conditions reportedly went unanswered.

The resignation of all four officers in Blandford, with a population of about 1,200, left the town with none remaining on the force. A statement on the department’s Facebook page advised residents to continue calling 911 in case of emergency and to defer to state police for other services. Six deputy sheriffs and marked cruisers have been assigned to the area from a neighboring county, 22news reports.

Interim Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki said she and other officers from the Blandford Police Department had been working with broken cruisers, inadequate bulletproof vests, poor radio communications, insufficient staffing and improper wages, according to 22news.

“Would you put your lives on the line in these conditions?” Sarnacki said in a press release. “I don’t think so.”

“For the past two months, Interim Chief Sarnacki has done a fine job with our police officers and our police department,” said Blandford Selectboard Chair Cara Letendre in a statement to 22News. “It is unfortunate that she led this officer walk out as she would have been considered as one of our candidates for Acting Chief position as we pursue the future opportunities with our police force.”

The abrupt walk out was triggered by a Monday meeting where, according to Sarnacki, board members did not appear interested in addressing the department’s concerns, favoring discussion about a forthcoming merger with a neighboring town’s police force.

Write to Casey Quackenbush at casey.quackenbush@time.com.

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