The Hull Police Department at One School St. is open 24/7, 365 days a year, offering a wide array of services to meet the needs of Hull residents, the police chief recently reminded the community during a presentation to the Select Board.
“Some people call to ask when we’re open, but we’re always here,” Police Chief John Dunn told board members in a report about HPD’s many duties and activities.
Besides the chief, the HPD is comprised of a deputy chief, one lieutenant, five sergeants, one detective, 20 patrol officers, four special police officers, and an animal control officer, plus maintenance and administrative staff. One officer is assigned as a full-time school resource officer during the school year.
Hull police officers work together to carry out the department’s mission of helping to ensure the safety and security Hull residents by providing “responsive and professional police service with compassion and concern,” Dunn explained. “Our purpose is to work with the community to build trust and provide quality service that actively prevents crime, reduces the fear of crime, and promotes safety.”
Duties performed by HPD officers include carrying out preventive patrols, conducting criminal investigations, investigating vehicular/bicycle/pedestrian crashes, conducting traffic enforcement, responding to residential, business and fire alarms, and assisting other emergency services.
HPD also works with the school department to present prevention and educational programs, organizes crime-prevention activities, responds to medical emergencies, participates in emergency planning and response, takes part in special events and community initiatives, monitors homeland security and intelligence information, and conducts building security checks.
In 2021, 1,061 offenses were committed, according to Dunn, with 197 arrests and 219 summonses. He also reported that there were 1,613 motor vehicle offenses.
The HPD responded to 15,915 calls for service related to vehicle crash investigations, burglar alarms going off, 1,325 ambulance requests to aid the Hull Fire Department, missing persons, harassment-prevention orders, issuance of 971 traffic citations and warnings, and 6,506 building/area security checks.
There were 737 calls to 911 for emergencies, and 298 requests for welfare checks. Nearly 800 parking citations were issued.
As part of providing services around the clock, “patrol positions must be covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” according to Dunn.
“The patrol division is not only the cornerstone of the department, but it is also the largest and most visible division” of HPD, the chief said.
Patrol officers use marked police cars, mountain bikes, and foot patrols in the performance of their duties.
“One of their primary responsibilities is conducting high-visibility patrols, serving as a pro-active deterrent to criminal activity, and remaining accessible to members of the community,” Dunn explained.
In addition to the patrol division, there’s a criminal investigation unit that investigates major crimes and incidents – collecting and examining evidence at crime scenes – suspicious deaths, sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries, cybercrime, and large larcenies, and also performs drug suppression operations, and conducts missing persons investigations.
HPD is a member of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, a non-profit organization led by the chief executive officers of 47 law-enforcement agencies for the purpose of promoting greater public safety. This is accomplished by providing a working collaboration among law enforcement agencies located in the southeast/west region of Boston.
Dunn also reported that HPD was awarded $73,089 in child passenger safety, pedestrian bicycle highway safety, and traffic highway safety equipment and enforcement grants from 2016-2021.
In addition, he outlined the HPD’s annual goals and objectives. These include providing police services “consistent with the vision and values of our community-based policing organization,” increasing specialized training for all personnel, and continuing to meet and adjust to the new standards and laws instituted under 2021 police reform.
Other goals relate to focusing on issues impacting the quality of life of Hull citizens – including addressing noise and animal complaints, summer parking and traffic concerns, and drug enforcement – and increasing enforcement of distracted driving violations, many of which involve the use of cell phones, according to Dunn.
Long-range planning goals relate to evaluating the department’s rank structure and areas of responsibilities to ensure “a more efficient table of organization,” investigating technology that would enhance the delivery of services and increase efficiency, earning Massachusetts Law Enforcement Accreditation within three to five years, and presenting a one-way traffic proposal for Beach Avenue.
Dunn expressed appreciation for the community support shown to the HPD.
“We are all proud to work for the town. Many of us live here,” he said.
Dunn noted that HPD officers place a high priority on education.
“Twenty-two have bachelor’s degrees or higher – 10 of those have master’s degrees, and others are working on degrees,” Dunn said. “They believe that education is important in making themselves more well-rounded and to show their dedication to the town [and their work].”