Early History: 1727 to 1949
The Town of Southborough was incorporated on July 17, 1727. The first town meeting was held one week later, July 24th, at the home of Timothy Brigham which is now where St. Mark's School is located. First Constable, James Newton, was appointed at this meeting; and others soon followed. Each year a number of men were appointed as constables.
The first Chief of Police, William Wentworth, was appointed in 1930. Seven men were appointed as constables to work on a part-time basis under Chief Wentworth.
From 1931 through 1939 there was no police chief. However, in 1932 the first police officer was sworn in- James Harris, He was responsible for the police information and statistics in the Town's annual report. In 1935 additional persons were appointed as police officers.
George LaBarre was Chief and the first Deputy Chief was appointed, James Griffin became deputy chief in 1940 and the first fire/police officer was appointed. Mr. Griffin was terminated in late 1947 and was replaced for a short time by James Trioli.
Then in 1948, Howard E Goff became Chief. But in 1948 the Town voted to disband the Police Force and have the State Police handle the calls. Mr. Goff was still Chief, but had no force of men to patrol and perform law enforcement duties.
History: 1950 to 1986
In the Annual Town Report for 1950, prepared by the Mass. State Police, 69 arrests had been made. But it wasn't long before the residents and voters changed their minds about having a local police department. In 1951 a State Trooper observed a resident walking across Main Street. This resident was somewhat inebriated and unsteady on his feet. The State Trooper arrested him. Shortly after, the Town decided to reinstitute the Department. Mr. Goff continued as Chief of Police and was given a budget and full police powers.
For a short time, lifelong resident Fred Sanchioni, served as Chief. It was during his tenure that the worst tornado to ever hit Massachusetts took place, June 1953. Southborough, particularly along Route 9, was devastated. The National Guard was called in to patrol the Town and assist Chief Sanchioni. It was during this time that the first Police Woman, Grace Barber, was appointed.
In 1953 Frank Mattioli was appointed and remained as Chief until 1979 when he retired. It was during Chief Mattioli's tenure that the Department grew and developed many of the policies and procedures still in effect today. His brother, Richard, joined the force in the 1960s as a part-time officer. Two of Dick's sons are current members of the Department.
Whenever anyone would dial the police, the phone would ring in the Marlborough Police Department. They would notify the answering service who would then reach Chief Mattioli via radio in his car or at home. Then the Police 'Station' opened at the Town Hall in the 1960s. It was really only two small rooms. The station closed at night and re-opened at 8 am each weekday. In 1972 the Department moved to its current location, 19 Main Street, and operated on a 16-hour basis, 8 am to 12 Midnight. After the first year, it was manned 24 hours per day.
History: 1986 to Present
In 1986, Chief Baker resigned to take a job in the private sector after having served as Chief since 1981. Sergeant William Colleary was then appointed Chief, and served until his retirement in 2004. The 1980s started to see some initial growth in community programs, such as DARE and the Southborough Police Department Junior Explorer Program (for young adults 13-21 yrs of age). The 1990s brought an influx of State and Federal grants that made it possible for further growth in the areas of technology, personnel, and more community programs. It was during this time that the department started using our computer-aided dispatch (CAD) program, and we went from using typewriters to computers over the next few years. Beepers were replaced by cell phones; then smartphones; and soon we went from booking prisoners with a Polaroid camera to digital cameras. In 2002, a Combined Public Safety Communications Center was authorized by the Board of Selectman, and the Communication Officers began to dispatch for the Police, Fire, and EMS from the police station.
After Chief Colleary's retirement in 2004, Sgt. William H. Webber became out next Chief. Chief Webber continued to improve our technology and was very successful in adding personnel to the police department. Sadly, Chief Webber passed away prematurely from cancer in 2008. At this time, Sgt. Jane Moran was appointed Interim Chief, until she was appointed permanent Chief in 2009. She stayed in this position until her retirement in Fall of 2013. The Board of Selectmen then decided to fill this police chief's post with an interim while a search was conducted for the next full-time chief. Jeffrey Roy was hired and worked for 2 months until February 2014. At that time, Kenneth Paulhus of Blackstone, MA, and Woonsocket, RI police department was chosen after an arduous and contentious assessment procedure. The department continued to make improvements to the facility by renovating the Booking Room; adding an Interview Room; and building an Armory within the police station.
Keeping up with technology is crucial to maintaining effective Law Enforcement Policies and Procedures. Advancements in technology permeate every area of our department. Some of the more recent improvements to the police station include Fingerprint ID technology; Real-Time video monitoring and recording in our cruisers; Enhanced R-911 improvements; GIS applications integrated into our CAD system; enhanced and upgraded inter-operability with our CJIS and RMV software; and electronic cell monitoring. Moving towards the future, we look forward to even more sophisticated applications that will be useful in providing the best service possible for residents and visitors to our town.