|By Levon Kinney|
WILBRAHAM - A vote was passed to offer one appointment to the police department after the Board of Selectmen and Police Chief Allen Stratton interviewed four applicants. Joseph Brewer, a current member of the Southwick Police Department filled the first of three positions vacant in Wilbraham.
A graduate from Holyoke Community Colleges' Criminal Justice Department, Brewer is currently working on obtaining a Bachelors' Degree from Westfield State College. Along with having completed training at the Police Academy, he is also a member of the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) where he trained senior officers on changing laws and regulations.
Chairman David Barry asked Brewer what made him decide to work in Wilbraham.
"I grew up in the Palmer/Wilbraham area and it really feels like home to me," Brewer explained. "My goal when I first became a police officer in 1998 was to work in Wilbraham."
Selectman James Thompson then gave Brewer a few scenarios to go through.
"If you were on patrol on Boston Road and you suspected a car of gang members driving, what would be your reaction?" Thompson asked.
Brewer answered that proper procedure would be to run the plates and gather enough information before acting. If there appeared to be no probable cause, the car could not be stopped but the information obtained could be used for later actions.
Throughout the interview Brewer emphasized his long running interest in community service and his work as a volunteer fire fighter for Palmer at the age of 16.
"What do you feel your strengths are?" Selectman Patrick Brady asked.
"For me what I enjoy most is helping the public and I feel that communicating with people on different levels is very important."
Stratton asked if there was any other training or service Brewer had done that would provide him with enough experience to work in the town.
"Shortly after September 11, some fellow officers and I went down to Ground Zero," Brewer said. "The chaos that surrounded the area and the way so many agencies could work together through that put me through the test as an officer and a human being.
Stratton will make an official offer of employment once Brewer passes physical, mental, and background checks.