A small western Massachusetts town has been left without a police department after its entire force resigned Monday, citing poor equipment and unsafe working conditions.
"The entire Blandford Police Department resigned this evening, effective immediately," the department wrote in a Facebook post, which as of Thursday was no longer publicly visible.
Interim Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki and three officers submitted their resignations in a letter to Blandford officials on Monday. The four-member force cited faulty police cruisers, inadequate staffing and insufficient pay as reasons for the resignation, according to WWLP.
The officers said the town's police cruisers are in such bad shape they often have to answer calls in their personal vehicles. They said their police radios don't work in some parts of the town and their poorly fitting bulletproof vests are beyond expiration dates.
The officers on the force said they regret leaving the town without coverage, but have no other choice because their own safety has been put at risk.
The department urges its residents to continue calling 911 in the case of an emergency. State police told The Associated Press Tuesday all 911 calls from Blandford are being routed to troopers in Russell.
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Residents were also advised to call the Russell State Police Barracks for any other police services.
State police responded to the sudden resignation to assure residents they are protected despite the loss of their police department.
"We have notified town officials that we maintain our commitment to the town and will assume any additional duties required in the wake of the resignations of local officers," a state police spokesperson said in a statement.