Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Say it isn't so Mike

Retired Chief Charlie Scherpa on left and Captain--now Chief--Mike Kent

So I've known a lot of cops over the years and they don't come any better than Mike Kent. Having come of age during the somewhat wild and woolly days of the early 80s where guts and instinct mattered most, to successfully straddling the gap into the new millennium where training, education and professionalism are now paramount.

After almost 30 years of patrolling the streets of the People's Republic of Amherst (not to mention many, many miles of long distance running) Captain Kent transitions to Chief Kent for the town of Burlington.

Not overly surprising to those of us who pay attention to Public Safety. When Captain Kent, who filled in as acting Chief for six weeks, and was then passed over for the permanent position in favor of boyhood friend Scott Livingstone, the writing was clearly on the wall.

Although gracious as always Mike responded: "No doubt he'll do a tremendous job; I will try to be the best second in command I can be." But as the old saying goes, "Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven."

And comparing the departments perhaps those roles are reversed: Amherst PD serves 27 square miles with a permanent population of 34,000, using only 26 patrol officers, 7 sergeants, 3 lieutenants and two captains with an annual budget of $4 million.

Burlington PD serves a 12 square mile area with a permanent population of 25,000 residents, using 42 patrol officers, nine sergeants, four lieutenants and two captains with an annual budget $6 million.

Sounds pretty heavenly to me.


Taylor said...

A bigger department, for a salary of better than 100k with Quinn Bill incentives, who can blame him for leaving? Probably half the political headaches that he has to deal with in Amherst. Also the Burlington Town Administrator sounds infinitely more professional than his Amherst counterpart. I am sure that will make his job much easier as well.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, sure bet that the powers that be in Burlington are a LOT less PC than those in the People's Republic of Amherst.

Ed said...

I think he will have more of a transition than you might realize. First, Burlington ain't Amherst, it has an 8-lane Route 128/I-95 going through it, with the junction to the recently-widened 6-lane US Route 3 going to New Hampshire located just beyond a retail area about the size of the UM campus. Maybe bigger.

Burlington is far more like Springfield - medical and financial firms in the 4-5 story buildings along 128, a significant minority (and illegal alien) population working in resturants, and all of the crime of the highly-mobile MetroBoston area.

He is going to find that he can't bully people the way he did the UM students. First, he is going to be arresting minorities (not white males) and the ACLU will be more responsive to them. Second, he is not going to have a university to back him up - is he going to fax CORI-protected information to the Brazillian Embassy? And third, the population he encounters as an officer is going to be the same population with political power in town - unlike Amherst where all the students (and their families) vote elsewhere.

I wish him the best but he is going to have a MAJOR transition....

Anonymous said...

Ahh...Ed..Burlington has a median income of $90,000 and is 86% white, 10% asian, and less than 4% black and latino. It has far less of a minority population than Amherst and is far more affluent.

Anonymous said...

mike hunt?

Gavin Andresen said...

What's the budget/staffing of the UMass police department? You're comparing apples and oranges if you don't include them (and maybe the little Amherst College security force, for that matter).

(I am NOT claiming that the Amherst PD is overstaffed or overpaid, only that forgetting that there's another group of police patrolling UMass will skew the numbers)

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Amherst pollice force is $2 million more efficient. Just shows our budget process is pretty sound after all.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I never forget Umass.

Last I looked they were actually bigger than APD--and they are getting a brand new 27,000 square foot $12.5 million headquarters.

But they pretty much stick to their turf.

Ry Willey said...

Mike Kent is good man and his presence on the Amherst police department will be missed. Many in the town knew him and respected the person behind the uniform.

Congratulations Mike, we know you will a great job.

-Ryan Willey

Ed said...

Ahh...Ed..Burlington has a median income of $90,000 and is 86% white, 10% asian, and less than 4% black and latino.

Amherst has a lot of LEGAL aliens, other communities tend to have lots of illegal ones. And folk who work illegally in the food service industry tend to live below the municipal radar if possible.

It has far less of a minority population than Amherst and is far more affluent.

Two problems with the affluence statistic. First, Amherst's includes all the students who have little/no income. Second, the cost of living there is higher so you need to adjust the median downward (or raise Amherst's) for a similar purchasing power.

TCC said...

Mike Kent took my son and I on a ride-along. We had an enjoyable time learning about police work and chatting with him. Congrats to him, also!

Anonymous said...

judging by the amt of comments, people don't give a hoot about cops

Anonymous said...


Today's headline should be "Amherst To Lose Rail Service."

The Vermonter is switching to the other side of the river with the stop in Northampton instead of Amherst.

LarryK4 said...

That has been known for a quite a while now.

And it's not like Amherst used it all that much.

Anonymous said...

And it's not like Amherst used it all that much.

Huh? You don't know what you are talking about. It draws a lot of students and townfolk, especially during the holidays and at the beginning and end of college breaks when it is especially crowded.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah well sometimes you can't afford to create infrastructure to accommodate only peak usage.

Why the utility companies institute brown outs in the middle of a major heat wave.

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