Police Task Force – Update

Voices of the Village – Police, Drugs, and Crime Task Force written by Eric Schwaab


I had a pleasant off-Cape encounter the other day. I stopped into a barbershop in Bedford, MA, for a hair cut. I looked a little wind swept and needed to clean up for a business appointment. While chatting with the barber I mentioned that I live in Hyannis. The barber responded enthusiastically that several of his customers had visited Hyannis this summer and they had a lot of fun. He heard that our downtown was “looking pretty good.” The barber was planning a trip for his family and wanted to know if I could recommend a reasonably priced hotel for a weekend stay.  I recommended several and mentioned a few restaurants that he might enjoy.  The barber didn’t ask me if it was safe to visit downtown. He didn’t ask about the drugs, crime or violence which plagued much of our village this winter. And, as I paid for my haircut, I thought to myself, someone must to be doing something right. It wasn’t all that long ago that the only news you heard about Hyannis was highly negative and splashed across the front pages of the off-Cape newspapers.


I’ve learned quite a bit about our fair village since I volunteered to chair the Voices of the Village Task Force on Police, Drugs, and Crime. At our first several meetings we spoke at length and in earnest about the need for more laws and stronger ordinances to improve public safety. Chief MacDonald patiently explained that he had all the laws and ordinances he needed. What he wanted was for us to take personal responsibility for the well being of our neighborhoods. He needed folks to cut their lawns, paint their houses and check in on their neighbors The Chief doesn’t want online complaint forms or fancy telephone trees [Press *8 to speak with a live person]. The Chief wants us to talk to each other, watch out for each other and figure out how to get along. If you encounter a problem that you can’t resolve, Chief MacDonald wants you to call him personally. 

Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in a village?  

The Police, Drugs, and Crime Task Force needs volunteers to help us on several important new initiatives. If you would like to help with the new Barnstable Police website (barnstablepolice.com), please contact us. If you have experience with drug treatment programs as a parent, recovering addict or social service professional we’d appreciate your participation in evaluating programs that are suitable for Hyannis. And, if you are frustrated with our “friendly, neighborhood affordable housing providers” and want them to take more responsibility for the tenants they bring to our village, please join our group. We need your voice. 

We meet every other Monday at 6 pm at the police station. Email Eric Schwaab at eschwaab@gmail.com for dates. We’ll publish a new schedule in early September.


For further information, please contact the Voices of the Village Coordinating Committee at GreatHyannis@aol.com