Survey was mailed to all New Salem residences, 430 total, from which we received 112 responses. Over 80% of those responding were over age 50, indicating that we didn’t reach our younger residents as well as the older.
Respondents were generally in favor of the current department, staff and set up. Many found the survey lacking at providing background information to help answer questions. Although this was intentional by the committee, to probe the level of knowledge in the community about the current department, many respondents found it very frustrating. On page 2, in the top graph of bars asking if the department has the right amount of staff people, office hours, vehicles, patrol hours and funding, the “not sure” green bar is roughly as tall as both “about right” and “Needs more” for all topics except funding, which does confirm that lots of people taking the survey don’t have a high level of knowledge about the department.
Respondents are generally happy with the amount of management in the department, the organizational structure of the department, and feel the structure works for the town. Residents are aware of patrols in their neighborhoods and are generally happy with that function of the police.
Over 60% of respondents indicated willingness to spend additional money on improving the station, or building a new one.
The responses to open ended questions at the end of the survey did not create any specific conclusion, but a number of topics received repeat mentions. Of the 51 respondents that took the time to write a comment,
- 6 wrote a comment in favor of the current arrangement for the department
- 8 suggest a residency requirement (such as live in town or live within a set number of miles to the station)
- 9 wrote in favor of sharing with a neighboring town or using MA State Police more