SUTTON, Mass. (AP) - The state police union and local police are locked in a jurisdictional fight over lucrative police details on construction projects on state roads.
Most recently, a billboard put up by the State Police Association of Massachusetts in Sutton says troopers provide the best protection. A. Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, called the billboard a vicious attack on a community.
Millville Police Chief Ron Landry told the Telegram that the billboard was insulting to local police.
"It's very disappointing that the state police would advocate that they provide a better service than other law enforcement in the state," he said.
Union President Dana Pullman says the billboard was a response to emails between the Sutton Police Department that says traffic details are the jurisdiction of the municipality and state transportation officials who say details are a state prerogative because Route 146 is a state road.
Police chiefs and officers from 25 communities showed up at Sutton Town Hall last week to show their support for Sutton police.
The $6 million in roadway improvements are set to begin this fall.
Col. Timothy P. Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, said the confrontation over the billboard and jurisdiction disputes are being driven by the Route 146 construction project and opportunities for paid details, a lucrative source of income for local and state police.
Jurisdictional disputes have come up over the years in towns including Foxboro, Savoy and Erving, he said.