Department News

From Chief Mulligan: Honoring those who serve.

During the early morning hours of Monday, March 28, 2011, Officer Thomas Walsh was on patrol in Tyngsborough, as he has been for over 20 years. At 12:47am, Officer Walsh received a call for service in the Frost Road area where a citizen reported suspects breaking into his motor vehicle while it was parked in his driveway.

Upon interviewing the victim, Officer Walsh learned that the suspects had fled the area in a dark colored vehicle. Officer Walsh then proceeded to search for the suspects. Just after 1:00 am, Officer Walsh found another vehicle broken into on Norris Road. As he was inspecting this vehicle, a vehicle fitting the description of the suspects’ drove down the road.

Officer Walsh attempted to stop the potential suspects’ vehicle, now on Frost Road. The vehicle’s operator refused to stop, however, and accelerated his speed away from Officer Walsh. At this point, Officer Walsh observed a number of items being thrown from the suspects’ vehicle, including a handgun. Officer Walsh continued to follow the suspects’ vehicle onto Pawtucket Boulevard at a safe distance as he radioed for assistance from the Lowell Police Department, since the suspects were heading toward the city.

Officer Walsh crossed the Tyngsborough town line into the city of Lowell, at which time he realized the suspects’ vehicle had just been involved in a one-vehicle accident, the operator having lost control while traveling at excessive speed.  Sergeant Shaun Woods also responded to Lowell to back up Officer Walsh, requiring us to call in additional officers to patrol Tyngsborough since two of our on-duty Officers were out of the Community.

There were two male suspects injured in the accident. Both were taken to a local hospital, with one released to the Police and the other remaining inpatient.

Over the next two days, Police investigation revealed that over 10 other Tyngsborough citizens had been victimized as they slept, while their vehicles were being broken into and personal belongings stolen from their vehicles. Fortunately, Tyngsborough Police have recovered a number of these stolen items.

The two suspects in the vehicle are also suspects in a number of armed robberies in the City of Lowell.

This was just another call for the Tyngsborough Police Department. It was given a case number and reports where completed. It received a small news story in the local newspaper.

On the old television show Dragnet, they asked for just the facts. Well, these are the facts as they happened.

It is what didn’t happen that keeps me awake late at night.

Since January of this year, there have been 53 Police Officers killed in the line of duty across the country. Many of these Officers were responding to calls for service. Of the 53 Police Officers killed, 24 were killed from gunfire; 16 were killed in traffic incidents.

May 15 is National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Officers are injured and killed in big cities and small towns throughout this nation every day, and on this day we honor those Police Officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. Officer Walsh’s shift ended at 7:00 am I saw him that morning on a road job doing traffic. He made it home safely that day, and I am thankful for that.

I am very proud of the work done by all of our Officers, and I am also very aware that every day these Officers put their lives in harm’s way for us, protecting the Citizens of our Community and keeping us safe.

This May 15, please take a moment to thank the Officers who are still with us for doing their job, and please take a moment to remember the fallen heroes of the Tyngsborough Police Department:

  • Chief Joseph Pelletier
  • Detective Sergeant Gregory Kasabian
  • K-9 Officer John ‘Jack’ Georges
  • Officer Andy Ray
  • Sergeant Howard Tiny Givens

It is not how these Officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.

From Chief Mulligan: Awareness on Child Abductions

On Saturday morning February 25, 2011, I boarded a plane for Washington, DC to attend three days of training at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The training is offered free of charge to qualified individuals, including airfare and accommodations.

Police Chiefs from all over the country participated in this training session. On our first day, we arrived at the Jimmy Ryce Law Enforcement Training Center for an introduction to the Center and the issues they address concerning missing and exploited children. There was discussion regarding internet crimes against children, homicide studies of children, and prevention of family abduction. We were introduced to legislation that has been enacted and legislation that is being proposed. We also discussed developing a law enforcement strategy to deal with these types of problems, including a model policy, AMBER alert, Child recovery plans, and media relations.

That afternoon met a guest speaker, the mother of a child who was abducted in 1995 at the age of six. This mother told the class she had gone to a Little League baseball game with her daughter in a very small town where the Police Department only had four full-time Officers. During the game, the child asked if she could look for fireflies with the other children.

At first, the mother said no, but when the child asked again, she felt she was being over-protective and allowed her to go with an eight-year old boy and another six-year old girl. She told us she could see the children in a nearby parking lot. When the game ended, the mother saw the other two children heading back toward the baseball field, but she did not see her daughter. When she asked the other children where her daughter was, they told her she was near the family vehicle. The mother checked the vehicle and could not find her daughter.

The child had been abducted. This launched an investigation that continues to this day. This mother has never given up hope that her daughter will someday return. She explained to us as Police Officers how we can most help the family during a tragedy like this, and how important it is that we communicate how we are working to return their lost child.

As this woman spoke, the room was completely silent. I felt my throat tighten and my eyes start to tear, and I was not the only person in the room reacting this way.  I could still feel the pain from this person who had lost a child 16 years ago. When she finished, we gave her a standing ovation.

During the remaining days of training, we all learned about many other crimes we all hope we never need to investigate, but realize we need to be prepared to do so effectively when necessary. As your Police Chief, it is very important that I understand how to properly conduct an investigation when it deals with a child, whether the child has been sexually assaulted, abducted, abused by a family member or a family friend, or being targeted on the internet.

These crimes have happened in Tyngsborough in the past and they will happen again.  As we move toward the future, I will be sending other officers to similar training for Patrol Officers, Detective, and Supervisors, to ensure we all so they have a better understanding of the horrible crimes directed at victims who are most helpless and innocent.

This is a difficult topic to discuss because people fear it and do not want to believe it could happen to them.  If we acknowledge and understand that these crimes can occur and we are prepared to deal with them if they do occur, we are better equipped to protect our children.

As a father with two adult children, I remember when they were young how I protected them, and could not imagine anyone hurting my little angels. My wish is that we could protect them all. As we were told at the end of the three days in class, kiss your kids “because you can.”

If you are interested in learning more about the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, you can visit their website at

Be safe!