Conclusion of a 3-part series
SHIRLEY -- Police officers are often first responders. They also face danger and sometimes get shot.
As a police officer in Lunenburg, he was shot at but not hit by a "distraught" man in a domestic incident, he said. In Shirley, a man who had barricaded himself in his trailer home on Clark Road shot at police as they attempted to get him out. They did, and nobody was hurt, but there were some tense, even scary moments during the standoff.
Another risky encounter came when he and other officers responding to an incident at an apartment building on Great Road were shot at by a man who had just shot his girlfriend. Massak recalled bullets whizzing by, but none of the officers were hit.
"It's been a good career," Massak concluded. Now, he looks forward to spending more time with his family. After a bout with a serious illness, his wife is well, fortunately, he said.
The Massaks have three sons. One holds a master's degree and works with special-needs students; another earned a degree in political science and interned at the British Parliament, where he once gave his proud parents a tour. His youngest son is 14 and interested in a career in IT, Massak said.
Asked to cite accomplishments he's most proud of as police chief, Massak said the most significant "over the last several years" was securing $80,000 to $100,000 in state E-911 grants, used to upgrade communications and pay dispatcher's salaries. He also leaves a visible imprint: custom cruisers, including the latest addition to the fleet, the "Interceptor SUV." The new police cars, with their distinctive logos, look "clean ... different," he said. He also designed new badges.
Given that he's had to work with a force cut from 13 to 9 officers over the years, Massak might have liked to take a bigger bite of crime on his watch, but it's a "good department, with excellent officers," he said.
And a top-notch chief's secretary. After 27 years, Ann Whiting's skills and savvy are prized assets, Massak said. From budget know-how to daily tasks, she's "on top of it all" while he shuttles between dual roles as police chief and patrol officer. "I couldn't do both jobs without her here," he said.