Page 2 of 2 - Freetown Police Chief Carlton Abbott disagreed with the chiefs' contention that the vandalism to Profile Rock is a hate crime.
"Based on our investigation, we don't see that," said Abbott, who added that the area around Profile Rock has long been targeted by people spray-painting graffiti and tagging.
Still, Abbott noted that the defendants, if convicted, could face up to two years in jail, lose their driver's licenses for one year and be required to pay for removing the spray paint from Profile Rock.
"The matter is being taken very seriously," Abbott said.
"It's in the hands of the district attorney's office at this point."
The chiefs' joint statement was signed by:
The board will reach out to Town Administrator John Healey, Highway Surveyor Charles Macomber, Fire Chief Gary Silvia, Police Chief Carlton Abbott, and the town's Road Commissioners to discuss potential ideas.
"The 1033 program has provided a lot of police departments with equipment that the taxpayers couldn't afford or provide," Freetown Police Chief Carlton E. Abbott said in referring to the Department of Defense Excess Property Program, which has given out $5.1 billion worth of surplus equipment since 1990.
Police departments have also obtained military-grade equipment through grant programs run by the U.S. departments of Homeland Security and Justice, which have all come under renewed scrutiny as images of police officers wearing combat fatigues and Kevlar helmets, sitting atop armored personnel carriers and pointing sniper rifles at protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, have flooded national news outlets and social media feeds.
The images are fueling a national debate about whether police officers are becoming too "militarized."
"Maybe I'm old school, but I prefer traditional police uniforms rather than the battle dress uniforms and all the military garb.
The threshold issue is about how the public perceives the police.
At least that's how I look at it," said Abbott, whose department has obtained four Humvees - two are used for spare parts - that police officers have used to evacuate people from flooded areas and to rescue individuals lost in the Freetown State Forest.
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