To the residents of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover:
We, the three police chiefs of Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover, would like to take a moment to thank ALL of you, the residents of the communities. After the September 13th gas emergency we have been flooded with thanks and support across all three communities. Our officers have been working long hours to help maintain safety, keep traffic moving as best as possible, and stand ready to assist our residents with any issues that have come up, both Columbia Gas related and not. We cannot begin to tell you how much support we have received and words of thanks, both electronic and in the mail. These kind and thoughtful words have been passed on to the officers out in the street and are very much appreciated.
One thing we have learned throughout this crisis, and continue to learn, is that our communities came together as one. On the night of September 13, and in the days afterwards, many of you saw police a police response like no other. Communities from all over the state, including the State Police, came to help out. What they were told is that they were not to patrol just Andover, or just South Lawrence, but instead, to put their blue lights on and maintain a presence all over the affected are for as long as we had to. We wanted every resident to see blue lights flashing as a sign that the police were everywhere on that dark night in downtown Andover, South Lawrence, and downtown North Andover. We wanted residents to know that there were cruisers all over with police officers ready for anything and continue to be ready to help out, and it worked. By removing the lines that represent boundaries between the three communities, we made a community of one. We are so proud of the professional response from not only the police officers in each affected department, but also the professionalism of the officers who responded that night and in the coming days and nights as they worked long hours in communities some of them have never been to.
Moving on, as Columbia Gas works on restoration, you continue to see officers from all over the State working in many of the work zones. We are doing our best to keep traffic moving as best we can, while also maintaining safe work zones from those workers who have come from so far away, such as Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We would like to thank our town officials who have worked tirelessly with the restoration team to plan for long term construction. We also thank our local elected officials who were also involved in the event, who called us and showed up to help. These officials and community leaders have done so much work behind the scenes to make sure public safety was never at risk and ensuring residents of the community were taken care of as best as possible and we cannot thank them enough. We have had a long road throughout this event and we have a lot more to do, but we will make sure that we will not stop until the last meter is turned on and we return to normalcy.
Finally we want to thank Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito who arrived on scene and demonstrated true leadership. We attended meetings with them while a plan was formulated and executed hours after the incident began. Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito then maintained a presence in all three communities reassuring residents and business owners that
repairs were being done. This took a tremendous amount of leadership and helped the police departments by giving the residents confidence and a positive mental attitude which, in turn, made the number of police related incidents minimal for such an event of this magnitude.
Once again, from the Andover, Lawrence, and North Andover Police Departments, thank you for your support and patience as we get through this together as one community.
Lawrence Police Chief Roy Vasque
Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe
North Andover Police Chief Charles Gray