Methuen Police Chief Responds to Threats and Violence Against Officers

Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon. (Courtesy photograph.)

Methuen's Chief of Police Joseph Solomon posted a statement on Facebook that addresses this week's uptick in threats and violence against officers in the Merrimack Valley and beyond. (WHAV file photograph)

Threats and violence against police officers in the Merrimack Valley is on the rise, according to Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon, who reported several such incidents this past week, including an assault that left one Methuen officer with a broken shoulder.

The incidents in Methuen come during a week that has seen shots fired at police officers in Haverhill and the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Maine.

"This has been a particularly difficult week for law enforcement, including here in both the Merrimack Valley and in Methuen." Chief Solomon said in a Facebook post Wednesday. "These incidents are examples of the types of unpredictable situations law enforcement officers face while doing their jobs."

On Tuesday, Methuen officers were called to Noyes St. to conduct a wellness check on a man who walked away from a Boston hospital psychiatric program and allegedly uttered threats against hospital staff and members of law enforcement.

Officers spotted the man in his pickup truck and attempted to make a traffic stop but the man fled in his truck after nearly crashing into a police cruiser. Officers briefly pursued the vehicle but quickly called off the chase out of concern for the safety of the driver and the general public.

The man, who eventually returned to the hospital on his own, now faces several charges as a result of the incident.

Also on Tuesday, Methuen officers were dispatched to the Key Program on Mystic Street for a report of three male juveniles attempting to leave the property without permission. After initially agreeing to stay, the three then fled the building in different directions.

One juvenile was taken into custody quickly and officers pursued the other two. While attempting to capture one of the boys, the boy in custody forcefully pushed an officer, causing him to fall into a fence and suffer a cut to his head and a broken shoulder. The three juveniles, all age 14 of Methuen, were eventually taken into custody and face a variety of charges.

The youth who allegedly pushed the officer faces added charges of Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, and Assault and Battery With a Dangerous weapon.

In other incidents, Haverhill police were shot at late Tuesday night in a multi-state police chase that ended in Windham, N.H. and an officer was gunned down in Maine early Wednesday morning.

Solomon said in his post that the uptick in threats and acts of violence against police officers gives the department and city leadership significant pause. He said shift and bureau commanders will be stressing officer safety throughout the week and the Methuen Police Department will review each incident with patrol officers on shift as a training lesson and a reminder of the inherent dangers present in every situation.

"Safety comes first. The safety of our officers, our citizens, and those accused of a crime is paramount to our mission," Solomon wrote. "I am extremely proud of the work being done by our officers every day. This week shows, once again, how difficult the job of a police officer is and how any incident can turn dangerous for the officer involved in an instant.”