Amherst police open office in Walmart

AMHERST – The police department will soon open a field office at the Walmart Superstore. Chief Mark Reams told selectmen recently that the office will be used randomly by patrol officers to increase police visibility.

The store has seen a substantial increase in shoplifting, he said, and the office will allow police to respond quickly.

The office will also give Amherst police an alternate location to complete reports, make follow-up phone calls, hold meetings and process low-risk suspects.

Walmart manager Tony Tiner allocated a 300 square foot area along the storefront and within direct view of the main parking lot, he said, and provided the materials and labor to enclose the area for office use. The manager also installed a door and observation window that provide direct access to the store.

Additional security cameras were installed to increase coverage of the parking lot and entrance points to the store, which is open 24 hours a day.

Because police will come and go, using the office randomly, it will increase police visibility and help prevent some crime at the store, the chief said in a press release, while allowing officers assigned to the southern district of Amherst to complete administrative duties without having to return to the police station in the center of town.

Walmart is located on Route 101, about six miles from the police station, which is on Amherst Street, near Route 101.

Reams says the office is the result of a partnership between the store, the police department and JBR Associates, an Amherst construction firm.

Without Tiner’s “enthusiasm and dedication, the installation of this field office would not have been possible,” Reams said, calling it a “culmination of a long standing partnership between the store and the Amherst Police Department.

Jack Reed, of JBR Associates, a construction firm based in Amherst donated not only his time and design expertise to this project, but also the materials and labor necessary to complete the office interior, along with enough office furniture to outfit the facility, Reams said.

Reams told selectmen on Sept. 22 the office is expected to open within the next few weeks.