29 Center Street, Northampton MA 01060
Business Line: 587-1100 Fax: 587-1137
1. What types of gun permits are there and how much do they cost? (Permits are referred to as Firearms Identification Cards or FID's and License to Carry or LTC).
There are 4 types of permits. They are all issued for a period of six years.
There is no charge for permits issued to any resident who is 70 years of age or older. All fees must be paid in cash and the payment is non-refundable.
2. How old must you be to obtain an FID or LTC?
3. Do I have to take a firearms safety course?
Yes. All applicants must successfully complete a Massachusetts Firearms Safety course or a Hunter Safety Course. The course is required for first time applicants. Those seeking renewals are not required to retake the safety course. If you were licensed in another state or are in the military, you will still need to complete a Firearms Safety course.
4. Where can I take a Firearms Safety Course?
Some local places that offer approved Firearms Safety courses are: Northampton Revolver Club 413-586-7821, Holyoke Revolver Club 413-539-9345 or through the Massachusetts Wildlife Hunter Education Course 1-617-727-3623.
5. If I live in another town or city, can I still get a permit in Northampton?
Generally, no. However, if you own a business in Northampton you may be eligible to obtain a permit from Northampton.
6. How do I get a permit?
Pick up an application, fill it out and then call 413-587-1141 and leave a message. A firearms records clerk will contact you and make an appointment. The firearms clerk's hours are every other Saturday from 8AM-12PM and the second Wednesday of each month from 6PM-8PM. The firearms clerk will not work holidays.
7. What happens once I file my application?
When you arrive at the station at the pre-arranged time you will have your photograph taken, you will be fingerprinted and the applicable fee will be collected from you. A criminal check will then determine if you have any criminal matters that would disqualify you from obtaining a permit. Additionally, if you have ever been confined for treatment of a mental illness it could be a reason for denial of your permit.
8. Once I file my application, how long does it take to receive my FID or LTC?
Generally it takes 30-45 days to process a permit. Some permits may take longer if the applicant has a record that is sealed or on microfilm.
9. Once I am licensed, how do I store my weapons?
It is mandatory that all weapons must be stored in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device so as to render the weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or lawfully authorized person.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
FAQ's- Sex Offender Information
1. How can I learn if there are any sex offenders living near me?
You may come to the police station with a picture ID and complete a specific form designed for this purpose. This form will be turned over to the Detective Sergeant who will gather the information. You will be contacted by phone that the information is ready for you. You will then be asked to return to the police station with a picture ID and the information will be turned over to you. You may request information for the entire City, for a specific person, for anyone who matches a certain physical description or for a specific street or area. You will only be notified of sex offenders who are classified as levels 2 or 3. There is no fee for this service and it is for residents only.
2. How can I learn who all the level 3 sex offenders are living and working in the City of Northampton?
You can come to the police station and look at the binder that is kept in the lobby of the police station. The binder contains photos, names and residential and work addresses for all level three sex offenders. You can also go to the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registration Board's web site (http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/sorb/) and obtain the same information.
3. I am a sex offender who works in Northampton, but does not live in Northampton. Do I have to register?
Yes. Any sex offender who lives and/or works in Northampton must register with the police department.
4. I need to register as a sex offender. What do I do?
Come to the police station with some form of identification, if you have one. An officer will meet with you and will go over the necessary forms, take your information, take your photograph and take your fingerprints.
5. I am not sure if I have to register as a sex offender. What should I do?
Contact the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board at (978)-740-6400 and ask them if you are supposed to register.
6. How often do I have to reregister as a sex offender?
All sex offenders must reregister on a yearly basis. Those offenders who are homeless or who live in temporary housing, such as a homeless shelter, must register every 45 days. Any offender who changes residences or who obtains a new job must come in and notify the police department.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
FAQ's- Traffic/Parking IssuesGeneral Questions
1. Drivers appear to be speeding on a certain street. Will the police run radar there?
If you are concerned about drivers travelling at high rates of speed in a specific area, contact Sergeant Robert Powers, the Traffic Supervisor. He may elect to have officers begin running radar there immediately. Or, he may choose to start by putting a speed trailer on the side of the road so that drivers are more aware of their speeds. This is often followed up by officers conducting radar details in the area.Motor Vehicle Accidents/Reports
1. What should I do if I am involved in an accident?
Call the police department and wait for an officer to arrive. Once on scene, the officer will collect all the necessary information and will provide each operator with the paperwork that they will need. They will also make arrangements for tow trucks, if necessary.
2. Do I have to fill out a Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report?
You must complete this report if there is damage over $1,000 to any one vehicle or other property or if there is ANY personal injury. This report must be completed within five days of the date of the crash. Once this form has been completed one copy must be sent to each of the following agencies: The police department where the accident occurred, the vehicle owner's insurance company and the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston. (Crash Records, Registry of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 55889, Boston, MA 02205-5889.)
3. How do I obtain a copy of the accident report completed by the investigating Officer?
4. What if I disagree with the Officer's police report?
If there is a clerical error on the report, such as a misspelling or incorrect data, the Officer can go into the report and make the necessary corrections. Interpretations as to the cause of the accident or who is at fault cannot be changed. If you have specific concerns about an accident that you were involved with, you may speak with the investigating Officer's supervisor.
5. Where can I get the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report?
Any Massachusetts police department should have these forms. If you have access to the internet, you can find these forms at www.northamptonpd.com at the bottom of this page or at The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles website .Parking Issues
1. How can I report a vehicle that has been parked on a street for a long time?
Call the dispatch center at 587-1100. They will send an officer to that location and they may put a 72-hour notice on the car. If the car is still in the same spot after 72-hours has passed, the car can be towed.
2. How do I pay a parking ticket?
Parking tickets cannot be paid at the Police Department. Go to the parking office in the Wallace Pulchaski Municipal Building located 212 Main Street, Northampton, MA. Parking tickets can also be mailed to the Parking Office. For further information regarding parking tickets you may contact the Parking Office at 587-1025.
3. I don't understand the winter parking rules. Can the police explain?
Parking bans and snow emergencies are determined by the Department of Public Works, not the police department. When a snow emergency is called a Winter Parking Ban goes into effect. Overnight parking is banned on any street from midnight through 6 AM (except downtown on Main Street where the prohibition is from 2 AM to 7 AM). Overnight parking is available for a fee in the Parking Garage at all hours on a space-available basis. Free overnight parking is available in the city parking lots on Armory Street (near the parking garage) from 8 PM to 8 AM.
4. How do I know when there is a snow emergency?
Check the local press or call the Winter Information line at 586-6969. It is available 24-hours a day. You may also subscribe to receive email notification of snow emergencies and parking bans by visiting the city website (www.northamptonma.gov). Even if your street looks clear, the Winter Parking Ban may still be in effect.
5. My car got towed. What should I do?
Call the Northampton Dispatch Center at 587-1100 to find out where your car was towed to. Do not call the DPW. They cannot help you find your car. The towing companies set their own fees and these are usually around $100, payable to the tow company.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
Frequently Asked Questions- Records BureauObtaining Police Information
1. How can I get a copy of my police report?
Call the Records Bureau at 587-1106 and ask if you will be able to get a copy of the report that you would like. There are a variety of reasons that you may not be able to get a copy of your report: the report has not been completed yet, the matter is currently under investigation or the report is of a sensitive nature and cannot be disseminated.
2. Do I have to pay to get police reports?
Yes. Police reports are .50 cents per page if you come to the station to get them. Victims of domestic violence may obtain their reports at no charge. If you call and request that a report be sent or faxed to you, you will be charged $1.00 per page with a $5.00 minimum charge. These fees must be pre-paid in cash or with a personal check made payable to the Northampton Police Department.
3. How can I get a copy of my criminal record?
You may come into the police department and go to the Records Bureau during business hours. Bring a picture ID with you. You will be asked to complete a form. That form will be sent to the Board of Probation and you will obtain your Massachusetts criminal record from them. You may complete a separate form that will allow you to obtain a record of your contacts with the Northampton Police Department. Once this form is completed you will be given a copy of your involvement with our police department. This is a check of the NPD computer system and not a criminal records check.
4. How can I obtain crime statistics?
Our website contains a daily log of police activity and a specific section titled "Crime Statistics." If you have questions about specific crime data, you may review the statistics section of our website or you may contact the Records Bureau and they may be able to provide you with the information that you are looking for.
5. Can I get a copy of a police report regarding a matter that is currently under investigation?
6. How can I contact the Records Bureau and when are they open?
The Records Bureau can be contacted at 587-1106. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. They are closed on holidays.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
FAQ's- Domestic Violence/Restraining Orders
1. What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of control used by one person to exert power over another. Verbal abuse, threats, physical and sexual abuse are the methods used to maintain power and control. Domestic violence may occur in a particular pattern or may be random acts. It may happen frequently or may be a rare occurrence. Domestic violence crosses all social, economic, racial, cultural and religious boundaries. Experience indicates that incidents of violence tend to increase over time, as does the severity of the attacks.
Violent physical acts are criminal and the batterer can be prosecuted for committing them. Emotional abuse and insults are almost always part of the abuse pattern, but may not be criminal acts. It can be more difficult to recover from the emotional abuse; it whittles away at one's self esteem and sense of confidence.
Domestic violence is not caused or provoked by the action or inaction of the victim. Alcohol or drug abuse, depression, lack of money, lack of a job, mental illness or abuse as a child does not directly cause domestic violence. However, existing problems often create additional stress in a relationship and may increase the risk of violence. Abusers blame the victim for their violent acts and do not take responsibility for their abusive behavior. There is never an excuse for violence.
It is important to remember that the victim does not press criminal charges. When an incident is reported, the police will take the report and make a determination about criminal charges. If charges are filed, the victim is merely a witness in a criminal case. They will be represented by the District Attorney's Office and therefore do not need their own attorney.
2. What is a "209A" order?
An Abuse Prevention Order, called a "209A" or a "Restraining Order", is a civil court action that provides immediate protection from physical or sexual harm caused by force, or threat of harm from a family or household member. A family or household member is defined as:
3. How can I get a Restraining Order to protect my family and myself?
A 209A order may be obtained in any district or probate and family court in Massachusetts. An emergency 209A order can be obtained through any police department after court hours and on weekends. You do not need a lawyer to file for a 209A order.
4. Where do I get a Restraining Order?
You may apply for protection in the district or probate court that serves your community. If you find it necessary to flee your home to avoid abuse, you may go to the district or probate court serving the community where you are staying. If you need further assistance or do not know where the nearest courthouse is located, contact the local police department for assistance.
Go to the Civil Clerk's Office in any court and ask for a Restraining Order or a 209A order. You will receive the necessary forms to complete.
Ask someone at the clerk's office to direct you to the victim witness office for help.
In the courts, there will be a Safeplan Advocate to help you complete the paper work and to discuss the option of filing criminal charges against your abuser. You don't have to file criminal charges to obtain a 209A order. However, criminal charges may be necessary in holding a batterer responsible for acts committed against you. The advocate will assist you in preparing a safety plan.
5. What kinds of questions will they ask me on the form?
On the application or complaint form for a 209A order you will need to make a sworn statement (affidavit), describing the facts of a recent or past incident(s) of abuse. It is also very important to provide as much information about the abuser as possible.
6. What can I ask for on the application?
You may request the Judge to order that the abuser stop abusing you, have no contact with you or a child in your custody and move out of your house or apartment. You may also request the Judge to order that you receive support and temporary custody of your children. You may request payment for medical costs due to injuries and loss of wages. You may ask that the abuser not contact you and that your new address be kept confidential from the abuser for your safety. You must also disclose any other existing 209A order from any court or any probate court action in which you are involved.
7. What about child custody and visitation?
A 209A can provide you with temporary support and custody of your minor children. Only the Probate and Family Court, however, can decide child visitation rights. A 209A order from the court may be helpful dealing with abuse protection that also involves divorce, long-term financial support, and child custody and visitation issues. You may want to speak with a private attorney for probate court issues, or call one of the legal or battered women's agencies listed in this guide for an attorney referral list. Pro bono or reduced-fee legal services may be available.
8. What happens next?
After you have completed the 209A application form, return it to the clerk and ask when the court will hear the restraining orders. They will tell you the time and courtroom location for the hearing.
At the hearing, the Judge will ask why you need restraining order protection and will review your application forms and affidavit. In some courts, a "209A Briefing Session" is held before the hearing and a Court Advocate will explain the hearing process and be with you in the courtroom.
9. What will the judge do after speaking with me?
The Judge may grant or deny the 209A order after speaking with you. If the Judge approves the request, you will receive a Temporary Order for up to a ten-day period. This means a court date will be scheduled within 10 business days for you to return to court for a hearing that may extend the order for up to one year.
If the order is denied, it is essential to work with the advocate to prepare a safety plan. The advocate may refer you to a battered women's program to discuss possible options (i.e. shelters, housing, public assistance, etc.).
Please keep your copy of the order with you at all times.
The police will immediately attempt to deliver (serve) a copy of the 209A order to your abuser. The order must be served before the police can take any action on violations of the order. If the person cannot be located verbal service might be sufficient. The police will keep a duplicate on file at the police station. It is important to provide the police with the abuser's current home and work addresses so that they can serve the order.
10. Can you tell me more about the hearing?
The Ten Day Hearing requires that you return to court on the date given on the order, or the order will not be in effect after that date. The hearing offers the chance for parties, you and the abuser, to come before the Judge and offer information (evidence) as to why a permanent 209A order should or should not be granted. Bring any hospital records, photographs or police reports you may have for the Judge to review. You may also bring a support person with you. The abuser may be present at the ten-day hearing and may oppose the 209A order. If the abuser is not present and has been served with the order, the Judge can still grant the order for up to one year.
11. What happens on the expiration date of the order?
If the Judge issues a 209A order for a year, you must return to court for another order on the expiration date or it will be dismissed. Any changes in the order before that date must be made by a Judge with both you and the abuser appearing in the same court where the order was first given. A request to change or amend the order can be made at the Clerk's Office. A request for modifications to an order can be made at any time while the order is in place.
12. Can a minor get a Restraining Order?
A person under age 18, can obtain a 209A order with some restrictions. Generally, a parent or guardian needs to be present, but the Judge can decide to issue a limited 209A order if the minor appears to be in danger. In some cases, the Department of Children and Families may offer assistance in gaining help for a minor. Many high schools and colleges also offer support groups for students in violent relationships.
13. What if the order is violated?
Once a 209A order is issued, violation of the terms is a criminal offense. Violations of orders to refrain from abuse, for no contact and to vacate a household, multiple family dwelling or workplace can be prosecuted under c. 209A.
Call the police immediately if the abuser violates the order.
Show the order to the police and explain the violation. For example: a punch, slap, threat, refusal to vacate the house or apartment, unauthorized contact with you either in person or telephone at your home or work place. The police must arrest the abuser if they have reasonable cause to believe or witness that specific terms of the order were violated. These terms include: Refrain from Abuse, Stay Away, No Contact and Surrender of Firearms. All other violations of conditions would be considered a contempt of court charge.
14. What should I do if an arrest is made?
In most cases, victims will be contacted when a suspect is arrested. It is imperative that the police have updated contact information (phone number) so that they can be contacted on the morning of arraignment. A Victim Witness Advocate from the District Attorney's Office will be assigned to the case and will contact the victim to explain what the charges mean and what will happen next.
15. What happens after the arrest?
Once an arrest has been made, the abuser will be charged with the crime(s) at an arraignment proceeding in the district court. At this time the judge may impose release conditions or in some cases a "dangerousness" hearing may be held. This type of hearing may be held in certain circumstances and could result in the defendant being held until his/her next court date. If they are released from custody, the court must make a reasonable effort to notify you of the release, even if you are not present in court.
16. What will the abuser be charged with?
In addition to the crime of violation of a Restraining Order an abuser can be charged with a number of other crimes committed at or near the time of the violation, some of which may include:
17. What will happen at the court arraignment?
Normally, a victim does not need to be present for an arraignment. However, if an emergency Restraining Order was obtained, the arraignment and the hearing to extend the order would be held at the same time and victims would need to be present. If the victim does need to be present at the arraignment a Victim Witness Advocate will assist them through this process.
18. What will happen after the arraignment?
Interviews with you will be conducted before the trial date to gather information and evidence for prosecution. Every effort will be made to consider your needs and safety in going forward with the case. The safety of your children will also be a priority.
Prosecution may provide the means to gain batterer's intervention services for the defendant as part of a sentence recommendation. Very few batterers seek or stay with a program on their own, without court orders and probation supervision. The Assistant District Attorney will speak with you about different sentences should the defendant be found guilty or plea to a guilty finding. The sentence asked for may also include drug or alcohol counseling, supervised probation and/or jail time. Any violations of plea conditions should be reported to the defendant's probation officer.
19. Will I still be at risk?
The most dangerous time for a woman is when she is leaving her batterer. The person responsible for the abuse may feel he is losing control and become dangerously angry. Taking steps to protect yourself from abuse may cause the abuser to retaliate against you.
Please trust your instincts. If you are afraid something may happen, take your personal feelings seriously and protect yourself. You know the situation better than anyone else.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
FAQ's- Dispatch Center/Reporting
1. I need to report an emergency. What number should I call?
2. I need to report an emergency and I only have my cell phone. What will happen if I dial 911 from my cell phone?
All 911 calls from cell phones go directly to the local State Police Dispatching Center. A dispatcher will ask what city your emergency is in and the call will be rerouted to the local dispatch center.
3. I want to talk to a police officer, but it is not an emergency. What number should I call?
Call the business line, 587-1100. This is the number to the Northampton Public Safety Center. A dispatcher will answer your call and will determine what the next course of action should be. NPS dispatchers handle all incoming calls and dispatch police, fire and ambulance personnel.
4. I need to get in touch with a specific officer. Is there a way to contact him/her directly?
You may call the Northampton Public Safety dispatch center at 587-1100 or you may call 587-1166 for direct access to the Police Department's voicemail system. For a complete list of department personnel, see the contact list on this website.
5. Will I get to talk to a police officer when I call the police department?
A dispatcher will answer the phone when you call. They are highly trained and know how to best direct you. If you have specific questions for a police officer, you will be transferred to a member of our department.
6. Is there a way to email members of the department?
Yes. Many members of the department have city email accounts. Go to the contact page and look for members whose names are highlighted. If so, you may contact them via email.
7. What is the address of the police department?
The police department's address is:
8. What is the department’s fax number?
Our fax is 413-587-1137.
For additional information, please check our website:
Go to the top of the page
FAQ's-Crime Reporting Information
1. How do I report a crime in progress?
Call 911 and speak with a dispatcher.
2. How do I report a past crime to the police?
Call the business line at 587-1100. You will speak with a dispatcher who will obtain some basic information about the incident. In most cases an officer will then be sent to your location to take the report. You may also walk into the police station and report the incident to the station officer.
3. I want to report a situation to the police, but I want it to be anonymous. Who should I call?
You may call the business line at 587-1100. Explain that you want to report a crime but that you do not want to reveal your identity. The dispatcher may take down the information and relay it to the appropriate party or you may be transferred to an Officer or Detective.
4. How do I report suspected child abuse?
You may call the police department at 587-1100 and you will most likely be transferred to a Detective. You may also call the Department of Children and Families (DCF, formerly DSS) during business hours at 413-775-5000 and during non-business hours at 1-800-792-5200.
5. How do I report suspected elder abuse?
You may call the police department at 587-1100 and you will most likely be transferred to a Detective. You may also call Highland Valley Elder Services during business hours at 413-586-2000 or call the Disabled Persons Protection Commission during non-business hours at 1-800-426-9009.
6. Why should I bother reporting a crime?
There are a number of reasons that people choose not to call the police. However, for the police to best serve the community, all crimes should be reported. It helps us to maintain accurate records regarding crime data, can help us to solve the reported crime or other associated crimes and is the best way for all of us to work together to prevent future criminal activity.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
1. How can I obtain information about becoming a police officer?
You can go to the police department’s website and click on Employment. This will take you to a page that contains detailed information about the police department’s employment opportunities and hiring practices.
2. What opportunities are available for civilians who want to work with the police department?
There are very few civilian positions within the police department. When vacancies do become available the job postings are listed on the City’s main web site, www.northamptonma.gov.
3. Can I get an internship with the Northampton Police Department?
At this time the department does not have any internship opportunities.
4. Can I volunteer for the Northampton Police Department?
At this time the department does not have any volunteer opportunities.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
1. What community programs are the police department involved in?
The Northampton Police Department is extremely committed to its community and works diligently to participate in a number of community outreach and education programs. For a complete list of community programs and activities go to the link for Community Programs on the department’s main page.
2. I would like to ride with a police officer. How do I sign up?
The police department does host a Ride-along program. Individuals may ride with a police officer as they work their shift, respond to calls for service and engage in self-initiated activity. For more information on this program go to the Ride-along section under Community Services tab on the main page.
3. Will the police department check my house while I am on vacation?
Officers are quite busy but will make every effort to check on vacant houses while residents are away. If you will be leaving your house for an extended period of time you may come to the police station and complete a form notifying us that you will be away or you may call our Public Safety Center and inform a dispatcher. Area officers will be notified that your house is vacant and will require extra checks.
4. How can I request extra patrol time in my neighborhood?
If you have a specific problem in your neighborhood you may contact the Dispatch Center at 587-1100 and speak with a dispatcher about your concern. If there is an on-going problem that can be tended to by a police officer, the dispatcher will determine what should happen next. If there is a general rise in crime in your neighborhood, the police department already knows about it and you will probably see an increased police presence in your neighborhood.
5. I need to have my fingerprints taken. How do I do that?
You may come to the police station with $10 in cash or a personal check made payable to the Northampton Police Department, a picture ID and the necessary fingerprint cards if any were provided to you by the agency that is requesting your prints. If an officer is available, they will assist you when you come in. It is best to call ahead to determine if an officer is available. This service is for residents, including Smith College students, only.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
FAQ's-Quality of Life and Nuisance Issues
1. What can I do about my noisy neighbor?
If your neighbor is playing loud music or hosting loud parties, you may call the police while the disturbance is in progress and an officer will be sent to the house to speak with the property owner or renter. If the individual agrees to quiet down, the officer will leave the area and will document their contact with the resident. If the resident does not quiet down, they may be arrested. On-going noise problems will be documented at the police department and the best course of action may be to speak with the resident’s landlord if the property is rented.
2. What is the city ordinance regarding unshoveled sidewalks?
By city ordinance, all sidewalks must be cleared within the first 24 hours after a storm has ended. Failure to clear a sidewalk can result in a $50 fine. If there is an unshoveled sidewalk in your neighborhood, you may contact the police department at 587-1100 and report it. In most cases an officer will go to the residence and make an attempt to speak with the occupant. Many times these locations involve vacant homes or businesses, people who are away or people who are elderly or disabled. Officers make every attempt to resolve a situation before a fine is issued.Go to the top of this section
Go to the top of the page
Contents Northampton Police Department. Web Site Programming and Hosting by Positronic Design