Belchertown Police Department News Blog

Commendations Issued For Officers Cote and Christofori

Police officers in small towns like Belchertown rarely deal with dramatic situations like a bank robbery. Such a situation occurred on September 20 when Officers Valerie Cote and Jason Christofori apprehended three individuals suspected of an Amherst bank robbery on Route 9. As a result of their actions on that day, the two officers received written commendations from Belchertown Police Chief Francis Fox.

The commendation letter stated, “I wish to congratulate you and to express my appreciation for your outstanding efforts on the morning of September 20…you conducted yourselves as competent, well trained professionals and demonstrated to your department and the community a very worthy example of the difficult job police officers face each day serving their communities.”

Fox said that what could have been a lengthy investigation, resulted in an arrest within an hour and half of the crime, thanks to quick reaction of Cote and Christofori.

Officer Cote was the first to identify the suspects’ vehicle on Route 9. Having received the BOLO (Be On the Look Out) from the Amherst Police Department, she knew what she was looking for.

“It was aqua-colored Cavalier, which kind of sticks out,” said Cote. Factor in the female driver with two passengers, the officers were confident that they had the right vehicle.

Christofori was behind Cote in his cruiser, so the two officers turned around and pulled the car over. Cote noted that the directional was turned on when they pulled over. Because it was a felony stop for a suspected armed robber, they oriented their cruisers next to each other at an angle pointing to the rear of the suspects’ vehicle like an arrow.

As Cote radioed the stop in to dispatch, Christofori began the arrest procedure for such a stop, which includes making commands from the cruiser with the vehicles intercom with weapons drawn.

Both officers said that they were feeling the adrenaline throughout the arrest, but that their training took over.

“I was jacked, but you just revert to the training,” said Christofori. He explained that their reaction was instinctual as a result of their training.

“You would have thought we were doing high-risk felony stops happen every day,” Christofori joked.

“You don’t have time to think. Your adrenaline starts rushing and you do what you need to do,” said Cote.

Despite the fact that Belchertown is a quiet community, Fox said that his officers need to be prepared for any eventuality.

“We haven’t always had to deal with things like this, but you always have to be prepared. That comes from training,” said Fox adding, “You hope that you don’t have to do it, but you need to be prepared for when it does happen.” Fox also explained that his officers should be commended every day.

“Officers should be commended every day, but some situations deserve more than a pat on the back.,” said Fox adding that situation of this magnitude calls for a commendation.

Despite the recognition that they have received, Christofori and Cote remain humble.

“There isn’t an officer that wouldn’t have been able to the same thing that we did…We are all trained the same way,” said Cote.

“It’s nice to be recognized…It’s also just nice to serve the community,” said Christofori.

Officer Valerie Cote is an 11 year veteran of the Belchertown Police Department. Officer Jason Christofori has been on the force for 6 years.

By Michael Seward, Publisher

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