Millers Falls man facing child porn charges was part-time police officer; suspended from departments

  • The Buckland Police Station at 69 Conway St. The Buckland Police Department, as well as the Bernardston Police Department, have suspended part-time officer Jacob R. Wrisley, who has worked for both departments within the past two years, after he was arrested and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography earlier this week. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Bernardston Police Station at 25 South St. The Bernardston Police Department, as well as the Buckland Police Department, have suspended part-time officer Jacob R. Wrisley, who has worked for both departments within the past two years, after he was arrested and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography earlier this week. STAFF FILE PHOTO/SHELBY ASHLINE

Staff Writer
Published: 5/20/2021 6:22:46 PM

The Bernardston Police Department and Buckland Police Department have suspended part-time officer Jacob R. Wrisley, who has worked for both departments within the past two years, after he was arrested and charged with four counts of possession of child pornography earlier this week.

Wrisley, 40, of Millers Falls, was arraigned Tuesday in Greenfield District Court before Judge Mark Pasquariello, who set bail at $2,500 cash with conditions that Wrisley have no unsupervised contact with any child under 18, including by electronic platforms; have no overnight stays where children under 18 are present; not work or volunteer for any organization that serves children under 18; report according to a schedule to the probation department; and notify probation if he moves. According to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Wrisley pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Speaking briefly Thursday, Bernardston Police Chief James Palmeri said Wrisley had been a part-time police officer for the Bernardston Police Department for a couple of years.

Wrisley had also been employed as a part-time officer, only working “one or two shifts a month,” with the Buckland Police Department for the past two years, according to Buckland Police Chief James Hicks.

Bernardston Selectboard member Stanley Garland read a statement from Palmeri during a Selectboard meeting on Wednesday.

“Upon learning of the arrest and charges brought against Jacob Wrisley, I was shocked and saddened,” Palmeri’s statement reads. “I have a zero tolerance approach when it involves charges of this nature, and some circumstances need immediate action. I have suspended Mr. Wrisley from the Bernardston Police Department and will be seeking his immediate termination from the town.”

During Wednesday’s Bernardston Selectboard meeting, Garland suggested making a motion to terminate Wrisley, but fellow members were hesitant to take such action until Wrisley is proven guilty. Selectman Robert Raymond said the suspension from the Bernardston Police Department until further notice “is good policy” for the time being.

Hicks and Buckland Town Administrator Heather Butler said they are “acting in concert” with Bernardston, and are suspending Wrisley from their town police department and requesting his termination.

According to a press release from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Wrisley’s case came to the attention of police investigators when they received a cyber tip related to child pornography from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. After executing search warrants at Wrisley’s home and car and interviewing Wrisley, police placed him under arrest at about 3:10 p.m. on Monday.

In Greenfield District Court on Tuesday, Wrisley’s case was continued to June 17 for a pretrial conference.

According to Palmeri’s statement, his department is cooperating with the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit, which is in charge of the investigation.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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