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Community Hero of the Month: Officer Joshua Tracy
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
06:07PM / Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Multiple officers commented that Tracy has been a great fit for the department because of his caring and compassion.
Tracy has been an officer in the Berkshires for seven years, working for multiple departments including North Adams, Pittsfield, and as of approximately 5 months ago, Lee.
LEE, Mass.—Lee Police Department patrolman Joshua Tracy has been selected for the February Community Hero of the Month. 
The Community Hero of the Month series runs for the next 9 months in partnership with Haddad Auto. Nominated community members and organizations have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact on their community. 
Tracy has been an officer in the Berkshires for seven years, working for multiple departments including North Adams, Pittsfield, and as of approximately 5 months ago, Lee. 
Prior to being an officer, Tracy served 12 years in the Army National Guard. He became an officer when he left the service because it not only allowed him to help others, which he knew he enjoyed, but allowed him to utilize his military training. 
When on a call, Tracy knows he is likely walking into someone's worst day, which is why he strives to be a dependable person for the people out in the community, he said. 
"I think the thing that I think about the most of making an impact is showing up on these calls that we go on and de-escalating and calming the situation down," Tracy said. 
"You know, most of the time when we show up, it's because someone's having one of their worst days or just a really bad day."
He said he wants to be somebody others feel comfortable calling upon in knowing he will do the best thing possible and make the right decision. 
"We could be dealing with a family member and obviously you want your family member to be treated the way that you want to be treated," Tracy said. 
He said this is huge, especially in cases, such as medical calls, where family members are not on the scene. Family members are often worried but know that there are officers and emergency medical services there to look out for their loved ones. 
"I think my biggest mission in the future is just to maintain good community relationships, and to continue to de-escalate calls that we go on, and to be able to come to a common ground, " Tracy said. 
Tracy's willingness to reach out to anyone and start a conversation makes it easier for him to connect with residents and get them to trust him, patrolman Michael Kahn said.
"He's not afraid to reach out as a friend, as someone you can trust. And later on when we meet people, not on their best days, it's nice to have a friendly face like Office Tracy there to help you," Kahn said. 
Kahn said that, despite his role as an officer requiring him to make arrests, he strives to make often challenging interactions better.
"A lot of good things can come out on the other end, and that's with good de-escalation techniques and just good community engagement skills. Just being a regular person–seeing the humanity in people at their worst," Tracy said.
"Mental health is a huge thing, and I think we're very focused on that, especially in our trainings. As Massachusetts police officers, we're very focused on that, and it shows out on the street or the calls we go to. We're very focused on keeping that in the forefront of every call that we have."
Multiple officers commented that Tracy has been a great fit for the department because of his caring and compassion. 
"He offers a sense of understanding when he's on a call. I think that makes a big difference with people. I think they sense that he's an everyday person that they're talking to, and I think that his ability to relate to people in that sense is what makes him so successful," Police Chief Craig DeSantis said. 
Although he is originally from Cheshire, his wife is from Lee. Through his many friendships in the area, he has already formed a strong bond with the town. Having fallen in love with the place, he now hopes to find residence there soon. His daughter already attends Lee Elementary School.
"He's always looking out for the community and the town of Lee in general. Our daughters go to school together. He's been up to school with me a few times, interacting with the kids up there. So, just a great community-minded officer," School Resource Officer Jason Hopkins said. 
Although he has not been with the department for very long, he said it is a "very good department" with a lot of police officers that set a very high standard. 
"And I just want to go above and beyond that. I think we just keep doing that with each other. To make sure that all of us are doing better because we can always do better and we continue to get better training," Tracy said. 
Tracy said these these efforts show especially with the next generation of officers who have  graduated from the police academy.
"They're making a huge impact out there with the community, and they're very well trusted," he said. “It's just good to see the next generation come in, and they're going to support the community. It's a great thing."
His peers said he has had a very positive impact in the short time that he has been with the department. 
"He's just very attentive to everyone and is a very good listener. He does his job really well… I just think he fits in great with this department. He has a personality. He's so funny at times when we need a good laugh. So, he's gonna be great here," Administrative Assistant Tracy Dunn said. 
DeSantis said Officer Tracy is a fun loving guy who fits in great with the small town and amongst his peers. He does a great job and is able to effectively communicate when things are difficult. He is a person officers can learn from because of his experience.
"I think he just genuinely enjoys doing his job in my short time. We've been fortunate to have him. I've seen him demonstrate those communication skills. They serve him well, and I'm really happy. He's a great fit. He's part of a great team of officers that care a great deal about this community, and we all have a connection in some way and I think that shines through," DeSantis said. 
"The focus of this department is always going to be serving through those traditional roles. We're going to serve, we're going to protect, but we're going to make sure we do it in a small-town community minded way. We're never going to lose that here. We enjoy that positive relationship. We're always going to build on that." 
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