The Wellesley Police Department is saying to good by (sort of) to Officer Jim Amalfi after 35+ years of service as a Wellesley Police Officer.
Officer Amalfi was appointed to the Wellesley Police Department on April 25, 1983, as a patrolman. A Wellesley High School graduate, Jim had served as a United States Marine and a Babson Police Officer prior to his appointment as a Wellesley Police Officer.
Officer Amalfi spent his early years on the job working on the street on various shifts in a cruiser answering calls, working on the Wellesley Police Department Ambulance, and being assigned as the desk officer. He eventually landed on the “Last Half” or the midnight shift, where he spent the majority of his career. He worked his last midnight shift on December 9, 2018.
Officer Amalfi made many significant contributions to the town, the department, and his coworkers over the course of his 35 years in Wellesley. To try and list the accomplishments would be impossible. However, there are a few that have long lasting and positive results, which we will note.
First and foremost, Jim was the very definition of a consummate professional Wellesley Police officer. Jim always had a positive attitude every time he came to work, was sharply dressed, and ready to go. He was universally respected throughout the job, for his work ethic and level headed demeanor that he brought to every call that he responded to. He always went the extra mile for citizens in need, and had infinite patience when dealing with citizens on the street. He was an extremely skilled mentor for many of the younger officers on the job as well.
On Christmas Eve in 1990, Jim was assigned as the desk/ambulance officer during a four to midnight shift. An elderly resident called the station to ask if the police knew of any pharmacies that might be open on Christmas Eve in Wellesley. Jim knew that everything in Wellesley was closed, and let her know. He also took her name and telephone number.
Jim then proceeded to take out the phone book and call every single pharmacy that he thought might be open in the metropolitan Boston area. He finally found one, in Boston, at Charles Circle that was going to be open until midnight. Jim then called the resident back and gave her the information. He also patiently walked her through driving directions from Wellesley to Charles Circle so she wouldn’t get lost. After finishing the call, Jim looked up (at the time to a very young man and subsequent author of this article) and simply shrugged, saying “It’s Christmas-she seemed like she needed a little extra help.” The fact of the matter is that it wasn’t Christmas that spurned Officer Amalfi to go the extra mile for a citizen. It could have been a random Tuesday in March, and Jim would have done exactly the same thing. That is the type of officer that Jim has always been for the public.
Jim was one of our best firearms instructors, and literally trained every Wellesley Police Officer since the late 1990’s. Range days for police officers can be a stressful day, both mentally and physically, as officers navigate through a long day of shooting drills and qualifications. Jim was forever moving up and down the firing line, helping officers with small necessary adjustments, giving a reassuring word where appropriate. He was skilled at being able to look at an officer while shooting and not only diagnose a shooting problem, but then being able to fix it..often by working one on one to help them improve. Many of our officers saw their shooting abilities improve considerably over the years after working with Jim.
Behind the scenes at the range, Jim was a tireless workhorse who covered all the logistics that entails bringing some 50+ officers to the range over the course of 6 days a few times a year. Jim knew how many staples we needed, if we were running low on targets or ammo, and never failed to bring extra trash bags—which we always seemed to need. He was a master at getting everything packed and ready in the hours before the range, so things would go smoothly and efficiently once the officers were on the line. Many of these range trips were right after Jim worked a midnight shift, so he’d be working from midnight to 4 PM, a long day by any standard. Yet Jim would never slow down, or lose any positive energy. It also helped that he never seemed to get a sun burn no matter how long he was out on the firing line.
Jim was instrumental in the interior design of our police cruisers, resulting in one simple and efficient standardized layout. Prior to Jim’s involvement, not much thought was given to where the police radio or lights/siren went in a cruiser. This resulted in each cruiser being somewhat different and unique, so you never really knew what switch did what in the cruiser until you pushed it.
Jim changed all that over the course of a few years, starting in 1998. He wanted to ensure that everything was the same, no matter what cruiser you ended up in, so under stress, you wouldn’t have to worry about what button did what. Jim made it all the same. It took some time, but he saw the project through, often sitting and babysitting installers to make sure the cruiser came out correctly. At one point, Jim made a notebook with a detailed layout, so the installers would have a step by step guide on what went where in a Wellesley Police cruiser. It made a tremendous difference to the officers working day in and day out in a cruiser for 8 hours a day. Newer officers to Wellesley take it for granted that the setup is the same, but the veterans of the job remember how much of an improvement it was.
Although quiet and reserved by nature, Officer Amalfi served as one of the Wellesley Police Department’s greatest and most public ambassadors, as a member of the Honor Guard. Jim represented the Wellesley Police Department at hundreds of events as an honor guard member, travelling near and far. He has marched in countless Wellesley parades, opened plenty of Red Sox games at Fenway, and stood tall at funerals for fallen police officers, all on behalf of the men and women of the Wellesley Police Department.
As usual, Jim could be found training and mentoring new members of the Honor Guard in rifle drills and commands with quiet authority, and calming a nervous young sergeant prior to large scale and very public events. Jim planned many events for the honor guard, doing site visits prior to the event to work out exactly how to enter, where to turn, and where to stand, He would then run practices with the Honor Guard to make sure everyone knew what they were doing. Jim’s practice and pre-planning always paid off, and resulted in the Honor Guard making it look professional and easy to the public.
On Jim’s last day of actual patrol work, his shift coworkers prepared an extensive breakfast for him. The breakfast also featured some Last Half Alums coming in early on a Sunday to see Jim at his last official shift. A surprise retirement party followed later in the week, that was well attended by both current and retired Wellesley Police Officers.
Jim’s full time presence at the department will be sorely missed. We are fortunate to not have to say a full goodbye, as he will be staying on as a Special Police Officer, working traffic details around town for the next few years. In one way, Jim will never really leave us. Officer Jim Amalfi was the 'model' for our police memorial statue that is located in front of the Wellesley Police Department. It is truly fitting to have a statue of Jim that will last forever.
We will never be able to fully articulate the deep respect and thanks that every member of the Wellesley Police Department has for Officer Jim Amalfi. We wish him the best and hope he fully enjoys his well-earned retirement with his loving family and friends. And we hope to see him out on the range…maybe offering a quiet pointer to a young officer from time to time.