AG Campbell vows engagement in visit to Leyden

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell speaks at Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell speaks at Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell speaks at Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell speaks at Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell takes questions at Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell takes questions at Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, left, meets with people outside Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell, left, meets with people outside Leyden Town Hall on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 08-24-2023 6:14 PM

LEYDEN — The state attorney general visited town on Wednesday to follow through on a promise to ensure western Massachusetts residents don’t feel left out of the political conversation.

Andrea Joy Campbell spoke inside Town Hall for about an hour, fielding questions from members of the public and providing as much detail as possible regarding the state investigation into town affairs.

“I’m here today,” she told the roughly 35 attendees. “But I’m going to keep coming back.”

Resident Trish Saline stood up to vent to Campbell about “the 28 years of us getting raked over the coals,” referencing what she described as local police corruption.

“These people really ravaged this town and they have not been held accountable. I would like to know why,” she said, referring to the Police Department.

“We are in conversation with the Inspector General’s Office — more to come on that,” Campbell replied. “There’s another agency involved. … We will circle back on this. I understand you’re looking for justice, accountability. I completely understand.”

Campbell predicted the two agencies would finish their reviews in a couple of months. While Campbell did not specify the subject of those reviews, the personal possession of surplus military equipment by former longtime Police Chief Dan Galvis has been the subject of controversy in town.

Galvis was found to have been in possession of equipment Leyden received through the Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) Program, which transfers excess military equipment to non-military law enforcement agencies. A dump truck with “D.J.’s Auto Sales & Service,” the name of Galvis’ business, painted on the side was sold for $5,300 on Auctions International in 2019. According to resident Sara Seinberg (who is married to Finance Committee Chair Ginger Robinson and invited Campbell to visit Wednesday), the auction company confirmed the vehicle was titled to Galvis, though it has not been confirmed whether it is the same one mentioned on the LESO Program’s list. Other equipment cited included a 1987 Humvee and a 1984 trailer.

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In July 2012, Galvis was at the center of an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office after State Police confiscated from his home several guns — including two loaded handguns sitting in plain view, an unloaded .22-caliber rifle, a Savage bolt-action rifle, a Stevens shotgun and a World War II-era H&R Reising .45-caliber submachine gun — that were not properly secured. Galvis became uncooperative when police began to inquire why he would leave his house unlocked with unsecured weapons inside, according to reports from 2012. Galvis was neither arrested nor brought in for questioning, and police left the chief at his home at the time. Investigators determined the guns either had no locks or did not meet state law requirements for proper storage.

Robinson said she wants the state to stop participating in the LESO 1033 program that brought the military equipment to Leyden. She said the town has received $1.8 million in equipment since 2013, and only some of it was used.

“I think it would be awesome if the state of Massachusetts refused to go along with this program,” she said. “It is ripe for abuse.”

In other matters, Saline also spoke to Campbell about the soaring costs of lifesaving medications and said she hopes the state attorney general will keep that in mind.

“I know many people that require medications to stay alive and they cannot afford to buy them. This has got to stop,” Saline said. “They desperately need this help. It’s no joke. They’re dying.”

Campbell also spoke about what she described as her office’s commitment to preserving access to health care and protecting LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights. She also said there is mental health epidemic and housing crisis in this country and her job “is about representing people who feel left out.” She pledged to continue to not let western Massachusetts be forgotten.

“Every time I come out to western Mass. … I don’t want to leave,” she said. “I get that we are a Boston-centric state, and we are working to change that.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.