A Tisbury police officer is facing several charges in Edgartown district court after allegedly interfering with firefighters trying to fight a dryer fire at her home.
Kelly R. Kershaw, 30, will be charged with interfering with a firefighter, assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and threat to commit a crime; the complaint was issued last Wednesday and an arraignment scheduled for that Friday was continued to June 28. Ms. Kershaw is a Tisbury police officer currently on leave.
According to documents filed in court, the Tisbury fire department responded to a dryer fire at Officer Kershaw’s Lagoon Pond Road residence on May 9 at 2 a.m. Police reports filed by Officers Joseph Ballotte and Jason Marathas stated that when they arrived on the scene, Officer Kershaw showed signs of intoxication and was concerned about her pet chicken.
Both officers wrote that the police and fire personnel repeatedly asked her to leave the fire scene. “Officer Kershaw was acting in [an] extremely aggressive manner towards us as we informed her that she had to leave the area,” Officer Marathas wrote. He said Officer Kershaw allegedly screamed and swore at the officers. “I informed her that she had to leave the yard now and she again yelled and threatened to kill me,” he wrote, adding that he knew that she was a sworn police officer with a valid license to carry firearms.
Officer Marathas said that at one point, Officer Kershaw swung at him and hit him on his left forearm.
“Officer Kershaw’s hysterical, aggressive and assaultive behavior caused several of the Tisbury fire fighters to stop fighting the fire so they could get out of the way,” Officer Marathas wrote.
An Oak Bluffs police officer was called to assist.
Officer Kershaw was physically removed from the scene several times by her father, the officers wrote, and eventually remained at her grandparents’ home, which was across the street from the fire scene.
“Throughout the course of this incident, Ms. Kershaw repeatedly attempted to gain access to her chicken pen, inserting herself into the middle of an active fire scene before being stopped by fire personnel,” Tisbury fire chief John F. Schilling wrote in a May 13 email to Tisbury police chief Dan Hanavan. “It was a very disappointing turn of events to have to address these kinds of issues from an “off duty” officer, especially since her actions distracted from our efforts to affect a timely resolution to the incident.”
Chief Schilling said that in response to Officer Kershaw’s concerns, a firefighter checked on the status of the chicken, and confirmed it was safe and not in danger.
According to Officer Ballotte’s police report, the fire damaged wiring and charred the floor beams that support the first floor of the house.