Finnegan said the move to bring more cases to Peabody “makes good sense.”
“We’re not looking to steal anybody’s thunder. We’re just trying to help out Salem, which is over-burdened. Quite frankly, we’re a little under-utilized.”
Speliotis said making Peabody District Court a busier place would help revitalize downtown Peabody, bringing increased foot traffic, more business for small restaurants and the possibility of more legal offices in and around Peabody Square.
“It’s another piece to the puzzle,” Speliotis said.
Speliotis said the Middleton police chief is not interested in moving to Peabody, however.
“He likes going to Salem,” Speliotis said, “and that’s OK.”
Speliotis said that even if Middleton does not move to Peabody, it would still make sense to move Danvers.
“I think it’s easier for Danvers police to get to Peabody,” Speliotis said.
It’s a 4-mile trip from the Danvers police station on Ash Street to the courthouse in Salem. It’s 2.5 miles from Danvers to Peabody.
“To be honest with you, it’s easier to park over there,” said Danvers police Chief Neil Ouellette, “and it’s a little bit closer.” Ouellette said his department did not have any problem going to Peabody for jury sessions while the Ruane Judicial Center was under construction.
Finnegan also noted that the Peabody court has free parking and is convenient to Route 128.
It’s not a question of distance for Middleton police Chief James DiGianvittorio. While Peabody District Court is a couple of miles closer to Middleton than Salem, the chief said there is a “comfort factor” in going to Salem. His small-town department does not have a full-time police prosecutor, so different officers take on that duty on different days. They’ve built up a relationship with people in Salem and familiarity there and don’t want to change that.