By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
As a child, Daniel Arrighi was often visited by retired Seekonk Police Captain Gary Jones.
Those meetings and the discussions they’d have proved formative and inspired Arrighi to pursue a career in law enforcement. In 1986 he was hired by the North Attleborough Police and remained there for 35 years, rising to the rank of detective. Arrighi officially retired on July 5, and said it was getting confessions that he would miss the most. From supermarket robberies to sexual assault cases, Arrighi said he worked on countless suspects.
“It’s a skill, it’s experience,” said Arrighi. “I teach it to the new guys on patrol. I have them sit with me and watch me and learn how to get a confession. It’s the best feeling in he world.”
Arrighi spoke of some of the cases he’s been a part of. Years ago he worked a sexual assault case involving a martial arts instructor. Police had a suspect, reported by a friend of their mother. No victims had been identified, but Arrighi was still able to get a confession and full details on the assaults.
“We had nothing, and during the interview we got him to tell me where and who,” he said. “We corroborated it with the victim.”
Around six months ago, Arrighi worked a robbery at Facet Jewelers. Using surveillance images he was able to locate the suspect and a short time later, got a full confession.
“You can’t demoralize people—you need to get them to tell you what they did,” he said.
Joining the North Attleborough Police
Arrighi’s initial role as a first responder was as a call firefighter and EMT in Seekonk. He had heard a lot of good things about the North Attleborough Police—primarily from his wife, who grew up in the community. He took the civil service exam and was later hired by Chief John Coyle in 1986. Arrighi said that Coyle ran the department in a military style, which meant short haircuts and shined boots, for starters. He remembered a time when Coyle sent some officers to Roy’s Barber Shop because their hair was too long.
“My first day meeting him, I went to his office and he basically told me this will be the best job you have,” said Arrighi. “He took great pride and he loved his job.”
Arrighi talked about Det. David Dawes and Chief Michael Gould Sr., how the two were “like Batman and Robin.” He watched the two solve some of the department’s biggest cases, such a home invasion on Bungay Road that he said rattled the community. Arrighi said that Coyle was not the type to give out accolades, but noticed those that went above and beyond.
“I still keep in touch with the Coyles,” said Arrighi. “They were mentors to me.”
Changes in law enforcement
Over the course of three decades, a lot has happened in the world of police work, but it’s recent developments that Arrighi said has given him cause for concern. He said that what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis was despicable and that former Officer Derek Chauvin “got what was coming to him.” But since then, Arrighi said that the public has lost a lot of respect for the police, and many officers have been assaulted or murdered. He recalled seeing a video of a Portland Police Officer being screamed at by someone and how they just took the verbal abuse.
“This incident has been a ripple effect for law enforcement,” said Arrighi. “There have been three new recruits that have been hired. I talked to them and when they asked for pointers, I told them they would be tested. Today it’s zero respect.”
Arrighi also pointed to the decriminalization of marijuana as a change for the worse. Over the years the detective has worked a lot of drug cases, and remembered one that started with a routine vehicle stop that led to the discovery of narcotics and $43,000 in cash.
“People drive by and you can smell it,” he said of marijuana smokers. “You can’t tell me they’re not impaired.”
Doubtless the biggest case that Arrighi worked on was the arrest of Aaron Hernandez for the murder of Odin Lloyd. He worked with the Det. Eric Benson of the Mass State Police on the investigation and the two conducted hundreds of interviews in Massachusetts and Florida. During the investigation and trial, Arrighi met with Lloyd’s mother.
“She was definitely shaken up,” said Arrighi. “She asked us to find the person who murdered her son.”
During the trial Arrighi said he was on the stand for three and a half hours. Afterward, he met with Lloyd’s daughter and girlfriend, who thanked him for what he did. He said those words “buckled my knees.”
“We got the guilty verdict,” he said. “Hundreds of hours of work. It was a team effort, I got close to a lot of the troopers.”
Arrighi remembers talking with Hernandez before the arrest. They had asked to speak to him about Lloyd, but Hernandez became hostile and asked for his lawyer. Once the request for an attorney was made, all questioning had to stop, and he recalled just talking with Hernandez about other matters.
“We had no idea he would be the suspect,” said Arrighi.
Toward the end of the trial, Arrighi said that Lloyd’s mother spoke on the stand and asked for people to forgive Hernandez for what he had done.
“The kindest lady and she suffered the most horrific event,” said Arrighi. “I was choked up.”