The local chiefs of police want residents to know they and their officers are here to protect them and to keep their communities safe.

Dracut recently appointed a new chief — Kevin Richardson — who rose through the ranks to achieve his current position. He comes from a family of law-enforcement officers, including his father and two brothers who were or are on the Lowell force, and a brother who is a corrections officer.

Richardson already has devoted 25 years to the Dracut Police Department, and is looking forward to leading the department toward a bright future.

In Methuen, Chief Joseph Solomon has been in charge for nearly four years. Some of his goals are to aid residents, provide protection for the community and maintain a safe environment for his officers.

One of the best ways to keep communities safe is through crime prevention and neighborhood-watch groups. Let a neighbor or two know when you’ll be on vacation and who should or shouldn’t be at your home. Then, if something unusual occurs — someone breaks in while you’re away and is spotted loading your valuables into a pickup, for example — neighbors are more likely to notice and call for help.

Police chiefs and their officers urge residents to call when they need assistance. Don’t presume officers are too busy or that your concern is trivial.

Local police want, and are trained, to protect their communities. Residents can lend a hand by keeping watch over their neighborhood and reporting suspicious activity.