Saturday, July 9, 2011

PUBLIC SAFETY OR PUBLIC SNAFU?

Kenneth M. O’Brien


Recently there has been a lot of controversy on this site regarding the Southbridge Police Department.

The night of the recent Southbridge Town Election the wife of the police chief appeared on this blog and ridiculed critics of her husband in light of the election results (the second comment).

What was notable was that, as others have commented, there was no attempt to answer or deny the questions that were raised by such prior posts as “Ain’t That A Crime”, or “Liquorboarding The Lazos”.

We have another local blog that publicizes every announced drug bust in town as though it were equivalent to the storming of Normandy by allied troops. But, take a look at how often that occurs.

It is my belief that if you populated every bar in Southbridge with bartenders who had a badge, a gun and a conscience you would nail more drug dealers in a week than the Southbridge Police Department has brought down in a year. Of course, you’d also probably have a lot of dead bartenders.

But, then again, bartenders have already been effectively deputized by the State of Massachusetts. If a bartender is found guilty of over-serving a patron who subsequently leaves and, because of his condition, commits vehicular homicide, the bartender too is liable. Shouldn’t the town or the State pay them for having that liability imposed upon them?

But I digress.

Anybody who doesn’t think that there is a drug problem in this town is just plain nuts.

Anybody who doesn’t think that a good percentage of the crimes that are committed are not drug-related is also just plain nuts.

But what do we have?

The investigation of a family because of questions about their water and sewer bills.

The investigation of a priest because he made a decision about the distribution of charity goods that others chose to question.

In the meantime we have a lot of questions to which we have no answers.

Why was a relative of a town councilor allowed to profit from the sale of a liquor license after being busted for selling drugs while a decade ago another bar was peremptorily deprived of its license and all benefits in a similar case?

Why was a member of the police force, who was proven to have stolen, allowed to repay those funds and been allowed to depart to find employment elsewhere essentially scot free?

Why do we still have no answers about confiscated material from a rave at a local bar that may or may not have been drugs?

Why, after literally years, do we still have no answer to questions about the possible misappropriation of State-owned property (i.e. railroad steel) by the same people?

What are the facts relating to the sudden disappearance of the son of the formerly referenced town councilor from police status in light of the widely circulated rumors about town?

Why, in the midst of all this, are longstanding and respectable establishments targeted for liquor stings for what we all know are momentary and uncustomary lapses in procedure? Business friendly community? Yeah, right!

The Chief wants to approach the DA about Father Peter?

I can only hope that the DA has an ounce of his father in him. I knew Joe Early. I served with him in the Massachusetts House. He was the first politician to whom I ever made a campaign contribution. I knew him in Washington when he was a Congressman. I was lucky enough to be his guest at lunch in the Congressional dining room.

I can only hope that at some point his son will realize that what warrants investigation is not a priest, but a police department gone rogue.

Any answers Kathy?

I hope that you will visit me in jail! I’m sure that some reason will be found.

6 comments:

  1. Be careful Mr. O'Brien. You mentioned only the most recent tactics engaged in by the SPD to demonstrate the disfavor of the town manager as a form of punishment upon those that challenge his pet Councilors or certain favored businesses. I am concerned that after this article today, if you fart outdoors, you might be arrested for violating the clean air act.

    Let's not forget how Mr. Martinek was persecuted for acting as if he had the right to write what he was thinking as if Southbridge was a part of a free country-brought into court twice for daring to comment on the Chairman of the PPP committee. That alone says it all.

    People talk about receivership of the entire town, but we could have the State Police run our Police services and the Mass Environmental Police replace the landfill monitor. We could not only save money in these two areas, but Southbridge would be a safer place to be.

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  2. Crack heads and drug dealers roam freely on Main Street, while a squad car is parked on 169 waiting for little old ladies to go 5 miles over the speed limit. The elderly are ticketed for snow removal while Casella gets away from thousands of dollars in fines for violations. Priests are investigated for bad decisions while police officers are quietly and pardoned for theft. Free speech is dragged into court while decorum runs amuck in Town Hall. Our town manager publicly admonishes a priest for "not having authority" while he himself orchestrates the questionable seizing of half a million dollars from a town fund to balance his unsustainable budget.

    …the same seized funds that will buy the police chief his 2 new cars that will sit at 169 to catch those little old ladies and target those elderly snow violators.

    Make Southbridge Home! (*played to the tune of Circus music*)

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  3. This town has become the laughingstock of Worcester county and it is time we hold those who are responsible accountable.

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  4. Why, you ask? Selective and arbitrary enforcement of the law. It's like his own" friends and family" list is safe while everyone else is subject to his bullying and harassment. The State Police should come in, take over and clean house. I'm sure with Labor Day coming up, Dan and his corrupt followers can find some poor kid with MD to pick on, for "Jerrys Kids". He is shameless but definitely not blameless.

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  5. Well to add some more...Look at the way the police handle a situtions the other night at Dunkin Doughnuts on Main Street. A guy was attcked a physically beaten with ovious injuries to his face. Its been said that he was attacked by his girlfriends X husband and his friend Tony a well known trouble maker and biker dud. They the police were called and I have never have seen the rudness by police like I saw that night that night. The police never arrested the men that beat this guy, they never called for medical help even after seeing this bloody person face , they arrested this beaten mans girlfriend through because she was yelling at the cops to do thier job. They threaten a girl for assiting the beaten man with his injuries. The plan truth the officer should be fired or suspended for a long time for acting that way in the performance of his job. But he wont because of his involvement with the cop for kids program. Ken watch out you will be next.

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  6. SNAFU time at Southbridge PD. Not all cops are bad, of course, but piss poor leadership casts doubt on all members of the force. Allowing one cop to get away with a felony sends the wrong message. Chasing after the wrong people doesn't make up for that. Charette has demonstrated he's not up for the job, and as such, if he doesn't resign, he should be fired. Let the state intervene. Once and for all we will see that we have 20 officers more than we need.

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