Friday, March 30, 2012

To Protect and Serve?

Ken O’Brien

Today’s Worcester Telegram and Gazette carried an article by Brian Lee titled “Southbridge issues flurry of winter parking tickets despite mild season”.

In that article we learned that during this “winter” the Southbridge police had issued 355 tickets for violation of the alternate side of the street parking ban meant to facilitate snow plowing.

Each of these tickets carried a $50 penalty. In 187 cases the tickets had been referred to a deputy collector carrying, at a minimum, an additional $5 fee.

The rationale offered by Police Chief Daniel Charette was, “Say you end up with a couple of warm weeks in mid-January, and you totally stop…. Very quickly, people get out of that rhythm. And if they do, it’s been my experience you end up having to ticket and tow a lot more when in fact the cold weather returns all of a sudden and a storm hits. So it’s actually much more lenient to continue the process through the winter months.”

The article went on to note that, “Chief Charette said it was ‘obviously so warm’ earlier this month that another snowstorm wasn’t likely, prompting the Department of Public Works, which has added a new $118,000 street-sweeper to its arsenal, to start cleaning streets earlier than usual. Officials asked police to continue enforcing the winter parking regulation.”

Now, given that there were very few occasions that actually required snow plowing over the course of the winter, it would seem to me that there was an alternative approach that might have been employed. If the purpose was solely to prod residents to abide by alternate side of the street parking requirements, then a warning notice with a less onerous fine (say $5 or $10) could have been used. I say this because, to the best of my ability, I cannot find any provision for an alternate side of the street winter parking ban with a mandated penalty in the current town bylaws.

But, it seems that, to a large extent, our police department is being used as a revenue generating mechanism. A review of the Southbridge Police Logs published by the Southbridge Evening News for the month of March lists the following:

(NOTE: NO REPORTS PUBLISHED FOR MARCH 7 THROUGH MARCH 11)


MONDAY, MARCH 5
SOUTHBRIDGE — All Day — Issued 26 tickets for trash violations and investigated four accidents around town.

TUESDAY, MARCH 6
SOUTHBRIDGE — All Morning — Issued five trash citations around town.

MONDAY, MARCH 12
SOUTHBRIDGE — All Day — Issued 14 trash violations around town.

TUESDAY, MARCH 13
SOUTHBRIDGE — All Day — Issued eight trash violations and responded to four accidents around town.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14
SOUTHBRIDGE — All Day — Issued nine trash violations and responded to three trespassing reports around town.

MONDAY, MARCH 19
SOUTHBRIDGE — All Day — Issued 20 “21D” tickets around town.

On the other hand, the same period indicates a virtual wave of vandalism and larceny sweeping the town. Again these reports are taken from the published Police Logs for March.  Once again, no reports were published for the period March 7 through March 11.

FRIDAY, MARCH 2
SOUTHBRIDGE — 11:11 p.m. — Investigated vandalism to car, Beecher Street.

SATURDAY, MARCH 3
SOUTHBRIDGE — 6:27 p.m. —
Investigated vandalism to car, Eastford Road.

SUNDAY, MARCH 4
SOUTHBRIDGE — 3:13 p.m. — Investigated vandalism to car, Dresser Street.

MONDAY, MARCH 5
SOUTHBRIDGE — 10:45 a.m. — Investigated larceny, Main Street.
SOUTHBRIDGE — 10:59 a.m. — Investigated burglary, Pleasant Street.

NO REPORTS PUBLISHED FOR MARCH 7 THROUGH MARCH 11

MONDAY, MARCH 12
SOUTHBRIDGE — 11:54 p.m. — Investigated vandalism to car, Pleasant Street.

TUESDAY, MARCH 13
SOUTHBRIDGE — 12:31 a.m. — Investigated robbery, Benefit Street.
SOUTHBRIDGE — 2:36 p.m. — Investigated assault, Everett Street.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14
SOUTHBRIDGE — 9:18 a.m. and 1:19 p.m. — Responded to two larcenies, South and Everett streets.
SOUTHBRIDGE — 3:08 and 7:45 p.m. — Investigated burglaries, Central and Hamilton streets.

SATURDAY, MARCH 17
SOUTHBRIDGE — 4:40 and 5:30 p.m.— Responded to three larcenies, Pine and Worcester streets and Big Y Plaza.

SUNDAY, MARCH 18
SOUTHBRIDGE — 9:47 a.m. — Investigated vandalism, Cohasse Street.

MONDAY, MARCH 19
SOUTHBRIDGE — 9:53 a.m. and 1:03 p.m. — Responded to vandalism, Clemence Hill Road and at the library.

FRIDAY, MARCH 23
SOUTHBRIDGE — 3:21 p.m. — Investigated vandalism at library.
SOUTHBRIDGE — 4:35 p.m. — Investigated larceny, Dennison Crossroad.

SATURDAY, MARCH 24
SOUTHBRIDGE — 10:14 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. — Responded to two vandalisms, Foster and Main streets.
SOUTHBRIDGE — 1:58 p.m. — Investigated larceny, Charlton Street.

SUNDAY, MARCH 25
SOUTHBRIDGE — 1:12 p.m. — Investigated larceny, Cross Street.

Coupled with the widely known problems of drug trafficking in Southbridge, it would seem that higher priorities exist than enforcing punitive penalties against otherwise law-abiding residents for inconsequential infractions.

(P.S., Why were there no reports of the Southbridge Police Logs for March 7 through March 11? The Evening News published the logs for the same period for Charlton and Sturbridge.)




8 comments:

  1. I am sad to say this town is getting more ridiculous all the time. Their number one priority seems to be handing out tickets, of course it is to generate $$$. Meanwhile drug dealers seem to be going on about their business right in the open....

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  2. This is exactly the kind of behavior that drive people away!

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  3. I have the council (at least 7/9th of it) on video and the town manager saying that their goal for ticketing is to generate revenue. They all want to bleed us to make up for their inept budgeting, lack of spine, lack of creativity, and lack of management skills. Remember, the training wheels are on for the "Town Manager" whose first Town Manager job is in Southbridge. We got a rookie, folks, and it shows. Despite his seasoned and lucrative 6 figure contract that Ms. Nikolla herself "negotiated", it shows. A toad could have negotiated a better deal for Southbridge. These aren't leaders; they are simpletons who won a popularity contest.

    And some want to maintain the status quo.

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    Replies
    1. who in the United Southbridge group is running for town council to change the status quo?
      Not one of you is willing to risk your ego to try to change things.
      All you wnt to do is blame other people because they won't sign your petition.
      Put some real skin in the game or stop whining.

      Delete
    2. LOL! Skin in the game? Notwithstanding the fact that I'm the only one who posted under my real name here (LOL..again) let me explain something to you as clearly as I can:

      I believe that running for a position to lead a town, not to mention one that is in such distress, should be done ONLY by the most qualified and forward thinking. There in lies the problem. Every simpleton with the forethought of a groundhog (and their followers) seem to think they're qualified.

      I consider myself underqualified. I have too much as it is on my plate and would never take on a responsiblity that affects thousands of people in some of the most direct ways so lightly. Not even if someone instigates like you, Anonymous. LOL! I would never want to be like most of the Council are now -- either rubber stamp what ever the Manager lays before them, or marches backward to some dream of being the center of the industrial revival in the United States. No, I couldn't guarantee that I could give it 100 percent and therefor would be only slightly better than what we have now.

      Oh, but to answer your question above. Amelia Peloquin, that's who will change the status quo. And things for me, well, they may change in the next month, or so, too. You just never know. :-)

      Delete
  4. I "hope" it's "just" laziness on the part of the Southbridge reporter, regarding the lack of police logs.

    The winter parking ban story made it onto WBZ radio this morning. How humiliating. I haven't read or heard one positive story about Southbridge in months. Other than "yay, come on and sign up for basketball league" or something ...

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  5. There’s going to be people who are going to try to defnd the inompetince of the town police chief just like those who are defnding Robert Zimerman for killing that 17 year old kid.

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  6. aka Jester

    What a “FINE MESS” Southbridge is getting itself into!

    ReplyDelete

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