I don't know if Chris Fountain Will Like Greenwich Roundup Pointing This out but....
08/14/08 Soon To Be Pulled Over Lawyer / Realtor Exposes Police Union "Extortion"
Police Unions and traffic control
For What It's Worth
By Chris Fountain
The New York Times reports that the Governor of Massachusetts is trying, again, to get rid of the requirement that policemen direct traffic around construction sites. Fat chance - the state's been trying to achieve this for decades and union power always prevails. The Times says no other state wastes resources like this but, wouldn't you know, Greenwich uses a modified system, requiring off-duty policemen, on overtime pay, to steer cars around all non-public work projects.
A town employee can move traffic around a town tree cutting operation but if that same bit of tree trimming is being performed by CL&P or a private tree company, cop(s) must be on hand. Don't hire one at your peril, because these guys will shut you down in a heart beat and even arrest you, as they did at the Post Office project on Valley Road.
Cops make out like bandits with this deal and Greenwich obviously figures that what we don't see won't hurt us, so our "negotiators" continue the practice. We spent, according to BET minutes, $32,000 a month in police overtime directing traffic during the Mianus sewer construction project, a work effort that stretched out years. That's just one small example, of course. And I assume, but do not know, that a cop's overtime earned directing traffic is treated like all his other overtime when calculating his pension.
Because that pension is based on the cop's last year's total compensation it's the norm that the retiring civil servant racks up as much extra pay as he can, all to our financial woe. As a town, we seem to accept this ridiculous situation as the price of labor peace but it sure looks like union extortion to me.
Well guess which frequent government and police critic just had to go to Town Hall to appeal a ticket for the first time in his life....
Parking ticket appeals
In my driving history I've probably accumulated 10 parking tickets over 39 years. Spread out over that time, that's not bad (no, I'm not counting the tickets I got when I attended college in Boston, when, in those blessed pre-computer days, you could ignore the tickets and switch to new license plates on visits home). And I've never appealed one until now but a cop recently ticketed me for parking too close to a hydrant and, when I questioned him, he said, "you were in my way." I don't think that a cop's pique is sufficient reason to get a ticket so I filed an appeal and went off to Town Hall today to argue it.
It was an almost painless process. I met a very nice guy named, I think, Bob Bishop who heard me out sympathetically, agreed with me that the cop was not behaving well but asked me how close I was to the hydrant. I confessed that I was certainly closer than the 10' demanded by law so he suggested cutting the $50 ticket to $25. Seemed fair to me and the matter was closed. Took 5 minutes.
So I got what could be perceived as an apology from the town for the peevishness of their officer and I paid for my sins. Here's a picture of the scene of the crime. You'll notice that the offensive policeman is a gentleman in his late 50's. Anyone that age still wearing shorts and directing traffic probably has suffered some career disappointments along life's path, but that's no reason to be a jerk, in my opinion.
Greenwich Roundup also had a very similar experiences....
When my wife had a store in Byram I started seeing Byram's problems first hand.
Initially I started going to meetings and asking to meet with public officials complaining about parking problems.
I was particularly worried about three 30 minute parking spaces in front of my wives store that often had cars parked there for hours at a time.
Eventually, Alan Corey and others at parking services got tired of my complaints and made sure that a parking agent checked on those spaces multiple times a day.
However, the traffic agents disappeared sometime around 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm and I was told to call the Greenwich Police Department for ticketing cars up until 6:00 pm most officers were sympathetic to the situation. They striped the tires and came back 30 minutes later and issued the ticket.
Most of the tickets went to North Water Street residents that had New York plates in order to avoid paying the property taxes. I even started calling various WGCH talk shows about the high concentration of residents with New York plates.
However, there was one Byram officer, if I remember right, named Dipetro, who always had a horrible attitude when he got called from his spot on the Post Road to stripe tires and come back and earn some parking revenue for the town.
This officer would say things like, "I am not supposed to be witting tickets" and tell me "My Sargent get mad at me when I am witting to many parking tickets."
Then he would lecture me about how I was taking him away from important crime fighting duties when he was called over for a quality life issue like illegal parking.
Often times this officer would stripe the tires, but unlike the other officers he would not return to write the tickets.
Well one afternoon I was having a new fixture delivered to the store and I called the Greenwich Police Department to have some illegally parked cars ticketed, so that there would be at least one space clear to make the delivery.
It is very strange how three illegally parked cars can sit all day, but once a ticket is slapped on the windshield they come running out to their vehicles. Often before the traffic enforcement officer is finished writing the ticket.
Well anyway, the delivery showed up and had to park in front of a driveway beside the store, because of the illegally parked cars. Unfortunately, the driveway was full of cars from tenants who lived above my wife's store.
The perpetually cranky, Byram Police officer showed up and informed me that he was not going to stripe the tires of the illegally parked cars, but he was going to ticket the four wheel drive SUV delivering the fixture for blocking the driveway.
I protested that I was blocking my own driveway and that I would not be blocking my own driveway if there were not three illegally parked cars in front of my wife's store. But this officer did not want to hear that this SUV would not be being unloaded in front of my own driveway if he had ticketed the illegal cars.
The officer didn't care what I said and wrote a pretty substantial ticket.
At first I just chalked the ticket up to a business expense and put it on my desk to pay.
The fixture was unloaded and the illegally parked cars stayed until 6 PM restriction ended. Now they were legally allowed to stay until 9 AM the next morning.
A little after six I saw a black SUV park in front of my driveway and the lady driver ran across the street into a yellow apartment building. I just stood in front of my store to watch if she was going to be coming out soon or planned on illegally parking in front of my driveway all night long.
Well my favorite Byram officer pulled up while making his run from Johnny Cakes to sit at his favorite spot on the Post Road. He stopped in front of my wife's store rolled down his widow and asked me if the SUV belonged to me.
I said, "No, are you going to give this one a ticket like you gave me a ticket?" The officer did not say a word rolled up his window and drove to his favorite spot on the Post Road.
This caused me to call the Police Department to complain about how this jerks actions were unbecoming to a police officer. The Sargent I spoke too said he would speak to the officer and advised me to take my ticket to the First Selectman's office and appeal it.
I made an appointment and spoke to a hearing officer who seemed to get a lot of complaints like this, because she was so understanding.
A teenager a cross the street from my wife's store had taken a couple of pictures of the officer giving me the ticket and acting belligerent. Plus I had made a drawing showing the store foot print parking spaces and driveway.
The hearing officer seemed to agree it was foolish that the police officer gave me a ticket for parking in front of my own driveway and dismissed the ticket and did not even want to see my drawing or the pictures.
My wife who was Korean went with me to the First Selectman's office and told the hearing officer that the, "Policeman was very nasty" and he shouldn't talk to people like that.
Well after that I got more involved in Byram and started this blog and started calling WGCH talk shows to complain about other problems on the Western side of town. The crime, drugs and gangs, as well as, the poor delivery of government services to this part of town.
I even went out and collected signatures so that I could be a town legislator. In November I was elected to the Representative Town Meeting.
This caused me a lot of grief from town officials and police department brass, which eventually led to Police Officer Dipetro leading a bunch of police officers into my wife's store to conduct an illegal search that lasted more than an hour.
After I called 911 several times on Officer Dipetro and his gang of lawbreakers a Greenwich Police sargent came and removed the officers. No tickets were ever written for the illegal raid and no charges were ever filed by the Greenwich Police Department or any other governmental agency.
Officer Dipetro's illegal raid was all over the front pages of the Greenwich Time and was reported to the illegally appointed Captain Pacewicz who cleared Dipetro and the other officers without interviewing me, my wife and our neighbors who congregated and witnessed the illegal search.
When I spoke to First Selectman Peter Tesei after the incident he told me that there had been 80 complaints about police officers during the last two years.
and that doesn't count the residents who are afraid or don't know how to complain about the
Greenwich Police Depatment.
In my opinion this is far too high a frequency for a relatively small police force in a town that prides itself on being gentile.
To be fair, In my 12 years of living in Greenwich I have had problems with two Greenwich Police Officers. And one could argue and Police Chief David Ridberg often points out my previous complaint of five or six years ago makes me a higher than normal complainant.
Most Greenwich Residents have little or no need to complain about the Greenwich Police Department.
Yes I had previously complained about an Officer Terrel Hardy, who had a long history of violating Greenwich residents civil rights and was eventually fired many years after my complaints about him.
Some day I may tell the Terrell Hardy story and how then Captain David Ridberg behaved back then, as he defended a police officer he would soon be testifying against.
But right now, I am late to go to my Thursday Night Men's study and prayer group which is held in a private house and consists of some members of Harvest Time Church and members from other churches. There is even a guy who isn't comfortable attending church regularly, but enjoys coming to the mens group. He and his son cooks up the food for the group.
However, I will say this before I go.
I do feel that most of the Greenwich Police Department consists of police officers who are very intelligent and physically fit enough to take on any crime problem in Greenwich.
Moreover, many of the Greenwich Police Officers also serve in the National Guard and have very generous hearts.
In fact in this men's prayer and study group is a Greenwich Police Officer who is volunteering to use his personal time and funds to go to Africa to help in a church sponsored medical clinic that will provide relief to thousands of improvised women in children.
It also my understanding he has used his time and money to help support an orphanage that has taken ten children off the streets of Dakar and allowed them to go to school and have a better life.
I would further like to say that even though Greenwich Roundup has been critical of some Greenwich Officers and some investigations, we are far from anti-police.
When four young people, including the son of a Board of Education member, were arrested around the first of this month. I was told by many people that police had acted improperly.
Many people did not want to recognize that this was a PRETTY BIG DRUG BUST with Intent TO SELL to others.
Unfortunately some relatives and friends of these kids did not want to recognize that they had been making mistakes for a long time and were getting deeper in the drug culture.
I personally, knew of one of these young men and he had a bit of trouble before and probably will be sent to jail for violating his parole.
From all accounts that I heard he had really started to straighten up his life until he began running with this crowd. In fact, he says that he had not been parting in the house that night. He says he went there to get a radio of his that was there
There were a couple of people who very angry at me, because they thought that I would automatically criticize Greenwich Police Officers for arresting these kids. They were convinced that the police had acted improperly.
There was a disturbance at a house. There were trespassers playing loud music and spraying graffiti on the walls. The police found emptied cigar guts that indicated that drugs were being stuffed in the cigar shells. Plus, the police heard the toilets being flushed when they entered the house and found the sinks wet indicating that something had been recently washed down the drain.
From what I heard all parties agreed that one of the car drivers consented to a search of the car, even though there was heavy police pressure or intimidation tactics involved in asking to search the car.
And the police recovered an awful lot of drugs that were most likely destined to other school children who were friends and customers of this group.
All I can say to the persons who are mad at me, because I agreed with the Greenwich Time and did not think that this was an illegal police search.
The police officers acted properly.
Please don't blame me for the way the story appeared in this blog or the Greenwich Time.
This story probably never would have seen the light of day if you had not told the Greenwich Time, you were going to get Greenwich Roundup to write the story for you.
Let's face the facts.....
- The Drug Bust Happened On A Sunday And Did Not Appear In The Greenwich Time Until Friday.
- It Was Not In Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Or Thursday's Police Blotter.
- Since On Of The Kid's Father Is A "Republican" Member Of The Local Board of Education Normally Would Not Have Been Published.
- So Please Be Careful When You Are Unhappy With The Greenwich Time That You Do Not Tell Them Ahead Of Time That You Are Contacting Greenwich Roundup.
- Because I Just May Agree With Them And The Greenwich Police Department Or Some Other Entity.
- In Fact, If The Greenwich Police Department Had Not Done Their Job I Would Have Been Screaming, "Why Are Kids Byram Getting Busted And Why Are Kids In The Back Country Getting A Free Pass?"
Let's all remember the Greenwich Police Department kept these kids from driving drunk and stoned on the roads and possibly killing themselves or someone else.
Kids make mistakes. They get caught. Life goes on. It's too bad that it'll be in their records but on the bright side nobody was hurt and the courts will probably mandate help for their drug problem.
Maybe one of these days, one or more of these kids will say thank God that the Greenwich Police arrested me, because I was getting deeper and deeper into drugs and my life could have been ruined.
- Let us pray for these kids and hope they are cured of this evil sickness and that none of them have to go to jail for these mistakes.
- And let us pray for the Greenwich Police Officers who act in a courteous and professional manner and bring honor to the Department and the Town Of Greenwich. And Let us pray that officers who currently don't meet the standard will soon improve.
- I also probably should pray that I would not let my dislike of the past actions of Chief Ridberg, illegally appointed Captain Pacewicz and a few others cause me not to appreciate the hard and dedicated work of the vast majority of Greenwich Police Officers and their supervisors.
And as much as I hate to say this....
Most persons in town who are in the know say that Chief Ridberg is doing a much better job of managing the Department than the previous Chief Of Police.
But, Cheif Ridberg has a long ways to go before the Town has the police department they deserve.
Perhaps, the first step would be to establish a civilian complaint board that independently listened to citizen's complaints instead of using the system where Pacewicz whitewashes and covers up departmental performance problems.
Unfortunately, Pacewicz allows a few bad officers to give a bad reputation to the rest of the department which very educated and fit.
Cheif Ridberg and his officers should welcome the accountability and feedback that a civilian complaint review board would bring to the Greenwich Police Department.
For example, if a civilian complaint board received a great deal of complaints about discourteous officers like the one Chris Fountain encountered then Chief Ridberg could dedicate some trining time on how to properly deal with civilians.
Really grumpy officers with especially bad dispositions could receive individual councelling. Outright abusive and biligerant officers like Terrell Hardy could be shown the door sooner, rather than later.
08/08/08 Greenwich Time News Links For Friday
Greenwich Time reporter Mr. Vigdor has delivered yet another incomplete article.
- Was a field sobriety test given to these "Back Country" boys from privileged families?
- If a test was given what were the results.
- This information is routinely provided for out of towners and poorer members of Greenwich society.
- When this information is selectively reported or given out it makes the Greenwich Police Department look corrupt and the Greenwich Time look inept.
The Bodson Family Was Very Lucky, This Time
Grave Indifference Contributed to Death of John J. Bria
- 02/04/08 - Savannah Lamotte, would tell police about John J. Bria's Death: "Maria and Jason picked me up around 9 p.m. …
- 02/06/08 - Dr. Ian Rubin's Family Has Complained About The Press, But At Least The Family Got Justice.
- 02/13/07 Finally: Greenwich Cops Reopen Bria Drug Death Case
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