Tag Archives: Worcester Police Department

He’s our gonzo City Council candidate!😝💚🇺🇸

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Ron O’Clair – terrific writer💚! Interesting inner-city political candidate.🇺🇸

Why Vote for Me?

By Ron O’Clair

As we head down the road to the preliminary election in September, you have to ask yourself, of all the people running in this election cycle, who am I going to vote for? And why?

A fair question! And one that I hope to give you an answer to here:

I have been working for the last 30 years on behalf of the residents of my beloved City of Worcester, and most never knew what I was doing, nor why I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that it needed to be done.

Someone had to make the sacrifices required to see the job through to its completion.

That someone happened to be me.

All these years I have been cataloging abuses made in various guises by those who are being paid a handsome salary on the back of the average working stiff in the form of – trap of – high taxes$$$. We hoi polloi foot the bills that keep them in clover!

I have nothing against paying our Worcester Police Law Enforcement Personnel a living wage, plus benefits, lest they be tempted to work against us – and for the drug cartels. There have already been cases here in Worcester of that happening – Operation Tune-up!

What I do have a problem with is when the people put in positions of trust and authority over “the people” abuse that trust or authority to deprive the least of us of our inalienable rights to be free and unmolested as we go about our legal and lawful business. I am against those who target certain people based on wrong assumptions.

When these abuses and usurpations of power happen, there is a process in place meant to provide relief for those who are unjustly persecuted, and even maliciously prosecuted, for crimes that either never happened or were blown out of proportion into something bigger for more sentence.

When that process itself is corrupted by malfeasance, ineptitude, cronyism, nepotism and outright favoritism, what is a citizen supposed to do?

Pack his toothbrush as he heads off to do time to satisfy the lust of some jerk putting him or her in jail just because they CAN – and not because a crime was in fact committed!

Well, when the victim happens to be a dual citizen / soldier like me – in service to the United States Government on a Federal Level, there is only one thing to do: INVESTIGATE.

I had the Constitutional authority granted to me as a non-commissioned officer in the rank of E/5 to back my play, and the corrupted County of Worcester had not a freaking clue as to the deep pile of doo doo they stepped into when they attempted to, and succeeded in, covering up for a corrupted Court officer who attempted to murder a prisoner – me! – in restraints, and in custody of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth at 50 Harvard Street that 30th day of September, 1986. A fateful day indeed.

I was nearly killed that day. And the Court Officer was in fact 100% disabled by me so that I could have the ability to breathe back when he let go of my throat after I put his lower left leg bones out the back of his leg with my Air Force low quarter dress shoes that I was wearing at the time of the assault on my person there on my charge of “Disturbing the Peace”!

I want to bring honesty and accountability to our City of Worcester Government, and to do that I need a chair on the Worcester City Council Floor.

Vote Ron O’Clair for City Council and “RULE OUT CORRUPTION” in the City of Worcester.

Ronald O’Clair
ronaldoclair@hotmail.com
(774) 242-1468 for donations of volunteer time or money for the Campaign for Worcester City Council. All donations will go for a worthy cause. Guaranteed.

Gordy parked in fashion … Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes backs Billy Breault’s proposed racist dragnet

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People against Billy Breault’s petition picketed his meeting.        photo: Gordon Davis

By Gordon Davis

Worcester City Councilor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes has been a Worcester politician (serving on the Worcester school committee and city council) for almost 40 years. Lately, she has been scapegoating refugees and immigrants. In September 2016, at a Worcester City Council meeting, Lukes said, “We see signs here basically accusing us of being racist. I have yet to hear anybody tell me what I have done that is racist… Give me names, dates, times.”

Two months later, on November 15, 2016, Councilor Lukes voted to harass and terrorize immigrants and refugees. She targeted Muslims and Hispanic people. Lukes voted in favor of a petition before the Worcester City Council regarding the “financial” and “criminal” impact of newcomers to Worcester. The petition was drawn up by and is being pushed hard by William Breault.  Here is a small part of Breault’s petition – he wants the following from the city manager:  “… information from the City Administration on the financial impact incurred by the city for processing refugees or asylum seekers during the past five years, including the location of housing provided for them and the source of funding for that housing.”

Worcester city councilors Michael Gaffney,  Moe Bergman and Lukes signed onto this financial petition – how much money it costs the city to house and process newcomers and refugees.

Lukes was the sole Worcester city councilor who signed on to the criminal section of Breault’s petition. She voted to seek the records of immigrants arrested by the Worcester police.

Lukes could have acknowledged the positive impact that immigrants and refugees have on Worcester/America. She could have sought the number of hate crimes committed against  refugees and immigrants in Worcester. Instead, she sought the opposite.

Billy Breault, a longtime Main South resident, is known for many of his controversial, sometimes racist stances, such as trying to stop a funeral home from conducting the preparation of a Muslim man’s body for burial. On November 17, 2016, Breault tried to get support for his anti-refugee petition at a neighborhood meeting, which Lukes attended. Incredibly, instead of Councilor Lukes disowning Breault’s overtly racist petitions, she doubled down in her support of them. (Some folks have called Breault’s petitions Nazi policies.)

There was a protest outside Breault’s meeting – pushback by many people in the community, including  the groups Show Up Against Racism, the Progressive Labor Party and Catholic Worker. These groups and others held signs. One sign read: “Stop Nazis’ Hate and Lies”; another sign said “No Racist Immigration Laws.” Inside the meeting some people engaged Breault and Councilor Lukes in heated discussion.

Councilor Lukes’ stance reminds me of the recent racist rants made by the Governor of Maine, Paul LePage. Governor LePage has stated that Maine’s opioid crisis is caused by Black and Hispanic people moving to Maine from Massachusetts. He has used the word “niggers” and “cunts” in his racist and sexist rants.

Like Lukes, Governor LePage has asserted that he is not a racist and that the people who are calling him a racist are themselves racist.

A reporter in Maine, Gattine, said the following:

“LePage floated the remarkable notion that calling out racism is equivalent to using racist and sexist slurs during his radio interview Tuesday, saying that being called racist is ‘like calling a black man the ‘N’ word or a woman the ‘C’ word. It just absolutely knocked me off my feet.”

After 40 years of political life during which time she showed much paranoia and wallowed in sensationalism, it is time for City Councilor Konnie Lukes to retire. In response to Lukes’ stance on this latest issue, many of her opponents are preparing to resist her – and President Elect Donald Trump’s fascist policies of mass deportations and a Muslim registry.

Worcester Police Chief Sargent meets with Worcester NAACP

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Police Chief Sargent at the Worcester NAACP meeting. Photo by Bill Coleman

By Gordon Davis

In August 2016 Mayor Joseph Petty said there was no need for the Worcester City Council to have public hearings on Worcester Police policies, as Police Chief Steven Sargent was already meeting the public at crime watch meetings and other events.

One of these meetings was held last night, September 26, at the YWCA, when the NAACP hosted Police Chief Sargent. During the NAACP meeting there was some discussion about the crime watch meetings and other police events being hard to find. Even the chief couldn’t say exactly where on line we should look. Another problem with attending the crime watch meetings is that they are not necessarily public meetings.

There was a little dust up at the YWCA. A man claiming to be head of operations called the police when people holding signs for the NAACP meeting were told they could not hold the signs there. Chief Sargent came over and defused the situation.

The first thing we learned from our new police chief is that the Worcester City Council makes the decisions on the type of police policy. Chief Sargent said he could not respond on the issues of “Broken Windows” and “Stop and Frisk.” He said the policy for Worcester is “Community Policing.” There is evidence the so called arrest sweeps and quality of life” that at least a modified form of Broken Windows is a de facto policy.

The issue of body cameras on police officers was also raised. Police Chief Sargent said there were constitutional issues being reviewed by the city’s Legal Department. He gave no timeline on this issue, although the ACLU has established guidelines for the use of body cameras that the Boston police are using.

In regards to transparency, Police Chief Sargent said they are establishing a Civilian Academy where police procedures will be discussed. The Academy is expected to start February 2017.

The city’s Dirt Bike policy was clarified to some extent: A legal dirt bike on the street gets a citation and will likely be confiscated. The Chief said the bikes, if stolen, are returned to their owners and the stolen dirt-bike rider is arrested.

There was no clarification of when legal dirt bikes are confiscated from private property.

Affirmative Action was discussed, too. The Chief said more Latinos are accepting police positions than are African Americans. He said his department is working to ensure 25 percent of applicants are minorities.  
What he did not say was that almost all successful applicants are former military who have preferential treatment over other applicants. 

Some push back came over the issue of the school-to-jail pipeline and the use of uniformed police officers in the Worcester Public Schools. There are nine police officers assigned to the Worcester Public Schools. Seven officers are in our high schools and two officers are assigned to split-duty in our middle schools.

The push back came in the form of four teachers, two of whom are still teaching. One teacher asked about the drug screening that is going on at Burncoat Middle School. Chief Sargent said he was not aware of the program. The program was initiated by Governor Charlie Baker via the recent Opioid Bill passed last January.

Another teacher indicated there was an implicit racism in having uniformed police officers in our schools. The background to this is the inability to have an honest discussion of the police killings in places like Tulsa, Baltimore or Ferguson. 

On the surface there is cordiality, but the real issue of race and power is hidden away.   

I have to say Chief Sargent is personable, knowledgeable and seemingly long-winded. He told us stories of the “old days” when he was mentored by Loman Rutherford, a Black officer. I did not hear much from him that was exceptional.

Events and time will tell if Chief Sargent will make a difference, or will be restricted by the material conditions and facts of his job.

Body Cameras for the Worcester Police

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Walking the beat

By Gordon Davis

Several years ago, Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme, now retired, announced that the Worcester Police Department was investigating the policy of the use of body cameras for on-duty patrol officers. Like with most “policy” issues in the City of Worcester, the investigation was conducted in secret.

Advocates of the policy of using body cameras pointed out that body cameras protect both the public and the police officers. The information provided by the video is considered indisputable, unlike oral testimony.

With body cameras the actions of a member of the public is clearly shown, and this protects police officers from false or unsubstantial complaints. Also, the actions of the police are clearly recorded, protecting the public from poorly trained police officers or officers who are abusive.

Body cameras are used in at least 42 large police departments nation-wide and many more smaller police departments. Boston is initiating the use of body cameras on a trial basis this year. Leicester (MA) and Brookfield already use them.

The overall results have been that the number of complaints made by the public are down and the number of arrests is also down. Both statistics point to a reduction of frivolous activity by the public and police. Such interactions over what many of us would call “frivolous” often lead to escalations.

The Worcester City Council has essentially abrogated it duty and responsibility to set policy for the Worcester Police Department. The City Manager and City Council are just rubber stamps for whatever the Police Chief and his cronies tell them.

There is no transparency in terms of complaints by the public.

There is no significant external oversight over use of funds.

Several Worcester City Councilors have passed resolutions in effect saying “support the cops – right or wrong.”

A group of residents are petitioning the Worcester City Council to have public hearings on changes to Worcester Police Department policies.

The petition will be given to the Worcester City Council at the August 16, 2016, Worcester City Council meeting.

Hopefully, if approved by City Council, the public hearings will be real and honest.

The public hearings should not be like City Manager Ed Augustus’ Department of Justice hearings in 2015 during which the police chief did not appear and the notes were lost!

The ACLU has come up with a set of rules, a policy for the use of body cameras by the police. The Boston Police Department has adopted 80 percent of the ACLU’s proposals.
These proposals include when the cameras should be turned on or off, who gets access to the videos, verification of the cameras’ operation, etc.

These proposals certainly could be used as a basis for the Worcester City Council establishing a body camera policy for the Worcester Police Department. The City Council should also conduct an audit about any money received via grants for a pilot program for body camera use.

I have been to a lot of City Council meetings and seen a lot of citizen petitions describing good policies for the City of Worcester. I have seen most of these petitions “filed” or thrown away. The petition regarding changes to Worcester Police Department policy is too important to be ignored.

Given the tensions between the public – especially people of color and the poor – and the police, there is a real need for the protection of our rights.

Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal will do harm to the poor and communities of color

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Keep it real – and fair

By Gordon Davis

Disparate Impact is when a so called neutral policy has a more severe negative impact on one protected class than on other protected classes.

A local columnist wrote about Charlie Baker’s support for a change in the law that would change the penalties for assault and battery on a police officer to mandatory jail time.

This policy disparately impacts poor communities and communities of people with dark skin.

Poor people have more interactions with the police because we walk, take the bus and drive early model cars. Each interaction such as fitting the description, broken tail lights, and stop and frisk increases the likelihood of a bad outcome.

I have personal experience with these pretexts. In the 1970s I was walking home on Austin Street and a police officer, James Reardon, arrested me for walking without an ID. He charged me with being disorderly and rudeness.

The judge dismissed the case.

Another time at a demonstration a person pushed a woman protester and I got between them. The person then attacked me. I was struck in the back of the head by a police officer whom I never saw. He then charged me with assault and battery on a police officer. The police officer chose to protect the bully and cover up his battery on me with a pretext.

Again, when I told my story in court the judge dismissed the case.

The worst experience of pretext was when I was arrested at another demonstration. The police officer was out of shape. I heard the order from the sergeant to arrest “anyone.” The big cop arrested me for no apparent reason other than I was nearby. When in the police station the cops threw me on the floor and used a choke stick until I nearly blacked out. I was relieved when someone yelled out: “Stop it! He had enough!”

This case was also dismissed.

The city government of Worcester has used pretext to enforce a racist disparately negative policy. For years, and even today, the gang unit has a policy of stop and frisk without probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. Sometimes “fitting the description” is the pretext. Most of the time no explanation is given.

An example of this was when the Worcester Youth Center was located in Federal Square.

The alcove in front of the store-front was private property. The Youth Center kids would gather in the alcove and smoke and talk. The police did not have authority over smoking on private property. Authority or not, the police continually ordered the kids to go inside. When the Youth Center director complained, the police arrested him for assault and battery on a police officer. This case was like the other pretexts.

Governor Charlie Baker’s proposal will do harm to the poor and people of color communities.

It will contribute to racist mass incarceration.

The drug abuse laws have been written with a disparately negative impact on the poor and communities of color.

These laws creating mandatory prison sentences for assault and battery on police officers will be unfairly enforced and have an unfair impact.

Worcester Police Chief Sargent has stated that his policy for policing is the “Broken Windows.” This policy needs to be explained to our communities. Will it increase the negative interactions between the residents of Worcester and the police?

There is need in Worcester for a real discussion about race and police policy. City Council, city manager and our WPD should be transparent with the residents of Worcester.

What does the police policy of Broken Windows mean for Worcester?

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A civilian review board for the Worcester Police Department!

By Gordon Davis

What does the police policy of Broken Windows mean for Worcester?

We will certainly soon find out.

Recently the new Worcester Chief of Police, Steven Sargent, and Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus were interviewed by a local paper. During the interview, Chief Sargent revealed that he will police Worcester based on the Broken Window Theory. This was somewhat of a surprise.

The Chief had not, to my knowledge, revealed to the public his thinking on criminology, race or body cameras on police officers.

The Broken Window Theory has several parts: one component is the cleaning up of the physical environment, which lets people see that an area is cared for and surveilled. Another part of the Broken Windows Theory has been called Zero Tolerance. A third part has been the removal of “undesirables.”

The removing of “undesirables” has been in effect in Worcester for more than a decade. The so called “aggressive” panhandling ordinances of the City of Worcester are examples of this. The Supreme Court of the United States recently ruled that Worcester’s ordinances on panhandlers are unconstitutional. In some instances, this practice has been the intentional precursor of gentrification.

One can only wonder what Chief Sargent and his boss, City Manager Ed Augustus have planned for these people. Whatever it is, the public should know.

City Manager Augustus, after being ruled against by the Supreme Court, spoke from his bully pulpit demanding that the residents of Worcester give money to charity and not to panhandlers.

Zero Tolerance is the practice of arresting people for minor or non-existent violations such as “disorderly.” Many statutes regarding “disorderly” or disturbing the peace are vague and give the police arbitrary and discretionary powers. This practice eventually evolved into New York City’s infamous Stop, Question and Frisk policy.

There is evidence that the Stop, Question and Frisk practices of the New York Police Department were racial profiling and violated the Fourth Amendment. The police stopped hundreds of thousands of law abiding New Yorkers annually – the vast majority Black and Latino.

I would like Chief Sargent to say there will be no Stop, Question and Frisk policy in Worcester.

I actually agree with the first part of the Broken Windows Theory. Property owners should be made to maintain their properties. In a 2005 Harvard University Study conducted in the “hot spots” of Lowell, Mass, it was determined that improving the physical environment, such as the better enforcement of building codes, is the most effective part of the Broken Windows Theory. It was also the least unlawful.

Almost all of what the Worcester Police Department does in the city is secretive: statistics, reports and records of police misconduct are impossible to get. Police Chief Sargent and City Manager Augustus have a duty to meet with the residents of this city to explain what is in their Broken Windows Policy. A discussion of how Broken Windows will affect the Black and Latino communities and other residents of Worcester is needed.

This should be a REAL discussion: It would be helpful (but unlikely) if the gang of three Worcester City Councilors – Michael Gaffney, Konnie Lukes and Gary Rosen – were excluded.

In Worcester government, Discrimination = Disparate Impact

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Dr. Carter – Worcester’s Chief Diversity Officer

By Gordon Davis

Disparate Impact discrimination is the legal term that describes discrimination without animus.

It usually is found as a policy that results in an adversely negative impact on a protected class based on a so called neutral or nondiscriminatory policy.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that criminal records disclosures can be considered disparate impacts.

It and other organization have created new policies to ensure that people who have been formerly incarcerated or arrested will get at least a chance for an interview when applying for work.

Another example of disparate impact is the so called School to Jail Pipeline which many people consider racist because it affects a disproportional number of Black Latino and poor students. The institutional mechanism and policies of the School to Jail Pipeline negatively affects all students.

The School to Jail Pipeline’s policies are racist, not because it is based on any negative animus but because it has a disproportional negative impact on Black, Latino and other students.

The solution to the disproportionally negative impact is a rewrite of policies. For Massachusetts the change has seemingly come in M.G.L. Chapter 222.

The opponents of the efforts to reform the policies leading to disparately negative impacts sometimes use the pretext of colorblindness.

We have seen this use by a local columnist to defend a lack of effective programs, the Worcester Police Department and people working in the Worcester Public Schools. In her recent column she said that white teachers are the victims.

A good teacher is a good teacher regardless of protected class or race. We should instead look at the policies that have the negative impact on our children.

It has been pointed out to me that the recent promotions of City of Worcester and Worcester Public School officials could be an example of Disparate Impact:

The present Commissioner of the Worcester Department of Public Works, Mr. Moosey, was, before he was appointed, the next in line to replace then DPW and P Commissioner Mr. Moylan.

Ms. Ledoux, the present Worcester City Clerk, was next in line when she was promoted and replaced her boss, David Rushford who recently retired.

The new City of Worcester Chief of Police, Mr. Sargent, was next in line when he was promoted to replace the retired Chief Gary Gemme.

All the people mentioned above are white and they were all well qualified for their experience and promoted to the top positions with in their respective departments.

There was one exception to this apparent policy of promoting the employee next in line: The Assistant Superintendent of our Worcester Public Schools was passed over in favor of a less qualified candidate. In this particular case the Assistant Superintendent is Latino and the less qualified candidate – now School Superintendent – is white.

In terms of unlawfulness this might not be disparate impact. The hiring process of department heads was not the same or similarly done, as was the hiring of the Worcester School Superintendent. The Worcester School Committee made the decision regarding the Superintendent. The aforementioned city department heads were appointed by either Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus or elected by the Worcester City Council.

Our School Suprintendent is hired by the Worcester School Committee.

However, the hiring of Maureen Benienda as School Superintendent certainly was not in compliance with Affirmative Action policies of the City of Worcester or their intent.

The policies were written to ensure that when a person in a protected class has the same or better qualifications as a candidate not in the protected class, the person in the protected class would be hired.

This Affirmative Action policy has worked very well for the Worcester Police Department for the protected class of armed forces veterans. One hundred percent of police cadets are veterans.

Is there animus in Worcester’s hiring practices?

Maybe there is.

Is there an adversely negative impact in Worcester’s hiring policies?

Yes, there is, as seen in the statistics.

All of the promotions to department heads have been white. The better qualified Latino candidate for School Superintendent is Latino and he was passed over.

Dr. Carter, the recent hire for the newly created Worcester Chief Diversity Officer position, does not seem to have any power to do anything significant.

I believe she is a good person in a position requiring moral courage.

Unfortunately, this was predicted during last summer Department of Justice “dialogues on race.”bThis writer said those “dialogues“ are a joke and that the position of Chief Diversity Officer would be just a token or crumb for “minorities” to fight over.

This just in! Worcester top cop Gary Gemme says au revoir!

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Right now! Main South! Foot patrol in the neighborhood! Thank you, Chief Gemme! pics:R.T.

Statement by Mayor Joseph M. Petty on the retirement of Police Chief Gary J. Gemme:
 
For more than thirty years Chief Gemme has served the people of Worcester, over a decade as our police chief. 

In his time as the head of our police force he has overseen tremendous advancements in technology and crime analytics, making Worcester one of the safest of all cities in Massachusetts.
 
His lifelong commitment to our City was exemplified by his belief in community policing and his dedication to relationship building between his department and our neighbors. 

Chief Gemme oversaw the expansion of neighborhood crime watches, foot patrols in our downtown, and numerous programs which encouraged positive engagement with our City’s young people.
 
Chief Gemme made the WPD a leader in technology but never forgot that it is the relationship with the community that is the best crime prevention strategy. 

I wish him all the best in his well-earned retirement.
 

Super cool!!!!!!!

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Rosalie wants to join the WPD Vice Squad – for reasons other than crime-busting!

By Rosalie Tirella

I tell ya, this past week’s drug bust in the house next door to mine, in Worcester’s lower Vernon Hill neighborhood, was a blast! Not a bust! But a blast! All we gawkers/rubberneckers who watched the 15, maybe more, super cops converge on 48 1/2 Ward St. early one pretty spring morning quickly got sucked into the cool cool show and realized the Worcester Police Department Vice Squad and the Mass State Police vice crew are da bomb. Creme de la creme. A #1. Top of the pops. The BEST – ever. Super-Fly-Shaft-Popeye-Doyle deelish! The stuff of early Sly Stallone movies!

Cocky, happy warriors cuz they know they’re the good guys who are out to defeat the bad guys – the whore masters, drug pushers, machine-gun-packing post-pubescent pukes who destroy lives, families and (mostly) our Worcester inner-city neighborhooods.

The kind of men and women (EMTs and fire fighters included!) who pulled America through 9/11.

Trust me: They are worth every cent we taxpayers – mostly cowardly, out-of-shape losers who love to grouse about squandered dough tumbling down the fed/municipal government rabbit hole – pay them.

They’re our inner-city heroes! Never forget that!

You always read about the bad seed – the trigger-happy cop suffering from PTSD. You seldom read about the rest of the troops, the mostly good guys, who are in peak physical and mental shape. Agile of mind and body. The guys who enjoy the freedom and excitement of their jobs, the camaraderie of the investigation – and the raid.

The adreneline junkies!

Out to apprehend the junky junkies!

Like the Worcester vice squad cops who were outside my house a few days ago… They looked so freakin’ AMAZING in their basic tee shirts and jeans, their uniform of the streets. Their clothes fell so beautifully on their bodies because their bodies were beautiful – not an ounce of fat anywhere I could see – hard, sculpted muscles that were worked at and on in THE GYM. EVERY DAY.

Six pack abs, bulging pecs and biceps. Spring in their steps. Shaven heads, too. The guns they wore on the waistbands of their jeans were compact, hard-edged, stream-lined – just like they were. Everything about these guys was urban tough. Cuz they know what they’re up against.

Swoon …

I’ve seen these vice squad guys (and gals) and their German Shepherd and Belgian Shepherd drug-sniffing dogs do their work before, usually in our inner city, where poverty, despair, anger, depression, ignorance, emotional, sexual and physical abuse and exploitation of every stripe come together in relentless waves of bad luck and bad happenings.

Most people here never catch a break. They hurt and hurt … and kill each other mindlessly, pointlessly …

You drive through places like my Worcester neigborhood and witness the drug houses, dumped garbage, unemployed young men, obscenity-laced shouting matches playing out in the streets, the condemned buildings, abandoned property, undernourished little kids and feel … oppressed.

There’s beautiful stuff here, too – don’t get me wrong. I live on Ward Street for the beautiful stuff … like the poor parents who dress their little kids up so cute and adorable – transcending the badness … the kids who walk the family chihuahua after coming home from elementary school, in the ugly concrete parking lot, yet they look so happy as they trot alongside their feisty wee pet … The retired lady who picks up the trash strewn on the sidewalk, outside her front door. … My awesome 90-year-old apartment with its high ceilings, solid, heavy dining room doors that come together to slide shut, the original 90-year-old woodwork that is stained dark brown and looks so lovely against my creamy walls. I look out my top floor window at night and see the city lights twinkling like millions of little white flowers cast out onto a deep purple sea. I remember my late mom who grew up near by and her goodness enfolds me like the purple night enfolds the white city flowers …

Back to singing the praises of the Woo PD vice squad!

I’ve seen their Belgian shepherd dog go through a car on Canterbury Street sniffing for drugs. Nothing languid about that dog! A model of tough, lean, intrepid, single-minded thoroughness. With just the slightest prompt from his lean, cool cop handler the dog jumps into the car’s trunk to run his nose over every square millimeter of trunk space. Then jumping out of the trunk, always on lead, he leaps into the back seat sniffing wildly, then lithe paws straddle the front seat sniffing madly – then onto the dashboard. Finally, the car hood is popped open and the dog – smaller and more agile than a German Shepherd dog with an edgier temperment – crawls on top of (the now cold) engine! And he is losing himself in the car’s innards. To get at the drugs. This all happened in around five minutes.

Back to the raid next door to my place! Like I said, watching the Worcester PD Vice Squad or any of the cops and state police who pursue drug dealers and other vice is like watching a big budget cop movie in the cineplex. Only it’s happening in real life, real time, yards away from you!

I watched the show on Ward Street a few days ago: the cops opening up a drug dealer’s car and pulling stuff out of it. Paper work. Floor mats. Clip boards. Some of the guys were taking gulps from their bottled water. All were talking loudly, boisterously. The hood was theirs! The arrests had been made earlier, at a different drug house. There were several houses involved located in two states – there were a bunch of young men involved – all, sadly, in their mid-20s. Thousands of dollars in cash were recovered – and a machine gun, too! (thank you, NRA!) But no one had been hurt. The guns, heroin, cocaine, drug dealers are now gone! Poof! Out of my Ward Street neighborhood! Just like in the movies! (Or, some of them are gone, at the very least)

Our urban cavalry road in and saved the Woo day! Women and children are now a little – maybe a lot – safer when we walk down Ward Street.

And I’ll always remember the playfulness in the voice of one vice squad cop who said good bye to the young lady who had been watching him do his job from HER apartment window: “See ya later, Sweetie!”

Swoon …

WARD STREET’S little kids, moms, families, law abiding citizens thank you, Worcester Police Dept. Vice Squad, Mass State Police, Conn State Police and your heroic German Shepherd dogs!

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DRUG RAID AT 48 1/2 WARD ST.

From the Worcester Police Department FB page:

Year-Long Drug Investigation Yields Numerous Guns and Drugs – 11 Arrests Made

Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gemme announced today that as a result of an extensive narcotics investigation initiated by members of the Worcester Police Vice Squad, eight search warrants were executed and eleven arrests were made. This was a joint investigation by the Worcester police department, Massachusetts State Police, and supported by the Worcester Country District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. The execution of these search warrants and the securing of the premises of the targeted sites involved the assistance of the Oxford Police Department and Auburn Police Department.

“Today was a bad day for those who would prey on our residents and neighborhoods. With one fell swoop, the Worcester Police Department and their law enforcement partners put a serious dent in drug trafficking in our city,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “This kind of case only comes together through cooperation across agency lines. Thank you to the Worcester Police Department, District Attorney Joseph Early’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, and Connecticut State Police for their tireless work to make Worcester a safer place.”

Describing the operation, Chief Gary J. Gemme said “In the early morning hours, officers involved in the operation prepared to enter pre-determined locations simultaneously to execute eight search warrants including sites in Oxford, Auburn and Connecticut.”

Members of the Worcester police vice squad, and Massachusetts State Police made entry into the following locations and secured the premises:

11 Russell Street, 1st Floor Worcester
11 Russell Street, 2nd Floor Worcester
48 ½ Ward Street, Worcester
75 Ward Street, Worcester
21 Merrick Street, 3rd Floor, Worcester
143 Orchard Hill Drive, Oxford
Starters Distributors, 848 Southbridge Street, Auburn

Connecticut State Police, Massachusetts State Police and Worcester Police executed a search warrant at 442 Eastford Road, Woodstock, CT.

The search warrants yielded more than 200 grams of cocaine, more than 200 grams of heroin, 11 firearms, 10 vehicles and approximately $75,000 cash.

Commenting on the investigation, Chief Gary J. Gemme said, “Anytime you can focus on areas of the City impacted by drugs and violence, it goes a long was to enhance the safety and vitality of our neighborhoods. … This is just one of a number of investigations and wiretaps that we are working on which focuses on guns and drugs.”

The investigation began approximately a year ago and included a wiretap and surveillance. It is expected that the arrests made during this investigation will disrupt the illegal activities of the drug organization.

“This was a great effort and a lot of good police work went into this over the past year,” said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. “This action truly exemplified how well the state police assigned to the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office and Worcester Police work together.”“You cannot overstate how important it is to get heroin and cocaine in this quantity off the streets and take back these neighborhoods,” he said. “It is also a very good day for law-enforcement and for public safety when we can get this many weapons out of the hands of drug dealers.”

During the raids, the following individuals were placed under arrest:

Juan DeJesus, 24 of 48 ½ Ward Street, Worcester was charged with Possession of Class A Substance with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute, Trafficking in Class B Substance more than 200 Grams, and Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws.

Jose Tapia, 26, of 48 ½ Ward Street, Worcester was charged with Possession of Class A Substance with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute, Trafficking in Class B Substance more than 200 Grams, Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws, Possession of Class B Substance, and Possession of Class C Substance

Jose Correa, 38, of 143 Orchard Hill, Oxford was charged with Trafficking in Class B more than 200 Grams and Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws.

Joshua Amart, 24, of 11 Russell Street, Apartment 2, Worcester was charged with Distribution of Class B Substance (Subsequent Offense).

Pito Bauza, 45, of 42 Grand Street, Apartment 2, Worcester was charged with Possession of Class A Substance and Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws.

Eduardo Diaz, 33, of 159 Water Street, Worcester was charged with Use of Firearm in a Felony, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Firearm/Ammunition without an FID Card, Possession of Class A Substance with Intent to Distribute, Interfering with a Police Officer and Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws.

Wilfredo Valle, 32, of 300 Gregory Avenue, Passaic, NJ, was charged with Use of Firearm in a Felony, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Firearm/Ammunition without an FID Card, Possession of Class A Substance with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute and Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws.

Israel Diaz, 36, of 41 Merrick Street, Worcester was charged with Possession of a Machine Gun, Trafficking in Class B Substance more than 200 Grams, Trafficking in Heroin more than 200 Grams, Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substance Laws, Use of a Firearm in a Felony, Possession of a Firearm without an FID Card, and Possession of Ammunition without an FID Card.

Additional charges are pending and all eight individuals will be arraigned tomorrow at the Worcester County District Courthouse.

Three additional individuals were arrested in Connecticut and are facing numerous firearms and drug charges.
“These arrests and seizures of narcotics, firearms and suspected drug profits will deliver a significant blow to the cocaine and heroin trade in Worcester and the surrounding region,” said Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent, Massachusetts State Police. “Today’s operation and the investigation that preceded it is a model for interagency cooperation.”
“I commend the work of the State Police Detective Unit attached to District Attorney Early’s office and of our partners at the Worcester Police Department, ” he said.

Chief Gemme commended Captain of the Bureau of Investigative Services, Paul Saucier, Vice Squad Lt. Joseph Scampini, and Police Officer Larry Williams for their tireless work on the investigation. “The results of this investigation are a tribute to the dedication that we continually see from our officers working to keep our community safe,” said Chief Gemme

WOW