Tag Archives: Worcester Police Department

Worcester Police Department’s Camera Collaborative helps keep Worcester safe!

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The photo is of the warning sticker the Worcester Police give to Worcester residents or biz owners who participate in the program.     pic – Ron O’Clair

By Ron O’Clair

There is a new tool in use in Worcester in the ongoing efforts to deal with the seemingly ever increasing crime rate that is predominantly due to the rising percentage of the citizenry who participate in criminal activity that is focused on maintaining illegal drug habits.

The tool I mention is the Worcester Police Department’s Camera Collaborative that allows property owners to allow the Worcester Police access to the feeds from any surveillance camera’s that are installed in efforts to curtail or decrease the likelihood of criminal activity in certain areas.

While the police will not monitor the feeds continuously, they will be able to use the images stored on the systems memory to help prosecute the guilty when crime occurs in range of the camera’s that are registered with the collaborative by being able to go into the memory of the systems to retrieve data recorded that may show investigators crucial evidence that will help prosecute the criminals.

As I author this story, there are four Worcester Police officers in my rear parking area as a result of a call I made based upon seeing another two in a long line of trespassing drug addicts who continually come onto the posted private property located adjacent to the old location of the P.I.P Shelter and shoot Heroin or smoke Crack Cocaine behind either my dumpster, or the vehicles parked there along the rearmost portion of the property where they indulge in the drug of their choice and leave behind the evidence of their having been there with used needles and other drug paraphernalia associated with drug use.

In most previous calls, the police responding would most generally allow the trespassing individuals to leave the property without taking any legal action against them, which resulted in their coming back again after the police went on about their duties protecting the lives and property of the citizens of our fair City of Worcester.

I took it upon myself to go out and speak with the Sergeant on the scene which produced a total of 4 marked patrol cars, one supervisor’s Explorer, the Paddy Wagon, and an Ambulance, to let him know that this problem has been ongoing and continuous lately with numerous instances of my having called to take legal action on the law breakers only to result in repeated instances of the same activity because the police take no legal action against those who continually trespass, though I am perfectly willing to prosecute if I have too, in order that others will get the message that they can’t just trespass at will on private property.

For as many times as the police have let these people go with a warning, I have given numerous warnings myself by informing these people in person that they are not allowed, or welcome to come do their drugs on the private property. It is a frustrating situation. I have sometimes been assaulted verbally or physically when I attempt to control the situation without the involvement of the police as I know they have more important duties to attend too and dislike having to take them away from those duties to deal with these trespassing drug users, and due to response times being what they are, many times the trespassers leave before the police can arrive.

This problem seems to have grown lately with regards to the property I manage due to the criminals getting over their camera shyness which I attribute to lack of prosecution for those caught in the act of illegal activity, as well as the fact that I have not posted many new videos made off the camera feeds directly to You Tube like I did with the case of the stabbing on Main Street, and the car break on Charlton Street where a customer of the Spanish Grille had items stolen from her vehicle when she inadvertently left her window open allowing a thief to take advantage of her own carelessness in a crime of opportunity.

For a time there after I installed the system, the area had become a ghost town at night compared to before, and lately they are coming back out there at night, all night long along the side and front of the property engaged in the criminal conspiracy to traffic narcotics in the 700 block of Main Street. They are being helped by certain of the tenants to have access to the interior of the building, and are causing disturbances and inconveniences for the people not involved in illegal activity.

The Camera Collaborative of the Worcester Police Department can help identify those individuals committing crimes in our City of Worcester, and I urge property owners or managers who have installed systems to participate in it.

The contact person I have is: Sergeant Anthony Petrone of the Real Time Crime Center of the Worcester Police Department at (508) 799-8658 who you can contact for more information about this program.

The result of the call I made today about the trespasser’s resulted in the female going away in the ambulance, and the male suspect being taken away in the Paddy Wagon. I believe that this had nothing to do with my speaking to the Sergeant as I had noticed they were detaining these individuals prior to my going out to speak with them. I believe they are getting tired as I am of the same people doing the same things over and over again. I am a huge proponent of treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol addictions and have hopes that those people will see the light and get the help they need to overcome the addiction that drives them to break the law.

Sad to say, Wanda Luz-Diaz, one of those whom  I had helped get into recovery through involvement with the judicial system has relapsed and is back out there among those that hang around the outside of my building up to no good in her quest for another fix, or hit, whatever she can manage to obtain.

There are many who hate me for what I do, not understanding that I believe that leaving addicts in the misery of their individual addiction is playing Russian Roulette with their lives. Intervention and treatment is a far better option than waiting for them to take the hit, or inject the tainted dose that kills them. There is that old saying about if you can’t help an addict, don’t hurt them. What they fail to see is that by doing nothing, and not intervening or trying to get them the help they need to overcome their addiction is hurting them, and those that love them. Getting them into recovery whether they want it or not, is not hurting them, it is helping them resume a better way of life, just like the girl from the “zombie walk” video I posted, who because of the video is still clean and in the life of her little girl after having been addicted and on the streets around my area of concern the 700 block of Main Street. Samantha made the decision to seek treatment and do what it takes to remain drug free, which is the only way it will work. My video was responsible for her making up her mind to get the treatment that saved her life.
For that, many in the drug culture hate me, but I know that Samantha and her little girl are grateful, and that is worth my efforts and the scorn I get from those who fail to understand that recovery works if you work at it. I believe this program will help, rather than hurt those out there lost in the throes of addiction and the crime that supports those addictions.

Smart move! (For now) Worcester police officers in our schools

Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty announced today that Superintendent of Schools Melinda Boone, City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Chief of Police Gary Gemme and he have come to an agreement to develop and implement the school resource officer model in the Worcester Public Schools.

In addition to the four liaisons currently servicing the schools, three additional Worcester Police Department officers will enhance support and coverage to all eleven [City of Worcester] secondary schools for the upcoming school year.

“We have always been proactive about the safety of our students and that is why, working with Dr. Boone and Manager Augustus, we will be increasing the number of school resource officers,” said Mayor Petty.  “These highly trained officers will foster relationships with students and faculty, continuing to ensure an environment where teachers can teach and students can learn.”

One WPD School Resource Officer will continue to be assigned full-time to each of the city’s five comprehensive high schools – Burncoat High, Doherty High, North High, South High, and Worcester Technical High School.

Two additional full-time police officers will be assigned to the remaining two grades 7- through 12 schools and the city’s four middle schools.

“The safety and well being of WPS students has always been my number one priority every day, and this year is no exception.  These resource officers will be extremely well trained to provide collaboration and support to our school administrative teams so our students can focus on learning,” said Superintendent Melinda Boone.  “We welcome continued partnership with the Worcester Police Department to use a school-based safety model that is used by many districts throughout the country.”

The Worcester Public Schools will continue to reimburse the City of Worcester for the shared cost of four school resource officers.

The WPD will shift resources to place the additional police officers in the schools, ensuring no additional dollars are taken out of the classroom.

“The safety of our schools is paramount, and the city is happy to step up to do our part to ensure it,” said City Manager Augustus. “By providing additional officers, we will not only benefit from a day-to-day security presence in our schools, but will help the police build relationships with kids that will be beneficial in a number of ways.”

The officers will be strategically selected by Worcester Police Chief Gemme for the School Resource Officer role to ensure the right temperament, training and personality. The officers will go through specialized training as part of the school resource officer role.

“The Worcester police department enthusiastically endorses the decision to expand our community policing partnership with the Worcester Public Schools.  The school liaison officers are committed to building relationships based upon trust and respect with the school administrators, teachers, students, and parents.  We look forward to helping to provide a safe and secure environment for members of the public school community,” said Chief Gemme.

Lincoln Square 6/20 – Some thoughts on our police force after participating in the First Responders’ Lives Matter rally

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Balloons at Lincoln Square …

By Ron O’Clair

I was honored to have attended and participated in the “First Responders’ Lives Matter Rally” held at the World War I monument at Lincoln Square, Saturday, June 20, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

I stayed nearly an hour holding signs and supporting our men and women here in Worcester and the surrounding communities who go out of their way to help people – often at the risk of their own safety and well being.

I believe it is important to support our local police, fire and emergency medical services personnel.

I believe strongly that Worcester is more fortunate than many other communities throughout our country where there have been many cases of misconduct. Sure, we have a certain degree of problems with official misconduct being ignored and actually having been covered up by a corrupt system that long held sway here, in the second largest City in New England. Worcester was once a hotbed of political cronyism, outrageous nepotism and flagrant disregard for the rights of the accused to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. But I believe Worcester has been making progress …

The recent events, such as the arrest and conviction of one former Worcester police officer for rape and indecent assault, and the arrest of another Worcester police officer for mistreating a prisoner and using racial epithets can only serve to make our Worcester Police Department more aware of the consequences of using the authority vested in each officer improperly and that this can lead to consequences.

I have personally been mistreated by the police in the past myself, but I cling to the belief that as imperfect as it can be, our system is the only thing preventing us from becoming another battleground like Ferguson or Baltimore.

It is important that we support the police, the fire, and the emergency medical services people, and if we have grievances, we need to address them through the proper channels.

To this end, I believe that there should be more effective means for aggrieved citizens to have their concerns addressed fairly and impartially.

The current process leaves a lot to be desired, such as the case in which I reported a police officer for an unprovoked physical attack upon my person to the Bureau of Professional Standards of the Worcester Police, only to have the complaint dismissed as “unfounded” or “not sustained” – even though in that case another police officer witnessed the offending officer assaulting me.

The “Blue Wall” of silence needs to be reviewed.

I would have been sufficiently content with a simple apology on behalf of the officer who transgressed upon me as I understand the stress they operate under.

When and if you find yourself in the position of having your rights violated, or taken for granted, the best course of action would be to endure the mistreatment and make a complaint later.

It is not wise to antagonize, or argue with an officer, which will just lead to more, and worse mistreatment.

On the whole, I am optimistic that Worcester has come a long way to address these issues, and to ensure that the trend continues so that all citizens are treated equally under the law, providing that they are law-abiding citizens and not criminals engaged in criminal activity who resist arrest when apprehended.

In those cases, if you get hurt by failure to obey the lawful commands of an officer of the law, what results is your own damned fault, and I have no sympathy for you.

Why the Department of Justice needs to investigate the Worcester Police Department

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Worcester police officers in downtown Worcester

By Gordon Davis

Recently the Department of Justice wrote a negative report regarding misconduct and the poor practices of the Cleveland Police Department.

Some of the issues in Cleveland that were found in need of improvement:

The unnecessary and excessive use of deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons

The unnecessary, excessive or retaliatory use of less lethal force including tasers, chemical spray and fists

Excessive force against persons who are mentally ill or in crisis, including in cases where the officers were called exclusively for a welfare check

and the employment of poor and dangerous tactics that place police officers in situations where avoidable force becomes inevitable and places officers and civilians at unnecessary risk.

The report also described a lack of transparency in the Cleveland Police Department that allowed the misconduct to continue over many years.

In Worcester no one outside of the Worcester Police Department can say with certainty how much police misconduct there is in the Worcester Police Department.

For decades this information has been kept from the public, even when ordered by the courts to make it public.
The ACLU, the daily and others have tried to obtain what should be public records from the Worcester Police Department – a city department funded by the taxpayers. With each attempt, the Worcester Police Department has blocked any significant release of public records.

There is evidence of police misconduct.

The latest being the allegations that a Worcester Police officer beat up a shackled prisoner in the Worcester lock up.

Even here the videotape of the alleged misconduct has not been released.

In light of the many allegations of misconduct by the Worcester Police and the lack of transparency, an investigation by the Department of Justice would be welcomed.

The DOJ investigation might find that:

1. the Worcester police are relatively well managed and the department is doing a good job.

2. the Worcester Police Department is non-compliant to the civil rights of residents – police officers can be abusive.

3. the Worcester Police Department is slightly flawed and in need of only some changes.

This DOJ investigation will confirm or belay any trust issues with the communities of color. The powers that be should not be afraid of such an investigation by the Department of Justice. After all, the city manager asked it to come to Worcester to help with race relations. It makes sense for city officials to now ask the Department of Justice to give its seal of approval – or disapproval – to the Worcester Police Department.

This is troubling: At DOJ meeting #1, held May 18 at the YWCA in Worcester  – a black woman was booed by white people when she raised the suggestion of the Department of Justice investigating the Worcester Police Department. It was more troubling when a local newspaper columnist made light of her suggestion.

There still exists a great divide in race relations in Worcester.

There is a need for the additional action of the Department of Justice. The DOJ should investigate the Worcester Police Department – to see the good and what needs to be improved. Local lives hang in the balance.

It seems local activists are writing a letter to the U.S. Attorney office of Carmen Ortiz – making this petition.

Worcester and the Department of Justice – meeting #1, May 18, 2015

By Gordon Davis

The first of several race relations discussions initiated by Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus began last night at the YWCA, Worcester. The discussions, so far, seemed poorly designed and did not reach the people who needed to be at the table.

Young men of color were conspicuously absent.

In the meeting room, which was filled to capacity, young men of color and those who interact with them could be counted on one hand.

Muhammad Ali-Salaam of the Community Relations Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) explained as best he could what the discussions were about. He had with him a team of facilitators who sat at each table.

Mr. Ali-Salaam said that the DOJ came at the request of the City Manager. The discussions on race relations were intended to vet Augustus’ plan for more diversity in Worcester government/public life and to get input from the community. Augustus said he is hopeful that these discussions would be more fruitful than the other discussions on race held previously in Worcester.

In response to a question about the DOJ investigating the Worcester Police Department for misconduct and Worcester City government for malicious prosecution, Mr. Ali-Salaam said the petition for such investigations should go to Ms. Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for this district. She has a field office in Worcester.

Mr. Culin Owyang, Deputy Attorney General for Massachusetts, said he and the Attorney General hoped to have a positive impact on Worcester’s discussions on race and to give them some structure.

On the subject of Worcester District Attorney (DA) Joseph Early Jr. recusing his office from the prosecution of a Worcester police officer accused of beating a shackled prisoner and transferring the prosecution to Attorney General Maura Healy’s office, Mr. Owyang had no comment.

He said DA Early should be asked those questions. He had no comment on why DA Early did not erect a legal wall around the prosecution or appoint a special prosecutor.

Several people in attendance said the racial tension in Worcester has been centered around Black Lives Matter demonstrations and Worcester Police misconduct and alleged public safety issues at North High School.

There were few, if any protesters, from Black Lives Matter and no high school students from North High School.

Why???

The outreach could be better for the city’s upcoming discussions on public safety and education.

Two young men of color who were at the meeting expressed disappointment with the low turnout of young men of color.

Born Taylor, a young Black man, said he felt that some good could come from the discussions, but he also felt that the division of attendees by table could have been better. He thought discussions would not attain some of their goals if more young men of color did not attend.

Caleb Encarnacion-Rivera, a young Hispanic man, said he came in order to help the improvement of the city. He was especially motivated because now he had a child in the Worcester Public Schools.

Like Mr. Taylor, Mr. Encarnacion-Rivera hoped that more young men of color would attend the future discussions.

Two Worcester city councillors, Gary Rosen and Sarai Rivera, said they were there to learn more.

City Manager Augustus said we should not be held captive by the past, where similar discussions started out enthusiastically but nothing significant came about.

One white woman said there is no racial problem in Worcester. She said that there were only agitators stirring things up, causing the problems. While she was speaking, my thoughts went to the old civil rights movement where Bull Connors said something similar about happy Negroes and outside agitators.

Another white woman said some in the room were unaware that the term “color blindness” in terms of race had shifted from a relatively progressive phrase to a code word for institutional racism. Although honest and a plea for discourse, such comments will make the discussions difficult for some people of color.

A black woman who said that the DOJ should investigate the Worcester Police was booed by some white people, even though the facilitators told the participants that they should be respectful of everyone’s ideas and opinions.

Instead of reducing racial tensions in Worcester, the discussions might be the source of increased racial tensions.

One person noticeably absent was Brenda Jenkins of the YMCA and the Mosaic Cultural Complex. She is an important Black leader in the City of Worcester. Several people came to me and asked me where Brenda was. They speculated that she might not have come because the populations she works with did not go.

There are also rumors that the City of Worcester is pressuring Brenda’s program – the Mosaic Cultural Complex-  by reviewing the funds the City of Worcester awards her group. Is Augustus going to pull Brenda’s funding to pressure Brenda to “shut up”? Or has that already happened? Or has Brenda, like other Black leaders in Worcester before her, people of color on the city payroll, people of color with ties to Worcester city government/jobs/funds self-censoring herself??? To save her city money?

I suppose the politics of Worcester might suddenly change, and the city will take more substantial and positive actions towards race relations.

Unfortunately it looks a lot like business as usual – or worse.

The tale of the tapes: 4 other police officers allegedly witnessed beating of prisoner

By Gordon Davis

A Worcester police officer, Michael Motyka, was arrested recently in Worcester for allegedly violating the civil rights of a Black man being held in the lockup at the Worcester Police Station on Belmont Street. He allegedly beat the handcuffed and shackled victim while calling him racial slurs.

The incident took place in December 2014 and was videotaped by the cameras in the police lock-up.

The Worcester District Attorney’s office has refused to release a copy of the tape to the public.

The spokesman for the DA stated that a special prosecutor will be appointed and that it is policy not to release tapes of criminal acts until after a trial.

The problem with this policy, for this case, is that at least four other police officers allegedly witnessed the beating of the victim by officer Motyka.

And did nothing.

The issue in this case is not only the civil rights violations by officer Motyka but also the civil rights violations of the officers who allegedly witnessed the beating and racial slurs and did nothing to protect the victim.

This is a civil rights violation in itself and a violation of Worcester Police Department policy – which is under the purview of the City of Worcester. The WPD is funded by the Worcester taxpayer. How is our money being spent?

The tape should be released to the public so the public can review the policies and actions of the Worcester Police Department.

The Worcester Police Department, which is responsible for the tape, has the ability to release it. The WPD should be fully transparent on this issue.

The irony of the tape is that the City of Worcester has spent a lot money and used a lot of resources on another tape roiling Worcester: the videotape of the Black Lives Matter protesters at Kelly Square. Another tape reflecting the way Worcester deals with race/racial issues. The City of Worcester will likely not be able to use this tape in court, as it can not be authenticated. Furthermore, the protesters did not beat up anyone and did not use racial slurs, as in the first tape. 

In the BLM protest tape, a motorist might have been “annoyed.” The BLM protesters never ignored any police commands to “disburse,” as the police were not present at the protest. The protesters disbursed on their own volition.

The BLM protesters look like altar boys compared to the Worcester police officers – recorded on an official WPD videotape. Worcester Police Officer Motyka who allegedly beat the handcuffed and shackled prisoner. And the police officers who stood by – and allegedly did nothing as they witnessed blatant police brutality.

In the case of Motyka, the City of Worcester should suspend the police officers who did nothing while police officer Motyka allegedly beat up a shackled prisoner, until their cases are adjudicated. The Motyka tape is a part of the review of violations of Worcester Police Department policy.

These charges are exponentially worse than the charges against the BLM protesters who might have annoyed a motorist.

A defense for the BLM protesters seems to be “legitimate purpose,” which means that there was a need to bring attention to the misconduct of the Worcester Police. The Motyka case is evidence of the legitimate purpose of the protesters.

There is evidence that the City of Worcester is maliciously prosecuting the protesters. Malicious Prosecution is a civil rights violation and it has four elements : 1. commencement of criminal proceedings, 2. the proceedings are adjudicated in the victims favor, 3. There was not probable cause, 4. The proceeding was brought with malice.

This should be investigated by the Department of Justice when it comes to Worcester.

When I first heard of the arrest of Worcester Police Officer Motyka, I was encouraged,  thinking perhaps Worcester had changed its review of police misconduct.  If the review process is taken more seriously by the City, the protesters at Kelly Square had a lot to do with it. Now I am not sure if there is substantive improvement in Worcester government.

Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty has come out against a civilian review board for the Worcester Police Department, even though Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme is open to the possibility. It is time that Mayor Petty realizes he is now part of the problem.

Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus’ refusal to drop the charges against the BLM protesters in light of events shows a “business as usual” policy at Worcester City Hall.

The new oppressors

By Gordon T. Davis

At one time racial and political oppression came from the people who called themselves right wingers. Now that oppression comes from people who call themselves liberals.  Recent events in Worcester are evidence of this shift.

The latest oppressive act is the City of Worcester seeking charges against four Black Lives Matter demonstrators (the Worcester 4), even though there is no legally credible evidence of wrongdoing.

When there is credible evidence, the Worcester Police Department asks the Worcester District Attorney to file charges. I have heard so many people say that there is a video with the Worcester 4 in it, but this so called video is not credible, as the police cannot authenticate it. The Worcester Police Department, with the approval of Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, has wasted thousands of city dollars investigating what it knows to be evidence that cannot be used in court.  The Worcester Police Department is harassing Black Lives Matter protesters …

Any Clerk Magistrate worth her/his salt would throw out the City’s application for a determination.

Curiously, the Tand G story of March 28, 2015, contains what could be a libelous error. The reporter wrote in the article that the Worcester 4 protesters were “charged” with disorderly conduct.  The Worcester Police Department has NOT charged the Worcester 4 protesters with anything at this time. The T and G has possibly defamed the character of the targets. A Clerk Magistrate hearing will be held to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the District Attorney to file charges.

Reportedly, the Worcester police and the Worcester city manager threatened the coalition of Clark University students with arrest.

On Friday, March 27, 2015, the Federal District Court rejected an appeal by the City of Worcester to overturn a ruling of police brutality against the Worcester Police Department. The City of Worcester has a bad track record with complaints of misconduct, as it seems to always lose these cases, costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars.  I hear the City of Worcester plans another appeal.

The money for the appeal would be better spent retraining police officers in acceptable protocols for its interactions with the public.

It sometimes strains common sense that some Worcester city councilors, such as Konnie Lukes, can seek a resolution supporting the Worcester Police Department absolutely. She was correct when she said at a November 2015 Worcester city council meeting that the Worcester police force has been reduced to an agency of harassment and oppression.

Another example of the oppressive nature of Worcester city government is the oppressive ordinance against so called aggressive pan handling. The ordinance was passed by the liberals on the Worcester City Council, under the pretext of safety, even though there were never any safety incidents involving Worcester panhandlers.

The ACLU of Massachusetts is opposing the Worcester panhandling ordinance in Federal Court, and it looks like the City of Worcester will lose again. The right to ask people for help in a public place is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

People in the new civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter, do not seem to buckling  under the oppressive actions of the City of Worcester. Communities United Collective is planning events. On March 21, 2015, the Massachusetts Human Rights Commission, PLP and other groups held an anti-racism rally at Worcester’s Korean War Memorial.

And a forum on Worcester police interactions with Worcester residents is being planned for April 18.

Stay tuned.

ICT supports what these folks are saying! NO to police with GUNS at North High! YES to School Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone and her strategy for SUCCESS at North!

Here is the complete, unedited Public Statement of Support for North High School and Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone from a coalition of Worcester minority community leaders and their allies:    – R.T.

A group of several leaders of color which include faith-based leaders, educators, activists, youth workers, cultural groups and multi service organizations have been meeting weekly since January to discuss how we can leverage our collective leadership capacity to address community needs for all residents in our city.

Given the recent events surrounding North High School, we felt it pertinent to respond in support of our over 25,000 students in the public school system, comprised of more than 60% students of color and 70% low-income students.  Many of us in the community share a deep concern for the urgent and ongoing needs at North High School and have been incredibly alarmed by the inflammatory comments being made about our children by the general public.

We stand with the North High School community to embrace the best version of what the school truly represents in our community.  We applaud the students who have demonstrated such strong resilience and commitment to their education and the parents who are stepping up to reclaim the narrative for their school.  We appreciate the teachers and administrative staff who show up everyday with one agenda in mind and that is to educate our students.

We requested and were presented with a meeting to discuss our concerns with Dr. Melinda Boone, Superintendent of Worcester Public Schools, Lisa Dyer, Principal of North High School, Joseph Petty, Mayor of the City of Worcester and Edward Augustus, Worcester City Manager.  We want to thank Dr. Boone, Principal Dyer, Mayor Petty and City Manager Augustus for responding to our sense of urgency around this matter.

Both Dr. Boone and Principal Dyer presented us with a timeline of events and response to those events.  We found that the information provided helped to dispel myths about the school, which have been perpetuated by local media and self-serving politicians.  It became clear to us that a campaign of misinformation has been waged against the school.  While there have been incidents of concern, the level of scrutiny received by the school has been misplaced and counterproductive to the school and administration’s efforts to create a positive climate for students and faculty.

We urge the Worcester School Committee to work with community partners to support the efforts led by the Superintendent and North High School administration.

We strongly agree with many of the targeted and universal approaches being taken and support the school and administration in their efforts to:

Engage students, parents and faculty in these important dialogues.

Expand North High’s effective restorative justice programming beyond the ninth grade

Address the structural challenges which can contribute to interpersonal violence in the schools such as the number of transitions during the school day and additional support for special education programming at the school

We also think there is room for improvement within the school safety plan and we have full confidence that we can approach existing school leadership and administration around our concerns.  In particular, we believe the increased police presence and police surveillance at North High School is a reactionary response to increase the perception of safety.

However, this should not be a short-term or long-term solution.  Research has shown that the more encounters young people have with the police, the more opportunities for unnecessary arrests and involvement with the juvenile justice system. We propose that Worcester Public School’s focus on identifying the root causes that have contributed to the cultural climate of the school and has led to the perception that North High School is unsafe.

Specifically we recommend the school revisit its plans and:

Decrease police presence in the schools and  increase trained, culturally competent parent liaisons and/or highly experienced youth workers who can be the ears on the ground, responding to conflict before it arises and building strong networks of support among faculty, staff and the student body.

Engage leadership from communities of color, who are largely underrepresented in the school’s faculty, administration and community partners at the school, in both the planning and implementation of community-based strategies to support students, parents and faculty.

Review school personnel policies around the use of social media to ensure that public comments and posts by school personnel do not perpetuate racial bias against students of color and racial discrimination under the law.

Reallocate teacher professional development resources to support district-wide inclusion training.

We look forward to working with and supporting the students, parents, faculty and administration at the school as well as working with the Educational Association of Worcester whose mission includes cultivating a spirit of understanding and good will among its members and the community.  As in the past, when our communities are collectively called to action in focused ways, we can be a strong enough force to help turn the tide in a positive direction for our children.

The following organizations and groups stand with leaders in support of this statement:

Belmont A..M.E. Zion Church
Black Clergy Alliance
Black Legacy
Centro Las Americas
Christian Community Church & The Shalom Neighborhood Center
Discrimination Law Agency Advocates
Future Focus Media Cooperative and Youth Training Institute
Men of Color Think Tank
Mosaic Cultural Complex
Mt. Olive Pentecostal Church
Our Story Edutainment
Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center
Women of Color in Solidarity
Worcester Latino Ministers Alliance
Worcester Roots Project
YWCA of Central Massachusetts

Order of Speakers:

Maritza Cruz
Independent Community Activist

David Jerry
North High School Parent

Brenda Jenkins
President and CEO of Mosaic Cultural Complex

Joyce McNickles, Ed.D,
Adjunct Professor, Emmanuel College
Social Justice Educator and Consultant
Co-Chair of the YWCA Racial Justice Task Force

Keesha LaTulippe
Community Organizer and Equity Consultant

The Feb. 5 Worcester NAACP meeting: WPD, WFD and diversity

By Gordon T. Davis

Each Worcester NAACP meeting I go to seems to have a ton of information and some surprises.

The meeting on February 5, 2015, was no different.

There was a report by the Worcester NAACP housing committee coordinator of a tenants union called the Fruit-Sever Tenants Union which is in a legal battle with a local landlord operating under HUD rules.

Some of the Tenants Union’s members have been threatened with arrest by the Worcester Police, should they enter the building and meet with the tenants who are also members.

Reportedly, this is against HUD rules for HUD associated buildings. The issue is now being worked on by Congressman Jim McGovern who is reported to be clarifying the rules with the Worcester Police.

At least one member of the NAACP expressed criticism of the threats of arrest made by the Worcester Police.

Worcester Police Officers Spencer Tatum and Miguel Lopez, both in the WPD gang unit, gave a presentation of the City’s efforts to diversify the Worcester Police Department.

Officer Lopez is also the Affirmative Action Officer for the Worcester Police Department. Although that position has no job description, he does outreach to the different communities about the Civil Service Examination that applicants for the Police Department must pass.

The Civil Service Exam is given every two and it is used by all of the cities and towns’ police departments to choose candidates. An exam taker must be between 21 and 32 years of age in order for the Worcester Police Department to consider the exam taker for a police officer position. The City’s thinking is that it wants about 32 years of service from each police officer.

There is a form of forced retirement at age sixty-five. It is not clear to me that this practice does not violate anti-age discrimination statutes.  People under 40 are not protected by the anti-age discrimination statutes.

The Worcester Police Department is under a consent decree agreed to in 1980s that require a Worcester police force of 19.9 percent Black and Latino officers.

The Asian population is not included in the consent decree nor are women.

Presently, there are no Asian women on the Worcester Police Department.

During the last Civil Service exam seven Asian women passed the exam, but they were quickly hired by police departments in other Massachusetts divisions.

There are today two Black women police officers in Worcester; both of whom are near retirement.

Veterans passing the Civil Service Exam are by law chosen before other candidates. The military police who served in Guantanamo and who have taken the Civil Service exam will likely be hired first. It is not known how many military veteran exam takers will be White, Black, or Latino. Almost all Worcester Police officer applicants have BA degrees, although this is not a requirement.

The fee for taking the exam is $100.

One member of the NAACP said that he was interested in taking the exam, but he was unemployed. He asked if there were some funds available for test takers like him. Police Officer Lopez said there was a community group that paid for “minorities” who showed need to get money for the fee.

The Worcester Fire Department is also under a similar diversity consent decree as the Worcester Police Department.

When, surprisingly, the Worcester Fire Department reached its goal of 19.9 percent Black and Latino firefighters, it petitioned the courts to be relieved of the consent decree.

Subsequently, the percentage of Black and Latino firefighters in the Worcester Fire Department has steadily fallen.

It was suggested that the “minority communities” again sue the City of Worcester to have a new consent decree for the Worcester Fire Department.

The WPD and WFD at Worcester NAACP meeting this Thursday!

The Worcester NAACP’s membership/community meeting has been rescheduled for this Thursday, February 6 at 6:30 pm.

In the upstairs Board Room of the YWCA, Salem Square.

Officer Miguel Lopez, Affirmative Action Officer and Young Program Director for the Worcester Police Department, and Harold Rodriguez from the Worcester Fire Department will be sharing information regarding the upcoming civil service examination.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about a career in law enforcement or fire safety, please come to the meeting and get the information you need to make the first step.

Important deadlines to remember are:

Application Deadline:  March 13, 2015

Examination Date:  April 25, 2015

Please join us, meet the 2015 leadership team of the Worcester NAACP, and let us know what issues we should be addressing in Worcester.