Tag Archives: WPD

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.
 

Congrats, Ronny! We “salute” our proud graduate of the WPD Worcester Police Clergy Academy!!!!

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November 5, 2015 – ICT contributing writer Ron O’Clair in WPD Squad Room B just before the graduation ceremony! Go, Ronny, go!!!

Here’s Ron’s story on the Academy:

The Worcester Police Department has expanded its Clergy Academy to accommodate citizens as well as members of the clergy. It is an 8-week course designed to familiarize the participants with the various tasks associated with police work here in the City of Worcester and to perhaps help ease tensions between the police and the community at large.
  
It is open to citizens who are interested and pass the required records check to determine suitability for the program.
  
The first of the three hour weekly sessions deals with Administrative Details, Chief’s Greeting, Department Organization, Participant Introductions, Bureau of Professional Standards, the second deals with Constitutional Law, Criminal Law. The third deals with WPD Court Liaison Office, Use of Force. The fourth deals with District Attorney’s Office, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault. The fifth deals with Youth Violence: Gang Unit, and Vice Squad. The sixth deals with Community Impact & School Liaison. The seventh deals with Stress Unit, Cultural Training, & Cell Room /Booking Procedures. The eighth and final class is when they hold the Graduation Ceremony for those who have successfully completed the course and issue a Certificate of Completion.
  
Somewhere during the intervening weeks participants are allowed to schedule a Ride-Along with an officer on duty on the shift of their choosing to get a sense of what an officer faces on a daily, or nightly basis.
  
As I am well aware of the level of activity that transpires overnights here in and on the City of Worcester streets, I chose to do the Ride-Along during the 11-7 shift, and was surprised to see that many of the other participants also chose that time slot.
  
The subject matter of discussion as I write this was on Constitutional and Criminal Law, and the class was taught by Lieutenant John Towns, who informed the class that actual Police Academy participants spend 186 hours of study on these subjects which he had only three hours to teach the participants of the Clergy/Civilian Academy on. I found the course informative and interesting, as was the discussions generated by the course materials between the Lt.. and the participants in the Academy.
  
I believe that this is a good program that will help to raise awareness of policy and procedures of the police here in Worcester and that it can only help the participants understand our department better as well as hopefully bring about more participation from the public in assisting the police in maintaining order in our community.
  
As many of you readers know, I have been an outspoken advocate of Law Enforcement, while at the same time not afraid to call attention to individual officers deserving of recognition, be it for doing good deeds or bad, I call it like I see it.

In the final analysis, we the people must support our local Law Enforcement, and not be afraid to bring attention to those deserving of reprimand for actions detrimental to the public interests.

The Bureau of Professional Standards of the Worcester Police Department is there for all to have an opportunity to address grievances they may have with any individual officer and is required to investigate any allegation of misconduct on the part of any of its officers.

They can even be reached online through the WorcesterMa.Gov website, and you can access that in seven different languages by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the flag icon of the language you are most familiar with.

– Ron O’Clair

The WPD: City Manager Ed Augustus and the Worcester City Council’s tool of retaliation and harassment

By Gordon T. Davis

The harassment of the Black Lives Matter protesters by the Worcester Police and by some on the Worcester City Council is unethical and possibly illegal.

The City government is wasting Worcester taxpayers’ money and time by looking for new laws to harass the protesters. Instead, it should be having open discussions about real policing policies, including police misconduct.

The following are some issues for which the Worcester City Council should be setting policy, but is not:

prostitution in Main South

increased shootings in Worcester

increased heroin overdoses in Worcester

the need or lack of need for stationary license plate readers

the use of body cameras on Worcester  police officers.

What are the Worcester City Council’s respective policies that it wants Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus to instruct the Worcester Police Department to effectuate? Do not expect anything controversial …

At the January 13, 2015, Worcester City Council meeting Worcester City Councillor Konstantina Lukes said the Worcester Police were reduced to the tactics of harassment to drive out the people she did not like near her rental property in the Canal District.  The same seems to be taking place again with the Black Lives Matter protesters.

On January 20, 2015, Worcester Police Chief Gemme said he was looking into the actions by the Black Lives Matter protesters who stood out at Kelly Square on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. About 50 protesters, some holding signs on the sidewalk and others standing in the crosswalk, held up traffic that day for four and one half minutes. They did that to bring attention to the four and one-half hours Michael Brown lay dead in the street after being shot by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer.

Like Councillor Lukes admitted at the Council meeting: Worcester police have been again reduced to a tool of retaliation and harassment.

The evidence that Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme is retaliating and harassing is the fact that he could not articulate any charges that could be brought against the protesters. His comments that he was looking into a “variety” of charges is evidence of the pretext. City Manager Augustus has said it was he who directed Police Chief Gemme to charge the Kelley Square protesters. He claimed they were disrupting people’s day to day lives and putting folks in danger.

The protesters who blocked I 93 near Boston two weeks ago were charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and willfully blocking an ambulance.

None of these charges apply to any of the protesters in Worcester. Worcester sidewalks and crosswalks, like any municipal walkway, are public spaces and there was not a trespassing violation.  The Worcester police did not witness any disorderly conduct. There were no arrests and therefore there could not have been any resistance of arrest. The protesters allowed an ambulance to pass without the ambulance even having to stop.

The Worcester City Council will have to create another oppressive ordinance to charge the Black Lives Matter protesters like it did when it banned panhandling or shooed the We Are The 99% protesters off the Worcester City Common.  Then Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien wanted to meet with the protesters, but they were anathema to then Worcester City Manager Mike O’Brien, who kept them off public space, often used through history for the community to gather together – our Worcester Common. Once again, city officials will hide behind the straw man of “public safety.”

At the City Council meeting of January 20, 2015, Councillor Lukes and others compelled the Worcester City Manager to explain the “protocols” for demonstrations. Although the Black Lives Matter demonstrations have gone on for months, City Manager Augustus has not said much about them. Now Augustus is tamping them down.

The Worcester City Manager is supposed to be the “civilian” review board for Worcester. It is clear that Augustus is not capable of making any necessary reforms to the Worcester Police Department.

I can’t remember any time that the Worcester City Council deliberated any policy for the Worcester Police Department. As a rule it allows the Police Chief to do as he sees fit, and our city managers have just rubber-stamped police activities. It is ironic that police policy was deliberated at the January 20, 2015, City Council meeting –  when the issue was the Black Lives Matter protesters.

I was told that the City Council has requested about 40 reports from the City Manager about the activities of the Worcester Police and none have been given to the Worcester City Council. Police Chief Gemme uses as an excuse for his non-compliance the lack of police personnel to do the research.

No one really knows what is going on in the Worcester Police Department.

Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme DELIVERS

By Barbara Haller

Everybody’s got an agenda.  Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme’s agenda is Successfully Making & Keeping Worcester a Safe City.

I have worked with Police Chief Gary Gemme since he was hired as Worcester’s Police Chief in 2004, most of this time as the District 4 city councilor (2002-2011) and in the last 3 years as a local resident and active community member.  While chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee we met nearly every month one-on-one to discuss community problems.  I also met many times with him and key staff members and neighborhood constituents to discuss specific problems and strategies.

I also know Worcester for many years in many capacities.  I went to school in the City (Worcester Junior and WPI), have worked in the City (NGRID), had a small business in the City (Gilrein’s).  I own my home in the City (Main South).  My daughter and her family live in the City (Newton Square); my grandchildren attend Jacob Hiatt.  My partner owns and manages rental properties in Main South.

I know the struggle to get community policing to work.  I know about problem employees, difficult people.  I know about guns, drugs, and rock and roll.  I know about partisan politics.  I know about agendas – hidden and public ones.

Here’s what I know about Gary Gemme:

  • Chief Gemme is the real deal when it comes to commitment and honor.
  • Chief Gemme is a professional in all the positive ways – in touch, engaged, informed, pro-active.
  • Chief Gemme has made and is making a significant impact on controlling and reducing crime.

When he agreed to be hired as Chief, he made it clear to then City Manager O’Brien that he would not compromise on his vision for the Department.  The Manager agreed to support his efforts to change the Police Department culture and our community engagement in solutions to crime.  The 2004 city council was delighted with Manager O’Brien’s success in hiring Gary Gemme as our Police Chief.

The Chief delivers.

He reorganized his department using the split force model allowing for effective reaction to crime and pro-active prevention.  He put together a leadership team with targeted responsibilities and expertise.  He takes action on firing ranges, gun permits, porn houses, knives, officer discipline, technology, party houses, street crime.  He improves and grows partnerships with youth and youth-serving organizations, religious leaders, ethnic groups, athletic organizations.   He works with the Office of Human Rights to improve officer training.  He, working with Manager O’Brien, broke barriers among city departments to successfully develop inter-departments teams to address persistent problem properties.

The Chief’s commitment to neighborhood crime watches, foot beats, along with rapid response to data-driven hot-spots and developing crime trends is nothing short of great.  Last week at my local neighborhood crime watch meeting, our community impact officers were engaged – giving updates on progress for previously reported problems, listening to neighbors’ concerns.  Rather than standing up and telling us what to do, they sat with us and brainstormed possible solutions.  The feeling of partnership was strong.

All this being said there are always those who look for opportunities to criticize. For those of us who are not dogmatic in our beliefs or who feel uninformed, these people cause us to pause and reconsider if we are going in the right direction.  And sometimes they are right.  And sometimes we change our views.  And sometimes needed change comes.

And then there are always those to look for opportunities to misrepresent, demean, and incite.  My experience is that these people have some grudge, a need to see their name in the media, sell papers, get elected, and/or feel obligated to always act against authority and position.  There is an agenda and some ulterior motive.  They too cause many of us to pause and consider.  But we are mistaken if we allow them to lead us to change.

My experience with Police Chief Gary Gemme comes over many years and in many situations.  His commitment to his job and Worcester runs deep.  His motivation is honor and justice.   We don’t have to always agree with him; we don’t have to like him.  But we should respect his knowledge, expertise and professionalism.

We are fortunate to have Chief Gemme in service to our City.  Those who are attempting to misrepresent his accomplishments, demean his character, and incite others to do the same are not acting in Worcester’s best interest.   We would do well to ignore them.

A thank-you to Worcester Police Officer Kachadoorian!

By Ron O’Clair

On Sunday, the 27th of October, I happened upon Worcester Police Officer Kachadoorian, badge number 34, while he was engaged in his duties checking the license plate of a Lincoln Continental Mark IV on Wellington Street as I was headed to the Pickle Barrel for breakfast around 7:00 A.M.

I had had a break in of one of my two vehicles parked in the rear parking lot of 707 Main Street a couple of days previously, and had tried to report it Friday night, and again Saturday night, only to find that the police were very busy and after waiting 3 hours on Friday I cancelled the call.

Rather than wait again on Saturday, I asked the dispatcher if they were very busy again that night. They were, and I understand that reporting crimes is important for statistical analysis purposes.

I had caught a crack whore asleep in the vehicle that had been robbed of my brand new muffler I had awaiting installation in the back seat, and anything else I had in there of value after I dragged her out by her feet and told her to get the hell out of my truck, and off the property rather than wait for the police to come.

Due to the fact that I had a suspect in the break-in and theft of my property, I was told when I called that I needed to report the crime through the assistance of one of the route officers patrolling my neighborhood.

So when I came across officer Kachadoorian I thought I would report it through him then and there. I was pleasantly surprised that the officer assisted me in the matter without complaint, and acted in a manner that brought credit to the Worcester Police Department.

His knowledge of the criminal characters that infest my neighborhood and commit crimes daily, along with my description of the suspect whom I found out was named Wanda through my own sources in the criminal community led to an identification of the suspect.

He told me that when he comes across her again he would arrest her for breaking and entering my motor vehicle, and that he would take care of filing the report of the break-in and theft of my property.

After coming back from the Pickle Barrel, I found him and another route car in my parking lot, so I thanked him for his professionalism in handling my complaint. He also informed me that he had caught another criminal the day before smoking crack behind the vehicles on the property and made an arrest.

I can’t empathize enough the importance of making these arrests which send a signal to the criminals that violating the sanctity of private property anywhere in the city will lead to criminal prosecution. If I had gotten this type of cooperation in the beginning of my superintendence of the building and grounds back in 2003 when I first started the job, I would not have had so many problems with trespassing drug users and thieves destroying the place.

I wish to thank officer Kachadoorian for his assistance, and hope that the rest of the route officers patrolling my area will keep the vigilance up until the criminal element get the message that posted private property is just that; private, and will result in criminal charges and arrest if they ignore the signs and trespass at will.

I also wish to thank the leadership of the Worcester Police for driving home the importance of positive community relations between the police and the law abiding citizens who are fed up with the lawlessness in my area and want to cooperate to take back the streets and make them safe for people to use and enjoy without fear.

I am looking forward to continued cooperation and positive experiences with my local police in my efforts to transform this area into a decent place to live, work, and play for all who reside in it.

Let us keep cracking down on the criminals until they get the message that Worcester will not tolerate public displays of criminal behavior, drinking, dealing, or doing drugs in public, urinating or defecating on my private property, public drunkenness, trespassing, littering, etc.

All of these seemingly insignificant crimes lower the quality of life in my neighborhood, and there is no reason for it being allowed to continue. Let us all work together to make Worcester a shining example that the rest of the State can emulate.

Thank you officers of the Worcester Police, men and women, and I hope that this lets you know your hard work and diligence does not go unnoticed by the public!

Meet your neighbors! Gerard “Jerry” Michaud

By Ron O’Clair
 
 
Gerard “Jerry” Michaud was the caretaker of the Notre Dame Des Canadiens Church located at Salem Square for many years, and has lived in my building (700 Main St. – across the street from the former PIP shelter) for a long time, as he says 8 years. He has been unable to get a good night’s rest for so long, he has taken to wearing ear plugs in his sleep.  
 
Jerry lives in the room overlooking “the action and hearing the commotion, 24/7/365 since the WPD has failed to address repeated pleas to halt the anti-social lawless behavior keeping poor “Jerry” awake, I thought I would interview him first. My questions are often long and probing deeply into the ground zero atmosphere of rampant lawlessness, this author’s battle to take the streets back, and the indifference heretofore experienced by a certain segment of the veteran officers of Chief Gary Gemme’s troops who acted knowingly, or inadvertently to help the crime wave prosper by lax enforcement of the little laws such as littering and jaywalking.  
 The answers are all the opinions of the respondents, in their own words.
 
The interview:
Q:  What brought you to the area of my concern, the 700 block of Main Street?
A:  Upon leaving my last address I had to find a p lace closer to my work.
Q:  Did you have reservations about moving into a rooming house located in one of the highest crime areas of the city of Worcester?
A: At the time I didn’t know much about the area, or its going ons.
Q:  Was I influential in your decision to move into the building?
A: Yes, you were, it seemed to be a good and safe place to live, and also a close place for my A.A. meetings held next door at Unity Hall on the 4th floor of the SMOC building that used to house the P.I.P. shelter.
Q:  So, my clean and sober living requirement appealed to you?
A: Yes, it did.
Q:  You’ve noticed quite a lot of criminal trespass, disturbance of the peace, assaultive behaviors, littering & loitering of our sidewalks in the past haven’t you?
A: Yes, in 8 ? years I’ve been here, crime and drug activities seemed to have risen.
Q:  Do you feel safe walking around the neighborhood – in the daylight? In the nighttime? How safe do you feel outside overall?
A: In the daylight I feel safe, but at night, I’ve been leery and very cautious, as I was once accosted near the Registry of Motor Vehicles on Main Street, at night.
Q: With all the security measures I have in place, and my own ability to handle what happens, as it happens, do you feel safe inside the building?
A: I feel safe in the building, since security measures have been implemented, this includes screening of all incoming tenants, and the “No visitor’s policy”
Q: As your building superintendent, have I done everything possible to provide you with a safe, secure, and comfortable place to reside? And do you feel safe with the “super” being on site 24/7/365?
A: Yes, you have since you involved the police with constant security watch.
Q: What do you think of my “shock and awe” campaign put into effect since the 30th day of July, and the resultant drop in the amount of criminal activity not being allowed by me to continue unabated? By my own efforts to not be intimidated by criminal minded citizens who have come to believe that this area is “their” turf, and they have every right to disturb the peace every night, deal drugs from the corners of Charlton & Wellington Streets, and generally think they are above the law?
A: Your campaign has had an impact on safety around here, especially in drug dealing – however, there is still prostituting going on daily. Your methods; with cooperation with police, has had a great change of scenery at 707 Main Street and the area of Charlton and Wellington streets.

Worcester cop slapped with civil rights lawsuit

BOSTON — A civil rights lawsuit has been filed by a Chicago resident against Worcester Police Officer Jeremy Smith, alleging the use of excessive force during a routine motor vehicle stop.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts has announced that Wakeelah Cocroft, of Chicago, Illinois, has filed the case in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The complaint alleges that Ms. Cocroft was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by her sister, Clytheia Mwangi, of Worcester, on December 29, 2007. The two women were pulled over at a gas station on Park Avenue at 7am by Officer Smith. According to Ms. Cocroft, the officer aggressively approached the vehicle they were in and began screaming at Ms. Mwangi for speeding.

While the officer wrote the ticket, Ms. Cocroft, who was a passenger in the car, went into the station to purchase gas and then returned to use the pump. The police officer began yelling at her and ordered her to return to the car. As she went to the car, she told the officer that he had no right to speak to her in that manner and that she knew her rights.

Officer Smith grabbed her from behind, and threw her on the ground, slamming her face against the concrete, according to the complaint.

She alleges that he then kneeled on her back until a second officer arrived in response to a 911 call by Ms. Mwangi.

The complaint alleges that the use of force caused bodily injury to Ms. Cocroft’s face and shoulder.

The civil rights claim alleges that the use of force was excessive and unnecessary and that there was no probable cause to arrest Ms. Cocroft for charges of Disturbing the Peace and Resisting Arrest. In addition, the complaint alleges that Officer Smith arrested Ms. Cocroft in retaliation for speaking up about his conduct.

Heroic Worcester cops

By Ronald O’Clair

As some of you may know, I have written several items in regards to my experience with the infamous Worcester Police Department, I write them as I see them, and based upon eye-witnessed episodes in my own life. It has garnered me a reputation as a “Cop basher” in some circles, as a hero of the people in other circles, and, I hope, as a serious writer of some measure of talent.

I witnessed an incident involving a paid detail officer on the night of Halloween, that was not reported in the papers the next day, nor has a word of it made it into the press Continue reading Heroic Worcester cops