LEICESTER, Mass. — Leicester Police Chief Jim Hurley's dispatch for The Daily Voice compiles the incidents and cases that Leicester police come across on the beat each week.
Being a police officer is like no other job in the world. It can best be described as having a ringside seat to the greatest show on earth every day. As you read the accounts set forth in the Leicester Police Department update, it is important to remember:
We could not make this stuff up if we tried.
No one lies to the police.
The names of the individuals involved in the cases discussed in this column have not been published to protect their identity.
Where Has The Column Been?
It has been a busy couple of months at the LPD. The department has been working on a number of time consuming cases as well as a number of projects including preparing for the repair of the station’s sprinkler system and the upgrade of the radio system.
Add to that a number of officers on time off and a reduction in funding to replace those officers who are off, all resulted in the column being put on the “back burner.”
I was recently able to put together the update below which goes all the way back to the first snow storm of the season, which was a storm I would like to forget.
The Halloween Snow Storm Was The First Storm Of The Season:
The first snow storm has come and gone leaving behind only memories, which in this case are mostly bad memories.
The snow, which we refer to as the Halloween snow storm, arrived earlier than expected but the LPD was prepared. The cruisers had been equipped ahead of time with snow tires and chains and the vehicles stood in reserve if needed.
The emergency generator at the police station had been tested and it too was ready. As the snow began to fall, the LPD notified the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) that snow was accumulating on Rt. 9 and Rt. 56 and requested that plowing and/or salting operation commence immediately.
The snow continued to fall and accumulate but the Mass DOT plows were no where to be found. The lack of plowing and salting was further complicated by a tractor trailer truck which jackknifed at the bottom of Strawberry Hill on Rt. 9 completely blocking the road. Add to that a bad accident in a neighboring community that required traffic to be detoured off of another major roadway, and it was grid-lock.
As the traffic jam mushroomed, I attempted to direct traffic in Leicester Center with the ultimate goal of alleviating traffic in the blocked intersection so that traffic could be detoured out of the area.
As a result of that experience I learned the following:
- Motorist who are not prepared to be stuck in traffic like to swear…..a lot.
- People who forgot to have their winter tires put on their car prior to the snow storm frequently blame the police for that mistake.
- Many people only know one route home and thus believe they should not have to comply with a detour even if the road they need to drive down is closed.
- Many motorists think that officers working to free a jack knifed trailer that is blocking Rt. 9 don’t know that the accident is backing up traffic so they have to stop and tell the officer about the traffic back up and that the officer needs to do something about it.
- The police have no control over when the state sands and plows roads such as Rt. 9 and Rt. 56.
As the night wore on, I knew things were going from bad to worse when I observed one of the plows doing snow removal along Rt. 9 east trying to make it up the hill approaching the center.
The plow could not make it up the hill without getting stuck so it had to lift its plow up to free itself…..thus the hill where the problem was did not get plowed.
Finally, more than three hours after the LPD called and requested sand/salt for the roadway, it arrived. Once the sand and salt took effect the tractor trailer truck was able to get free and the road could be opened and I could go home.
This Guy Made The Naughty List
It was early in the morning on the day before Christmas. Everyone should have been caught up in the spirit of giving…..well not everyone.
As most Leicester residents were sleeping, this Grinch from a nearby community was slithering quietly into our community.
This criminal quickly reached his target, and stole a resident’s vehicle which quickly put a damper on the resident’s Christmas plans. The criminal quickly and quietly left Leicester in his newly acquired ride.
Stolen vehicles are a rare occurrence in Leicester and obviously the LPD would like to keep it that way.
An investigation into the theft was initiated and it was quickly determined that the suspect in the theft was a former male acquaintance of the female owner of the vehicle.
An LPD officer called the suspect by phone but the suspect hung up on the officer……That will get you coal in your stocking and it is also STRIKE #1 & #2 together. So this bad guy did what every smart suspect should do when the police are closing in on him… he called the victim and offered to tell her the location of her vehicle for $100… can you say extortion?... can you say STRIKE #3!!
The LPD officer who was investigating the case applied for and received and arrest warrant for the suspect. It was closing in on Christmas Eve but the LPD officer knew how important it was to find the stolen vehicle so the owner could use it for the holiday. He identified an address where the suspect was located and quickly headed into Worcester and arrested the suspect.
The suspect was booked at the LPD and finally felt in the giving spirit... he told the LPD officer where the stolen vehicle was dumped and it was quickly recovered.
The suspect was held on $500 bail which he could not post immediately so he spent Christmas 2012 in the LPD lock up.
Now you may be saying he got what he deserved but holding someone over the holiday requires some extra planning for the LPD. Most restaurants are closed so the LPD had to order his Christmas breakfast and dinner at the same time they ordered his Christmas Eve supper.
So he was fed and eventually posted bail late on the holiday and was finally released.
There Is Always One Person Who Doesn’t Get It
There Are Times When You Really Need To Be Extra Careful What You Say – Like the rest of the country, the LPD watched in horror and disbelief the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut.
To police officers, it also means that in the wake of the tragic event in Connecticut there will be other people possibly in our area or elsewhere who will make threats against other schools, businesses, or organizations.
Well it did not take long for the Leicester Police to become involved in an investigation after a customer made references to a business exploding.
In this day and age comments like that gets you a quick visit from the police who in this case had an arrest warrant. The suspect now faces charges of threatening to commit a crime and threatening to do harm to a business.
Noteworthy Arrests And Incidents
Watch Out For The Bumble Bee – LPD officers were called to a wedding party at a local residence. The party had a Halloween theme but one of the costumed guests had a little too much to drink and was getting out of hand.
The first officers to arrive at the scene located an injured woman dressed as a bumble bee with a minor facial cut.
The bumble bee apparently had attempted to take flight off a stonewall in the yard and it did not go well. The bumble bee was taken into protective custody based upon her alcohol intoxication.
She was held at the LPD until she was picked up by a responsible party.
You Should Have Seen The Hits At This Football Game – A local youth football game had some trash talk and at least one hard hit, all within the first 30 minutes of the game.
Oh wait, I should have mentioned that all of the aforementioned activity took place between parents who were at the game to watch their son.
The parents, who were separated, had a disagreement over one parent being late for the game with their son. This led to some trash talk which was not well received. The trash talk ended with one parent striking the other and the subsequent police involvement in the incident. It always continues to amaze me what parents who are fighting over custody issues will do in front of their children.
Blame It On Jack – A group of minors were in a motor vehicle traveling down Rt. 56 with defective tail lights. An LPD officer on patrol stopped the vehicle for the equipment violation and prepared to issue the operator a verbal warning.
As the officer approached the vehicle to issue the verbal warning, he spotted Jack. “Jack” was trying to hide in the back seat but the officer saw him and Jack’s presence resulted in the driver of the vehicle being criminally charged.
Jack’s last name is Daniel’s and Jack Daniel’s cannot be lawfully possessed by a minor so the operator of the vehicle will face charges of minor in possession of alcohol and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
Another Technology Genius – Recently there was a great deal of publicity given to a housebreak in Leicester that was solved using an anti-theft program that had been installed on a laptop stolen during the housebreak.
So it is obvious to me that the next criminal does not read the paper or watch the news. This female criminal master mind entered a local retail establishment and saw a vendor stocking the shelves of the establishment with products.
The vendor left his laptop on top of his supply cart and the woman just simply walked by, picked it up, and left the store. A short time later the theft was reported to the LPD. The laptop owner activated the anti-theft software which brought LPD investigators to a local multifamily residence.
The officers armed with a description of the woman, did some old fashion police work and knocked on doors and interviewed residents. In a short amount of time they identified the suspect who had left (more like fled) the area prior to the police arriving…..STRIKE #1.
The suspect was contacted by the LPD officer via phone but she told the officer it was not a convenient time for her to return home…..STRIKE #2…..it was however a convenient time for an LPD detective to set up a surveillance of the home.
After watching the home for more than an hour the woman returned to her residence, was promptly arrested, and the laptop was recovered from her apartment…….STRIKE #3 & #4.
Her case is currently pending before the East Brookfield District Court.
Sharps Disposal Kiosk
The LPD was recently contacted by the Board of Health and asked if it would become the drop off location for sharps (i.e. hypodermic needles, etc.).
A new state law requires each community to have an approved collection point that is registered with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The LPD applied and received approval, registered with the DEP, and ordered a Sharps Disposal Kiosk. The Kiosk arrived last week and will be installed shortly. So stay tuned for being able to dispose of your sharps 24 hours a day by dropping them in the kiosk in the LPD lobby.
Prescription Drug Take Back
The Prescription Drug Take Back Program remains in full swing at the LPD. The drug disposal kiosk continues to take in unwanted, unused, or expired prescription drugs weekly.
The kiosk has already collected two bins of drugs which will be disposed of in conjunction with the National Drug Take Back scheduled for this spring. You do not have to be a Leicester resident to use the drug disposal kiosk.
Happy New Year
On behalf of all the men and women of the Leicester Police Department I would like to wish all of our residents a safe, happy and healthy New Year!