LEICESTER, Mass. — 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 LPD 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.
Marriage: For Better Or For Worse, In Sickness Or In Jail
Every police department has habitual offenders that seem to constantly run afoul of the law. Leicester has its “frequent fliers” like every other agency, but we also have a habitual offending couple. They are a husband-and-wife team and when one gets in trouble, the other is never far behind. The next two incidents involve the husband-and-wife team. Here are their stories:
The Husband – Was That Guy Batty – Officers from the LPD recently responded to a wooded area just outside a neighborhood to investigate a man possibly injured in the woods. Neighbors reported that a middle-age male had walked into the woods approximately two hours earlier and had not returned. The neighbors further reported that the man appeared to be highly intoxicated when he entered the woods and they were concerned for his well being now that it had gotten dark. One neighbor had entered the wooded area and looked around for the man and located him down on the ground, possibly injured, so the neighbors decided it was best to call the police.
The LPD officers who responded to the scene were directed to where the man was located by area residents. The officers assessed the situation and quickly determined that the man was not injured, just extremely intoxicated. When asked why he was lying down in the woods, the man indicated that he was watching the bats. He was taken into protective custody and subsequently released to a responsible and sober relative.
The Wife - Hit & Run Ends With Arrest – They say fences and stone walls make for good neighbors. This message obviously did not get to the resident of one local neighborhood who pulled out of her driveway and drove over her neighbor’s stone wall. After striking and damaging the stone wall, the female operator continued on her way, smashing the neighbor’s mailbox. Now, the neighborly thing to do (which is also what the law requires) is to stop and make yourself known after a property damage accident. But this woman was far from neighborly. She just kept on motoring down the roadway from the accident scene. She did stop way down at the bottom of her street, but that was based on the fact that her tire at that point was flat from the collision and she could not drive any further. So the female operator abandoned her car and started walking back to the accident scene.
Now, I know what most of you are thinking – she had a change of heart and was headed back to let her neighbor know about the damage she caused. WRONG!! She walked back up the street, past the accident scene and the damage she caused, and went home.
The LPD responded to the incident and investigated. A Massachusetts State Police K-9 unit was brought to the scene and it tracked the woman back to her home. LPD officers located her and she was taken into custody on multiple charges.
Other Noteworthy Incidents and Arrests
This Gang Needs To Work On Executing Its Plan – An LPD officer on routine patrol recently drove past a local business that sells alcohol. As the officer passed the business he observed a carload of individuals – the majority of whom appeared to be under the legal drinking age. Following up on his observations the officer ran the vehicle’s license plate using the mobile data terminal in his cruiser. That check revealed that the vehicle did not have a valid inspection sticker. Strike 1.
When the officer stopped the vehicle he observed a male in the back seat with a bottle of alcohol in his lap. The male, who was 21 years of age, was the only person who was of legal drinking age. The four other occupants were all under age. Suspicious!! The officer checked the license status of the female who was operating the motor vehicle and determined that her license to operate a motor vehicle was suspended. STRIKE 2.
Finally, the officer was able to determine, after speaking with everyone in the vehicle, that the bottle of alcohol (UV Lemonade-flavor vodka) had been purchased by the 21-year-old for the underage occupants of the motor vehicle. STRIKE 3.
The man who purchased the alcohol was arrested. The operator whose license was suspended was issued a criminal summons for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and the four minors have been charged with minor in possession of alcohol. This gang clearly did not know how to execute their plan effectively!!
Two Women, One Man & An Umbrella – LPD officers recently responded to investigate an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The facts of the case were pretty clear cut. Two women discovered that they were both dating the same man. One of the women took the position that this was not acceptable. The boyfriend, on the other hand, apparently did not object to the two women arrangement.
The varying interpretation of this relationship culminated when the two women encountered each other and an altercation broke out. Things went from bad to worse when one woman pulled out an umbrella and struck the other woman in the head, resulting in the woman who was struck by the umbrella sustaining an eye injury. So what started out as a war of words ended with the woman who wielded the umbrella being charged with Assault & Battery by means of a Dangerous Weapon, which is a felony.
Three Shots + Two Beers = Trouble - Officers from the LPD who worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift were dispatched at 12:44 a.m. to a motor vehicle accident on River Street. The caller reported having heard a loud bang and then saw a motor vehicle rolled in the middle of River Street.
The operator was reported to be standing outside the motor vehicle. LPD officers and EMS personnel arrived at the scene quickly and located the operator, who had sustained a minor head laceration. EMS personnel treated the operator at the scene and the operator declined being transported to the hospital. Once the female operator had been cleared medically by EMS, LPD officers began their investigation. The officers immediately could detect an odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from her breath.
LPD officers inquired of the woman if she had been drinking and she admitted that she had consumed three shots and two beers at a house party she attended prior to the accident. STRIKE 1.
The woman failed the first field sobriety tests she was asked to perform by police, and declined to participate in the next field sobriety test, indicating that it would be pointless for her to even try the test because she would fail. STRIKE 2.
A small amount of marijuana was also confiscated during the investigation and, while this was only a civil infraction, it was also – STRIKE 3.
The woman was arrested and charged with (1) operating under the influence of liquor; (2) negligent operation of a motor vehicle; (3) malicious destruction of property under $250; and (4) marked lanes violation. For a 19-year-old, that is quite a record!!
Officer, I Was Jumped & Stabbed On My Way Home – A male, returning home from an out-of-town school, reported that after getting off the school bus and beginning to walk home he was jumped and stabbed in the vicinity of Collier’s Corner. The young man had a stab wound on his arm to support his claim. The victim described the suspect to officers as a scruffy white male in his mid-30s with a gray/white goatee, white shirt, blue jeans with holes in them and a brown hat. The man had fled into a wooded area near where the incident occurred.
The LPD immediately began to seal off the area so that a search could be conducted for the suspect. Based on the seriousness of this incident, a request for assistance was made to area law enforcement agencies and a Massachusetts State Police K-9 unit was brought to the scene.
The K-9 unit was unable to conduct an active track. LPD officers checking the area also located blood droplets in the vicinity of Waite Street, which is a considerable distance from where the incident had allegedly occurred. Investigators had evidence that was in direct conflict with the information the victim had provided.
LPD investigators confronted the victim with the new evidence and the young man admitted he made the story up to get attention and the stab wound was self inflicted. The young man was brought to the hospital so that he would get the appropriate treatment. The LPD cannot, however, overlook that this young man made a false report of a crime which is a criminal act. He has been summonsed into the Worcester Juvenile Court. It is also important to remember that the taxpayers of Leicester footed the bill for the search related to this false report.
This Relationship Went Out The Window – Disputes between landlords and tenants are a civil issue, meaning that they fall under the jurisdiction of the Housing Court. Police officers are empowered to deal with criminal matters that are primarily heard in the criminal courts. The police will often “stand by” and preserve the peace during interactions between landlords and tenants, which have the potential to become confrontational.
One such case has gone far beyond this point and has resulted in criminal charges being filed against the tenant. The incident is alleged to have resulted from failure of the tenant to change over the electric meter into his name, as required by the landlord. When the landlord took action, so did the tenants.
The tenant threw numerous items, owned by the landlord, off the second floor landing of the home into the back yard. The items, which were thrown off the landing, consisted of tools, windows, paint and numerous other items, many of which were broken and the paint containers had broken open and spilled. This, along with the numerous threatening and annoying text and voice mail messages the landlord received from the tenant, resulted in a criminal investigation being conducted by the LPD for malicious destruction of property.
It appears that the tenant will be spending some time in the criminal court in the near future.
Too Much Grateful Dead – An LPD officer, who had recently just completed his shift, was on his way home when he found himself behind an erratic operator. The vehicle in front of him crossed into the oncoming lane narrowly missing a head-on collision. The officer notified the LPD dispatch center and requested assistance. The vehicle was stopped and the female operator was questioned as to how much she had to drink. She told the investigating officer she had consumed one “Grateful Dead” drink.
She failed the field sobriety tests and was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and numerous other violations. During the booking process the woman took the breathalyzer test resulting in a reading of a .21 percent blood alcohol content (BAC).
This leads me to the questions: What type of alcohol is in a “Grateful Dead drink? If she is a .21 on the breathalyzer (I know she would not have lied to the officer) after one these drinks, then she needs to stay away from the Grateful Dead in the future.
I Want To See Baby Mama – Now many of you are thinking that this is about going to see the movie "Baby Mama." Wrong. This is a domestic disturbance that began when a 21-year-old man asked his father for a ride to see his “baby mama,” which is a modern-day term for the mother of his child.
The man’s baby mama and his child lived a distance away (approximately 1.5 miles) and the young man wanted a ride to go see them. The man’s father had already settled in to watch a sporting event on TV and told him it was not a good time. The young man did not take the answer very well and assaulted his father. STRKE 1. The father promptly and adequately defended himself.
The LPD arrived at the scene after a family member called the police and reported the domestic dispute. The LPD officer located the young man and attempted to speak with him but he did not acknowledge the officer's presence and continued to talk on his cell phone. STRIKE 2.
An independent witness told the officer the young man struck his father first, which supported the father’s version of the events. STRIKE 3.
The young man was arrested for assault and battery domestic abuse. He will have to finish his phone call from the booking room, where he can call whomever he was speaking with back, should he exercise his right to make a phone call. Probably would have been easier to walk to his “baby mama’s” house, and it certainly would have been healthier!
The opinions set forth in this article are those of Chief James Hurley and do not represent the opinions of the town of Leicester or other members of the Leicester Police Department.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the residents of the community for their continued support of the police department and also to thank all the men and women of the LPD for the professional and effective work they do in the community.
Chief Jim Hurley e/s
Leicester Police Department