Tuesday July 1, 2008
The End - Bruce Tait
“Our long national nightmare is over” – President Gerald Ford, August 9th 1974.
I just came from the swearing-in of the new Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan, and in many ways it was a surreal experience. I wanted to be there to reinforce my public statements that we want to put the past behind us and work with Chief Keenan to make things better for everyone, and I’m happy to report he has returned our gesture of good will by scheduling a meeting with me and the rest of the executive board for tomorrow (Wednesday). As long as he doesn’t show up with a bag of takeout food we’re already in the plus column, as that’s more than CLK ever did for us.
While at today’s ceremony, I was absolutely astounded to see CLK there. I was actually expecting him to show up halfway through like Dustin Hoffman at the end of “The Graduate”, banging on the doors to the city council chambers before being dragged off screaming “It’s not over!!!! It’s not over!!!!” Thankfully, it went off without a hitch.
I must admit I’m not a particularly religious person in that I don’t attend church on a regular basis, but God hears from me on occasion. And believe me; I thanked Him when the clock struck midnight last night, bringing down the curtain on the reign of terror also known as Robert Crowley’s tenure as chief of police. And if you don’t believe anything else I ever tell you, believe this; I was not alone in that regard. Even some of CLK’s most loyal apologists have publicly turned on him over the last couple of weeks and expressed joy at the end of his run as chief. I even heard rumors that certain QPD employees brought some bottles of fancy carbonated beverages (sparkling cider I’m sure) to the police station so they could pop the cork at midnight.
Therein lies the heart of it; the people who wanted to celebrate last night had been the targets of one of CLK’s absolutely ruthless harassment campaigns. You see, it’s not even enough to have been a Quincy Police Department employee. Unless you spent some time in CLK’s gun sight, then you simply have no standing to criticize the visceral reactions of me or anyone else that has. It would be like someone who survived the first wave at Normandy trying to explain it to a Greenpeace activist; it just doesn’t work. I’ve just been the public persona of all the people who have been screwed over and harassed by him over the years.
Speaking of CLK, I’ve been criticized by some as being petty and juvenile for assigning unkind nicknames, so now it’s time to change the one for CLK and I don’t think even his head cheerleader (Jack Sullivan at the Patriot Ledger) can find fault with this one. CLK shall now be known in this space as;
And trust me when I tell you, that one cuts him to the quick like you can’t imagine. You see, Citizen Bob is like Superman exposed to Kryptonite. Citizen Bob can’t arbitrarily deny gun permits to law-abiding citizens. Citizen Bob can’t use his position as a police officer to bully and intimidate kids gathered in a public place. Citizen Bob can’t use his position as (insert supervisory title here) to bully and harass patrol officers who just want to do their jobs and be left alone. Citizen Bob can’t fabricate criminal charges from his bedroom or appeal clerk-magistrate hearings when he doesn’t get his way.
And speaking of gun permits, Citizen Bob had the opinion when he was a police officer that citizens don’t need guns for self-defense. Now that he’s a citizen himself, will his gun permit be revoked like he used to do to so many others? I know Chief Keenan is not petty like that at all, but it’s still a valid observation.
I’ve heard through the grapevine that Citizen Bob has packed up his belongings and is getting the hell out of Dodge/Quincy while the getting is good. If so, I can’t imagine the bath he’s taking on his Quincy manse in this real estate market, but that’s his problem. It’s still probably the best decision he can make, because while he personally became irrelevant to me at midnight last night and I would prefer to never see or hear about him ever again, there are many of my brethren on both the QPD and the state police who don’t hold the same opinion. Many people who wear badges forget everything but their grudges.
However, there are some people who aren’t exactly happy with the turnover in the police chief’s office. The Crowley & Phelan sycophants on Crown Colony Drive (the Patriot Ledger) aren’t taking this well at all. For many years, the Ledger played cheerleader for any and all things Phelan which included his choice as police chief, now known as Citizen Bob. When I spearheaded the effort for the QPPOA to endorse and support the candidacy of Tom Koch for Mayor of Quincy, I knew I was taking on both an entrenched political machine as well as the daily newspaper for Quincy which is, for all intents and purposes, part of that political machine.
As a result, my personal life suffered greatly. I can say it now that the election is over and Crowley is gone because I wanted to deny the perpetrators their desired response, but very few people, until now, knew of the personal harassment I suffered during the mayoral campaign. Hang-up phone calls to my house in the middle of the night and calls to my cell phone from females asking if my wife knew they did (untrue extraordinary sexual acts) to me were regular events. One day, a large envelope addressed to my then five year-old son arrived at my home. Inside was a pile of very explicit pictures of hard-core gay pornography, along with a note from someone obviously disguising their handwriting, asking my son something like if he was proud of his “cop father” (my son never saw it).
But, you know what? Considering how high the stakes were, I wouldn’t change a damn thing. We got our desired result on both fronts; Tom Koch as mayor and also a new police chief. Unfortunately, the people on Crown Colony Drive seem to also forget everything except their grudges, because in spite of me saying absolutely nothing publicly for almost the last 6 months, Jack Sullivan and his merry crew have been stalking me even during my off-duty hours.
I received a voice mail from a Ledger reporter yesterday afternoon, and I obviously thought it had to do with Crowley leaving and Chief Keenan being sworn-in. When I returned the call, she started asking me if I wanted to “explain my comments”. When I told her I had no idea what she was talking about, she elaborated that she was doing a story (I swear I’m not making this up) on a comment I made on a police message board concerning the recent DC vs. Heller Supreme Court case where the Washington DC handgun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court. This message board is tailored towards Massachusetts Police, and postings are made under a “screen name” although I’ve never hidden the fact who I am there.
Now, keep in mind I only post to this message board during my off-duty hours, and whatever I say there is my personal opinion as a United States citizen exercising my First Amendment rights. It has nothing at all to do with my position as either a police officer or as union president. However, the Patriot Ledger apparently doesn’t like the First Amendment any more then they do the Second Amendment, at least as it applies to police officers in general and me personally.
What happened was that the police officers who populate this website, as street police officers do, are very supportive of the Second Amendment and the Heller decision in general. Quoting someone else, I used an unkind term to describe US Senator Dianne Feinstein as I cut & pasted her official response to the Heller decision.
Apparently, the guardians of journalistic integrity at the Ledger have decided this is newsworthy, as opposed to the fact the Quincy PD Drug Control Unit made almost 50 arrests last month, and a few days ago arrested a drug dealer with a bag of cocaine almost the size of my head (a half-pound or so). Neither of those facts made the paper, because it’s apparently more important to the Ledger to smear me as a misogynist Neanderthal.
What is sort of amusing is that Jack Sullivan’s crew has decided to attack me where perhaps I’m the strongest. In the one major case since I’ve been union president that involves a female officer (Siobhan O’Connor), I’ve been the driving force behind her being reappointed to the department on the basis of a gender discrimination lawsuit in spite of a small minority of the members of my own union opposing it. I’m fighting that battle because it’s the right thing to do, and her attorney (Marisa Campagna) called the Ledger reporter to offer a strong defense of me, as did other fellow officers.
In the end…..who cares? Even if I did originate and originally put forth that derogatory term (which I didn’t), so what? I used a bad name to describe one of the (IMO) most reprehensible elected officials in the United States; someone who is actively trying to subvert my constitutional rights. As I’ve stated many times, politics is a contact sport; grow a thick skin or get out of the game. I’ve been called the same and a lot worse many times, trust me.
To anyone with a room temperature IQ, it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. The timing of this “story” is just a bit too coincidental; on the day the new chief is sworn in, this foolishness ends up in the Ledger. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Speaking of parting ways, I know someone who is probably weepy this afternoon. As I mentioned before one of the editors of the Patriot Ledger, Jack Sullivan, has been Citizen Bob’s main cheerleader throughout his entire tenure as chief. His loyalty to Citizen Bob borders on the perverse, and continues even now. In spite of the mountain of evidence which showed Citizen Bob out of control and making illegal and/or bizarre decisions as police chief, he could always count on the Patriot Ledger to back him up and offer support when no sane person would do so, courtesy of the Ledger editorial page.
So, to Jack Sullivan of the Patriot Ledger I say this;
I know this is a difficult time for you. Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when you didn’t see it coming. Trust me; the emptiness you feel in your heart will eventually subside and fade away. It will take time, but it will happen.
In the meantime, you need to soothe the hurt. Tonight you should dim the lights, draw a hot bath, and then light some scented candles. Have a good soak, pour yourself a double Smurfberry wine cooler in a tall glass, and then have a good cry. It will help.
You see Jack, the most ironic thing is that Citizen Bob wouldn’t and never would have urinated down your throat if your stomach was on fire. You completely sacrificed the journalistic integrity of both yourself and your “newspaper” in order to defend him no matter what he did, while he would have tossed you and your paper under the next inbound train in a nanosecond if it benefited him.
In case you’re wondering why your employer’s website is now basically one giant advertisement for a car dealership with some news stories attached, look no further than the cancelled subscriptions of the people disgusted with the recent transformation of the Ledger. I estimate you’re about a year from going to a tabloid format and reporting alien abductions as well as babies born half-human and half-goat, unless you go out of business first.
Seriously Jack….you hitched your wagon to two losers (Phelan and Crowley), I think it’s time to cut your losses and move on.
Your favorite patrol officer.
So anyway, I’ve said about all I have to say.
This blog was a unique weapon for a distinctly unique enemy. It was effective beyond my wildest dreams, and we will never know the absolute insanity that was averted by putting everything out there for public consumption. I know I ruffled the feathers of some unintended targets along the way, but shame on them for not believing me when I made it clear; the target of this website was Robert Crowley, and anyone else who stepped into the line of fire may well be injured by the shrapnel. Trust me, it was nothing personal.
I don’t know, nor do I care why Citizen Bob retired early. In the end it really doesn’t matter, and I’m just glad he’s gone.
As I’ve stated publicly several times, we (the leadership of the QPPOA) look forward to working with Chief Keenan to restore morale and once again make the Quincy Police Department one of the best police jobs in Massachusetts. Whatever differences the QPPOA as a whole and I personally have had with Chief Keenan in the past (and we’ve had some, I’m not going to lie) are just that; in the past, and we look forward to wiping the slate clean to start over.
So, it’s with mixed feelings that I retire this blog. Mixed feelings because it was exciting to be such a catalyst in city politics (to the point the Ledger is still stalking me), but I’m also glad to be done with it. If anyone reading this thinks I really enjoyed staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning, typing outlandish stories which are 100% true, then I have news for you; I didn’t enjoy it. It was a chore, but it served its intended purpose.
With a heavy heart, I say farewell.
Much like the battleship USS Iowa sits in the reserve fleet in Suisan Bay California, ready to answer the nation’s call if needed, this blog is now officially decommissioned as a good will gesture to Chief Keenan. A powerful weapon on standby if needed, but also a weapon whose time has passed for now.
We’ve shared a lot of laughs over the last 3 years, as well as a lot of spirited debate and other correspondence. I’m still going to zealously represent the membership of the QPPOA, but I think Chief Keenan deserves the chance to work with us under the radar of public opinion. He deserves that respect, and I’m more than happy to provide it to him.
My work here is done.
Wednesday January 16, 2008
Be Back Soon - Bruce Tait
On Tuesday the executive board of the QPPOA met with Mayor Koch, and I left that meeting firmly convinced that he wants to quickly and fairly address the problems within the Quincy Police Department. He requested a temporary truce as he examines the issues, and of course we agreed. It would make no sense whatsoever to advocate for someone's election to office, and then not fully cooperate with them once they're in that office.
This shouldn't be construed as anything other than what it is, which is a perfect example of what I've been saying for quite some time; we are reasonable people who are more than willing to work with other reasonable people.
So, until further notice we are officially on hiatus. Thanks to everyone who sent encouraging & supportive e-mails over the last couple of days, they are much appreciated.
See you in a little while.
Monday January 14, 2008
Pass the Kool-Aid - Bruce Tait
“Fools admire, but men of sense approve” – Alexander Pope.
I think it’s no secret to anyone who reads this spot that I’m not a big fan of the Patriot Ledger editorial board. Those who know me best will also tell you I’m not a big fan of attention; I’m perfectly content to remain anonymous, but desperate times call for desperate action, although I’m about as comfortable speaking to the media as Bill Belichick.
Just when I think the Ledger’s editors can’t get any more ridiculous in their undying defense of CLK, they manage to top themselves. Check out this editorial written about yours truly last year;
I thought at the time that was the gold medal for shrill hysteria, but they’ve proven me wrong. Check out this latest piece of “journalism”;
I literally laughed out loud when I read this, it’s so ridiculous. Some day, before I retire, I’m going to find out what it is that CLK has on the people at the Ledger. They have NEVER found him to be at fault for ANYTHING, regardless of how outrageous his behavior or negative the outcome for the city.
There must be something about the name Jack Sullivan that inspires temper tantrums akin to a spurned high school girl, because I’m told by people who would know that’s the name of my big fan on the editorial staff. His loyalty to CLK borders on that of a perpetually abused domestic violence victim; refusing to find fault with the batterer no matter how convincing and overwhelming the evidence.
I couldn’t pick this Jack Sullivan out of a lineup, but I can just picture him throwing a hissy fit every time CLK does something stupid and inexcusable. He probably sits down with his Roget’s Thesaurus (Contretemps? Puerile? My ancestors opposed antidisestablishmentarianism, how's that for a big word? See how smart I am? Give me a break) and wipes away the tears as he punches out the Ledger’s pathetic defense of the indefensible.
In this latest train-wreck of an editorial, it’s amusingly ironic they call me “juvenile” and “petulant” while at the same time putting forth some completely absurd conspiracy theory. They obviously can’t say I don’t have the support of the QPPOA membership, evidenced by the fact I’ve been elected three times, the last by a very comfortable margin, so they have to try to put some type of spin on it in a pathetic attempt to make it look like I’m the problem.
In the Ledger’s eyes, I apparently possess some type of mystical Jim Jones-type mind control over the membership of the union, and they blindly follow me no matter what. Perhaps I should start wearing tinted glasses, four-pocket safari shirts and rename the QPPOA the “People’s Temple”?
Did it ever occur for one second to the rockheads on the Ledger editorial board that the majority of the QPPOA supports me because everything I say is true and they share my opinions regarding the police chief and the direction of the Quincy Police Department? Is that so completely out of the realm of possibility that no one on Crown Colony Drive could even ponder it for a moment?
If the rank & file QPPOA members were allowed to speak to the media and were guaranteed no repercussions, I could fill the conference room at the Patriot Ledger with cops who would each have their own story of how they got screwed over by the chief of police.
To Mister Sullivan, I say this;
I AM NOT THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!
And while you’re reading this Jack, go take a look at the new items I’ve added to our Media Gallery. Click on “Assorted Foolishness” and then “Read it and Weep”.
Those are scans of the letter sent by Attorney Richard Bardi to CLK, former Mayor Phelan, then-Council President Gutro, and City Clerk Joe Shea. It perfectly outlines exactly what I’ve been saying for the last two years concerning the case of Officer Tim Kaes.
There you have it, folks; a Beacon Street attorney who obviously agrees with me 100% concerning how out of control the Quincy Police Chief was that night. Also notice the requested settlement amount; $500,000 or a half-million dollars.
My question to Jack Sullivan is this; where is the commentary of the Patriot Ledger on that? The fact that the city is losing revenue from civil traffic citations is worthy of frenzied condemnation on your part, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the city stands to lose in the Kaes matter, which is SOLELY because of the actions of Chief Robert Crowley.
Where is the outrage, Jack? For that matter, where is the coverage?
One other question; how does it feel to have to take it after so many years of dishing it out with impunity?
If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to mix a batch of Tropical Passion for the next QPPOA meeting.
Saturday January 12, 2008
Pucker Up - Bruce Tait
"Whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so; it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and the admiration of fools” – Sir Richard Steele
Ordinarily I like to let new entries in this spot stick around for a little bit before they’re replaced. To age like a fine wine or rot like a pile of garbage, depending on what your viewpoint is.
However, when I read the Patriot Ledger today, I knew this latest foolishness from the Robert Crowley Booster Club deserved an immediate response. I seriously don’t know why I bother speaking to them, and I have to re-examine why I do speak to them; it’s apparent that whatever CLK does, no matter how outrageous, he will receive the full backing and support of the Quincy branch of Bizarro World. Check out this little gem;
What you are seeing there, my friends, is the written version of fellatio.
Practically nothing important I said to the reporter made it into the story, and ditto for QPPOA Treasurer Peter Curley. The Crowley bum kissers on Crown Colony Drive just can’t seem to accept the fact that the Quincy Police Chief is out of control, and his “leadership” has crippled the department.
Of course, CLK came out with guns blazing, no doubt because he was assured the article would be so heavily slanted in his favor, it would capsize if it were a ship.
He called it “shameful” that many officers have seriously curtailed proactive policing; the outrageously ironic thing is this;
HE IS THE CAUSE OF IT!!!!!!!
It’s solely because of his vindictive, spiteful, underhanded, and even illegal actions that many Quincy Police Officers have decided to limit the chances they will fall into CLK’s gun sight. And, contrary to whatever CLK and the Ledger might believe, this is not a planned action. I have absolutely, positively no authority to tell any QPPOA member to do anything. They all hold the same rank as I do, and are all mature adults. They are perfectly capable of making their own decisions.
A very long time ago, CLK was making a big push for more civil infractions to be written. In other words, he wanted us to start handing out traffic tickets with would cost the operator a cash fine, plus the additional insurance surcharge. Even though he knew full well that type of pressure is illegal, he was doing it anyway. As a result, I suggested (not ordered) a moratorium on traffic tickets from the QPPOA membership. We were still stopping cars, but issuing verbal warnings in most cases. I did this to prove a point that we couldn’t be bullied, and after a month or so I said thank you to the membership and called an end to it.
The current drop off in traffic citations is purely the result of people getting it. As I said, the membership of the QPPOA are mature adults; it wasn’t hard to figure out that your career is a lot more secure if you do as little as possible to attract the attention of CLK.
One thing I mentioned to the Ledger reporter (not published) was that I (and every other QPPOA member) am not afraid of going to the armed robbery in progress, the suicidal/homicidal person armed with a knife, or the bloody domestic calls. I’ve been trained in how to deal with them, and have enough experience that I know I can handle it. If I get hurt or killed as a result, that’s a risk I knew when I raised my right hand. I know my family will be provided for if I’m killed in the line of duty.
What does absolutely terrify me is the prospect of losing my job, or otherwise being unable to provide for my family. I’ve received no training of any kind in how to deal with that, and I hope I never gain that type of experience. Now that Mayor Koch is occupying city hall, I no longer worry about being wrongfully terminated since that power rests solely with him.
However, CLK can do plenty of damage on his own, and indeed has. He can suspend us for 5 days at a time, and he’s handed those out like candy on Halloween. In spite of CLK stating we make “damn good money” (although not nearly as damn good as him, trust me), none of us (QPPOA members) are getting rich.
I live paycheck to paycheck, drive a 13 year-old car, and a big night out for me is going to Friendly’s with my wife and children. I can ill afford a 5 day suspension, and you can be sure there is one waiting for me with my name on it in CLK’s office.
The Ledger article seemed to imply that all we’re worried about is getting in trouble over stopping cars, citing statistics (supplied by CLK no doubt) that said 22 internal affairs complaints were investigated last year, with one being from a motorist.
1) How many more were conducted “under the table” without our knowledge, as is common practice by Lieutenant Bradlee’s?
2) To the heart of the matter; it’s not just traffic stops, we can and do get screwed for ANYTHING!!!!!!
Officer Michael J. O’Brien just came to work one day, unaware his driver’s license had expired. He walked straight into a CLK ambush, was suspended for over 5 days (in violation of the law), and ended up being criminally charged after being set-up in an illegal trap.
Officer Tim Kaes was driving home from a friend’s house after having one beer in the previous 2 hours, and got into a car accident. Even though no one thought he was intoxicated, CLK ordered him arrested for OUI from his bedroom. After no criminal charges were issued, he called in a favor from the district attorney and got charges reinstated. As a result, Kaes was out of work for almost 2 years, and in spite of being reinstated by an arbitrator, he’s still waiting for his back pay a year after being reinstated.
Officer Siobhan O’Connor was out with a friend when she was involved in a very minor motor vehicle accident. Because of mistaken identity, she was wrongly charged with drunk driving, and because we NEVER were afforded a presumption of innocence or due process under the Phelan/Crowley regime, she also was fired, her name dragged through the mud, and she is attempting to be reinstated through a federal lawsuit, an action fully supported by the QPPOA.
Officer Barry DeFranco was suspended for 5 days for using sick time because……he was sick.
Officer Joe McGunigle was suspended for 5 days for enforcing the ordinances of the City of Quincy.
I won’t even get into the officers who have had their guns taken away and ordered to psychiatric evaluations because CLK felt like it.
Where is the Ledger’s outrage over that list of disgraceful "accomplishments"?
For that matter, where is their coverage of the fact that the City of Quincy was just served with a $500,000 settlement request to avoid a lawsuit in the Kaes matter? The tiny weekly Quincy Sun mentioned it, but it’s apparently not newsworthy on Crown Colony Drive because it makes their prodigal son look bad.
Get it now?
It’s not just about traffic stops; we can get it tucked to us for anything, and even for doing nothing. To me, it makes perfect sense to cut your losses and limit your exposure to CLK’s instability.
One thing that was mentioned in the article was how I stated we still respond to calls as fast as we can, and that’s 100% true. That is backed up by the fact that the arrest and criminal complaint numbers have remained about the same over the last few years.
If you need our help, trust me; you’ll get it as fast as possible.
And I can promise you this; once CLK is an unpleasant memory and we have someone reasonable in the chief’s office, the traffic enforcement numbers will skyrocket. I positively guarantee it.
CLK knows exactly how bad this makes him look, which is probably why he had to call in yet another favor from the Ledger editors to put a spin on that article. From what I understand, CLK came charging into the traffic division after the Ledger first contacted him, desperate to re-check the statistics. He looked much like Principal Ed Rooney in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” right after he believed he had insulted Sloane Peterson’s father on the phone. He can try to spin it anyway he wants, but it’s no one’s fault but his own.
Another thing the Ledger reporter asked me was this; what do I say to the Quincy taxpayers who pay my and my member’s salaries. My answer (not published of course) was that they need to call their elected officials and demand they deal with the problem, not the symptoms.
If you have cancer, and one of the symptoms is you get a nasty skin rash, who are you going to see; the dermatologist or the oncologist?
Tuesday January 8, 2008
Mail....do we get mail. - Bruce Tait
Let's get to it; as always, some questions have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: Are you ever going to update your Youtube page?
A: Never let it be said we don’t give the people what they want. The first 40 minutes of our latest appearance on Don Kusser’s QATV show is up on our page, with the last 20 minutes coming soon;
Q: Do police officers get extra pay for Sunday duties?
A: We do not receive extra pay for Sundays; we are compensated time and one-half for holidays we work, but that is paid in a lump sum payment at the end of the year, not the next pay period.
Q: I left my house this morning to go food shopping at Hannaford's. As I drove out of Squantum, there were two police cars parked opposite each other in the sewer pumping station lot, with both engines running while the officers talked to each other.
When I came back home about 70 minutes later, both police cars (one officer per unit) were still in the same position. Still talking to each other, and engines still running.
A: I can only speculate as to why the police officers you observed stayed in one spot for over an hour; the great majority of citizen complaints of police misconduct are the result of proactive police activities such as traffic stops, field interrogations, and the like. Unfortunately, given the atmosphere we work in, it would sheer folly for a Quincy Police Officer to go out and "beat the bushes". Every citizen complaint against a member of the QPPOA, no matter how outrageous or frivolous, is given 100% veracity by the chief's office with the usual result being the officer is investigated without his/her knowledge, a violation of both department regulations and our collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Unlike the leadership of the police department, I do abide by the CBA; as such I cannot advocate any sort of work stoppage or slowdown, and I have done neither. However, even most of the starry-eyed young officers have "figured it out" and have decided to take the path of least resistance. In 2006, we issued over 16,000 traffic citations, and in 2007 we issued less than half of that.
When we have a police chief who is willing to break the law by setting a trap for one of us to be arrested, a police chief who suspended an officer for 5 days for being proactive and enforcing the law, a police chief who suspended an officer for 5 days for using sick time when he was sick, I certainly can't blame any police officer who acts out of self-preservation and does as little as possible.
To be brutally frank and honest, our livelihoods (especially those of us with families) mean more to us than if someone runs a red light or gets a GPS system stolen from their car. Until we have a new police chief, don't expect that attitude to change; it will just get worse.
Q: I’m a (edited – very high ranking person) of the (edited) Police Department and while I’m forced to believe what I read on your website because as you say, you haven’t been fired or sued yet, I really don’t want to believe that police officers are treated like this in 2007. I know you’ve said you’re sick of saying that everything you write is truth or opinion, but aren’t there some things you’ve exaggerated? It just blows my mind that your chief has gotten away with what he has.
A: EVERYTHING on this website is truth or opinion; if it’s no longer applicable, it was true at the time of the posting. For example in 2005 our front line cruisers were rolling toilets, officers were wearing used, hand-me-down body armor, and our portable radios didn’t work worth a damn. All those problems have been rectified (gee, I wonder why?), but they were 100% true at the time of writing. I leave the pictures of the junk cruisers and sound file of the awful radio up on the site as a reminder.
Q: I’ve been disappointed that your website hasn’t been updated in awhile, and I’m a bit ashamed I get amusement from your predicament. Has Chief Crazy calmed down since the election?
A: As a matter of fact, he has. You can ask anyone who has spoken to me since November, because I predicted that CLK would attempt to reinvent himself if Mayor Phelan lost the election, and we’re seeing exactly that.
For example, I’ve well documented on this spot CLK’s disdain for police dogs. Check prior entries and read the entry with the “German Shepards for Dummies” picture for a refresher (October 15 2006). If you mention police K-9’s to CLK, he gets a glazed look on his face, and starts talking about K-9 officers from the 1970’s, all of whom are long retired. Apparently they enjoyed teasing CLK, doing the equivalent of stealing his milk money, so he now has an inbred hatred of police dogs and their handlers.
As I mentioned before, the federal government wants to GIVE us, totally free, five police dogs, five vehicles to transport them, and training for the handlers. We could have had them almost 2 years ago, but guess what?
CLK didn’t want them, so he’s been dragging his feet like a petulant child. He got picked on by K-9 officers back when leisure suits and rayon shirts were in style, so he’s going to take his ball and go home. To use his exact words; “They’re a waste of money”. When it was pointed out that it wasn’t his or even the department’s money, his reply was “We don’t need them”.
Having never worked the street as a patrol officer, CLK is almost uniquely unqualified to offer opinions on what is needed on the street, and that one is a real doozy. A trained police dog is invaluable to the street cop, and the feds have wanted to give us five for free, but our chief once again displayed behavior so immature, I would send my 6 year-old twins to their room if they did it to me.
Over a year ago, we (QPPOA) were asked to modify the language in our CBA to allow two police dogs on each shift (the five free ones plus the existing dog). In retrospect, I believe that was CLK’s desperate attempt to torpedo the new police dogs, because he probably thought we wouldn’t agree to it. Needless to say he was wrong; we’re reasonable people and will always advocate something to improve officer safety and working conditions. I drafted a letter to CLK, expressing our willingness to waive certain portions of the CBA in order to get the police dogs on board. After reading it, CLK refused to take the letter from then-QPPOA Vice-President Terry Downing, and we’ve been stuck in neutral since then.
However, as I mentioned, CLK is attempting to reinvent himself, and the historical revisionism has already begun. In addition to going to today’s inauguration of Mayor Koch (wow, does it feel good to type that) in his “Admiral Duck” uniform, the one with more gold and scrambled eggs than an East African dictator, I got a phone call tonight from Captain Dougan. I was preoccupied at the time with a complicated arrest report, but he left me a voicemail.
All of a sudden, the police dogs are back on the front burner, and CLK wants to set-up a meeting with the command staff to “work things out”.
Is it just me, or is it amazingly coincidental timing that the police dogs are suddenly a hot button issue after laying dormant for nearly two years, on the eve of a new mayor taking office?
A better question is; does he really think we’re that stupid?
As I mentioned, we’re always willing to advocate for our membership, although I’m not really sure why a meeting is necessary. All I really need to do is take the letter I wrote in 2006 (yes, we still have it), cross out the date and write the correct one in its place.
Q: Why do you write most of your entries late at night?
A: A couple of reasons; with young kids that’s usually one of the few times I have the house to myself, and I work most nights until midnight. When I get home from Bizarro World, that’s usually when I’m inspired (i.e. pissed off) enough to get the writing juices flowing.
Also, since I’ve had so much fun with it, I can reveal a little Jedi Mind Trick I’ve used a few times. I’d write an entry, load it into the blog software, and then put my computer to sleep. If I got out of bed to use the bathroom, attend to one of my children, etc., I’d click a few buttons to post the new entry at an absurd time like 4:45am before I went back to bed. This was especially effective when I had an early morning meeting, and arrived bright-eyed & bushy tailed when the PTB thought I was awake until almost 5am. You have to have some fun with this job, trust me.
Q: Have you received any word on the pending “insubordination” and “lack of civility” charges against you from Lieutenant Bradlee’s?
A: Not a thing; the silence has been deafening. Our labor attorney Paul Hynes has sent letters to the chief’s office, asking about the status of the charges against me and also what’s going to be done about Lieutenant Bradlee’s outrageous behavior at roll call that violated Massachusetts General Law, but when the phone at 45 Bromfield Street in Boston don’t ring, Paul will know it’s CLK. It’s become obvious we’ll have to address those issues at the state Labor Relations Commission; they can just add it to the list of crap that’s already there thanks to the Quincy Police Department. We’re also looking at the possibility of suing Lieutenant Bradlee’s personally, because you positively cannot reward bad behavior.
Of course, with all that hanging over his head like the Sword of Damocles, you would think he would be laying low. What’s my favorite saying? Let’s all say it together now;
You would think, and then you would be wrong.
A few days ago, Officer Bob Curtis was at the front desk area of the police station at about 3:30pm, well before the start of his 4pm shift. He was looking over some paperwork when Lieutenant Bradlee’s walked in. He shot Bob a dirty look, then walked very quickly out of the room. Now, if the name Bob Curtis sounds familiar, he is the former detective who was unceremoniously dumped from that assignment after 20+ years of distinguished service because he led the QPPOA’s show of support when I appeared before the public safety committee of the Quincy City Council;
Apparently the PTB aren’t satisfied with the pound of flesh they exacted from Officer Curtis back in March 2007, because he’s now the victim of more stupid, petty, childish retaliation for supporting the leadership of the QPPOA.
Within 10 minutes of Lieutenant Bradlee’s seeing Officer Curtis, the captain in charge of night patrol called him into his office. You see, Bob has some sideburns which might be considered longer than most men wear. We’re not talking mutton chops here, think more of Luke Perry in his “90210” days. Certainly nothing outrageous, and he’s been wearing them for nearly 10 years.
Anyway, the night captain called Bob into his office and immediately apologized for what was coming. I’m sure you can probably guess where this is going.
The night captain had received a phone call from the chief’s office, saying that Officer Curtis had to shave his sideburns off. Now you know why Lieutenant Bradlee’s shot Bob a dirty look before leaving the room like it was on fire. In typical fashion, much like when he tried to call me out at a day shift roll call when I work nights, he didn’t even have the testicular fortitude to confront Bob to his face. He ran away and had Captain Dougan do his dirty work.
Because the night captain is universally respected by those of us under his command, Bob said something to the effect that he would shave his entire body if that’s what he wanted, and then left the office. The night captain then received a follow-up phone call from the chief’s office, asking what Bob’s reaction was. That’s like a giggly school girl, asking her friend what a boy said about her.
We’re expected to follow the leadership of these people??
You probably know by now, that wasn’t the end of it. Within 30 minutes of the initial meeting, Bob was called back into the night captain’s office. Now the order to shave his sideburns was rescinded, because “they” looked at the department rules & regulations, and said the standards for sideburns “were not specific enough”, and “they” would revisit the issue when the rules and regulations were changed to address Officer Curtis’ sideburns.
This is just further proof of my theory that memorizing written material and regurgitating it onto a test form on any given Saturday does not necessarily confer intelligence upon anyone, because even I at first had a hard time believing “they” were that stupid.
1) If you were going to issue an order about something as personal as someone changing their physical appearance, don’t you think you should check to make sure that order complies with department rules and regulations BEFORE you issued it?
2) Shouldn’t this order have been issued sometime in the previous 10 years, which is as long as Officer Curtis has had these suddenly verboten sideburns?
3) We now know what the first piece of paperwork that Steve McGrath, the new Director of Human Resources, will get from the QPPOA; a workplace harassment complaint against Lieutenant Bradlee’s, Captain Dougan, and Chief CLK. I can’t believe I actually have to explain this to them, but you cannot craft a department rule and regulation that specifically targets one person.
Bob Curtis, as mentioned in the Patriot Ledger article, is a non-practicing attorney so he knows the law. This latest foolishness is just another piece of a slam-dunk harassment lawsuit, should he decide to go down that road. What the hell; we’re already well past the million dollar mark of lawsuits paid out for decisions of the police chief and the command staff, what’s another few more hundred thousand?
If (when) we file a lawsuit against Lieutenant Bradlee's, he'll be on his own because he isn't a member of the supervisor's union as the result of him being in charge of Internal Affairs. Therefore, they (supervisor's union) won't provide him with counsel.
He will have to rely on the city to provide him with counsel.
Good luck to him, he's going to need it. His actions were so malicious, so abusive, so much in violation of 150E, I don't even know where to start.
Q: What did you think of the arrest of former Chief Falco’s son?
A: Editorial note; the writer is referring to this;
What I think is that he should be provided with basic rights, such as a presumption of innocence and due process, before his employment is terminated. I also think this is a perfect example of what I’ve been screaming about for over two years; the disparity of treatment with city employees.
If you’re a Quincy Police Patrol Officer, even an accusation of wrongdoing results in immediate suspension, followed by equally swift termination before the criminal charges are adjudicated. Just ask Officer Tim Kaes and former (and hopefully soon to be again) Officer Siobhan O’Connor.
If you’re any other city employee, especially one with political connections to the former administration, you get the full benefit of your rights of presumption of innocence and due process. That little disparity, courtesy of Chief CLK, is going to cost the City of Quincy millions of dollars in civil penalties if the pending lawsuits go to trial.
In closing, I’d like to mention that former QPPOA Attorney Robert Wise recently passed away. We just found out about it, and certainly would have been present at the services, had we known. Bob did a fantastic job for us, and he will be missed.
Our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
Tuesday December 25, 2007
Merry Christmas - Bruce Tait
On behalf of the men & women of the Quincy Police Patrol Officers' Association, I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. We'd especially like to thank the many, many people who have supported us over the last couple of years when we were at our lowest point. Hopefully Santa will leave something nice under the tree for the QPPOA this year.
I'd also like to ask everyone to take a moment as you gather with your families today to remember the brave members of our armed forces who can't be home with their loved ones. Whatever you think of the current political climate, it's the sacrifices of these brave men & women that allow us to be safe with our families during this joyous time of year.
Sunday December 23, 2007
Judgment Day Approaches - Bruce Tait
“When defeat is inevitable, it is wisest to yield” – Quintillian
As I mentioned in the previous entry, one of my favorite sayings is “What goes around, comes around”. I’ve seen so many examples of that in the past month or so, I have no idea where I should even start.
I suppose a good place would be something I’ve been harping about and predicting for quite awhile; the civil lawsuit by Officer Tim Kaes against the City of Quincy, Mayor William Phelan, Chief Robert Crowley, et al.
The actual lawsuit hasn’t yet been filed, but the targets of the coming lawsuit have received notice via registered mail from our litigation attorney, Richard Bardi. They include Mayor Phelan, Chief Crowley, and the City of Quincy via the City Council President (Douglas Gutro) and the Quincy City Clerk (Joseph Shea).
As an “interested party” to this lawsuit, I received a copy of this letter. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s bad form and a breach of etiquette to reveal the contents of a settlement agreement, but since someone who is obviously a party to this suit revealed the entire contents of the letter to the “Quincy Sun”, I can now comment on it.
Long story short; Officer Kaes was charged with drunk driving for being involved in a motor vehicle crash while off-duty.
NO ONE, including the supervisor who responded to the scene, thought that Kaes was intoxicated. Crowley ordered him charged, anyway.
The case was heard by a clerk-magistrate who refused to issue a criminal complaint. Not content with that, Crowley called THE district attorney (William Keating) and requested an appeal of the clerk’s decision, an almost unheard-of procedure. After a bag-job reinstatement of charges, a judge found probable cause against Officer Kaes.
Once probable cause was reissued, Officer Kaes was fired. He was out of work for almost two years, even though he was found “Not Guilty” of all charges in court.
An arbitrator reinstated Officer Kaes to his former position, so while he’s now back to work, he’s still out almost 2 years of back pay as awarded to him by the arbitrator. The City of Quincy simply refuses to pay him; not a single penny.
Well, the other shoe has dropped.
Attorney Bardi has requested a settlement of $500,000 (above and beyond back pay) to avoid litigation in the Kaes matter and I think that is an EXCEEDINGLY generous offer, considering the circumstances. If that mess goes to trial, I can’t imagine a judgment of anything less than $1 million. And as I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, any court settlement will include a hefty intentional tort award against CLK, which he will have to pay out of his own pocket. Better start looking into second mortgages, chief.
With this demand, the cost of the stupid decisions of the Quincy Police Chief (whoever it has been) and the command staff have skyrocketed past the million dollar mark.
At a recent summit meeting of the QPPOA and the supervisor’s union, someone on the supervisor’s e-board made a comment that “they” (supervisors) don’t often get in trouble, it’s usually “you” (the patrol officers) who get in trouble.
That may or may not be true. I don’t care enough to conduct a statistical analysis, but what I do know is this;
1) Patrol officers account for 0% of the discrimination lawsuits paid by the city.
2) Supervisors account for 100% of the discrimination lawsuits paid by the city.
Pretty compelling, don’t you think? Yet, many still think WE are the problem.
Back to the subject at hand; under the current regime, what do you suppose would happen to a Quincy Police patrol officer who incurred a $500,000 debt to the city in the form of a civil lawsuit?
The Patriot Ledger editorial staff would be calling for their head on the end of a pike, no doubt publishing the officer’s home address for good measure, and the officer would be fired without a moment’s hesitation. There is no doubt whatsoever in mind concerning that.
So the burning question remains; why does Chief Robert Crowley still have a job? What is it about him that’s so special, he’s not only above the law (just ask the clerk of Brockton District Court), but he can cost the city hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars with impunity? He brings NOTHING to the table for the city except embarrassment, debt, and liability.
The other burning question is this; NOW does the city council get it? Now that they have tangible evidence of how out of control the chief of police is, in the form of a half-million dollar time bomb, are they still willing to jump on the grenades he throws on a regular basis?
It’s important to reiterate this; the entire Kaes lawsuit is the DIRECT result of vindictive, malicious actions on the part of Robert Crowley. He owns it, part and parcel, although the city and the outgoing mayor are also on the hook because of his stupid, moronic decisions. When CLK called the district attorney to ask a favor to reinstate the criminal charges against Kaes, he might as well have traveled to Quincy Point, put his feet in front of the 8-inch guns of the USS Salem, and depressed the firing switches.
Oh, and guess what? Most likely the district attorney will be subpoenaed to testify if the suit goes to court, to detail exactly what CLK said to and asked of him.
CLK is making friends all over the place, isn’t he?
As much as I’m gloating a bit about being proven right, yet again, it also angers me that to this day there has not been the slightest hint of disciplinary action against CLK. When a patrol officer is accused of committing the slightest infraction of department regulations, never mind the law, we are brought into the chief’s office, disarmed, our gun permits taken, and sent out of the station with an empty holster.
The chief of the Quincy Police Department used his office to commit a crime, and now his underhanded, vindictive decisions are going to cost the city millions of dollars. Can it be any plainer that he’s not suited to be a police officer, never mind a police chief?
And mark my words; if he’s allowed to remain chief, he WILL do it again. His track record is clear; he lashes out at the patrol officer target du jour, then goes into hiding to lick his wounds and wonder “why didn’t somebody stop me?” . He simply can’t help himself, and I’m willing to wager even he doesn’t understand why he does the stupid things he does.
I read recently that Mayor Phelan has stated he’s leaving the city in good financial shape. I have no doubt that’s true for the moment, but;
After Tim Kaes, Siobhan O’Connor, and possibly 3-4 more patrol officers have their days in federal court, due solely to the actions of Robert Crowley, that statement may no longer be true.
I wouldn’t be buying any Quincy municipal bonds in the near future, if I were you.
Wednesday December 12, 2007
Sour Grapes - Bruce Tait
“If you mention extortion again, I’ll have your legs broken” – Mayor Carmine DePasto in “Animal House”.
As I’ve often mentioned here and elsewhere, as a patrol officer in the Quincy Police Department it’s very easy to fall victim to the “Stockholm Syndrome”. For those who haven’t yet taken Sociology 101 in college, the Stockholm Syndrome is a sociological/psychological/criminological phenomenon that exists when people are subjected to inhumane treatment for an extended period of time, to the point that they accept the inhumane treatment as the norm.
This syndrome was coined after an attempted robbery of a bank in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973. The would-be robbers held bank employees and customers hostage for almost a week. When Swedish Police moved in to arrest the robbers, they were met with resistance from the hostages, some of whom testified on behalf of the robbers in court. They were subjected to inhumane treatment, but also developed a perverse bond with their captors, since that became their norm over the course of almost a week.
As I said in the beginning of this entry, it’s extremely easy to fall victim to the Stockholm Syndrome as a patrol officer of the Quincy Police Department. We’ve been treated as second-class citizens at best, as criminals at worst, by the command staff of the department since I’ve been involved as a QPPOA representative.
I recently received an e-mail, obviously from someone who’s not too happy with this website, asking me if I also saw black helicopters because I was “paranoid” about the police chief trying to set me up. The short answer to that it is; look at his track record.
However, the recent snowfall reminded me of an incident a few years ago that perfectly illustrates what we’re up against. It had snowed heavily in the previous week or so, resulting in large snow banks on the sidewalks and sides of the road, even a major thoroughfare like Route 3A. Suddenly around 10pm, CLK came on the air; “Sierra Nine….have the area car (that would be me) check a guy sitting on top of a snow bank right in front of the Little Peach on Washington Street. I just drove by there; I don’t know what he’s doing”.
The problem is that I was standing in front of the Little Peach when the call came in, and had been there for at least 10-15 minutes speaking with someone who lives in Quincy Point and whom I’ve known since I was a child. We were discussing some neighborhood issues, and for the whole time I had a completely unobstructed view of the snow bank in front of the store. There was no one sitting on it, nor had there been. This used to be one of CLK’s favorite ways to give us a little tickle…..call in the phantom incident. I’m sure he got a hearty chuckle out of it when the responding officers would say there was nothing/no one there.
Well, I decided to give CLK a taste of his own medicine. That night, I walked over to the snow bank to double-check there was no one there, then waited a few minutes. I used my cruiser radio to make it sound like I had to drive there, then gave a lengthy account of where the person sitting in the snow bank was from, why he was sitting there, and a bunch of other B.S. I made up as I went along. I got a chuckle out of it myself as I pictured CLK screaming to himself “But there was no one there”!!!!!
What was he going to do, get on the radio and say he made it up?
Whatever for, chief??
Keep in mind this happened a few years before the fabrication of criminal charges from his bedroom, the illegal set-up of the unlicensed officer, and the subsequent bag-job of the criminal charges in Brockton Court. His actions have become increasingly desperate since then, and he now has the assurance of the criminal courts that he’ll never be held accountable for his actions.
So, I’m paranoid?
Anyway….back to the Stockholm Syndrome. Since the mayoral election in November, let’s just say that the parking spots of the city department heads and assorted other serve-at-the-pleasure-of-the-mayor employees have been barren. I certainly can’t blame them; they were only given two month’s notice they were most likely out of a job, and many of them have families.
In spite of my differences with the outgoing administration, I’m actually going to miss some of the people Mayor Phelan appointed during his tenure. For example, Human Resources Director Roberta Kety always treated us with the utmost respect and always tried to do the right thing, within the constraints she was placed under. If she does move on, we wish her all the best in the future, and she will always have friends at the Quincy Police Department.
Other people…..I won’t miss so much. For example, it seems like Labor Counsel David Grunebaum is furious that we decided to jump on board Team Blue and charged in for the big victory, because he seems determined to spike the cannons, scuttle the ships, and burn the buildings to the ground on the way out of the city.
Veteran readers of this spot, as well of those of you who viewed our appearances on YouTube know the saga of Officer Tim Kaes. He was the officer who was victimized when CLK decided to fabricate criminal charges from his bedroom and ordered him charged with OUI (drunk driving) after an off-duty car accident, even though no one on-scene thought he was drunk, and a clerk-magistrate refused to issue a criminal complaint. He was found not guilty of all charges, and then reinstated to his job by a mutually-selected arbitrator;
The arbitrator, in addition to ordering Officer Kaes be reinstated as a police officer, also ordered the city to give him back wages in order to be “made whole”. It’s a standard practice that back wages also include an average of what the officer would have made in overtime and paid details, since it would be beyond unfair to expect him to lose out on money he would have made, had he not been wrongfully terminated.
Of course, the City of Quincy as currently constituted can’t just do things the simple, fair way. They decided they weren’t going to pay Officer Kaes any back overtime or details, just his base pay. Well, we can agree to disagree and can certainly decide the back OT and details later.
You would think the city would just pay Kaes what they believe they owe him (his base salary for the time he was terminated), then they and we could argue about the difference later.
As I’ve said so many times before; you would think, and then you would be wrong.
Instead of doing that, they just haven’t paid him. Not a single penny. It’s been over one year since the arbitrator ordered the city to pay Kaes his wages, and he’s still waiting. In the city’s usual penny-wise and pound-foolish manner, the back pay (well over $100,000) is accumulating interest at 12%, which comes out to roughly $50 per day.
We finally asked the original arbitrator (Attorney James Litton) to step-in and clarify exactly what he meant by back wages, and the hearing was on December 5th. I couldn’t make it because of a prior commitment, but I received a blow-by-blow from QPPOA Treasurer Peter Curley who attended in my place.
Now, it’s important to note that this was a clarification of an award. We won, the city lost. The award was in our favor, an inconvenient fact apparently lost on David Grunebaum. He started treating it like a settlement negotiation; basically, he was trying to play “Let’s Make a Deal” after things had already gone totally against him.
I honestly can’t believe he had the chutzpah to ask, but Grunebaum actually expected Officer Kaes to sign a full release (a promise to not sue), absolving the city, the mayor, CLK, and just about everyone else under the sun except Colonel Sanders for putting him through a two-year colonoscopy, and in return the city would pay him what they were ordered to pay him.
As I mentioned, it’s easy to fall victim to the Stockholm Syndrome as a member of the QPD. When I got this report from Peter Curley, it took a second to fully sink-in, since being treated like something stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe has become the norm for us. When I heard about the release, I was like “Yeah, okay”, then I said “WHOA….whoa, whoa…..they wanted WHAT????”
Think about this for second; Officer Kaes was awarded his back pay by an arbitrator. The city is now saying they’re not going to pay him unless he relinquishes all his legal rights, simply because that’s what they want and are apparently trying to tie-up their loose ends on the way out the door. It was like some two-bit Mafia extortion bid…..sign this, or else.
Ordinarily, it’s bad form and a breach of etiquette to discuss the terms of settlement negotiations but as I said, in spite of what Grunebaum fervently wanted, this wasn’t a settlement negotiation, it was hearing to clarify an AWARD.
After our attorney did his best Howie Mandel impression by saying “NO DEAL” as clear as can be, they came back with an extremely interesting counter-offer. Not that we were the least bit interested in hearing it, it’s just that it was very telling. They basically tossed CLK overboard like yesterday’s trash, saying we could sue him into oblivion (which we fully intend to do anyway) as long as Officer Kaes signed a release for the city and the mayor. It was no deal anyway, but as I said, very interesting in how quickly they abandoned CLK at crunch time.
The fact that we weren’t screwing around was also apparently lost on Grunebaum, as he was complaining that in his 32 years working for the city, the union has never refused to sign a release.
Perhaps that’s because in 32 years, we’ve never had someone this unstable as police chief??
Proving further this was a big case of sour grapes, Grunebaum then stated that even if we prevailed with the arbitrator….AGAIN….they were going to appeal to the courts. When our attorney pointed out their window to appeal the arbitrator’s decision had long since passed, Grunebaum apparently started winging it, stating there would be something like a “supplemental appeal”.
As I said, sour grapes, anyone?
Of course, by the time the arbitrator issues his clarification, David Grunebaum will most likely be perusing Monster.com with a vengeance, so I’m not especially concerned with the Kaes matter, but it’s a perfect glimpse of what we’ve been dealing with for many years.
Just to sour the grapes a little more, the law department at city hall (I wonder who was behind this?) recently ruled on a grievance, in lightning-quick, world-record time, filed by the supervisor’s union that could have very serious consequences against the QPPOA. This grievance was filed just a few weeks ago, and there has already been a favorable resolution (or so we’ve been told, since nothing is in writing) for the supervisors.
In the meantime, we have two grievances as well as an official complaint of workplace harassment languishing at city hall, all of which were filed MONTHS ago, and there has been no action whatsoever. The supervisors file a grievance that has consequences against the patrol officer’s union, and it gets instant and favorable consideration.
Ask anyone who knows me well, and they will tell you that one of my favorite sayings is “What goes around, comes around”. I’ve seen irrefutable proof of that over the last couple of days as I attended the depositions for the lawsuit of Siobhan O’Connor, another QPPOA member who got railroaded and raked across the coals by CLK and the outgoing administration, and I’ll have a LOT to say about that whole mess soon enough. Should that disgrace ever make it to court, the resulting fireworks and embarrassments (plural) to the city and current/former city officials are going to make the Kaes matter look like nap time at the local nursing home, trust me on that one.
Instant karma is indeed gonna get a whole lot of people very shortly; many people who have made our lives miserable over the last few years will be getting the left foot of fellowship out the door next month, the person who pushed the supervisor’s grievance to the front of the line may well be facing a complaint with the Board of Bar Overseers, and while the state criminal courts have deemed Chief Robert Crowley as above the law, there is one important thing to remember;
I have a very strong feeling the federal civil courts won’t share that opinion.
Repeat after me chief;
Saturday December 1, 2007
Will that be paper or plastic? - Bruce Tait
“The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” – Mark Twain
I apologize for not updating this space in awhile; apparently (based on e-mails I’ve received) there is a totally unfounded rumor circulating in Quincy that I’ve “given up” or surrendered. I have no idea how anyone could get that idea, but rest assured it’s completely false.
What happened is I was knocked on my backside for over a week with a nasty upper-respiratory infection that made me feel like I had mono. Pretty much all I’ve been doing for the last week is sleeping, but I’m now (hopefully) over it.
For those who don’t live in Quincy, you probably haven’t heard that the clerk-magistrate in Brockton Court dismissed the criminal charges against both CLK and the officer he set-up to be arrested;
To say this is outrageous would be a major, major understatement. In my nearly 20 years as a police officer, I have never seen such a blatant disregard for the facts and the law. The message that was sent by the clerk was this; no matter what Bob Crowley does, the law does not apply to him.
What I charged CLK with was violation of Mass General Law Chapter 90 Section 12(b). Here is the law;
The relevant section reads;
“Whoever knowingly permits a motor vehicle owned by him or under his control to be operated by a person who is unlicensed or whose license has been suspended or revoked shall be punished by 1 year in the house of correction and a fine of not more than $500 for a first offense…”
As my criminal law instructor in the police academy (Lieutenant Feeley) used to say; “Look at the elements”.
1) Whoever knowingly permits – CLK knew full well that the officer didn’t have a valid license, and set an underhanded trap for him. He allowed him to go to roll call, where he knew the officer would be assigned to drive a cruiser.
2) a motor vehicle owned by him or under his control – Besides the common sense knowledge that the chief of a police department has control over the department’s motor vehicles, it’s also specified in the Quincy Municipal Code;
3) to be operated by a person who is unlicensed – As I mentioned, CLK had full knowledge that the officer’s license was expired, and he not only permitted the officer to operate the cruiser, he WANTED him to operate it!!!
After reading the above I’d like to know how ANYONE, never mind the clerk-magistrate of a district court, can say with a straight face that there is no evidence that a crime was committed.
You see, that’s the standard for a clerk-magistrate’s hearing; whether there is evidence of a crime or not. Never mind evidence, I presented a rock-solid, airtight case, but it was tossed aside.
Well, it’s interesting to note that CLK was willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal” before the clerk’s hearing. He and his attorney “had the feeling” that the criminal complaint against CLK wasn’t going to issue.
I’ll bet they did.
What it seems like to me is that they were attempting to spare the clerk the embarrassment of having to issue this ridiculous ruling, one that flies in the face of the evidence and the facts, by avoiding the hearing altogether. In my opinion, the outcome of that hearing was predetermined long before I walked into Brockton District Court. All that was missing were roulette tables with the buttons underneath to stop the wheel at an opportune time and some shaved dice.
Unfortunately for them, we didn’t make it that easy.
I’ve received many e-mails from people asking me if I’m going to appeal the clerk’s ruling to a judge, and the answer is no. As much as I vehemently disagree with the clerk’s ruling, and believe it was more a political decision than anything to do with the law, I’m going to respect and abide by it. I’m not going to pull a CLK and start making phone calls to backdoor a probable cause finding. If the DA’s Office wants to appeal it, that’s up to them, and I think it would be a slam dunk if they did. Unless, of course, it was heard by the “right” judge, if you know what I mean.
So, where does that leave us? This decision was yet another dagger through what little is left of the morale of the Quincy Police patrol force. The message has been sent, loud & clear from a court of law, that the law does not apply to our police chief.
I ask you this; why in the hell should we bother arresting anyone, when our boss has been certified by the courts as being immune from the same laws we’re expected to enforce? I for one will certainly be using my “discretion” very freely as long as we’re saddled with CLK. I’m not going to stick it to Joe Sixpack if I don’t absolutely have to, because he’ll get screwed to the wall while the chief of police skates away scot-free, yet again.
Take notice of the last line in the first article I linked; that CLK has “no hard feelings” towards me or the officer he tried to trap.
That’s all part of something I predicted immediately after the recent mayoral election, that CLK would try to reinvent himself as reasonable Bob Crowley, for the benefit of the incoming mayor. It’s a bit late for that, as we have a documented track record of his bizarre behavior that even predates his appointment as chief.
One other thing; I really don’t think the clerk in Brockton Court realizes what a dangerous decision he made. By telling CLK he’s above the law, that almost guarantees something I’ve made mention of several times here.
I speculated that since CLK’s increasingly desperate attempts to get a patrol officer in legal trouble have become more & more outrageous, the next logical step is that he plants something in one of our lockers, equipment bags, etc. Now that he has the validation that he’ll never have to face consequences from the courts, that scenario has moved from possible to probable.
As a matter of fact, I’d be surprised if he isn’t planning it already. Think about it; in spite of what the clerk said, CLK used his office to break the law in his latest attempt to land a patrol officer in legal hot water. Now that he has the blessing of the courts, what’s to stop him from waiting until one of us is out of the cruiser for an extended period of time (doing an emergency protective order), then coming by the address where we are, opening our cruiser (they’re all keyed alike) and putting a bundle of heroin or a stolen gun in the glove box or our equipment bag?
“But wait”, you’re thinking……”you said CLK was trying to reinvent himself”.
I did, and the key word is “trying”. You see, CLK sometimes simply can’t help himself. I don’t think even he knows why he’s pulled some of the crap he has in the past. Look at his track record, it’s littered with bizarre, rash decisions that all point to one thing; someone who isn’t stable that has NEVER had to answer for his actions.
One thing remains constant; after the illegal, ham-handed set-up attempt against one of our members, that was the last straw. We simply can’t work for a police chief whose goal in life is to set-up his own patrol officers. Our job is stressful enough, we can’t deal with all the crap we have to on the street, and then worry about being set-up by our chief.
I heard that CLK was recently getting a new inspection sticker on his car, because it had expired. His comment was “I better fix this or Tait will write me up”.
You got that right, chief. Thanks to our extensive network of undercover agents (and you’d have a cow if you knew who some of them are) you’re being watched. Not all the time, but you’ll never know when or by whom. What I can tell you is, it won't be anyone from the union. We have more than enough volunteers to do our dirty work.
And when you screw up again, rest assured we’ll get a full report.
Nice way to live, isn't it?
It all stops and goes away when your portrait is up in the conference room, and not a minute sooner.
Saturday November 17, 2007
More Mailbag - Bruce Tait
Judging from the smoke that was coming out of my Inbox tonight, one question seems to be on everyone’s mind, so let’s get started;
Q: What happened in Brockton District Court today?
A: For those who are just joining the party, today was the day of reckoning for CLK in regards to setting-up a police officer to drive a cruiser after he knew the officer’s driver’s license had expired;
I’ll save everyone the suspense and tell you the end result was the clerk-magistrate took both cases under advisement, and will rule on them within 10 days. However, the procedure itself was a bit odd, to say the least.
I got to Brockton Court early with QPPOA Attorneys Richard Bardi & Michael Judge, as well as QPPOA Treasurer Peter Curley and the officer who was set-up in CLK’s trap. I was quite surprised to see some other people had also come to see the spectacle, including Don Kusser who hosts the Quincy Access TV show that’s featured on our YouTube page;
There were also regular everyday Quincy residents there, who wanted to see CLK finally get his comeuppance. You can’t treat people the way CLK has treated people over the years and make too many friends.
Of course, CLK was there with his city-provided attorney. Not that I need to highlight anymore double-standards in regards to our treatment by the outgoing administration, but what the hell is a city attorney doing representing CLK? The officer who was set-up was just as much acting in his official capacity as CLK was on August 29th, but do you suppose that officer was offered an attorney by the city?
Of course not.
Fortunately for him (as fortunate as you can get when you’re being set-up by your boss), he was on-duty and acting in his capacity as a police officer when he was set-up, so the QPPOA provided him legal counsel. Extremely competent legal counsel, which of course doesn’t come cheap; Richard Bardi’s law office is on Beacon Street in Boston within spitting distance of the state house, so use your imagination.
We have paid, are paying, and will pay thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees to undo CLK’s mistakes & screw-ups, and when he has his biggest screw-up to date, the city is STILL trying to bail him out. I would seriously like to ask Mayor Phelan what it is about Bob Crowley that inspired such fierce loyalty from him. He brought nothing to the table except headaches and embarrassments, but even on the way out the door the mayor is covering for him.
Anyway, back to the court hearing. One thing I found extremely telling was that CLK didn’t have his usual entourage of fawning gold badges with him today. The only other person with him besides his attorney was the training director, who was subpoenaed that morning by CLK’s attorney, and who looked like he would rather have been anywhere but there. If you remember back to December 2006 when CLK marched in the city council chambers to lie to their faces concerning police staffing levels, he had a whole posse of lieutenants and captains with him as backup;
Not so today. Rats deserting the sinking ship, perhaps?
So….the hearing. We were all brought into the clerk’s hearing room, and the case was heard by THE clerk-magistrate of Brockton Court, Kevin Creedon. I half-expected to be given a Dutch Uncle speech by whoever heard the case, and the officer who was set-up discussed that possibility with me out in the hallway. He was so adamant about CLK having to answer to his charges, he told me he’s willing to be fired in order to hold CLK accountable, knowing the termination would be blocked and eventually overturned in court.
If that isn’t a perfect example of how bad things are at the Quincy Police Department right now, then nothing is. You see, CLK has gotten away with making rash, bizarre decisions that have hurt people time and time and time and time and time again, but he’s NEVER been held accountable for his actions and decisions at ANY point in his police career. He must have about a dozen horseshoes stuck up his posterior because he’s always managed to wiggle out of the consequences.
Not this time.
The hearing itself was kind of odd in that there was no distinction between the two cases, and I wasn’t sure when one ended and one started in regards to the testimony. The sergeant who was ordered by CLK to set-up the officer started things off with a brief run-down of what happened, and he was then questioned by Attorney Bardi. The most revealing questions were also the most simple;
“Sergeant, would you have issued this citation if you weren’t ordered to do so by Chief Crowley”
“I think it’s fair to say I wouldn’t have”.
When it came time for CLK’s charge, I acted as the de-facto police prosecutor because there was no one else to prosecute the case, and I was the citing officer. There wasn’t much to it; I gave a brief rundown as to what happened, what I did, and why I did it. It’s really as clear-cut a case as I’ve ever been involved with.
CLK’s attorney cross-examined me, and it was obvious from the start he didn’t have much to work with. When I first cited CLK, I was unaware that the charge was changed under Melanie’s Law from a civil infraction to a criminal offense so the first citation I issued was for a civil infraction. When I was made aware of the change, I voided the first citation and re-issued a criminal citation. Apparently, I missed a number on the plate number of the cruiser on one of the citations, and that was about all they had to fall back on. That, and the fact I checked “In Hand” on the citation as method of service when I put the citation under CLK’s secured office door. Well, I think it’s obvious but;
1) Considering some courts don’t even require a traffic citation when a traffic offense is a crime (as this one is), does it really matter if the plate number is wrong on one of the citations, one of which was voided?
2) There is no box to check on a Massachusetts Uniform Citation indicating “Left Under Chief’s Door”. I stated in my report that the door is locked and secured, so I considered that the equivalence of in-hand service.
Another thing they tried, I’m still trying to figure out. The training director was subpoenaed solely to testify that members of the QPD need to have a valid license as a condition of employment. My best guess is that they were trying to say that CLK was justified in breaking the law because he was trying to enforce that section of the rules and regulations.
Sorry, but the QPD rules and regulations don’t supersede Massachusetts General Law.
One of the most revealing things about this whole procedure came right at the end of the hearing, when CLK’s attorney said something very interesting. In regards to the charge against the officer who was set-up, the attorney said something to the effect of “we” (he and CLK) had nothing to say about the officer’s charge because they didn’t have a dog in that fight.
I seriously wanted to jump out of my chair and scream “It was your client who ordered the charges!!!!!!!”, but I was able to contain myself.
Is that not one of the most absurd things you ever heard in your life? CLK now wants nothing to do with the criminal charge against the officer because it blew-up in his face, but he’s the one that ordered him charged in the first place. Classic CLK; toss the grenade, then run and hide.
Another revealing thing came when the hearing was over and CLK was leaving. Because the hearing room was so small, only the people testifying, the attorneys, the defendants and the media (Patriot Ledger reporter and photographer) were allowed inside. CLK got his behind reamed by Attorney Bardi in his closing remarks, and if you know anything about CLK, he doesn’t take criticism well at all.
As he somewhat lurched out of the doorway, Peter Curley looked right in his face and saw “that look”. He had to lash out and say something to someone, but he certainly wasn’t going to say it to Peter, so he saw Don Kusser out in the hallway. With a somewhat glazed smirk on his face, CLK said;
“I enjoyed your show Wednesday”.
Don said “Oh good, thank you” as CLK left the building.
It was pathetic.
If I hadn’t seen first-hand the suffering and grief CLK has brought to other people and their families over the years (including me), I’d almost (ALMOST) feel bad for him.
So….the much anticipated hearing is done. If the clerk doesn’t put forward the charge against CLK, the message will be that he ignored the law & the facts, and that the law doesn’t apply to police chiefs. The legislature might as well vote MGL 90-12 right off the books because if it doesn’t apply in this case, it will never apply in any case.
I did my part; it’s now out of my hands.
Q: (from a police officer from another agency) I have a lieutenant who claims that you can't get away with this blog (basically saying if we ever did it the author would be suspended/fired), which I know to be horseshit. Can you just tell me what it is that allows you to publish all of this.
A: If your union had a blog exactly like this and the union president was suspended or fired because of it, that union president would be a very rich man and probably be living in the chief’s house (or whoever suspended/fired him) when the lawsuit was decided. Contrary to what some people believe, I’m not a stupid person. I thoroughly researched the details of state & federal labor law before I started sending rounds downrange, and also solicited the opinion of our labor attorney.
Put it this way; if I could be suspended or fired for writing this, don’t you think it would have happened a LONG time ago? We’re approaching our two year anniversary in regards to rubbing the noses of the chief and the mayor in it with this website. If they could legally do something about it, they would have done it already. As much as the command staff and the current occupants of city hall positively despise me and this website, there’s not a damn thing they can do as long as I’m commenting on matters of interest to the union and the public.
Please tell your lieutenant to e-mail me, and I’ll be glad to explain to him about labor law and the US Constitution. I don’t expect him to, since he’s obviously smarter than I am, having regurgitated written material onto a test form on a couple of good Saturdays to be promoted.
Q: Is it really true about the radios in your cruisers being dangerous?
A: I wouldn’t kid around about something so important. It’s all too true, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now involved. It’s so dangerous; the FCC might turn over the investigation to their CRIMINAL branch for possible prosecution.
This dangerous situation was apparently limited to unmarked cruisers, and unfortunately there are several current, former, and retired detectives who have had health issues that could possibly be related to radiation poisoning, including cancer and fertility problems.
Of course, there is at least one person who thinks I would kid about something so important. At a recent staff meeting, Lieutenant Bradlee’s asked the lieutenant who’s conducting the radio investigation to dispel the “ridiculous rumor” started by the patrol officers’ union about the radios being dangerous. The lieutenant grimaced, and then launched into a 10-minute explanation that no, it’s not a rumor, and yes, it’s extremely dangerous. From what I heard, Lieutenant Bradlee’s was six shades of purple by the time the explanation was over.
Lieutenant Bradlee’s; this is the correct sequence:
1) Engage brain
2) Engage mouth.
Q: I recently read about your chief supporting the issuance of Narcan to heroin addicts while other police chiefs are opposed to it. Thoughts?
A: Editorial note; the question concerns this news article:
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length or time, you know all about Narcan which is an opiate antidote. The geniuses at the state Department of Health want to distribute kits which contain Narcan to junkies, the great majority of whom have all the medical training of my 6 year-olds. This is a classic “feel good” measure, and it’s pure insanity for several reasons which I’ll get to in a second.
To no one’s surprise, guess who fully supports this lunacy? That would be none other than our good old Chief Cowardly Lyin’ King. His quote in that article is one for the ages;
‘‘It can save lives,’’ Crowley said. ‘‘I’ve seen it administered, and it’s amazing how it actually brings people back.’’
He’s seen it administered? Really?
I seriously doubt that, since one would actually have to go to an overdose call to see Narcan in action. Because kids drinking in the woods generally don’t result in heroin overdoses, I call BS on that quote. I would wager the closest CLK has ever come to seeing Narcan in action is reading about my experiences in this very spot.
Anyway, these Narcan kits are foolish for a few reasons;
1) We’re dealing with people (junkies) who have little to no self-control as it is. Having an antidote kit with them will give them a false sense of security…”I can shoot two bags instead of one, because I have Narcan with me”.
2) Just about every fatal overdose I’ve been to, the junkie died alone and was found by either us or family/friends long after death. A junkie who is about to overdose isn’t going to reach for the Narcan; they’re too busy enjoying the high. I’ve had more than one junkie tell me that the times they’ve overdosed were the best highs they ever had. Remember…..little to no self-control.
3) If a junkie is with other people when they overdose, those people should call 911 immediately. Besides saving the OD, it can be documented that the person is a junkie, so they can get into treatment. In addition to that, there is little to no honor among junkies. If someone overdoses with other junkies, they’re just as likely to steal everything (including the Narcan kit) from the OD, and then abandon the stripped body. If they’re feeling especially magnanimous, they might call 911 if they come across a pay phone after they leave.
4) Narcan is a prescription drug, with definite risks and side effects. For that reason, it’s currently only administered by paramedics, nurses, and physicians. Basic EMT’s can’t administer Narcan, even with their advanced EMS training, but now the state wants to give Narcan to people who can barely get out of bed in the afternoon.
5) Let’s use some common sense here; if junkies can OD, be revived, OD, be revived, OD, and be revived again, exactly where is the motivation to get treatment and get clean? Let me tell you….it’s quite a wake-up call for a junkie to come back from the dead to see he/she is surrounded by police, fire, and EMS workers. They also have to go to the hospital (gee, I wonder why?), and their overdose is reported by the police department.
Sometimes I feel bad about the world that my kids are going to inherit. Just like the absolute insanity of legalizing hypodermic syringes has led to us finding them discarded like empty gum wrappers, so too will this foolishness in giving Narcan to junkies backfire.
Of course, Chief CLK thinks this is just a dandy idea.
Q: I was so happy for you guys when I saw the election results. Has anything changed now that you know a new mayor is coming?
A: Other than a much lighter mood in the police station since November 7th nothing has changed, but I never expected anything to change. Just because Tom Koch won the election, he’s not the mayor yet. Even after he’s inaugurated I don’t expect him to come out guns blazing in regards to the police department.
Of course, there has been a whisper campaign around the city and the police station (I believe related to the recent QPPOA election where I won re-election by a comfortable margin) that I’ve been telling everyone that Tom Koch has promised us the moon and the stars.
Nothing could be further from the truth; we’ve received no promises or guarantees of ANY kind from Tom Koch, nor do we expect anything other than fair treatment and an eventual reassessment of what’s going on inside 1 Sea Street. I told one of Koch’s campaign people that we weren’t going to bother him, and when he felt ready to meet with us, just call me. We endorsed Tom Koch because a majority of our membership believed we can work with him much better than the outgoing administration, not because we’re expecting anything in return.
Q: Are you suspended? What is your status since you were charged with Insubordination and Lack of Civility?
A: To be honest, I have no idea. I keep going to roll call, they keep reading my name off, and I keep driving my assigned cruiser out of the police station parking lot so I have to assume I'm on full duty status. I was served with written notice I was the target of official charges by a supervisor (Lieutenant Bradlee's) of the QPD and ordered to write a report of my interactions with said supervisor. I've done that, but haven't heard anything since.
Our labor counsel Paul Hynes has sent multiple requests to CLK, asking him what he's going to do about Lieutenant Bradlee's outrageous and illegal behavior at roll call on November 1st, but of course has received not even the courtesy of a reply.
We're obviously going to have to file an official charge with the state Labor Relations Commission in order to get any action on this issue, and if I have to face "Insubordination" and "Lack of Civiity" charges in the meantime, then so be it. Beyond firing me or taking away my underwear, there isn't much left the command staff or city hall can do to me (or the QPPOA membership) right now. That's the danger of emptying your arsenal too soon; if your target is still standing, you're SOL (shit outta luck).
I'm still standing.
Q: You need to learn how to shut your mouth, you talk a lot of shit, but someday its gonna all come back to you. Be careful what you say about people, because you build yourself up to be some hero, and you are not. You are just doing your job, so be humble.
A: The “shit” I supposedly talk is all truth or opinion. If you would care to cite specific examples of what you believe is not true, I’d be more than happy to explain to you why they are true.
As for it coming back on me, I highly doubt it. The legal protection for a former union president is just as strong as for a sitting union president, so I’m not concerned about it when my time at the helm is over. Also, unlike many of my critics, I conduct my personal and professional lives to the highest standards possible. It’s pretty hard to get shot when your enemy has no ammunition.
The hero thing is a bit puzzling; I can’t think of anything I’ve written here where I portray myself as anything other than a street cop who got fed-up with incompetent and vindictive “leadership” and decided to take the bull by the horns. If that has earned me the contempt of anonymous heroes who send e-mails using fake names, I’ll wear that contempt like a badge of honor.
By the way; the above e-mail was sent on November 7th at about 6pm.
To the anonymous coward; sorry your guy lost.
Friday November 9, 2007
Yet More Bizarro World - Bruce Tait
Before I get to the subject at hand, I'd like to mention for our friends who don’t live in the Quincy area, I’m happy to report that the man who the QPPOA endorsed to be the next mayor of Quincy is……the next mayor of Quincy. Tom Koch won the November 6th election by a margin of over 2,000 votes; an impressive victory for someone who wasn’t given much chance to win when he first announced. It’s been almost 3 days since the election, and I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet that in 8 weeks or so, we’ll have open and reasonable dialogue with the mayor’s office.
As I’ve said before, we don’t expect to get everything we want from Mayor Koch, but it will be a huge improvement from just being ignored. Even if we don’t get what we’re looking for, at least we’ll have an answer one way or the other, and we can agree to disagree. Anyway, we wish Mayor-elect Koch all the best, and look forward to working with him and his representatives in the future.
I’d also like to say I was extremely impressed with the way Mayor Phelan handled defeat. He came to the Granite Links Golf Club in-person to concede to Koch, and walked into the ballroom raising Koch’s hand as a sign of the victor. A very classy move, indeed.
You would think that the coming regime change at 1305 Hancock Street would at least slow down some of the foolishness within the Quincy Police Department, but as I say so often;
You would think, and then you would be wrong.
In the entry immediately below, I told you all about the apparent breakdown that Lieutenant Bradlee’s had at the November 1st day shift roll call. As I mentioned, he came looking for a fight with me even though he knew I wasn’t going to be there, but he got one anyway when QPPOA Treasurer Peter Curley stood-in for me.
What Lieutenant Bradlee’s apparently didn’t realize is that he not only violated our collective bargaining agreement with his outrageous behavior, he broke the law; specifically Massachusetts General Law Chapter 150E Section 10(a)(1);
You see, Lieutenant Bradlee’s spouted off that he wanted to confront the author of this website, because I warned the membership in the Members-Only section that they could have secret investigations going on behind their back because Lieutenant Bradlee’s refuses to notify us as required by department regulations and our collective bargaining agreement. He apparently took great offense to this, even though it’s 100% true.
Something to take note of; I posted this in the Members-Only section, which is password protected. What was Lieutenant Bradlee’s doing snooping around in our private area?
I digress……Lieutenant Bradlee’s knew full well who the author of this website is, and he knew full well that I wasn’t at the day shift roll call because I work the 4-Midnight shift. And I can guarantee you if I happened to be working a swap and was present at that roll call, he would have said nothing.
Knowing I wasn’t at the roll call, Lieutenant Bradlee’s popped off about wanting to confront the author. Since I wasn’t there, then there was absolutely, positively no reason for his behavior other than to intimidate and harass patrol officers for the actions of their union leadership. That’s a HUGE no-no.
When I learned that Lieutenant Bradlee’s wanted to confront me, I made it easy for him. I went to his office that afternoon, but he wasn’t there. I came back the following day and gave him his chance to confront me, but he pretended like he didn’t know what I was talking about. I very calmly told him he should at least have the balls to say it to my face, and I left.
Enter Bizarro World reasoning; Today, I was asked by Captain Dougan to come into his office instead of going to roll call. I knew exactly what was coming, so I telephoned our labor counsel Paul Hynes to make him aware of what was going on. I know the drill by now; don’t say anything, give them my gun without protest, and leave the office as soon as possible.
I was half-right; when I got into the office I didn’t have my gun taken, but I was served notice that Lieutenant Bradlee’s has officially charged me with “Insubordination” and “Lack of Civility”.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Ladies and Gentlemen: If I sat down and thought about it for a week, I couldn’t make-up a better example of how screwed-up things are at the Quincy Police Department right now.
A lieutenant from the chief’s office, the person who is in charge of Internal Affairs for the Quincy Police Department, came to a roll call and lost his mind in front of about 30 people. One patrol officer was so disgusted by his outburst, he stood-up, said “Yeah, great leadership” and then walked out in the middle of his tirade.
Lieutenant Bradlee’s used his position to break the law (sound like someone else we know?) in a ham-handed attempt to intimidate union members, and in doing so demanded to confront the author of this website. I came in early on my own time to accommodate his request.
After all that, it’s ME who is brought up on charges. Absolutely, positively nothing happened to Lieutenant Bradlee’s, in spite of a disgraceful display at roll call which violated the law, and I get charged for giving Lieutenant Bradlee’s what he requested.
To further the lunacy, guess who investigates charges against an officer of the department? That would be none other than Internal Affairs, a.k.a. Lieutenant Bradlee’s. Very convenient; you get to investigate the charges you filed yourself.
Gee, I wonder what the outcome of that investigation is going to be??
Apparently Lieutenant Bradlee’s doesn’t know the first thing about labor law, because when I walked into the office so he could confront me, I was acting in my capacity of QPPOA President. I could have conducted myself A LOT more disrespectfully than I did, and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. Union criticism of management is the heart of free speech.
Of course, I shared Lieutenant Bradlee’s absurd letter with my comrades in arms. We all had a hearty laugh about it as we enjoyed some Konditor Meister cake that was thoughtfully sent to the station by the Quincy Police Mutual Aid Association from the Quincy Police Ball. The letter is one for the ages; if you read it, you would think that Lieutenant Bradlee's was having a calm discourse with the people at roll call when Peter Curley rudely interrupted him. Unfortunately for Lieutenant Bradlee's, we have more than 20 witnesses who saw how out-of-control he was.
More than one officer, after reading the letter, had a comment that can’t be repeated on this family-friendly website, but suffice to say it rhymes with “ducking wussy”.
I think I’m going to buy some Kevlar-lined shoes for Lieutenant Bradlee’s for Christmas, because all he’s done is compound his colossal mistake. He is WAY too thin-skinned to be in that position, but he’ll never give up mini-Cooperstown (his office which is a rather creepy shrine to the Red Sox) unless they pry his fingers from the office furniture that probably cost more than I made last year.
Insubordination and lack of civility; that’s a real corker.
I take heart in one thing; it’s now April of 1945 and the dust is falling from the ceiling of the bunker from the concussion of the approaching artillery.
Saturday November 3, 2007
Yet another Q&A - Bruce Tait
The last mailbag before the election;
Q: I just read recently that the Massachusetts State Police union endorsed Mayor Phelan. What do you think of that?
A: I don’t think much of it, and neither do many, many troopers who live and/or work in Quincy. As upset about it as we are, I think they may be even madder than us.
That endorsement is as inappropriate as if the QPPOA endorsed someone to be the next colonel of the state police. That sort of thing doesn’t concern us, so we’d stay out of it. If there were extraordinary circumstances (the person lived in Quincy and really helped us in the past), the first thing I’d do is call the president of SPAM (the state police union) to get his opinion. Thumbs-up, he’d get the endorsement. Thumbs-down, forget about it.
I called the SPAM President about this. I actually called him a half-dozen times, and was quite rudely ignored for several days. I finally did Mapquest directions to SPAM headquarters, and then left him a voicemail that I was coming out to Marlboro to sit in his office until he spoke with me.
He finally called me back, and I asked a very simple question; what was it about Mayor Phelan’s job performance that earned him the endorsement of the largest police union in New England?
“He asked for it”.
Isn’t that wonderful? So, when I run for PTA President next year, I guess all I have to do is request the endorsement of SPAM, and I’ll get it?
When I asked him why he didn’t pick up the phone to see what the local police union thought of the mayor before endorsing him;
“I don’t have that kind of time”
I don’t think you’ll find a busier police union president than yours truly, considering I have that pesky 40+ hour a week gig in the black & white in addition to dealing with total chaos in the department, and even I can find 5 minutes to make a phone call.
I pressed the president….what has Phelan done to deserve this endorsement?
“He asked for it”.
When I ticked-off a half-dozen reasons why SPAM shouldn’t have endorsed Phelan, many which included officer safety, all I heard was silence on the other end of the phone.
If you don’t believe me, go to Mayor Phelan’s website and read the letter from SPAM, announcing their endorsement. It doesn’t list a single reason why they endorsed him;
Go compare that to my reasoning as to why we endorsed Tom Koch.
The thing that infuriated me the most is that we’re actually having troopers we work with apologizing for their union’s action. Some of them really thought we’d take it out on them, and refuse to work with them or back them up.
Believe me; nothing could be further from the truth. We have an excellent relationship with the troopers who live and work in Quincy, and something this ridiculous would never change that.
I have a very long memory, but that’s reserved for the current leadership of SPAM, not the troopers we work with.
Sometimes, David does indeed slay Goliath.
Q: I moved out of Quincy several years ago, and it’s great to see Don Kusser’s show on your Youtube page. When is the next installment?
A: We hope to have it up this weekend.
Q: I collect police patches and I was wondering what the dates in the QPD patch mean and what “Manet” means?
A: Manet = “It remains” (Latin)
1625 – First settled.
1640 – Incorporated as part of the Town of Braintree.
1792 – Incorporated as the Town of Quincy.
1888 – Accepted a city charter and became the City of Quincy.
What, did you think you could trick me?
Q: I just spent a couple of hours reading this website and I just can’t believe that all of this is true. Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke, and things aren’t as bad as you make them out to be?
A: Okay, I’m really getting tired of answering this question, or some form of it.
YES….WHAT’S WRITTEN HERE IS ALL TRUTH OR OPINION!!!!!!
If even half of it wasn’t true, I’d be out of a job and facing multiple slander suits.
Q: I have to admit I take guilty pleasure in your misery. This reads like a bad soap opera and it’s like going past a bad car accident because I know it’s painful to see but I can’t help myself. Could things really get worse?
A: Oh yes my good man, they can and they do. That’s one of the things about working at the Quincy Police Department….just when you think you’ve seen everything, something else comes along.
Exhibit 1: As I’ve mentioned before, the command staff of the QPD has regularly conducted internal affairs investigations against members of the QPPOA in blatant violation of both department regulations and our collective bargaining agreement. The fact that they’ve done so in the past isn’t even worth arguing about, as we have such monumental and convincing evidence.
AFTER we caught them doing it several times, we gave them several informal warnings to stop, but of course we were ignored. As a result, I initiated a two-pronged attack; a grievance under the contract, and also a workplace harassment complaint with city hall.
To no one’s surprise, our grievance was denied by the chief’s office, and our workplace harassment complaint has been buried at city hall with little to no chance of it ever seeing the light of day before the mayoral election is over.
Now….with that type of underhanded activity exposed to city hall, you would think that it would at least temporarily stop.
You would think, and you would be wrong.
We got word from an absolutely impeccable source (a police officer from another agency) that Lieutenant Bradlee’s was at it once again, conducting an internal investigation against a QPPOA member without notifying him, in violation of department regulations and our contract.
Now, I’m a realist. I knew that raising a stink about this would go absolutely nowhere because city hall is in full ostrich mode until after Election Day. It would have been a complete and total waste of my time and energy to notify city hall, so I didn’t bother.
What I did was post a message in the Members-Only section of this website, which theoretically only QPPOA members can access by password. What I said was that you should file a public records request to see if you’re being investigated, because Lieutenant Bradlee’s was up to his old tricks, yet again.
Well, unfortunately when you have a collection of 150+ people, there is bound to be at least a few who put their own personal ambitions above the overall good. I don’t know how these people look at themselves in the mirror, but our Members-Only section has been thoroughly compromised by the command staff, who openly brag they have access to passwords (which they will regret saying when our forensic audit is complete).
As a result, Lieutenant Bradlee’s read about my warning about being investigated behind your back. I would be absolutely remiss as union president if I didn’t mention this; that goes to the heart of union protection against false allegations.
Well….the roll call for the 8am-4pm shift on Thursday November 1st was one for the ages. After roll call was complete (all assignments given and all notices read), Lieutenant Bradlee’s stormed up to the podium and proceeded to launch into an out-of-control tirade about what was written about him in our Members-Only section. He openly asked if the author (that would be me) was in the room, because he wanted to call him a liar to his face.
Two problems here;
1) Lieutenant Bradlee’s knew full well who the author was, because the Members-Only section looks much like this section; my name and e-mail address appear above and below each entry. There is no doubt whatsoever who the author is, I take credit or blame for everything I write.
2) Lieutenant Bradlee’s knew full well I wasn’t there, because I work the 4pm-Midnight shift. No reason for me to be at the 8am-4pm roll call.
What happened was that Lieutenant Bradlee’s wanted to paint himself as a tough guy, willing to stand up to the union president who wasn’t even there. He also (IMO) wanted to intimidate the many younger officers who work the day shift, who he mistakenly thinks believe his bullshit.
Lieutenant Bradlee’s came looking for a fight, and he unexpectedly got one in the form of QPPOA Treasurer Peter Curley who works the day shift. Peter immediately raised his hand, took full credit for what was written because he backs me 100%, and then the fireworks began.
Every single member of the Quincy Police Department (patrol officer or supervisor) whom I’ve spoken with who was at that roll call said that Lieutenant Bradlee’s was completely out-of-control, out of line, and it was variously described as a “spectacle”, an “embarrassment”, and a “disgrace”.
It was so bad that Captain Dougan tried 4 times to get Lieutenant Bradlee’s to shut-up, without success.
Every single person who I spoke to who was at the roll call agreed on one thing; if a patrol officer ever had anything even close to this type of psychotic episode at roll call, he/she would have their gun taken away and scheduled for a psychiatric evaluation.
Why wasn’t this the case?
Because a QPD gold badge insulates you from such things.
Lieutenant Bradlee’s first line of defense was that he doesn’t investigate people without their knowledge. When that argument was absolutely smashed to pieces, his fall-back defense was that he doesn’t have to notify anyone before investigating them.
1) QPD Rules & Regulations General Order 91-52, Subsection 6.4;
2) Article XXVII Section 4 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the QPPOA and the City of Quincy.
Both mandate the notification of officers who have complaints filed against them. You would think the person in-charge of Internal Affairs would know this.
You would think, and then you would be wrong.
What really raised my blood pressure was Lieutenant Bradlee’s tough-guy assertion that he wanted to confront the author of the blog.
I believe in giving the people what they want, so I did just that.
On Thursday, the day of Lieutenant Bradlee’s apparent breakdown, I came into work very early to give him the chance to confront me. I went into the chief’s office at about 3:20pm and saw the chief’s secretary. She told me that Lieutenant Bradlee’s wasn’t there, and she didn’t expect him back that day.
I left a message to tell him I was there so he could confront me, and that I would be back tomorrow.
The next day (Friday) I went into the chief’s office at about 3:35pm, and there was Lieutenant Bradlee’s sitting at the chief’s secretary’s desk. Lieutenant Charlie Santoro was also in the office.
I presented myself, explained that I had heard he wanted to confront me, so here I am.
Let the historical revisionism begin, because Lieutenant Bradlee’s pretended like he had no idea what I was talking about. When I prodded him about the 30 or so people at roll call who told me he said he wanted to confront me, he played dumb and said he had no idea what I was talking about.
My voice never went above conversational level, but I told Lieutenant Bradlee’s that if he wants to shoot his mouth off at roll call to call me out when he knows I’m not going to be there, he should at least have the balls to say it to my face.
With that, I walked out of the office.
I was secretly hoping I would get the standard QPD treatment for patrol officers; my gun taken away and put on paid administrative leave. I have some home-improvement projects coming up, and I could use the six-figure lawsuit settlement.
So, can it get worse? Yeah, it can get worse. Let me lay this on you;
Exhibit 2: I was just recently made aware of a very serious situation that could have unimaginable repercussions to members of this union.
One of the lieutenants who is assigned to our Homeland Security section just briefed me on something that I really didn’t want to believe. Some Quincy Police vehicles had their two-way radios installed incorrectly; the antennas were placed inside the passenger cabin and the transmitters were place underneath the passenger seats.
As a result, the police officers who used these cruisers were exposed to (the figures I was given) 8-10 times the amount of radiation that’s considered safe for humans. At least one cruiser dates back to 2003, which is 4 years ago.
Isn’t that just ducky?
Like we don’t have enough to worry about….we’re under the threat of having our police chief set us up and/or plant something on us, city hall completely ignores us, and our command staff is unraveling before our eyes.
Now, we have to worry about being irradiated for the last 4 years. That’s just wonderful.
The lieutenant who made me aware of this is a straight shooter, and he has promised me full access to the investigation. I take him at his word, but while I trust him personally, I don’t trust the upper command staff for a single second. I’ve made our labor counsel aware of this, and I’ve also contacted the media because there is no better disinfectant than sunlight.
Can things get worse than this?
I want to say no, but history has proven me wrong.
Wednesday October 31, 2007
QATV Tonight - Bruce Tait
A quick note that I'll be on Don Kusser's Quincy Access TV "The Constitution: Then and Now" tonight (October 31st) at 10:30pm. We're taping the show at 6pm and it will air at 10:30pm, waiving the usual one week waiting period.
It should be enlightening and entertaining, be sure to set your DVR's.
Saturday October 27, 2007
Election 2007 - Bruce Tait
I am very pleased to announce that the Quincy Police Patrol Officers’ Association has joined with our brothers and sisters of the Quincy Education Association and the Quincy Firefighters’ Association to offer our endorsement of the candidacy of Tom Koch to be the next Mayor of the City of Quincy.
Before I get into the reasoning, I think it’s important to make note that this is very significant for four reasons;
1) This is the first time in the history of the QPPOA that a candidate for mayor has received our endorsement, and it’s only the second time an endorsement has been given for any elected office. I believe that speaks volumes as to how important we consider this election to be.
2) Unlike many unions who simply have their executive boards or business agents vote on a political endorsement, this comes from the membership as a whole. We opened the ballot box for three consecutive days, 10 hours per day, to make sure every member of the QPPOA had the chance to make their vote known. It was truly “majority rules”.
3) This has absolutely, positively nothing to do with money or a contract. Our contract was settled months ago, and will run beyond this mayoral election cycle, regardless of who wins.
4) We knew that going against the entrenched political machine would result in retaliatory repercussions, and we’ve received word through undercover operatives that that’s already in the works. Again, we took this step knowing that risk but we did it anyway, believing in how important this election is.
We took this step after much (sometimes spirited) debate, but in the end we really had no choice. There has been a complete leadership vacuum in city hall concerning the numerous problems with the Quincy Police Department and crime in the City of Quincy, and it’s time for a change.
Mayor Phelan, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, continues to repeat his campaign mantra that Quincy is the second safest city in Massachusetts. The mayor must believe in the old saying, “A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth”, because I cringe every time I hear it. That ridiculous assumption is based on the report of a for-profit private company, using data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report (UCR). The big problem is that the FBI specifically warns against using this data to make any assumptions or proclamations concerning public safety;
The mayor also neglects to mention that the data used by this company is years old, back when the Quincy Police Department first started using new reporting software that sends crime statistics directly to the FBI. Back then, we were changing all sorts of reporting codes to get reports to validate because we had scant training on how to use the system, and simple reports were taking hours to complete. I’d bet the house those statistics aren’t even close to being accurate.
I’m approaching my 14th year with the Quincy Police Department, and I can state unequivocally that crime in Quincy is worse now than when I first started. It’s a LOT worse.
There is no better example of this than drugs in Quincy. The mayor has stated this is merely an “issue” that “we have a real good handle on”. That couldn’t be any further from the truth, and I would even go one step beyond calling it a drug problem, to call it what it is; an epidemic. It seems like almost every radio call we go to these days has the underlying problem of drugs; house breaks, car breaks, domestics, armed robberies, disorders, if you can think of it, there is a way it can be related to drugs.
The mayor believes the status quo is working.
It isn’t. It’s failing miserably.
When we’re seeing 13 year-old heroin addicts, the status quo isn’t working.
When kids are stealing from their parents, family, and friends for drug money, the status quo isn’t working.
When kids are selling sexual favors for drug money, the status quo isn’t working.
When I see blatant, hand-to-hand drug buys in the middle of the day in Quincy Point when I’m taking my son for a haircut, the status quo isn’t working.
Tom Koch has fresh, aggressive ideas to deal with the drug epidemic in Quincy. We strongly support his plan to double the number of police officers assigned to the drug unit using existing resources, as well as to add drug-detection police dogs to our arsenal. The Quincy Police Department currently has one police dog that is approaching retirement, and he’s not drug trained. There are currently no plans whatsoever to replace this dog, or to add drug-detection dogs to the police department.
That’s an absolute disgrace.
To everyday citizens, the drug epidemic is something you probably aren’t aware of until it directly affects you. Most citizens could walk right past a drug transaction and not even realize what’s going on, but as I said, most crime these days comes back to drugs. I’ve lost count of how many good, decent people I’ve seen victimized in the form of house breaks, car breaks, and straight robberies because of drugs. Because of this, it’s extremely important to have full police coverage at all times.
Mayor Phelan doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned that neighborhoods in Quincy, especially on the midnight shift when most house breaks occur, regularly go without dedicated police coverage as a matter of policy. If you live in North Quincy/Atlantic or the Lakin Square/Governor’s Road sections of the city, the chances of your sector car not being staffed on any given day are pretty good.
Mayor Phelan has stated that full police coverage isn't necessary on some days, using Sunday as an example. That demonstrates how out-of-touch he is, because there is absolutely no way to predict police activity. For some reason Tuesdays are often among our busiest days, referred to as "Terrible Tuesdays". Police coverage is like insurance; you better hope you have it when you need it, and you don't complain about paying the premiums when you do need it.
Of course, would you care to guess what sector cars are staffed 24/7, 365 days of the year, under any and all circumstances? The cars that cover Hospital Hill and Squantum, where Mayor Phelan and Chief Crowley reside, respectively.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the problems of crime in Quincy and turmoil within the Quincy Police Department start and end with one thing;
Or, in the case of Mayor Phelan, lack of leadership.
In spite of how some historical revisionists want to paint the executive board of the QPPOA and especially me personally, we didn’t come charging out of our first elections with guns blazing, determined to undermine the establishment and embarrass the politicians of the city. We took very measured, carefully planned steps to make our problems known; first with the police chief, and once we hit a brick wall there, we turned to Mayor Phelan.
We met with the mayor face-to-face on three occasions to tell him how bad things were with the police department, both in terms of morale and staffing. In return, we received a lot of shoulder shrugs and “Yeah buts”, as well as a lot of empty promises.
Next step; the city council.
I went before the council and proved beyond any doubt whatsoever that Chief Crowley lied to them about staffing levels in the Quincy Police Department. I provided rock-solid evidence, and was rewarded with a unanimous resolution from the council, calling for full police staffing on a 24 hour basis. This was ignored and is being ignored by Chief Crowley.
When faced with incontrovertible proof that the man he appointed as police chief lied to the city council, Mayor Phelan gave the chief his full backing and support.
After things turned really nasty between Chief Crowley and the QPPOA, Mayor Phelan chose to adopt the ostrich strategy; stick your head in the sand, ignore everything, and hopefully it will go away.
Needless to say, it didn’t.
After tensions in the police department reached a boiling point, resulting in the union president (me) filing a criminal charge against Chief Crowley (unprecedented in Massachusetts as far as we know), Mayor Phelan didn’t even have a comment. To this day, he has no comment.
That is NOT leadership.
Do we expect to get everything we want from Mayor Koch? Of course not. Then again, we didn’t expect to get everything we want from Mayor Phelan.
What we’re looking for is fair, consistent leadership from within the police department, and if we can’t settle grievances in-house, we want fair, reasonable dialogue with the mayor’s office.
We don’t think that’s a lot to ask, but we certainly don’t have that now.
Again, I am very pleased to offer the endorsement of the QPPOA to Tom Koch. We believe he is the man for the job, and we look forward to working with him in the future to tackle the public safety problems facing Quincy, and to restore harmony within the Quincy Police Department.
Saturday October 20, 2007
Back by Popular Demand - Bruce Tait
Just a quick note to let everyone know I will once again be a guest on Jimmy Myers' talk radio show this coming Sunday (10/21) to discuss the disgraceful situation of Chief CLK setting a vindictive trap for a patrol officer.
The show is on Boston-based WTKK radio which is 96.9 on the FM dial;
I'll be on at about 3pm on Sunday, Eastern Standard Time. Feel free to call with your questions.