On Center Street ??
The other day I got a letter from a Northampton police officer. Letter in a bottle, a SOS from a veteran who’ll we’ll call officer “X.” Letter sent to City Councilor Jessie Adams, copy to me, and the editors of the Gazette and Springfield Republican.
“Can’t hold my tongue any longer-Northampton PD is an absolute mess after September of last year. I wish I could put my name to this document but for fear of retribution I cannot. The items I list here are facts and any investigator worth a dime should be able to confirm all of these changes are needed and I write to you because you are the only one who wanted answers on the payroll probe.”
I bought a bottle of Bic Wite-Out down at the CVS to do some redaction of all the sensitive and potentially libelous allegations made in the letter. I don’t know if these allegations are true or false. There were a lot of them. I would have used up the whole damn bottle. Practically the whole body of the letter would be gone.
So I’ll just tell you in a nutshell that the letter said: It alleges there are quite a few affairs, broken marriages and improper relationships within the department, a case of possible nepotism, a MCAD complaint against a senior supervisor, some forced retirements, and an officer who he alleges has multiple intimate relationships with underage civilians.
“Drug detective that answers to no one and comes and goes as he pleases,” “Two patrol officers that have been out on injury leave for years.” “incredibly high turnover under Sienkiewicz.”
This business about the drug detective caught my attention. Have a heroin epidemic in the area. Do we have any urgency, any plan? Do we have any departmental leadership? When morale is low in the workplace and there is funny business afoot, you get these kinds of seamy problems. There needs to be an independent investigation of the department so it can heal itself. But my informant says that the Mayor is afraid of the chief. The civilians at city hall need to remember they are in charge and they have the ultimate responsibility to the taxpayer for how the department functions.