Article

PPD SOURCES OFFER MORE ON ‘STEROIDsGATE’ AND BEYOND; INFORMANTS FINGER POLICE STRATEGIC RESPONSE TEAM, WHICH THEY CLAIM IS AN OT SCAM; ALSO, CITY LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS AT PONTOOSUC, ONOTA DOCKS

BY DAN VALENTI

Don’t call it the SWAT Team. The Boring Broadsheet Won’t.

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, May 13, 2010) — The Planet has been mining information from Goalpost, Touchdown, Red Dog, and other sources from within the Pittsfield Police Department. This is in response to a big story that the Boring Broadsheet refuses to touch, perhaps because it involved too many Sacred Cows, Vested Interests, Sainted Trusts, and other GOBs. Perhaps not. Perhaps the BB simply doesn’t care.

This morning, on “Good Morning, Pittsfield,” The Planet did the hour with host Jim Campagna, and one of the subjects touched upon was the responsibility of the press as the Fourth Estate, the best safeguard of We The People. The BB continues to fail in its responsibility, and miserably. It’s too bad, because there’s good talent there, journalists such as Tony Dobrowolski, Derek Gentile, Howard Herman, Clarence Fanto, Dusty Bahlman, and others.

They have one of the most talented photographers going in Ben Garver. We could name more. The point is, with an absentee and bankrupt ownership and a publisher who meddles in the newsroom, the BB continues to sink into irrelevancy.

GOALPOST POINTS FINGER AT PPD’s STRATEGIC RESPONSE TEAM

Back to SteroidsGate, specifically, the Strategic Response Team at the PPD.

From GOALPOST:

“SRT is supposedly a county wide team and has members from other departments in Berkshire County. It was set up some years ago. At one point, [Capt. David] Granger was on it. Until recently [Lt. Jeff] Bradford was the ‘team leader,’ which now is [Lt. Michael] Winston’s position. The Chief [Michael Wynn] is on it, too. and has been heavily involved throughout the years.”

THE PLANET NOTES HERE THE SALARIES OF THESE OFFICERS, TAKEN FROM CITY PAYROLL RECORDS AND PUBLISHED IN THE DEC. 23, 2010 EDITION OF THE PITTSFIELD GAZETTE:

* SGT. GLENN DECKER, $143,106.47

* LT. MICHAEL WINSTON, $131,074.31

* OFFICER MICHAEL NYCHORCHUCK: $115,945.03

* ACTING CHIEF MICHAEL WYNN, $106,189

* LT. JEFFREY BRADFORD,  $85,498

* SGT. JAMES ROCCABRUNNA, $102,984

GOALPOST continues: SRT is ‘Overkill’ and Not Needed

“The members [of the SRT] look at it like it’s an ‘elite’ squad of officers, the other officers look at it like it’s a bit overkill. Bradford and Winston and the Chief will defend it to the last of how important it is to have. But the majority of the time when they get called out, the call they were called out for is over before they deploy. The only exception is that they [SRT] are sometimes used in drug raids (at Winston/Bradford’s insistence) but NOT favored by the drug unit. However, if it’s the Chief’s baby you use it.

“Also, there is an inordinate amount of money spent on uniforms, weapons, helmets, and armor that is specific to the team. They have this huge SRT vehicle that is hardly ever used and sometimes when they go to use this behemoth it doesn’t start. The overtime is guaranteed every week for training. And as I said there have been times when the entire team is called in (even officers from other departments) and there will be the whole team sitting around for eight hours or more waiting to be deployed and all getting paid overtime.”

GOALPOST adds:

“General consensus within the department is that it’s all from Wynn/Bradford/Winston watching too many TV shows. The reality is, we rarely if ever have hostage situations, or snipers, which would be the reason for a SRT or SWAT team. SRT, not the drug unit, is the golden goose of the PPD. If you could get a breakdown of Winston’s SRT overtime it would be enlightening. Others on the team:

Sgt. Roccabruna, Ofc. Orsi, Ofc. Matt Kirchner, Ofc. Martin Streit, and Ofc. James Losaw.”

TOUCHDOWN Point to SRT OT Abuse, Says Taxpayers Are Getting Killed

To try to corroborate and vet this information, The Planet went to TOUCHDOWN, in a separate interview at a separate time and location. TOUCHDOWN said:

“The SRT team overtime needs to be investigated. They are GUARANTEED overtime each week just for training! It’s better than road jobs, and I  know people who have signed up for the team just to get the overtime. Winston is the team leader and makes of $90k a year base. If you could get what his SRT overtime was, I think you’d be shocked. Plus the fact that they sometimes get called in and the whole team will sit around for 8, 10, 16 hours all getting paid doing nothing except waiting to deploy.”

The Planet asked TOUCHDOWN is the SRT was needed? He or she answered this way: “The reality is the team isn’t really needed. It’s just a toy for [Chief] Wynn/Winston etc. to play dress up in. Bradford left the team last year and Wynn and Winston guard the team like it’s their sacred cow. It’s huge money when they get called out and huge money when they don’t. They’re all trained cops. Why should they get paid for training ONCE A WEEK, for something they might get called out on ONCE EVERY SIX MONTHS?

TOUCHDOWN called it a “Big Big waste of taxpayers money. The drug unit overtime is bad enough for taxpayers, but at least it produces results, gets arrests, and makes cases. The SRT is a big waste. The rest of us don’t get paid to train once a week!!”

RED DOG: ‘Morale at PPD ‘at an all-time Low’

RED DOG declined to talk about the SRT, saying that he or she didn’t know enough to offer an informed opinion. We asked RED DOG about morale in the department:

“Morale is at an all time low. Even the Old Timers will say this. The tension within the PPD is so thick, every time you go in the building, you could cut it with a knife.”

RED DOG brought up the Granger Memo: “Most [of us] believe Capt. Granger sent that email for two purposes: (1) he was trying to find the persons talking to you, (2) He is nervous because with “SteriodsGate” not dying or going away that the US Attorney or DA [David] Capeless is going to have to charge Ofc. Kirchner. If Kirchner goes down, the rumor is he’s going to spill the beans on the whole drug unit OT scandal to save his hide.

“Capt Granger used to oversee the drug unit when he was a sergeant, and so were his three buddies: Sgt Glen Decker, [Det. and now Sheriff] Tom Bowler, and Det. Mike Nykorchuck. These three guys have for the past 8-10 years made 100k and most was on city OT in the drug unit. For the record, Captain Granger headed up the drug bureau from 1998-2006.

The Planet Seeks Response from Chief Wynn, Capt. Granger, etc.

We invite comment from any police department official, on the record, in response to these statements from PPD officers pertaining to the SRT, morale, SteroidsGate, or any other relevant matter. We will publish on-the-record statements that address relevant concerns. The Planet particularly states its willingness to offer counter opinions on any of these or other relevant issues. As always, we will correct any factual matters as and if they are brought to our attention. Our aim is the truth, simple as that: objective, non-biased, neutral, factual truth.

We call upon Mayor James Ruberto and Acting Police Chief Michael Wynn to make available to the press paperwork and budgets, expenses and accountings, of the Strategic Response Team. We will also call upon our Right Honorable good Friends on the Pittsfield City Council to initiate hearings into the SRT budget. If the unit is unnecessary and if it amounts to nothing but a barely legal overtime scam, the unit should be dropped. If this expense is necessary, the police should be required to make the case. IF THE SRT IS JUSTIFIED, the now is the time to make the case and put taxpayers and citizens at ease.

—————————————

City Seeks Volunteer Help at Pontoosuc, Onota Docks

We add this notice from Jim Mcgrath, Pittsfield’s parks, open space, and natural resource programs manager:

The City of Pittsfield is seeking volunteer boat ramp monitors for Onota and Pontoosuc Lake boat ramps for the upcoming boating season. Volunteer monitors will supplement the efforts of City staff at these ramps to ensure that full coverage is able to be provided as we all work to prevent the spread of Zebras Mussels.

A comprehensive training will be provided this Saturday, May 14th at 10 am at the Onota Lake boat ramp at Burbank Park. At this training we’ll also take note of your availability so that we can begin to schedule you in for some available slots.

I look forward to seeing you this Saturday! Please feel free to contact me at any time by email (jmcgrath@pittsfieldch.com) or by phone at 499-9344, if you’re interested in volunteering but unable to attend the Saturday session.

Thank you,
Jim

___________________________________________

James McGrath, CPRP
Park, Open Space, and Nat. Res. Program Manager
City Hall, 70 Allen St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
413.499.9344

————————————-

With that, we move on to other destinations.

“Open the window, Aunt Millie.”

Love to all.

32 Responses to “PPD SOURCES OFFER MORE ON ‘STEROIDsGATE’ AND BEYOND; INFORMANTS FINGER POLICE STRATEGIC RESPONSE TEAM, WHICH THEY CLAIM IS AN OT SCAM; ALSO, CITY LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS AT PONTOOSUC, ONOTA DOCKS”

  1. Jim Gleasen
    May 13, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Dan,
    This just leaves your head spinning. When I watch “Cops,” each officer always talks about not getting rich being a cop, but doing it for the love of the job. I guess that doens’t apply to members of PPD’s drug bureau and SRT.

    As far as the SRT goes, doesn’t the MA State Police have a swat team? Why not just use those guys? It seems a duplication of services.

  2. Still wondering
    May 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Any bets on whether Steriods-Gate touches the corner office?

    • Dusty
      May 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

      You think Ruby is bulking up?

  3. danvalenti
    May 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    The Planet welcomes comments of substance on this issue, hard hitting and all. We don’t want to post idle speculations on who MAY doing what and that sort of thing. If you have knowledge that you would like to share, send the planet an e-mail at danvalenti@verizon.net. Ask questions. Probe. Even speculate, but do not throw names around willy nilly. We will watch any such post closely. We ask our readers to respect this. Thanks.

  4. John
    May 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    @Dusty…from hot dogs and Jaes…just speculating…

  5. Luxor Rex
    May 13, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    This is an important issue Why is the srt even needed. They need to justify the expeistence from this information it sounds like an OT scam a legal scam maybe but still a scam. Taxpayers are huirting. People are scraping by,. Let’s see how many councilors respond to the planet’s request here. Great story and the kind the BB SHOULD be but won’t be doing.

    • Dusty
      May 14, 2011 at 3:02 am #

      Uh, was there not a recent overtime scam in the water dept? For whatever reason the mayor did not want to publicly discuss that one. Perhaps he will be front and center on the possibility of a PPD one? Perhaps I will win the megabucks today as well.

  6. John
    May 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    @ Jim Gleasen… the tv cops are already ahead of the curve, they have a job.

  7. John
    May 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Planet, just a suggestion. I think we need a non-topic forum in here. Call it Off Topic’ or Hard Bark, or the Eurorant’ Because a lot of times one cannot always talk about the present Europoligian Topic. So here goes another Eurorant. Two things…the new Red Crosswalks are great and great looking but dangerous. One thing I have noticed pedestrians are in the walks, walking in front of cars where there are No Yield’ to Pedestrian’ signs, accident waiting to happen… This one goes to the long ago proposed STACKING law, believe Councilor Lothrop was instrumental for the no stacking law and also saw him violating his own law, one time. The stacking in front of the Dunkin Donuts on Tyler and First Streets still exists. So the next time I here a City Councilor voting to prohibit something…make sure it is enforced, It currently isn’t, because the stacking continues. This is why nothing is ever done about anything, period!

    • Luxor Rex
      May 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

      john, yur right. Enforcement is everything. your post does relate in a roundabout way to the planets post today about the srt team at ppd. We need to start accountability in this town. I hope the Green political action committee gets involed in Pittsfield elections.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      No topic can be “off topic” on The Planet. All weaves into One, and the Tapestry is formed.

  8. John
    May 13, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    …banish the Orbit Awards and call them the Hard Bark Award.. Planet? I nominate Melissa Mazzeo!

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

      Hard Bark it is. Melissa Mazzeo is our First Winner! She whipped the bark off of a bunch of men on Tuesday night. The council needs more women, and men who can equal it, like her.

      • rick
        May 14, 2011 at 2:37 am #

        got that right dan, without naming names she is exposing the gobs and one gal on the council. if more woman would run maybe we could get some common sense in gov. or at leat give it a try…. shes been whipping the bark off them and roberto from day one….. its to a point that roberto has his tail between his legs and wont hang around and tell his reasoning for temp appointments….. come on people lets shake the tree this comming election and get rid of some of the dead leaves

  9. John
    May 13, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    Where the heck is the Planet? Got breaking news here.

  10. scott
    May 13, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    II just meant generally but thank you for answering my question.

  11. Joetaxpayer
    May 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    I don’t understand why in this economy the city does not put a stop to ALL overtime unless it is in the course of a life threaten emercency.This would be All dept. every employee in the city nuff ced.That would be the right thing to do.

    • danvalenti
      May 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

      The Planet agrees with Joe Taxpayer. NO MORE OT. CITY COUNCIL: ARE YOU LISTENING? THE HEAT WILL ONLY BE TURNED UP HIGHER IN THE CAMPAIGN. THE PEOPLE ARE PLUM FED UP. This time around, they have an advocate. T-H-E P-L-A-N-E-T!

  12. Just wondering
    May 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    @Joetaxpayer

    Why don’t we do away with the police department all together? Apparently it’s a total waste of tax payer money for such an unnecessary entity!

    • Joetaxpayer
      May 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      What does doing away with the police dept. have to do with eleminating the overtime of all employees.Also why won’t Berkshire county have one emergency response station(911) this would bring huge savings to all cities and towns in the county,

  13. danvalenti
    May 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    NO MORE OT!

    • Guy N
      May 14, 2011 at 8:21 am #

      I noticed that there isn’t a female officer on the SRT. Could it be a little bit of jealousness of not getting the OT the “Boys” get? What do you say Jen? or is it goal post?

  14. Dusty
    May 14, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    I see another Yon is running for office. Any relation? Based on the obvious GOB connection Christine Yon has I would check out any new Yons with a microscope before voting for them.

    Unless of course you are in with the boys your own self and have been told how to vote.

  15. Jeff
    May 14, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    No more OT

    • danvalenti
      May 14, 2011 at 9:42 am #

      NO MORE OT. That should be a bumper sticker in the campaign. Let Da Bums know you’re fed up with it, We The People.

  16. John
    May 14, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    There was an accident on South Street yesterday, a bus put on its yellow lights to let a pedestrian cross, I guess. The alleged operator of the vehicle hit the pedestrian while passing on the left. The bus driver in my opinion should have had the red flashers on if he or she was seeing the pedestrian cross. Now, the driver has been charged for failing to use caution, I think. My point is, quite sick of these bus drivers using flashing yellows before stopping, use the RED flashers whether stopping or not, then put the stop sign out when completly stopping, then the vehicles coming and going won’t pass and have to come to a stop anyway. I am also saying these new crosswalks are going to be a problem unless there is enforcement, the pedestrian will take advantage of loosely crossing, figuring it is a right to yield’ when not posted, and will become a jaywalkers right to walk through traffic legally.The turn from North onto Fenn St. is a nightmare, there are no pedestrian rules, they just walk across without waiting for the walk light. A number of times in the City pedestrians walk after hitting the walklight button and walk before the signal tells them to. Then some just walk without any signal warning and then some just jaywalk or don’t look while there walking.

    • scott
      May 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

      The only problem with what you are saying is it was a marked pedestrian cross walk (with no light.) the bus stopped the woman did not and her negligence caused someone harm she IS at fault according to the law. Personally I do not care what the law says and I put the responsibility of crossing safely on myself. A “law” does not over ride physics unfortunately.

  17. Obie
    May 14, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    Seems a fair request of Tom Bowler. Can mr Bowler respond you are not and have never been friend with mr sinopoli? Then mr Knutsen will go away. His request seemsa reasonable one

  18. danvalenti
    May 14, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    Is there a reason The Planet should redact your information? You are claiming it is true. Some informal vetting has me leaning toward acceptance of your claims. Also, this forum is open to anyone who wishes to dispute what you post, KK, and we would welcome disputations of what you claim are facts. QUESTION: Why not call a press conference in Pittsfield or elsewhere in the county, invite all the media, and make your allegations then and there, rather than do it this way. It will get more exposure and also more scrutiny. If you are telling the truth, seems you will welcome both. If you call such a press conference, invite us.

    • Dusty
      May 15, 2011 at 3:41 am #

      What if he did it on a live radio show and the other people in question could be available to respond.?

      Consider, why in the world would someone possibly put their life and or reputation in jeopardy making all this stuff up? He has family. You yourself Dan seemed to leave your radio talk show abruptly several years ago after a con-flab about some hot topic the GOB found touchy. He has reason to be conflicted about the idea and I would think you would understand why.

      • danvalenti
        May 15, 2011 at 9:57 am #

        DUSTY
        I understand why and I will try to make this happen in the manner Kris wants. I shall also make time available for anyone he chooses to name.
        I left my radio show suddenly (and my college gig, and my writing, and my other ventures) for reasons that have NOTHING to do with the GOBs. I needed to rest up and did so for a half a year. Pulled the plug and retreated to my farm in Essex, where I kept bees.

        The GOB’s may have driven other people out of town, but the pattern is that they are outsiders, not Berkshire County natives, and they are employed by media outlets owned by people who can be bought. No one owns The Planet buy The Planet. I am my own boss in everything I do. If the GOBs want to play with me, they do so on my terms. Period.

  19. Joetaxpayer
    May 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Please no more ot. wasted money lets get it together pittsfield