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.
“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.”
“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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at 499-9344, if you’re interested in volunteering but unable to attend the Saturday session.
James McGrath, CPRP
Park, Open Space, and Nat. Res. Program Manager
City Hall, 70 Allen St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
With that, we move on to other destinations.
“Open the window, Aunt Millie.”
Love to all.