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‘THANK GOD for the PLANET,” or IF WE DON’T DO THE JOB, THE BB NEVER GETS ITS LATEST COP CAPER, plus MORE on STEROIDSGATE and the LEADERSHIP OF CHIEF WYNN

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BY DAN VALENTI

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MARCH 31, 2011) — “Thank God for The Planet.”

So began an almost weepily grateful  note we received this morning in connection with Conor Berry’s story in the Boring Broadsheet today headlined, “Police seek attack reports.” We shall keep the flowery content of the note’s remainder unto ourselves.

In the story, Barry writes that the Pittsfield Police Department is looking for “additional witnesses” of a stabbing wherein Officer Mike McHugh was knifed in the leg and sent him to BMC for treatment.

As a refresher, we remind you of this part of The Planet’s post from two days ago:

“Over the weekend, an off-duty officer [THE PLANET HAS REDACTED THE NAME, WHICH THE SOURCES MENTION] was involved in a fight with a guy and was stabbed in the leg. They arrested the other guy, even though it looked like OFFICER REDACTED was under the influence and instigated it. Again, it was all hush-hush and brushed under the carpet. Happened on Mohawk Street.” The sources say an investigation is under way and predicts: “Again, they’ll whitewash it, and it won’t make the light of day.”

MEMO TO THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE: LOOK INTO THIS ONE. IF YOU NEED HELP, CONTACT THE PLANET.

* — *

The Planet:

* Credits Berry for the smarts to jump on this story. We did not request privately that he do this, contrary to one report we heard this a.m. Berry took it and ran. Good piece of reportage.

* Wonders why he didn’t credit this website for the tip.

* Offers this as evidence that our information coming from the PPD is reliable. We are not, as some recalcitrants have suggested, “making stuff up just to create numbers [of hit to The Planet].” We are offering, as best as we can ferret it out, hard information. We do so with no other motive than to practice our calling on behalf of We The People. As our motto says, we are “The Voice of the Little Guy.”

Gee, is the BB Showing Some Spine?

The name we redacted was officer McHugh. We handed the BB the story on a silver platter. We’ve done this before with “beats” other than crime and, for whatever reason, they didn’t take up the offer. The Planet thinks Berry is a reporter cut out of the mold that we respect: intrepid, entrepreneurial, and willing to fight for a story. We suspect he had to fight some to convince his “eeek, a ghost!” fraidy-cat management to let him loose. The Planet might have had something to do with that, of course! Tim Farkas, we’re glad to pitch in!

As Berry’s story points out, McHugh seems to have a penchant to attracting what the cops call “incidents.” In December 2009, he got clocked in front of a local watering hole. Now this. For readers who want more details about the stabbing of officer McHugh, we direct you to the Boring Broadsheet. Online will save you a waste of 50 cents.

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The Sexy Case of The Third Shift Officer

Now that we have confirmed that The Planet is wired into sources within the PPD, we share this tidbit. Again, we invite Conor Berry, Tammy McDaniels of iBerkshires.com, Larry Kratka and Lenny Bean from radio news, the Channel 9 people, Joseph Pulitzer, Ambrose Bierce, or anyone else who wants to play reporter to look into this one. They can also leave it alone, as they see fit.

The Planet confirmed this information, and we personally don’t care what people do in their private lives. We do, however, care on behalf of We The People and taxpayers when public servants, while supposedly on the job, are NOT on the job.

All things being equal, this incident also confirms a pattern of situations that would convince a reasonable person to believe that the Pittfield Police Department is rudderless and without good leadership. This saddens us, because we know of the many fine men and women who exemplify the best represented by men and women who “carry a badge.” We are with them. They are with us.

We present “The Sexy Case of the Third Shift Officer.” Too fantastic to be true? You decide.

An officer assigned to the third shift was the subject of a long internal investigation. The reason? — Allegations by a female that he forced her to have sex with him. The kicker is that, according to “she said,” the officer did this while on duty. The Planet doesn’t think the phrase “pounding the beat” is meant to cover the alleged copulatory actions of Third Shift Officer (TSO). Command placed TSO on desk duty.

The internal probe was launched. PPD sources say TSO is not back on “full duty.” The same officer, according to PPD sources, had a restraining order taken out on him by a separate woman (not the one in the “forced me to have sex with him while he was on duty” case). The second woman dropped her complaint soon after.

Another source confirmed the information. When The Planet ran the information by that other source, he/she responded: “That one is true. I think the woman was his girlfriend. She gave two versions of the story. You know how women get about these things. First, it’s ‘I hate that $%^&*#,’ then it’s, ‘well, he didn’t do anything.'”

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Good Guy + Good Cop Don’t Necessarily = Good Chief

The Planet agrees that Chief Mike Wynn is a good guy. He is a good cop. We have had to now a good relationship based on mutual respect. Wynn is not, however, chief material. He may be command worthy, but to run the entire shebang?

Several PPD sources have been critical of Chief Wynn’s performance. To an extent, there’s a certain amount on Monday Morning Quarterbacking involved when you talk to the players that don’t like the way the team is run. However, it’s clear Wynn made a big mistake by not calling a press conference and at least making a statement. That’s when he lost control of the situation.

“Here’s what I would have done,” says a PPD source who, naturally, spoke on condition of anonymity. “I would have called a press conference. I would have shared the facts, including naming the federal agencies involved. I would have said, ‘We have evidence of steroids by one of our officers. We take this matter seriously. Steroids are illegal substances that cause great bodily and psychological harm. We investigated. We have determined that investigator David Kirchner engaged in criminal activity, based on our probe, and also acted in a way unbecoming for an officer.

‘He was given a five-day suspension without pay and placed back in uniform. I would like to comment more, but because of the pending investigations, that’s all I can say. I do want to tell the citizens of Pittsfield that we will take the steroids issue seriously and this department will tolerate no use.'”

On Vacation? You Kidding?

What irked sources the most was a report on Channel 9 news this morning where the reporter says when he or she attempted to reach the chief, they he was “on vacation.”

“If I was the chief, and I was on vacation,” one source said, “I would make it back to Pittsfield immediately and confront this head on. I’ve seen no indication that there’s been a coverup at all [regarding steroid use by PPD personnel, but it’s been poorly handled. The chief has run away from this, and that starts rumors, when you don’t tackle it head-on. It taints every good officer [in this building]. I had to go to Albany for two days of training on how to deal with the press. It was different before facebook, twitter, and [the rest of the social media]. When I started, we didn’t tell the press shit. Today, you got to confront these stories and be more open with the information.”

New Media Makes for a Brand New Ball Game

As The Planet has said, in terms of media, it’s a brand new ball game. Public officials need to realize this. Privacy (sadly) is a thing of the past, but the welcome adjunct of this is that bureaucratic and procedural secrecy is, as well. That’s a welcome development.

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MORE TO COME FROM THE NAKED CITY. FOR NOW, LOVE TO ALL.

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Guest
this keeps getting better

Dan you really are the man! Thanks for your time and sharing information we are all entitled to. Thoroughly enjoying Planet Valenti 🙂

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Mr. Valenti,
Another glorious tale from ‘Life in Palookaville’.
So who pays for Pittsfield Police Officer Michael McHugh’s hospital visits and medical treatments for stab wounds he got in street altercations taking place on his own time?
Has Officer McHugh ever been tested for anabolic steroids use?
Steroids, in some people, can exacerbate extremes of behavior including causing one to be prone to using excessive violence.
Mr. McHugh’s repeated altercations while off-duty are one more resounding reason for mandatory random drug testing of ALL public employees, especially those for whom taxpayers are forced to foot medical bills.

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Mr. Valenti,
It might be worthwhile to get a quote from Berkshire Medical Center for the total cost of an emergency room visit to sew up a stab wound plus tetanus injection, X-rays, medical supplies, and medications.
Add to that the cost of prescription medications, the follow-up visit to the hospital to have the sutures removed, plus any other ancillary expenses.
Anyone care to guess what the total bill will end up being?
Why should Pittsfield taxpayers have to pay for ANY of this?

Scott
Guest
Scott

Everything at the PPD is skewed try getting a class A permit which is your constitutional right and even with a spotless record they hand you a Class A with target and hunting restrictions on it. But not to worry I didn’t know they were keeping juiced up super cops on the force to keep us safe from the various criminals running rampant on the streets of Pittsfield thanks to judge Rutberg.

Scott
Guest
Scott

How is rape sexy???

CONCERNED
Guest
CONCERNED

Will lets be fair here gentlemen. First we don’t have all the facts. The accused was arrested first because there were two outstanding warrants for him. Then (as I read it) he was charged with the stabbing. He seems to be in trouble quite a bit. So we are not dealing with an A student being picked on here. He admitted to the stabbing. Someone gets you in a headlock and you have on you a knife and stab someone??????? Capt. Barry has asked any witness to come and speak with the Police. As the accused here is innocent till proving guilty, like not judge McHugh guilty yet either. I do agree however, where is Chief Winn.

Jim Gleason
Guest
Jim Gleason

Hey Dan, do you know Mike McHugh? I do and he’s a great guy and a good policeman. The aspersions cast upon people because someone attacks them is ludicrous, be that person a cop or not. If he wasn’t a cop he’d be a poor victim, right? Please be consistent and learn the facts before you print sarcasm and question a person’s integrity and character.

Frank Moskowitz
Guest
Frank Moskowitz

I agree with Mr. Gleason.

Robocop Steroidcop
Guest
Robocop Steroidcop

CAnt see where dan was being “ludicrous” sarcastic or whre he questioned anyone’s integrity and charcter with regard to the Office McHugh matter. McHugh’s a good man. unfortunately, trouble found him again.

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Mr. Valenti, You write: “The Planet agrees that Chief Mike Wynn is a good guy.” Mr. Valenti, every time one reads articles claiming this or that person in a position of responsibility is a good person, I prepare myself for dealing with a total incompetent. Need it be pointed out that most people around Berkshire County consider Andy Mick, The Berkshire Eagle’s publisher, to be “a good guy.” The same can be said for Billy Everhart, The Eagle’s editorial page editor. And also Timmy Farkas, the paper’s executive editor. And Jimmy Ruberto. And Johnny Barrett. And Angie Stracuzzi. And Cliffy Nilan of Probation Department fame. And Annie Erickson, WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s board of trustees chairwoman. And even Davey Kirchner, Pittsfield Police officer. And Danny Gale, Mass State Police trooper. So what? What does being a good person have to do with someone in… Read more »

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Oh, and by the way, everyone says Barack Hussein Obama is ‘a great guy’!

CONCERNED
Guest
CONCERNED

What do the people consider GM Heller???? UMM I should ask Connor?? Obama a great guy that I will never agree to that!!!!! but then again I’m not everybody

Marc Maddalena
Guest
Marc Maddalena

Mr. Valenti, I am an officer with the PD and the union president. You know who I am because I have stopped you for a motor vehicle infraction before on North St. I would like you and everyone to know that we support both officers Mchugh and Ofc Kirchner fully. Both are highly respected officers within the department as a result of their work ethic and commitment to their fellow officers and their community. Despite what many, including you, may think these officers have provided a great service to this city over the years that has gone unnoticed as it does for all our officers except amongst each other. If only this city had an idea of what really takes place out there. The only source of information, the Eagle, barely scratches the surface of the incidents this department responds to. Over 40,000 calls… Read more »

CONCERNED
Guest
CONCERNED

Officer Maddelena: As far as I can see Officer McHugh has done nothing wrong except being a victim in a stabbing. However if Officer Kitchner did become involved in steriod things that is a different story. You did say you support him, and I guess thats different that defending his actions. In r/e to Chief Winn he is not helping one bit, he needs to step up to the plate. I for one do notice all the Police Department does for its citizen, like most people do. I want to thank you all and keep your heads high God Bless and stay safe.

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

@Ofc Marc Maddalena, Your preaching to the choir on every point you make, and thank you for coming forward to post an excellent comment. Now a few questions that may be sensitive to some members of the Patrolman’s Union but which are meant in good faith and would appear to be legitimate given events these past few weeks in Pittsfield: Officer Maddalena, in your official capacity as president of IBPO Local 447, can you please explain why PPPU is against mandatory random drug tests as part of the union’s collective bargaining agreement with the City of Pittsfield? If police officers are enforcing stringent drug laws on the populace, should not officers themselves be held to the same (or maybe even higher) standards? Given also that police personnel are on the public payroll and given that your taxpaying citizenry is being required to pay for… Read more »

Tim Bartini
Guest
Tim Bartini

Mr. Heller, I am the president of Pittsfield Fire fighters local 2647. Where has it been said that the public employees have ever been against random drug testing? In our contract we have a very strict drug and alcohol policy.( it is public record at city hall ) We have not had a bargaining meeting with the city since last October. If and when we meet again Im sure we would be willing to negotiate this issue. Im just not sure the city can afford the cost of the testing.

Joetaxpayer
Guest
Joetaxpayer

Tim, not sure the city can afford not to test its emplyees to much is at stake.The safety of the citizens is #1.Also as far as the hours some of the Police work, that too is a concern.Drivers of public transportation and truckers have limited hours to keep the public safe.Yet police will work day and night to make extra money.The only problem is this is not Joe gas pumper or Billy grocery bagger,this person has a loaded gun and must act at a moments notice to determine a situation.Now to me that is a little scary.Wonder why that is?

Tim Bartini
Guest
Tim Bartini

Dan, As president of Pissfield Firefighter local 2647, I also support Ofc McHugh and Ofc Kirchner. I myself have been on a number of calls with these officers and they are well respected within our Dept. They work well with our members and always have shown a great commitment to the community and to their job. Tim Bartini President IAFF Local 2647

Tim Bartini
Guest
Tim Bartini

Pittsfield sorry Im not the best speller as you can see.. TB

Scott
Guest
Scott

Thats a crock of shit. Yes I believe that there are way more good cops then bad on the PPD but these two are not. #1 The facts are that this officer took part in the illegal distribution of a controlled substance (He knew what was going on and kept it quiet which goes against the very nature of his tax payer funded job.)and used them as well. Not only should he be charged with a federal crime he should also be charged with conspiracy. #2 The other guy just seems like a man child I mean anyone who goes out to bars drinking and picking fights obviously has some growing up to do. Also I think it’s a low blow and maybe even illegal for you to disclose information about someone you encountered while on duty especially if there was never any charges… Read more »

Your ex
Guest
Your ex

Those comments you made Marc… are ludicrous. If you and Winn both leave Pittsfield will be a better place

Kim
Guest
Kim

Not all officers deserve the credit you give them. Why isn’t the Oath, that every police officer takes, reviewed a little more closely. I feel many abuse the “power”, and I know first hand how the intimidation can feel.

Scott
Guest
Scott

I do not personally know the cop who was stabbed but with the money these guys make one has to wonder what they are doing in dive bars and low income neighborhoods???

CONCERNED
Guest
CONCERNED

Well Scott I have heard he was in this “low income neighborhood” (as you call it) because he was helping his sister move. But I guess he is not supposed to be there while off duty to help, just when he is on duty can he be in a “low income neighbor” to help

Scott
Guest
Scott

Whats wrong with calling it a low income neighborhood? It’s a state funded section 8 project with all the trimmings gangs, drugs and violence. IF what you say is true then it answers my question. With that said don’t you think a police officer has a duty to uphold a professional manner on and off duty? I mean this is the second time he jacked some punk up and got hurt. Last time he was nearly killed.

CONCERNED
Guest
CONCERNED

Yes on and off duty. I don’t know all the facts, but I do know punks will seek out Officers if they run into them off duty some time. Especially when the person is high on drugs/booze or both. I have a couple friend out of state in law enforcement and I have heard some encounters they have had, not nice

Scott
Guest
Scott

A lot of good men do evil things…

danbeaut
Guest
danbeaut

Evil exist because good men do nothing….

Prima Vera
Guest
Prima Vera

Have to get in on this. fact is, there are lots of good cops and some (too many more than one) bad. that is one bad cop is one too many. The young guys on the force see juicing as the thing to do, lots of peer pressure to juice. The older guys are disgusted except the ones that are trying to pretend their better days are aehad of them! folling themselves Valenti’s wired into PPD, and lots of places in pittsfield schools fire city hall. he’s a good man but he can drive you nuts with his determiniation. he’s trying to help the good police and the citizens who back them. can’t be intiimidasted. There are good cops who are talking to him. There’sword about in the building that the union head sending out an e-mail to all the troops to lower the… Read more »

Joe Pinhead
Guest
Joe Pinhead

I do not know officer Mchugh but I wonder why would a trained professional be involved in a traffic altercation on North Street and not identify himself? Why would a trained officer allow himself to be tailed and not call for backup or report back to the bat cave that someone was tailing him? The steroid story proves that the officers have cell phones and know how to text? Since the officer was off duty when both incidents happened we need to presume that he was wearing civilian attire, are the streets that unsafe? How many of the readers here have had one of these unfortunate incidents occur to them? Let alone 2. I think there might be a bit more to the story. But I’m a cynic

PITTSFIELD BELIEVER
Guest
PITTSFIELD BELIEVER

Il Duce Dan Valenti has done it again. Valenti has taken a nonstory and made it headlines. Valenti says he’s for the little guy. Well guess whre that “little guy” dines? Blantyre regularly for lunch and dinner and never sees a bill. He’s got a table there. His money is no good there or at the Red lion inn. Tell us, little guy, how that works? You invent non stories as facts and call yourself a journalist. Hail Il Duce!

Scott
Guest
Scott

Good for him! I don’t see how that denies him credibility as a writer but whatever you say.

Joetaxpayer
Guest
Joetaxpayer

Pitt.beliv so there is not a steriod investigation and a officer was not stabbed.Do you work at the Eagle?

kman
Guest
kman

@PB If you are the type of moron who “believes” in “Pittsfield, that explains a lot about that town.
@ the unions heads police and fire: Found your posts helpful. Thanks you. I too wonder for the police why they fought drug testing, though. The firemen haven’t and that is the best position. Shows nothing to hide.

Marc Maddalena
Guest
Marc Maddalena

Sir, The Pittsfield Police Union, since I have been at the head, is not against drug testing by any means. As firefighter Bartini stated, it has to be negotiated into the contract and has been on the table each time the last three one year contracts that I have been apart of. However, due to the economics of the city, the negotiations have been a quick 1%, 1 year deal with the hopes of expanded negotiations and a longer term deal that very well could include a form of random drug testing. I speak for all of my officers when I tell you that we are not against random drug testing. In regards to my email to my fellow officers and civilian staff. I did ask them to stop talking to people like Mr. Valenti not becaue their is a cover up going on,… Read more »

Dusty
Guest
Dusty

please elaborate on the contract stuff….are you saying that you won’t agree to drug testing until the city gives you a better deal than 1%?? I am confused here Marc.

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Officer Marc Maddalena,

Are you willing to provide to the Mayor’s office or to the acting chief of the Pittsfield Police Department a full and complete list of all union members who you or the other officials in the Pittsfield Police Patrolman’s Union know to be using anabolic steroids?
Also, are you willing to provide to the Mayor’s office or to the acting chief of PPD the number of PPPU members who are presently or formerly members or clientele of Berkshire Nautilus on Summer Street?

Kris Knutson
Guest
Kris Knutson

What a bunch of crap. You are a peace officer and you are supposed to be answering to the citizens. You seem to be suggesting that the people have no authority or say in policies and procedures relating to public servents such as yourself. So the people have no grounds to implement a responsible drug policy for law enforcement in their city because your handy dandy union trumps the wishes of the people. And in light of everything, what sane citizen would say that they prefer you all not be tested and that the power of choice in these matters should be taken away from the people and given to a union vote which is totally detached from the voice of the people. You don’t tell the people that your union is in charge of them. This is stupid and it only works when… Read more »

rick
Guest
rick

dan has any of the info you recieved been false or misleading from your source.

rick
Guest
rick

telling people not to talk to the press, to me is a form of a cover up….the truth shall set u free… thats all people want from the people who protect and serve.. every job has people who dont follow the rules the police are no different. but steroid use is a different story,that drug has side effects that can endanger the same people you swear to protect and serve. so i would like to be kept up on all news on this story…. and “people like” mr.valenti are members of the press, and more so than what writes for the eagle.

Annoyed
Guest
Annoyed

I think people are forgetting that drug testing is not free. The high salaries of ppd comes from long hours of overtime… I feel some people do not realize that a lot of that overtime is paid for by other companies. It does not come from the city of Pittsfield. If every city employee was mandated a drug test it would cost the city a lot money. . . But I guess that would mean eliminating more positions such as an educator teaching your children or a police officer/fireman that could save your life. People are not perfect… Everyone makes mistakes. Pittsfield is a small city… When one messes up everyone knows and I think that alone is enough embarrassment in itself.

Joetaxpayer
Guest
Joetaxpayer

Annoyed we all pay for the contractors it is put into the bid and payed for by tax dollars.But the bigger danger is as I posted earlier is a police officer working day and night with a loaded gun at his or her side having to make a decision in a blink of a eye.

Kim
Guest
Kim

Embarrassment is not a punishment. How are kids supposed to look up to a police officer with a rap sheet? Or know that “mistakes” happen, and they know they’ll get a slap on the wrist, so who cares? What kind of message are we sending our kids? I don’t want to hear complaints about the increasing crime rates when our youth doesn’t have a solid example to follow. Why limit our expecations because the police have lowered their standards?

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Here’s that Topix poll on drug testing of municipal employees:
http://www.topix.net/forum/city/pittsfield-ma/TDF12H3G08ASKL76I

Further, drug testing, like any other service or commodity, can be contracted out with discounts available to the city for volume pricing.

Scott
Guest
Scott

Everyone uses the cost issue for defending their argument on drug testing I say bull shit it’s not that much Jesus send them down to community corrections.

Scott
Guest
Scott

A person’s criminal history is NOT a public record. Hence the need for the person’s signature authorizing its disclosure for a job application. Any person (police officer, clerk of court, civilian) who accesses a person’s criminal history is in violation of federal law as well as if they disclose that criminal history.

Officer Maddalena is this true and does it extend to traffic stops and other encounters with “law enforcement?” I put “law enforcement” in quotes well it should be obvious why…

Scott
Guest
Scott

Also any officer who talks to the press or other investigative agencies would be covered under the whistle blower act correct?

GMHeller
Guest
GMHeller

Bingo!
Check out the latest post to Topix on this subject.

rick
Guest
rick

D.A.R.E. to keep our cops off steroids

rick
Guest
rick

what are we teaching our kis in this program

Planet Valenti