South Woodstock Accident and Police Reporting

Update: Look what we got from The Associated Press, Woodstock Early Birds: A press release about Saturday’s South Woodstock accident!

Isn’t that interesting? We called and asked about the accident and asked for information four times between Saturday and Tuesday and never got a call back. 

Thanks to Vermont Public Radio who provided their source of information (The AP) on the incident and Wilson Ring at The Associated Press, who emailed us a press release, we have now learned what happened in our own town.

This small pick-up truck, now released from Woodstock Police  as evidence,  was involved in Saturday's accident on Rt. 106 in South Woodstock

This small pick-up truck, now released from Woodstock Police as evidence, was involved in Saturday’s accident on Rt. 106 in South Woodstock

Seems Woodstock Police Officer Joe Swanson finally sent a press release to the AP and the Valley News late yesterday afternoon (right before quitting time 4:53pm): 

Press Release sent to The Associated Press THREE DAYS after the accident:   

 On Saturday March 30, 3013 at approximately 11:20 am Lawrence Allen (11/8/1948) was driving his 1994 Ford Ranger when he struck two women who were on horse-back.   Anne-Marie Savino (2/27/1959) and Christine Phillips (12/1/1984) were riding their horses single file heading south on VT Rt 106 in South Woodstock, VT.  

 Savino and Phillips were transported by Woodstock Ambulance to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, treated and released for their injuries.  One horse had to be euthanized on scene by a veterinarian for injuries it sustained from the crash.  The second horse is being treated by its veterinarian. 

 The crash is still under investigation by Woodstock Police Department and criminal charges to the driver are pending the completion of the investigation.

 Officer Joseph Swanson

What follows is a post Woodstock Early Bird wrote on Saturday, but has been”sitting on”out of respect for,  and hope,  that our public officials would be forthcoming with information in a timely and respectful way. That was not the case. They did not even seem interested in providing The Vermont Standard — the newspaper “of record”  with the information in a timely manner. Due to good reporting, The Vermont Standard was able to get some details from people on scene on its own and comments that added to the story but STILL did NOT provide official word:

 

Woodstock Early Birds, multiple sources have told us of a “bad accident” in South Woodstock Saturday morning, around 11am.

We have no firm details on what happened despite calling Woodstock Emergency Services and Woodstock Police three times. One report — completely third-hand — and NOT confirmed — said a horse and a vehicle were involved.

The first time we called Woodstock Police, soon after the accident, we were told Police were not available and that someone would call back. We left a number for the officer on duty.  We never got a call back.

The second time we called, we were told the Policeman on duty for the accident had gone home for the day and had not left a press release or ANY information that Dispatch could release to the public.

We have put in calls to Green Mountain Horse Association, Kedron Valley Stables and South Woodstock Fire Department for any information but were not able to get through to anyone.

The third time we called, having waited until Monday,  so that we might get an “official word” from Chief Robbie Blish, we had to leave a message asking for a press release. We never got a call back or a press release on Monday

So, thanks to the Woodstock Police’s public information reporting system — No system at all and ZERO INFORMATION — We, the general public, will have ZERO OFFICIAL INFORMATION and will have to rely on rumor and hearsay as usual.

Lots of unsubstantiated detail on Facebook and in comments around the blogosphere but nothing official from police. This is completely unprofessional.

Anyone notice how the so-called “Police Blotter” is getting smaller and smaller in your local weekly newspaper? Less is more, right?

Why does this matter? Because a well-informed public makes a community safer, not less so. We will get details about the Rt 106 accident possibly 48 hours after it occurred – if we are lucky.

We pretty much go along and try to work within the system,  but the lack of public information out of our police and town officials is getting to be appalling.

We were shocked that at Village Meeting when someone made note of rather large legal fees (a “one-time” event) that we will all be paying for and were told it was a “Personnel Matter”, that no one asked “WHAT PERSONNEL MATTER! ?” Everyone just nodded as if, “Oh, okay…” and rolled right over as if they don’t have a right to ask where their money is going and what the “personnel matter” was, exactly?

In fact, we have learned that a recent memo from Vermont Secretary of State Condos actually indicates going into “Executive Session” for “Personnel Matters” or any other business is not something that can be listed as an agenda item. Whether or not an issue becomes a private “Executive Session” item is supposed to be a decision of the PUBLIC attending any given meeting  after they learn the subject and not at the discretion of the Municipal Manager.

Here’s the deal,  people,  with regards to a ” Personnel Matter” and Legal Fees – because there’s a connection:

Who exactly is missing from our Woodstock Police Department?

Before we tell you, we acknowledge you might be excused for not knowing who is and who is not serving on our Police Department. Both Woodstock Early Bird and  at least one private citizen have several times asked for “Bios” on our police force so we might get to know them (and their credentials). ” Sure,”  we’re told, “We’ll get right on that.”

We have never gotten a list of names so that we know who is attending to our well-being. Are there any Police Patrolman names listed in your Town or Village Reports? We don’t think so. So, you might be excused for not knowing the roster unless you’re paying attention. So much for accountability. 

1. Officer Lisa Wilding is missing. Where is Lisa? Why is she no longer with Woodstock Police?

We hear a series of  situations in which Officer Lisa asked for more standard professionalism and more thorough investigation of some cases that were being ignored. When asked, which we did,  several Trustees and Selectboard members said they couldn’t talk about it because, you know, “Personnel Matter.”  

2. Officer Jennifer Hutchins is missing. Where is Jennifer? Why is she absent from Woodstock Police?

We asked about it.  Woodstock Police Chief Robbie Blish says he couldn’t talk about an incident where an off-duty police officer broke up a bunch of unruly kids at Suicide Six a few weeks ago. (Just as any adult should have done).

When asked what was going on, Blish had no comment on his patrolwoman, only referred us to the Vermont State Police. The story,  it seems, is some parents are angry that their kids were disciplined (asked to stop fighting) and filed a complaint against the well-intentioned adult  (Officer Jen?) who intervened, hauling the 5th and 6th graders into the Base Lodge. Officer Jen, when asked about the situation, said she had been advised to not comment.

We will comment: Just because someone is off-duty doesn’t mean their duty to serve and do what’s right gets checked at the door. 

Vermont State Police have not returned calls concerning the investigation into Hutchin’s alleged misdeeds.

However, we can confirm — NOT because Chief Blish told us — that Officer Jennifer Hutchins was SUSPENDED pending the investigation.

This is for an investigation which we will come right out and say is nothing more than part of what  we perceive to be a continuing witch-hunt. This time it’s over an incident that shouldn’t have been made into a big deal in the first place.

We’re pretty sure Woodstock Early Bird,  as either a private citizen or as a National Park Service Ranger,  would have done the same thing.

Woodstock, if you would like your police force to be all-male, all-the-time, keeping all that goes on private and privileged without the intelligence, dedication and hard work of WOMEN like Officer Lisa and Officer Jen,  then, guess what? You’ve got it! Are you happy?

Right now, there are no women on “active-duty” serving Woodstock Police. We know for a fact that both women love public service and understand the nature of working well with their partners and fellow police officers. We have no doubt of their efforts at doing the right thing. 

In the meantime, there is a plan to put a male officer currently at the Police Academy into a full-time slot, according to Chief Blish’s report at Village Meeting.

Back to the original reason for this post:  If you want to know the official word on what happened in South Woodstock or any other situation,  incident at any other location at any other time, good luck!

Because, right now, Woodstock Early Bird is here to tell you, you are NOT being served by either your Town or Village Government who work pretty hard at NOT providing information to you.

The Village Trustees and the Woodstock Selectboard should start squirming — and start answering for people’s right to know —  because they are culpable in this situation.  

Lots of excuses: Police are too busy, they’re too understaffed  to put in the 15 minutes to file a public information release on the day of the incident (or simply print out an extra copy of their official report which they DO have to file to leave with Dispatch),  but heck, they sure know how to spend our money on the lawyers, the outfits, the cruisers, perhaps an extra hour of over-time here or there while they are training off-site (We’d include spending money on the automatic rifles but we understand that police officers get the privilege of  buying their own!)

We find it amazing that being surrounded by professional police forces who do understand the important relationship of information and the public interest that Woodstock Police would not want to step up to the plate and become truly as professional as their brethren. If you don’t know how to do it, get some training!  

Makes us wonder if Woodstock has something to hide? We try to think otherwise because we actually LIKE our Police and Town and Village Officials. They have come to our assistance when called. Yet, this public information reporting issue comes up time and time again. Maybe no one is asking for better?

If they wanted to, if  YOU asked, Woodstock Police could file a public report or a close-to-real-time Twitter feed after each and every incident: It is what police across the country DO! Officers file the report BEFORE THEY GO HOME. They also give the time and place of every incident so we know what and where things are going on. 

And, if asked by the press, they are required to give out information requested.

Stalling, lack of callbacks for days or weeks is just not acceptable. It’s just plain lazy, unprofessional, not to mention illegal.

We make an effort to deal on the up-and-up with our public servants and assume and respect that everyone is doing their job as well as they can. But, once again, they’re letting us down in such a simple, uncomplicated way.

There is only so much the press can do.  If you don’t want or need to know THE TRUTH, heck why should we?

The next time someone asks Woodstock Early Bird for official information (as MANY Woodstock residents did over the weekend) we’ll tell you to just make up your own story and spread THAT rumor around. See what a frenzy that gets everyone into. 

We work very hard NOT to spread rumor, but to spread good, official information. However, our information is only as good as our officials’.

What you got this weekend was no information. We’re sure YOU wondered, “WHERE is Woodstock Early Bird on this?”  We were asking, we were waiting, we were trying, but we did not want to print hearsay.  

As The AP’s Wilson Ring told Woodstock Early Bird this morning, “In cases like these we try to go with the official word.” WEB got her training with the AP and still likes to do things “the old-fashioned way.” 

But, really it’s up to you: If you care, then ask your Municipal Manager, Village Trustees and Woodstock Selectboard to do better: Demand PUBLIC INFORMATION in a TIMELY MANNER!  That’s what the CITIZEN COMMENT portion of every meeting is for.

Don’t roll over. It’s your money. It’s your community. It’s your information. It might even be your safety.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Daniel T. Quinn on April 2, 2013 at 12:42

    “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire, French Philosopher

    Like

  2. This is the way the Town, Village, and WPD has always worked, been run by the few that think they know what is best for everyone else. They don’t listen they do as “They” see fit

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  3. Posted by Janice Prindle on April 2, 2013 at 13:28

    Well said, Julia. You are absolutely right. The public does have a right to know what happens when there’s an accident on a public road requiring the response of our public emergency services and officials, especially one on a main road, requiring a detour. We have a right to accurate information provided in a timely manner to responsible news publications– we shouldn’t have to rely upon gossip to allay our natural concerns, as members of a community, about who was hurt and who was responsible, or what action is being taken to figure out the cause of the accident.

    It’s important for us, as citizens and taxpayers, to know what factors led to a serious accident that might have been prevented, what changes we might advocate in public policy. We shouldn’t have to wonder “where,” either: it’s important information about road safety for drivers and taxpayers. In this case, the bridge on 106 where the accident occurred is the subject of a proposed road project hearing in May.

    It is not the job of police to decide that some people involved in an accident are “worthy” of their protective silence (as has happened before), while others, stopped for drunk driving or cited in a fender-bender, for example, are “unworthy” and their names may be published (as happens routinely in the Standard). The police are charged with public safety and even-handed enforcement of the law, not morality patrol and reputation protection. And a big part of our public safety is our level of trust in a professional police force. This is threatened when the police withhold information, as in this situation.

    I say this having had only positive, respectful, responsible interaction with our police officers over nearly 30 years, including Officers Wilding and Hutchins. I would defend their professionalism against any tourist complaining about a ticket or any parent complaining that their kid was being chastised for fighting. But I want to know the department is indeed being professional. Withholding basic facts about a public event to which they responded is not professional, and unfortunately it raises questions about what else may be going on in the department.

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  4. Posted by Emily Schanck on April 2, 2013 at 14:23

    Right on!

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE smartphone

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  5. Posted by Nancy Hoblin on April 2, 2013 at 15:58

    How very, very, very depressing.

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  6. Posted by Janice Prindle on April 2, 2013 at 17:18

    CORRECTION: The hearing I mentioned on Bridge 24 is tonight, not next month…I’m still thinking it’s March, I guess, with all those cold winds. I see Julia is on top of it, go Early Bird!

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  7. Julia, Thank you for bringing these issues to light and letting us all know. I am dismayed to learn about Officer Jen. Officer Jen is a respected and trusted member of our community and I would trust her instincts in any situation described as having to sort out an issue where children’s safety is involved, on or off duty! I am dismayed as well to learn about Officer Wilding’s absence. And I find it unsettling to learn the details of the accident on Route 106 on Saturday were not made available to the public on request. I hope to learn more about these issues soon. Thank you again, Julia for bringing these concerns to light and thank you as well to Janice Prindle for her insightful comments.

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  8. Posted by Stephanie on April 2, 2013 at 19:21

    Here’s the thing. She wasn’t just “chastising” the kids. She physically grabbed and moved them, ROUGHLY. She was not on duty. This is the kind of thing she could (and may) get a lawsuit over. She had no business getting involved, and, unfortunately for her there were many witnesses. That said, she is a good officer and I’m not sure it warranted a suspension.

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  9. Posted by Jill Johnssen on April 2, 2013 at 19:24

    I for one think Woodstock is the worse for not having Officer Lisa and Officer Jen. They were the friendly faces of the police force, keeping watch over the town, but always ready with a smile and a helping hand. We lost everything in Irene and I can’t tell you the countless kindnesses and encouragement we received from both of them. Bruce and I can never thank them enough. I hope to see them both back in the saddle again!!!

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  10. Posted by peter on April 2, 2013 at 21:49

    Your blog has been very useful in providing information to the public. I do believe the work you did after Irene was invaluable to our community and the surrounding areas. I also feel that the Woodstock PD should have provided you with more timely information regarding the incident in South Woodstock. You do refer to the fact that the “press”, and I assume you include yourself in this category, should have instant answers. Were you in town? Could you have driven to the scene to investigate what was going on? Should you have asked your “early birds” for updates as you have done in the past? I know that in our techno savvy world it is easy to sit in an office and try to collect information. Again I do feel the WPD should have returned your calls regarding this incident, but what information were you going to provide at that point that would have helped the general public. The driver’s truck was off the road so no longer a threat to the public.
    Unfortunately your rambling post brings out the “grassy knoll” jack pots and also contradicts your own statement “training with the AP and still likes to do things “the old-fashioned way”.” In reading your post your readers are to believe that there is a “witch hunt” against women in the WPD from Chief Blish. I’m not sure what happened to Officer Widling, but your information concerning “Officer Jen” is lacking any creditability. What were your sources for the information in the blog post? I ask this because you have no clue went on at Suicide Six that day, but I guess you knew that “Officer Jen” was (as you say suspended) but really on administrative leave with pay. Why did you not post this information in your blog earlier as I’m sure you did not discover this information after the slight of the WPD not answering you questions concerning the South Woodstock accident? This shows your blog is not truly independent as a press source as you believe it is. You have put a tremendous amount of energy into this endeavor but you cannot diminish your efforts by not being impartial to all news.
    Let the facts be known “Officer Jen” was the not chastising children fighting. She was just a person who felt that children were playing too roughly and decided to run outside and grab a first and third grade child by the neck and drag them inside the lodge. Not the fifth and sixth grade students who were playing outside as well. It was a group of kids playing. The worst actions on her part was to scream at the kids she was a police officer and if she could should would arrest them all for their behavior. So that we are all on the same page no child was yelling/asking for help. Kids have snow ball fights; tackle each other and other wise act like 8-10 year olds. To be honest my fifth grade child was fooling around like the others and my spouse observed the whole incident. “Office Jen” decided that it was her obligation to police children at Suicide Six as she was a volunteer for Ski Runners. After this incident she was suspended from her volunteer position at Ski Runners. This goes beyond her actions as a citizen because she made it quite clear to the children that she was a police officer(even though she was in South Pomfret) and scared the SH-T out of them. She grabbed little kids by the neck and dragged them into the building. This would not be acceptable by anyone and to describe parents as being angry is quite trite how about they were concerned some whack job touched their children. At no point is it acceptable for an adult to touch someone else’s children unless another child was at danger and parents were not around. This was not the case. To put the “witch hunt” theory to rest it is the Vermont State Police who are investigating this incident. I’m sure Officer Jen would confirm she is on Administrative Leave with pay.
    The real point of my rant is that you say you don’t report without the facts and do not report rumors. I believe your relationship with “Officer Jen” has clouded your reporting of this incident. First if you knew about her suspension before why not report it? Why now claim it is a witch hunt? You lose credibility if you feel that you must protect those you know. If “Officer Jen” did not answer your questions nor WPD and Vt State Police where did you intel come from? You stated in your post as a journalist you should not have to rely on rumor and hearsay but you did here.
    So again I feel the WPD should be more open to the public but the worst outcome to this whole scenario is the children who were involved in this. They observed an individual claiming to be police officer physically assault a first and third grade child. In the future how will they interact with the police? They should feel comfortable approaching the police not scared. I hope Chief Blish will make it a point to make sure these children feel safe with the police and can tell them when something is wrong.

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    • Thanks for your info, Peter.

      For the record none of WEB’s info is “hearsay” but all well-sourced.

      We report what we know when it is relevant to the discussion at hand which right now is the professionalism and general conduct of our police force.

      We don’t have a “relationship” with Officer Jen other than a professional one in which she has come to our assistance as a police officer helping a community member on multiple occasions many of them while “off-duty” acting to the highest standards as a public servant.

      WEB

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    • Posted by Jennifer on April 3, 2013 at 15:17

      Julia is doing us all a (free) favor by trying to get people interested and involved in making our town a better place. There are many real problems that need active solutions and transparency of our police and town offices is essential, not optional. She deserves a thank you. We should all do something to make our community a better place. We are a small town that needs everyone to participate!

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  11. Posted by A. E. Norton on April 3, 2013 at 10:06

    Once again, Julia, I commend you for being the “town crier.” Such a person– post — position — served a very useful function in the old days by spreading the news. I loved Mr. Quinn’s comment, a quote from Voltaire. I think the Woodstock police department might improve their PR a bit, and make the case, perhaps, for why they were not forthcoming with better info sooner on the accident. There may have been good reasons for the delay, but the people want to know such things, as soon as practicable. As far as officer Jen is concerned, I have had one dealing with her, and found her to be informed and helpful.

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  12. Posted by Molly on April 3, 2013 at 14:06

    Julia:
    Thank you for speaking out in a professional and honest manner.
    I totally agree with what you said. It will be interesting to see what happens now.

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  13. Posted by Tambrey on April 3, 2013 at 15:57

    Julia-
    A correction to the info you posted about Executive Session is found here: http://www.sec.state.vt.us/municipal/pubs/A­­_Guide_to_OPEN_MEETINGS_2006.pdf
    A request to enter executive session must be made in a duly warned open meeting and a majority of the BOARD must vote to close the open meeting and enter into executive session-it is not up to the citizens attending the meeting to get the details and then allow it to happen or not. This guide was prepared by former Secretary of State Deb Marcowitz and is helpful for anyone serving on a board or attending open meetings. Personnel matters are a valid reason for entering executive session and while no decision can be voted on during the executive session it is entirely appropriate to call for one without giving sensitive details in the open meeting.
    While I agree that our public officials should be responsive and forthcoming there is a “bigger picture” that’s often overlooked it seems. As the proud daughter of a former career police officer and as someone who has served on municipal and non-profit boards, I know that there are times when there are very valid reasons for not releasing information too quickly and there is almost always more to any “story” than it first appears. In this age of “instant information” it is often a tough job to keep situations from snowballing and being “tried” in the public forums before all of the facts are gathered and appropriate actions can be taken to stabilize a situation, protect a victim or inform families before they might hear of it on the evening news or read about it online.
    It is also an increasingly fuzzy line with so many online media applications between what is factual news and what is opinion or editorializing and what is a mixture. At their best, your blog and other pages are a wonderful public service and a way to inform, promote and entertain and I do appreciate all of the time and effort it takes to keep it all going.
    Regards,
    Tambrey

    Like

    • Tambrey,

      Thanks for your thoughts…. And your not very thinly veiled implications.

      Respectfully, we disagree. There is a need for more transparency not less in government – in fact Gov. Peter Shumlin is making it one of the cornerstones of his administration.

      Our source of information regarding meetings was a
      Village Trustee who attended a seminar in the last three months that no other Woodstock representatives took the time to attend. We will pursue the notes and memo which were brought up at that seminar and training session on “Transparency in Government”.

      However, by no means do we mean to imply the necessity of all details. However, the public should have a right to know the topic: police, sewer, administration. That said we will try to get an update on our understanding of the recent guidance for meetings. We note your citation is from 2006. We believe our information is from 2013.

      With regard to personnel matters that *may* involve a hostile workplace or
      issues related to gender, or any other form of discrimination, overt or covert, it is most certainly the duty of the press to ask questions. And there are enough questions in the two cases WEB cites to ask even more questions.

      Whether or not YOU consider
      WEB a journalist is irrelevant, with 30 years experience we know what our training is and what we’re doing whether as a blogger or elsewhere.

      WEB is a news source (yes, as well as a source of opinion) whether you choose to see it that way or not. At one time there were 5 to 6 newspapers in Woodstock. Were any less newsworthy than others?

      The reason everyone appreciated WEB during Irene is because WEB was doing the concrete work of journalist combined with filling the shoes of a critically absent municipal public affairs officer.

      You certainly wanted WEB’s official information then as we attended all but two meetings to get you that information. It’s a bit hypocritical to now suggest WEB not ask questions or pursue stories of importance because they make some folks uncomfortable. Our methods are no different than they were during a crisis. We have established ourselves as a bona fide news source and are recognized as such by many respectable agencies- including the Vermont State Police.

      We appreciate your family background and experience in law enforcement but the times are much different- that’s part of the issue WEB sees with government here in Woodstock: An inability to understand that decision making by a handful of people done privately is no longer going to cut it – in particular if it infringes on the public’s right to know what its government is doing.

      WEB

      Like

      • Posted by Tambrey on April 4, 2013 at 11:49

        Wow…I have not posted here but one other time despite the temptation to do so in the interest of a healthy dialogue or sometimes yes, even a correction or clarification…perhaps it was best that way. The truth of the matter is I would much rather have a conversation in person about most things but yesterday I felt I would try to leave a reply the way so many others do.
        In no way was I disputing your status as a journalist or making light of the work that you do. As someone who worked side-by-side with you quite often during Irene as a Woodstock Flood Relief Facebook Page writer and relief volunteer I totally understand and value your contributions during that time and many times since. During that time you established yourself and WEB as a news source and your blog is often sited as playing a role in people’s decisions or conversations and thought processes….which is why it is so important to be accurate and objective and also to be perfectly clear about what is confirmed fact and what is opinion.
        That said, I didn’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t be asking questions or that you can’t editorialize or have your own opinions. It is important to ask questions and I am totally on board with transparency in government and elsewhere. The updated link(with the same information) regarding this topic and the Open Meeting Law from our current Secretary of State is
        http://libraries.vermont.gov/sites/libraries/files/misc/VT%20Library%20Trustees%20Assoc.pdf
        I also did not mean to imply that I was agreeing with any particular behavior or case or issue on the part of any individual or public body because I am not. I just wanted to encourage everyone to look at the bigger picture and individual circumstances before passing judgement. In my opinion, the digital information age is often a double-edged sword and some rules are unwritten as yet-at it’s best it can provide amazing tools for the good but the flip side of that is that there is the potential to do damage in a bigger and faster way than ever before. This is not just directed at WEB-it is something that has always concerned me about our online world in general. It may be our new reality that I cannot do anything about, but it will always frustrate me to know that in this day and age, people are hearing tragic, personal news from the media that didn’t have time to be delivered in person, or watching their personal troubles discussed and judged online for all the world to see-perhaps before the facts are even available.
        In any case-sorry for any confusion and I am happy to keep the conversation going in person anytime. I also hope that perhaps if folks are concerned about our town/village that maybe they will consider getting involved by running for office or participating in more of the meetings to stay informed. The “decision making by a handful of people done privately” might not feel like so much of an issue if there was more involvement during the process. We have a great community here and lots to be proud of but there is always room for more constructive participation and conversation to keep us moving forward.
        Tambrey

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  14. Posted by Janice Prindle on April 3, 2013 at 17:17

    I must respectfully disagree with my good neighbor Tambrey on the issue of police reporting of an accident. It is standard operating procedure in departments all over the country to release names, ages, the town and state of residence, and vehicles, for those involved in an accident; the time and location; the immediate outcome (if anyone was injured and transported to a hospital; if traffic had to be rerouted, if any citations were issued or if an investigation is pending, for example) and whatever relevant facts are known (weather or road conditions, for example). This is basic information, nothing that comprises an investigation. Certainly, if there is a fatality, or in some cases involving minors, police withhold a name pending notification of kin. No one expects the police to provide medical reports, details beyond who struck whom, or speculations about the cause of the accident, if that is still under investigation. The Vermont State Police do this routinely, within hours of an accident; so did every other police department I ever had to deal with years ago, as a reporter in three different states. We saw the Hartford police, not known for their fondness for the press, release that information about the fatal accident on Route 4 last month.

    Twice now in little more than a year, our police failed to provide this basic information in a timely manner — public information that does not fall within the area of their discretion.

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  15. Posted by barb on April 5, 2013 at 14:04

    READ THIS CLIP in reguard to “off duty” officers….JEN DID THE RIGHT THING
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/05/us/hawaii-airport-supercop/index.html?hpt=hp_c3

    Like

  16. Posted by barb on April 5, 2013 at 14:10

    bottom line on the reply bashes of this web site….if you dont like it, dont read it! thanks julia…….

    Like

  17. Posted by Andrew Bosak on April 8, 2013 at 03:01

    In my few dealings with Officer Swanson over the years I have found him to be a stand-up guy; a good person. I’m sure there were other factors beyond his control that delayed this press release. Also, as peter pointed out, the need for public information regarding this incident beyond the fact that the driver will be off the road is minimal at best. I do appreciate the service you provide, regardless.

    Like

    • Andrew,

      No question about Swanson as an stand-up individual.

      This issue is about a trend of untimely reporting. Swanson and others are not being asked to report in a timely and consistent fashion per POLICY established by the Municipal Manager, Village Trustees and the Police Chief. If they arent being asked to do what’s professional it’s not their fault, it’s their supervisors.

      Every other police department we have worked with gets the basic facts out immediately (meaning at the same time as completing their initial report). As Janice Prindle pointed out this is not what is found in the investigation which will come later and may not be immediately determined- it is simply the facts of the incident – who was involved when and where and if they were cited at the time.

      WEB

      Like

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