Southborough police log (5/14/12 – 5/15/12): Attempted home break-ins?

Here’s the latest from the Southborough Police Department (via Facebook).

Monday, May 14, 2012

  • 12:33 am – ARRESTED: A Framingham man was arrested and charged with OUI Alcohol, Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Revoked License, Larceny of a Motor Vehicle, and Defective Equipment.
  • 1:12 am – Ashland Police provided mutual aid to Southborough Police, due to manpower shortage.
  • 1:26 am – A medical was reported at the police station.
  • 5:35 am – ARRESTED: A Hopkinton woman was arrested on two active arrest warrants for her arrest out of Worcester District Court and Gardner District Court. She was also charged with Possession of Class A (Subsequent Offense), (2) counts of Possession of Class C Drug, and (2) counts Possession of Class E Drug.
  • 5:52 am – Manpower shortage- Southborough Police requested mutual aid from Ashland Police to back-up arresting officer at the scene of the above arrest.
  • 7:07 am – Manpower shortage- no officers available to respond to a disabled motorist on Main Street. Ted’s Towing was notified for the operator.
  • 9:15 am – Officers investigated a burglar alarm at a St. Martin Drive business.
  • 10:06 am – Officers responded to Southborough Medical Group to assist staff with a disruptive patient.
  • 10:31 am – Officers investigated an abandoned 911 call from an Overlook Drive residence.
  • 4:30 pm – Officers investigated a two car, motor vehicle accident at a Turnpike Road business. No injuries were reported from the accident scene.
  • 5:05 pm – Officers assisted a disabled motorist on Framingham Road.
  • 5:06 pm – Officers investigated a one car, motor vehicle accident on Main Street. Injuries were reported from the scene of the accident.
  • 9:32 pm – A medical was reported at a Leonard Drive residence.
  • 9:55 pm – Officers investigated a report of a suspicious motor vehicle parked on Parkerville Road and Turnpike Road. The vehicle and the operator checked out o.k.
  • 11:07 pm – A resident of Pinecone Lane reported that someone had just tried to open the front door of their residence. Officers checked the area, and filed a report on the incident.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

  • 2:38 am – Officers assisted a disabled motorist on Turnpike Road.
  • 5:34 am – Police and Fire evacuated a Turnpike Road business, due to a reported odor of natural gas in the building. The building was cleared by the Fire department a short time later.
  • 7:20 am – A motorist reported a large pile of 2 X 4’s (wood) across Turnpike Road (Route 9 West). An officer responded to the scene; shut down the road; and removed the wood from the roadway.
  • 7:20 am – A second motorist reported another pile of 2 X 4’s across Turnpike Road (this time it was Route 9 East). Officers, again, responded to the scene and removed the pile of wood.
  • 8:02 am – Officers assisted a disabled motorist on Cordaville Road.
  • 8:19 am – A medical was reported at Margaret Neary Elementary School.
  • 9:20 am – Officers assisted a disabled motorist on Pine Hill Road.
  • 10:15 am – Officers attempted to serve a summons to a Turnpike Road resident.
  • 11:15 am – A motorist from Marlborough, MA. was issued a Criminal Application for Operating a Motor Vehicle After License Suspension.
  • 12:38 pm – A medical was reported at a Newton Street business.
  • 2:39 pm – Officers investigated an abandoned 911 call from a Crestview Drive residence.
  • 3:39 pm – A resident of Pinecone Lane reported that someone had tried to open their front door near the end of last month (April). The resident was reporting the incident now, due to recent suspicious activity in the neighborhood.
  • 4:05 pm – Officers investigated a noise complaint at a Brookside Road residence. The owners of the home were advised to keep their music down.
  • 6:23 pm – Officers investigated a burglar alarm at a Northboro Road business.
  • 6:38 pm – Officers responded to Turnpike Road to investigate a report of an erratic operator weaving in and out of traffic. The vehicle had left the area prior to the responding officer’s arrival.
  • 7:03 pm – Officers responded to Watkins Lane for a domestic dispute in progress. The responding officers were able to mediate the situation between the two parties.
  • 7:51 pm – Officers assisted a Walnut Drive resident with a domestic issue.
  • 8:24 pm – Officers investigated a burglar alarm at a Turnpike Road business.
  • 11:17 pm – An officer took a report of a yellow Labrador found on Main Street. A short time later, the dog’s owner came into the station to report the dog as missing. The owner and dog were united shortly after.

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11 years ago

Why is it that all of a sudden we keep seeing “manpower shortage” in the police logs. Is it the time of year or just proving a point that they are understaffed. I don’t remember ever seeing this before the last couple weeks. I find it odd that it is suddenly popping up.

11 years ago

That’s funny as I was thinking exactly the same thought as I read through the report.

Just Curious
11 years ago

I am glad to see this info provided. If the police are truly understaffed, it need more attention from the BOS.

I understand the current Chief has argued the department is understaffed.

From readinh this parial listing of events, I have to wonder if the department is effectively managing its resources. For example, is it really a police matter if a car breaks down on Main Street at 7 am? Yet this was reported as a manpower shortage? Maybe, maybe, its a situation where a police officer is dispatech if its dark or a dangerous spot, but 7 am on Main Street? Here’s the post:

7:07 am – Manpower shortage- no officers available to respond to a disabled motorist on Main Street. Ted’s Towing was notified for the operator.

Also, it seems there are many many instances where police officers aree dispatched to Turnpike Rd businesses for alarms, thefts from cars, etc. It would be helpful if the police department would identify the address or businesses involved.

Just Curious
11 years ago
Reply to  Just Curious

I apologize for the spelling errors. I lost my glasses today.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago
Reply to  Just Curious

We have the resources to keep our facebook page up to date.

11 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Al, do you really thing you are being fair or reasonable? I would bet that it is not the same type of manpower that updates the facebook page and responds to calls from residents. I also bet that the facebook page can easily be updated in the many gaps that exist between calls. The two issues you are comparing are apples and oranges. I, for one, am glad for the information provided on the facebook page. It was about time that the department started making its operations public.

I was at a recent BOS meeting when the Chief was presenting requests for overtime, arguing that the department is understaffed due to officers on medical leave. We have to pay these officers but they are, of course, not available for duty. We can either compensate with overtime or go understaffed. Officers are not going to volunteer to work without pay, nor should they. The request was denied or reduced, I can’t remember which.

My opinion is that we have been walking a tight rope with public safety for quite a while. Public Works has also been operating on fumes. Our town is beginning to see the results and, where public safety is concerned, it could be tragic.

In this town, the schools get whatever they want and the rest go without. If there is a tragedy, no one is going to dump it on the doorsteps of the school committees or the superintendent. It will be dumped on the police chief or the fire chief. I don’t envy them their huge responsibilities or their jobs in this town.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago
Reply to  Resident

Resident & Susan

Yes, I actually do think it is a fair point. In a world of constrained resources a manager has to make choices about the highest and best use of the resources made available to him or her. Almost by definition, the things the manager chooses to do vs not to do represents their priorities. So, the manager chooses to devote (the admittedly modest) public resources to posting on Facebook and chooses not to staff overtime. The clear implication is that, at the margin, the former is more important than the latter.

The Chief has almost complete discretion on how to spend the $1.5 million dollars that Town Meeting has authorized so it is fair to hold her accountable for the how she prioritizes the uses of that money.

It may well be that devoting public resources to Police communications with the public is a very good thing and might at the margin be more important than the very modest impact that curtailing that activity in favor of more patrol hours could have.

If the manpower shortage is in fact due to an unexpected level of officers on medical leave then there is an answer. If this is in fact the reason then it would represent an unexpected expense and it would be perfectly reasonable to for the BOS & Chief to go to the Advisory Committee and ask for a transfer from the reserve fund to cover this unexpected expense. I am certain that if they presented data to back up their claim the request would be given serious consideration.

Kelly Roney
11 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton

Al, here’s what I think is wrong with your analysis. The police do a lot of things, but I’d break it down into these categories:
– patrolling
– responding to specific calls, including follow-up investigation
– discretionary activities (including maybe an hour per week for Facebook updates)
– legal duties (booking, testifying, prisoner transfer, etc.)
– overhead (training, meetings, etc.)

The manpower shortages noted in the police log occur when there is no officer available to respond to a specific call because the officers on duty are already on other higher priority calls. Put another way, the department doesn’t have as much surge capacity as it believes it should have.

I assume that the dispatcher never says, “Sorry, all our officers are updating Facebook, so they can’t respond to your home invasion.” Lots of the discretionary activities can be dropped in any urgent situation and picked back up later.

Updating Facebook may compete a tiny bit with patrolling, but having an informed populace actually puts more eyes on the street – civilian eyes, our eyes – and judging by all the coyote calls, we’re using them.

How much surge capacity is enough? There’s no absolute answer, just an assessment of how much risk at what cost is acceptable and how much of that risk can be mitigated with mutual aid shared with surrounding towns and cities.

So, there’s a clear set of priorities, and yet low-priority work can still get done because the high-priority work doesn’t come in steadily or even that predictably. That leaves slack times that can be filled with discretionary activities. A good half of the FB updates seem to happen between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m., when most of us – and the bad guys – are still at home.

Al Hamilton
11 years ago
Reply to  Al Hamilton


I don’t like the term serge (too military for my tastes) what we have here is a clear peak loading problem. The way we are handling this is by mutual aide and prioritization is perfectly reasonable to me. A motorist, who is broken down (and probably has a cell phone to keep in touch with the PD) does not really need a police officer right away. He/she needs a tow truck. If they really need help it is far more likely to involve the fire dept.

If we staff for peak needs (even if we could afford it) we would have a lot of officers with not much to do most of the time. Staffing for average loads with prioritization and mutual aide is a far better system.

The the last time I checked, (about 2 years ago) the admin for the chief was in fact a sworn police officer and could be used in an emergency.

I am not really complaining about the FB activity. I am just saying that inescapable logic is the things we choose to do are by definition more important than the things we choose not to do that includes that maintaining the PD FB page. I agree that the PD FB page is probably a good thing even though it looks like it is being used to lobby for more staff.

If the Chief has a problem due to unforeseen medical leaves that is leaving us short handed and needs to supplement her budget this FY she has a well established way to secure the required funding. Go to the BOS and ask them to request a transfer from the Reserve fund.

Resident Too
11 years ago
Reply to  Resident

Actually I should point out that the Officers VOLUNTEER their time for the annual summer Junior Police Academy held at Trottier for our children. It is important that the people in the town know this. The JPA is a fantastic program and I for one am thrilled that these officers have dedicated themselves to the children of this community and that they think the academy was important enough to our children for them to VOLUNTEER to do it. THANK YOU OFFICERS OF THE JUNIOR POLICE ACADEMY!!!! (Kevin Landry, Rick Mattioli, Dave Maida, Sean James, and MANY others whose names escape me)

11 years ago
Reply to  Just Curious

Seems reasonable that they might need help. Depending on where the car was broken down, there could be serious traffic issues, so they might have needed assistance directing traffic until the breakdown was cleared away.

11 years ago

I don’t recall Town Meeting cutting back the requested funding for the Police Department. Nor do I recall the Chief approaching the mic and telling us all that the amount requested jeopardized public safety.

Just Curious
11 years ago

Does the Southborough Police ever provide mutual aid or other types of assistance to other departments? I wonder if there is a balance receiver versus provided. I recall there was substantial discussion on this topis regarding the fire department several years ago.

I don’t recall seeing this issue, mutual aid provided, on the Police Facebook page.

Also regarding Mr.Hamilton’s commenton who updates the Facebook page, I believe the Cheif has a secretary or adminsitative assistant Perhaps that person is the one who is updating the Facebook page rather that a police officer.

I really enjoy Mr. Hamilton’s posts. He seems to really get to the heart of an issue.

11 years ago

Exactly how many police officers are on medical leave and for what reason? I assume as taxpayers we are allowed to know the answer. Where could this information be found?

11 years ago

What we don’t need is another police officer. Their mandate is no longer “To protect and to serve.” Now it is, make as many arrests as they can, get as many of its own community citizens into the legal system. Retire and suck down a pension.

Resident Too
11 years ago
Reply to  Christine

If you are doing something against the law, shouldn’t you be arrested? If somebody committed a crime against you, I am betting you would want them arrested. I am not sure what the point of your post is. If you are committing a crime you should EXPECT

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