Friday, April 5, 2013

Another Frisky Friday?

UMPD hands out ticket this morning on Fearing Street (town property)

UPDATE Midnight:
 Baby Berk

The Baby Berk, a large UMass food truck, was not doing a whole lot of business around 11:30 PM, parked alongside Mass Ave in a parking lot near Lincoln Avenue.  The food truck was supposed to draw students away from migrating down Fearing Streets and Lincoln Avenue by giving kids an incentive to walk through campus.

A large group of perhaps a dozen volunteers were stationed at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Fearing Street attempting to redirect students away from the residential neighborhoods, but they were gone by midnight (although advertised to be out until 2:00 AM).

APD has been busy all night doing "liquor violations" and they have made many arrests.  The Personal Transport Vehicle was activated at 11:00 PM to efficiently cart the perps to APD headquarters.  


I can almost guarantee there will be no problems on Phillips Street this evening as the APD/UMPD joint patrol includes UMPD's mounted patrol unit. Unlike last September.

UPDATE: 9:00 PM 

Fire at Mill Valley Estates 7:30 PM

A "box alarm" at Mill Valley Estates apartments in South Amherst around 7:30 PM brought a massive and swift response from both APD and AFD.  The stove fire was quickly put down by an officer first on the scene with a portable extinguisher carried in the trunk of his cruiser.


Hadley police just chased a motorcycle into Amherst on Rt 9 at speeds over 100 mph, sometimes on the wrong side of the road.

The errant bike took a right in town center and headed south on Rt 116.

And no, he did not slow down two miles down the road for Crocker Farm Elementary school, which was just getting ready to let out for the day.  Grrrr.

The perp abandoned his bike, and APD now has it tagged as evidence.

Original Post 1:00 PM

Amherst Police patrols have been doing CP (Community Policing) activity all morning with the usual suspects: rental properties along Fearing, Phillips, Meadow streets, and the infamous Hobart Lane.

Thus, if after knocking on doors and politely informing residents to be on civilized behavior over the weekend and then later having to respond to said location for bad behavior, let's just say a stern response is more easily justified.

Amherst PD and UMPD joint patrols start in earnest this weekend, AFD will have two extra ambulances staffed and ready to go -- paid for by UMass -- and State Police are but a phone call away. Yes, the little college town of Amherst is ready.  For anything.

Stan Rosenberg reports on his Facebook page (and Twitter) that he met this morning with Amherst and UMass officials to discuss student off campus bad behavior.

Let's hope he champions the idea of an off campus RA bouncer to nip problems in the bud, as done at Boston College.


IOfferThe4th said...

Off Campus RA bouncers? Sounds more and more like a police state under the facade of temperance.

Larry Kelley said...

Works real well at Boston College.

Dr. Ed said...

Talk about putting out fires with gasoline -- the only thing that will really be accomplished by the APD going around and making threats, like they apparently are, will be to ensure that should anything start going, it will rabidly expand itno a whole lot more than it otherwise would have.

And for a lot of kids, their only personal contact with the APD will have been the morning they came to bully them. That won't be forgotten.

A decade from now, when there is something that Amherst needs from the state -- or doesn't want the state to do to Amherst -- the costs of what you have done will all become quite painfully relevant

If word does't get out on the social media first as to what student life in Amherst is really like and why if you are (a) going to college to learn stuff or (b) have a good time -- UMass is NOT the place for either!

Some fall the students simply won't arrive. Property values will implode, I could see a 300%-400% drop in value like what traditionally happens in a one-employer town when that employer has massive layoffs and desperate people start essentially "dumping" houses on a dropping market.

Anyone remember what happened to a community in an adjacent state when Kodak fell onto hard times? Or to a lesser extent because it was on Route 128, when Polaroid did?

But Larry, what do you think would happen if a bunch of non-Irish cops went through Holyoke threatening dire consequences to Irish-Americans the day before the St. Patriot's Day parade? If nothing else, think it would build a lot of good will towards the police department?

Larry Kelley said...

I'm sure Mayor Morse would be smart enough to assign the Irish cops that task. There's enough of them.

I thought it was very smart to assign the mounted patrol to Phillips Street.

When I shot the photo last night there were about a dozen kids standing in a doorway ...behaving themselves (although they did give me grief).

Dr. Ed said...

There is a very dark side of me which hopes that all the "squeaky-clean" kids who - of course - are the only ones who are actually going to open the door when uniformed cops are knocking on it
(I wouldn't have) -- files an I/A complaint with the department.

Cops hate paperwork and if someone gets stuck having to answer 300-500 of these things, and they do have to answer them, the department might think twice about doing some stunt like this in the future.

Further, folks who monitor municipal police departments would definitely notice a spike of 300-500 complaints, and when they are all over the same thing, from citizens who (a) have no criminal history and (next fall when the MSP, FBI, etc might be inquiring) are (b) either in responsible professional positions or elsewhere in graduate/law/medical school.

So imagine you are Martha Coakley. You have a couple hundred squeaky clean young professionals saying that the APD intimidated them, and a dozen or so cops who say "umm, we just want around and threatened to arrest them if they did anything" -- and she then goes around "the building" and asks random UM students interning in the State House what they personally think of the APD (and likely gets an earful) and then you are Martha Coakley and have to make a decision....

And you are Martha Coakley and are a political animal with your sights still set on DC and realize that Amherst is insignificant to the other 350 cities and towns in Massachusetts. You realize there there aren't very many votes in/around Amherst in the first place, and that someone from your wing of the Democratic Party isn't going to get them anyway.

On the other hand, if you rub the APD's face into the mud, if you bloody them up a bit, you will endear yourself to hundreds if not thousands of youthful activists who become the very people you need to mount a successful statewide campaign for higher office.

And to those who say that the APD "didn't do anything wrong", I have but two words: Tooky Ameralt. As a noted attorney pointed out, if numerous children were repeatedly sodomized with the blade end of a butcher knife, there would be quite visible evidence (i.e. scars) of the surgery that had been done to save their lives -- not to mention a paper trail (mountain) of both medical bills and CYA 51-A reports made by anyone and everyone in any way involved.

None of that exists. And Martha was involved in that case, and Martha is a political animal. Enough said?

Dr. Ed said...

I'm sure Mayor Morse would be smart enough to assign the Irish cops that task. There's enough of them.

Larry, thank you for making both of my points better than I did.

First, the Holyoke PD represents the community it polices and has shared social/cultural values. That is not true of the APD.

Second, "Community Policing" is am attempt to get the community invested in supporting the police by showing the community that the police are on their side -- that they are their friends and not their enemies.

Third, race is a social construct.
The social/cultural/geographic differences between the UM students and the APD/UMPD are so great that the students might just as well be Black.

And the APD's efforts perhaps better described in terms of "keeping the (racial slur) in their place."

Walter Graff said...

You have it wrong. This is part of the solution, not part of the problem. Make your face known, arrest those that cause trouble, watch the rest think twice about what they do. About time the APD started doing the right thing. This is quality of life police work and it goes a long way to stopping all crime.

Anonymous said...

Just drove through Town -- lots of young people out and about having a good time -- without alcohol.

Anonymous said...

Wonder whether the college student that just had the head on collision in Amherst Center was drinking? Kind of ended up in the wrong lane.

Anonymous said...

Back to the "taxing" behavior of some that disproportionately "taxes" the "taxed".
A while back I had to bring my 62yo spouse to the ER at 5AM w/what was diagnosed as severe case pneumonia. While there we heard the on-duty doctor admonishing 3 individual college age patients each of whom had come in via Amherst ambulance for alcohol poisoning. The young lady who, once she regained consciousness had no idea where she had been or why she had a cut on her forehead (oddly we had actually seen her falling down at the corner of Amity and Blue Hills 8 hours earlier). The doc was very upset trying to explain that he had people to tend to who had legitimate medical problems they did not willing create. He later told us that these occurrences are frequent and a drain on hospital staff and resources.
BTW-I wonder what the citizens of Northampton would say if they discovered that many's a weekend all but 1 of their ambulances is running to Amherst all night. And the 1 remains only because at the on-duty NFD supervisors insistence.

I'm confused...where did it become necessary to trash and get trashed in order to have fun-even with alcohol. How 'bout common sense and common decency?

Walter Graff said...

The hospital loves it. Most all income to a hospital comes from emergency care. To lose the college crowd would cause a serious loss of the bottom line for Cooley.

As for the drinking, 65% of anyone that applies to UMASS gets in. It's not exactly a school most who have a serious thought about their lives attend these days. With over 80 majors it's like a big community college. And one discussion with many of the students shows drinking is big part of this school as a result of the lack of concern about their lives and where they end up.

Dr. Ed said...

Walter, you need to read Machiavelli -- and you need to pay particular interest to the part where he warns how a leader needs the populace to love him and what happens when they instead fear him.

In making the students fear them, all the APD is going to do is build up resentment and fuel for anything small to explode well beyond their abilities.

Something is going to happen sooner or later, say maybe a school bus rolling over on a Friday afternoon -- no one really badly hurt but lots of people freaking out and that's going to tie up the entire police department. The UM kids are going to conclude, correctly, that the APD is busy and all hell will break loose.

MinuteMan said...


Not only do your statistics offend me, but comparing UMass to a big community college is about as accurate as comparing Amherst to a giant elderly home. I have found great success out of UMass, surpassing many (and deliver 110% of the time).

Walter Graff said...

Sorry Minuteman, no offense to you, but today that is how I see the University based on what I see going there. I'm sure many students get a great education there, but with a 66% acceptance rate and with the kinds of students I see, I wouldn't say it's the first choice of many serious about education. I know that has not always been true of the school. Since I first came here in 1999 I've seen it change.

Walter Graff said...

Apples and oranges Ed. I think your fear is unfounded. Good policing, as it is done in many communities like the recent example of UCONN that we talked about only creates respect for police and less problems, not fear and rioting in the streets.

As for Machiavelli he protected himself from the "problems" of change through ruthless, state-focused control. As he said "it is much more secure to be feared than to be loved."

Anonymous said...


Perhaps that's they way you see it, obviously based on much prejudice and little fact. What about UMass's Commonwealth Honors College, which is based right here in good old amherst? Admission requirements?

• combined (critical reading & math) SAT-I scores above 1300 (or ACT composite above 29),
• a weighted high school GPA of "A-" or higher, and
• a high school class rank in the top 10 percent,

Walter Graff said...

Sorry, just publishing the numbers from US News and World report on college rankings. UMASS ranked 90 with a 65.5% admission rate with over 80 majors.

As I said, I'm sure UMASS has some excellent students and it clearly has some excellent research programs. I know many people who teach there and they are tops in their field, but I've also seen and worked with many students, and had numerous attend my seminars over the years and have to say, some are not the brightest orange in the basket.

Clearly, even in the worst of schools, there are A students. UMASS isn't the worst of schools, more like any state run school with good and bad.

Sure the Commonwealth Honors College is for select students. The state realized that honors programs were getting lost being mixed in with the average student population so created it to distinguish the smart kids. Research shows they do better around smart kids like themselves.

But it is NOT the University general population. It keeps the smart kids from the general population which I'm sure they like very much.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for spending your precious breaks telling us about your skewed perspectives, Walter.

Everything you write is some kind of a counter to something that someone else writes; are you so disagreeable in person to person conversation as well?

Dr. Ed said...

with the kinds of students I see, I wouldn't say it's the first choice of many serious about education. I know that has not always been true of the school. Since I first came here in 1999 I've seen it change

I've seen it change too Walter, but in two dimensions -- better students and worse administrators. Never forget that over 50% of the 1993 freshman class failed to return Fall 1994 -- the attrition was that high back then, before the legislature stepped in and set minimums.

When Jack Luippold was chief, the UMPD didn't even have gas masks, even I was surprised to learn that. There were no riots, and kids drank - a lot - probably more than they do now. And the cop's attitude was more of a "go away, children, stop being childish, we really don't want to arrest you, its too damn much paperwork" which really toned a lot of things down.

Things changed with the '03 Hobart incident and then the '04 Red Sox World Series -- and the thing that changed were the cops, who started shooting pepperballs and such.

It was like Bloody Sunday and the British Army in Ireland. The troubles had started

Anonymous said...

Things changed with the '03 Hobart incident and then the '04 Red Sox World Series -- and the thing that changed were the cops, who started shooting pepperballs and such
As a umass grad who witnessed both riots out of curiosity, and because I live near one, I completely agree. The students in both situations responded to the police who expected them to riot, and that escalated everything. Who can blame someone for throwing beer bottles at a policeman when the policeman comes equipped with everything a swat team would have, a huge shield, helmets, guns that shoot who knows what, although non lethal, and a huge army of them to boot? I personally witnessed the cops spray at least two completely innocent bystanders who were waiting for the bus and didn't know which way to go because there were policemen in every direction.

As for Umass's education quality, you get what you want out of it. It's true the university is huge, but once you choose a department (physics, or math, say) the university suddenly becomes a very small place with 10 or 15 fellow students, and the professors are very accessible because so many of the students who don't want an education don't come talking to professors except for the rare grade begging session. if you want to do research with an incredible professor, there's always plenty who are willing to go out of their way to help students get into research. It's very easy to stay away from parties If that's what you want, and most of the party students are at southwest, which is easily avoidable.

Although I think umass is starting to get overcrowded, especially at the library, where it's sometimes impossible to get a seat, I think Umass's reputation is only going up. (Although that could change if they don't adress the crowding issue)

The fact that there are cameras everywhere, and that the police assume you are guilty before addressing you by this sort of threatening behavior, and the fact that the university coddles students so much, and constantly reminds them to 'be responsible' even makes me hate the police as soon as I see them, and I can only imagine the internal response of people who actually are misbehaving in some way.

If you want people to trust police, you have to have police be helpful in 90% of their interactions, instead of being offensive in 90%. Threatening does not count as bring friendly and helpful.