Saturday, October 4, 2014

September Storm


 APD Chief Livingstone (left) UMPD Chief John Horvath (right)

The difference in number of arrests this past September between Amherst Police Department, with 45 sworn officers making 92 arrests, 45 of them UMass students , and the UMass Police Department with 62 sworn officers making 81 arrests, 55 of them UMass students is interesting but not overly startling.

Amherst police with a department 37% smaller than their UMass counterparts made 14% more arrests.   Of course the difference on the day of the infamous Blarney Blowout was far more dramatic with APD making 55 arrests to UMPD only 3. 

Last year in September, when students first flock back to Amherst, 5,500 of them freshmen leaving home for the first time, Amherst Police Department made 263 arrests or almost three times the number (92) made just this past September.  Now that is somewhat startling.

I asked APD Chief Scott Livingstone about that:

Click to enlarge/read

Since APD recently received "Department Of The Month" from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, obviously they have not slacked off on that vitally important function.

But now being down 5 officers, four of them due to on-duty injuries, the month of October -- when the weather is still conducive to outdoor socializing -- is going to be even more of a challenge.

Especially since Halloween falls on a Friday this year.  That alone is scary, even when the overworked department is at full strength.


28 comments:

Anonymous said...

And still no plan from the Town Manager on hiring more officers!

Anonymous said...

Will we be asking the State Police for assistance?

Larry Kelley said...

For Halloween I assume so.

But probably not for all the other weekends between now and sub-zero weather.

Anonymous said...

At least the police chief takes department responsibility for the excessive number of arrests last year (over 2.5x this year). That is rarely seen and to be respected, now if there was some kind of consequence like there was to the 150 excess families that had to deal with the legal system last year.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised in such a committee driven community that an overworked police department cannot get together a volunteer force to keep the peace during rowdy weekends. Remember the safety patrol in elementary school. Even if it is just nosy citizens with cameras.

I am curious, how many police in Amherst....and how many school administrators?

Larry Kelley said...

I think you need to work on your reading comprehension.

The Chief said he doesn't have enough personnel to make the same number of arrests this year, not that last year's were bad arrests.

Anonymous said...

AFD & APD = the Little Dutch Boy. Cross your fingers that the levy holds….

Anonymous said...

The Chief said he doesn't have enough personnel to make the same number of arrests this year, not that last year's were bad arrests.

He said that they have changed their philosophy about how they handle certain calls, and that reduced staffing due to injury has only played a "part".

This post-Blarney Blowout APD force is only down about 10% due to on-duty injuries, but the arrest rate of UMass students is down way, WAY more than that. Furthermore, we haven't seen an increase in vandalism, assaults, or other crimes which involve victims, despite the much lower number of arrests. Rather, just an increase in loud drunks who did not spend the night in jail and APD personnel doing a lot of time-wasting trips to the station, booking and paperwork, leaving more time and personnel available to catch drunk drivers.

I think we all comprehend what we read in the way that fits our individual perspectives. Bravo to the chief for changing his philosophy.

Larry Kelley said...

Your individual perspective would carry some weight if you were not cloaked in anonymity.

DaveMB said...

Perhaps a dumb question, but what does the Chief mean by "TBL"?

Anonymous said...

Not enough arrests if you ask me. With all the noise I wish we could just call in more noise complaints. It certainly brings in more tax revenue for the town.

Larry Kelley said...

TBL stands for Town Bylaw (Noise, Nuisance and Open Container violations which come with a $300 fine)

Anonymous said...

AFD is responsible for a lot of elevator entrapment rescues at U Mass-

There needs to be a better way!

Is it the same building/ elevators?

Larry Kelley said...

Many in the Southwest towers but still pretty spread out across buildings on campus. Even in the new Commonwealth College buildings.

AFD usually just stands by until an elevator tech arrives.

Anonymous said...

Larry, look into that elevator maintenance contract. What the company does is lowball the bid and then make it's money on callbacks and entrapment calls. They intentionally don't do stuff that needs to be done so that they can get the money for a callback.

This was allegedly a cost-saving move, UM used to have an elevator person working in Plant 24/7 and they closed that shop and instead hired this company.

If you factor in AFD responses and what it costs *someone* in terms of that, is there actually a savings at all?

And why aren't you raising hell about UMass costing Amherst money by saving its own money this way (if, in fact, they actually did save anything, which I doubt).

Dr. Ed said...

One of the two UMPD Chiefs that I respected once said something (at a public meeting) that I think is relevant here:

"Arrest figures can be quite deceptive because they don't tell you the number of times that the officer was able to resolve the situation without having to make an arrest."

You gotta remember that an arrest takes an officer off the street for no insignificant amount of time. It's a major investment in resources that may or may not be justified, but which also precludes the officer from dealing with something that may be more important.

And as to TBL arrests, sooner or later some intrepid lawyer is going to raise the 8th Amendment and the "Bailment" issue.

As I understand it, as there is no possibility of incarceration upon conviction of having violated the noise ordinance, it is UnConstitutional for the Amherst Police to arrest (or continue to hold) anyone willing to pay the $300 on the spot. That's what "bailment" is, as the police have a guarantee that you will pay the fine if found guilty (as it is in escrow with them), they have neither need nor right to continue to hold you.

Requiring a formal bail proceeding is unconstitutional. Sooner or later, a Daddy's Lawyer is going to win a major settlement against the Town....

Anonymous said...

The Henry Street car accident was just the danger that opponents of the Retreat warned about.

Larry Kelley said...

And yet it still happened anyway -- without The Retreat.

Anonymous said...

Why do two engines respond to elevator entrapments (especially if there role is to just stand by and wait for an elevator tech?)

Sounds like something UMass PD could handle!

Anonymous said...

The point is that increasing the number of drunken students on that narrow road would have been disastrous.

Larry Kelley said...

Traffic study did not seem to think so. In any case, that road could use some work.

Dr. Ed said...

In any case, that road could use some work.

A lot of the main roads into Amherst ought to have been made into 4-lane divided highways (posted at 55 MPH) LONG ago!!!

You have the fifth largest residential college in the whole damn country -- not to mention two other colleges in the town itself -- and what kind of highway access do you have?!?!?

Worse, you don't want to build housing in town -- people thus have to commute. That takes roads. Roads that move large numbers of vehicles quickly and efficiently.

Which you ain't got...

Anonymous said...

"The Henry Street car accident was just the danger that opponents of the Retreat warned about."

Hey moron, they never built the retreat but you claim this accident was just what the retreat would cause. So now does anything that happens in North Amherst mean it was what would have been caused by the retreat? The same ignorance and fear of the unknown breeds wonderful human qualities like racism. You display your ignorance quite well.

Anonymous said...

You are correct Ed. It's pretty amazing to think that the main road to the University is a single lane road called Route 9. 60,000 people live here most of the year and all we have is a farm road to get to it. They did talk about a new bridge and extension to Amherst some time ago but of course funds for that never appeared. What they need is a new hospital near campus to deal with the out-of-control drug ODs, suicide attempts and drunks.

Dr. Ed said...

"It's pretty amazing to think that the main road to the University is a single lane road called Route 9."

That's not the most direct route to MetroBoston, which is where everyone is from. The two roads east are Rt 2 and I-90 and that means either up through Shutesbury or down through Belchertown -- most people don't need to cross the bridge at all.

Anonymous said...

They may not need to cross the bridge but the routes to 2 and to 90 aren't exactly made for traffic either.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said @ 9:38 AM
"Hey moron...The same ignorance and fear of the unknown breeds wonderful human qualities like racism. You display your ignorance quite well."

I can't decide if you are feckin' with us but if you/your words are for real, please tell me how your railing against someone you disagree with/think is a moron (less intelligent than you?) is different than racists or anyone else who discriminates against others.

Check yourself….Your tirades (as opposed to civil and intelligent discourse) sound like ignorance and fear to me.

Anonymous said...

funding source:

http://www.upworthy.com/maybe-these-cops-didnt-realize-theyve-been-recorded-asking-the-same-question-but-john-oliver-did?g=2