Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pearl before swine

I got home from work yesterday, went to check the mailbox, and found myself face-t0-face with a gang of six late-teen, early-twenty young men who were high on something other than life. One of the punks threw a handful of gravel into my face, and then challenged me to fight. Another began immediately to tell me that it was a case of mistaken identity. My mother didn't raise a fool, so I backed away, and took my phone out to call police. The punks ran.

Then it got really frustrating. Both Lucy and I called the dispatcher who didn't seem to be able to handle well the multiple calls coming in. In addition, another call had come in some minutes before because this same group had stomped over the roof of a car on College St. A police car finally rounded our street ten minutes after the call, but long after all the offenders had scattered to the wind. We waited for an officer to come and take a statement, but after an hour, Lucy called the dispatcher back, and he said, "You told me you didn't want an officer to visit you." Lucy said, "No I didn't want an officer coming here, I wanted them to chase the people who did this. I assumed, that afterward they'd want to get a statement." The dispatcher replied, "I'n not going to get into it with you." An officer did arrive, and politely, and empathetically took a statement about ten minutes later.

Today, I put in calls to the Police Department, and to the Mayor. The chief is on vacation, but I spoke with Captain Sneed. Both Sneed and the Mayor said they'd beef up patrols.

A little later today I attended the North End Action Team annual garden party and it was a great celebration. I saw the mayor and Captain Sneed and they agreed that the North End party was much more of what we'd like to see then the problems. But in talking to several people who have interacted with the town dispatcher, I can affirm that the town has a problem that needs fixing.

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