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Cape newspaper files lawsuit seeking names of reserve deputy sheriffs

Associated Press
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

BARNSTABLE, Mass. - The Cape Cod Times filed a complaint in superior court on Tuesday asking the court to order the Barnstable County Sheriff's Department to reveal names of about 200 reserve deputy sheriffs.

The newspaper had asked for the names on Feb. 28, arguing that the list of reserve deputies and their assignments are public documents under the state's public record law. The sheriff's office denied the request, saying that the list is not a public record.

The newspaper's complaint against Sheriff James M. Cummings in Barnstable Superior Court argued that the refusal was illegal, and asked the court to force Cummings to turn over the records.

Cummings did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Barnstable's reserve deputy sheriffs are civilians who are allowed to purchase look-alike deputy sheriff badges without any law enforcement training. They are nominated by either the sheriff's office employees or the Barnstable County Deputy Sheriff's Association, a private organization.

Worcester County is the only other county in the state with a similar program.
(Kind of sounds like Middlesex Co.'s set up to me)

A system under former Barnstable Sheriff John DeMello had about 35 civilian reserve sheriffs and 35 professional deputy sheriffs. All were members of the deputy sheriff's association.

After Cummings' 1998 election, the number of reserve deputy sheriffs rose to about 200, according to the newspaper.

Cummings has previously said that the reserve system is ``a social thing'' that has ``nothing to do with the sheriff's office.''

The newspaper asked for the names of the reserve deputy sheriffs after the start of a criminal investigation into activities of one reserve deputy
 

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If they are actually sworn, as Deputy Sheriff's, then this record would be public with the Civil Clerk's Office. So either, in my mind, this paper isn't looking in the right place (which I doubt) or these people aren't actually appointed Deputy Sheriff's. More than likley it's a title given by some political/social club.
My Department did away with this quite a few years ago. The standard to be sworn is fairly strict now. I'm confused why departments would engage in this. It seems like a huge liability to me. I can see the bad press now when some askew "Reserve Deputy Sheriff" hurts someone or even just harasses the wrong person.
I think a Reserve program is good, if it is what it is supposed to be. A program where trained sworn officers are used to supplement full-timers, but to use it just as a status symbol seems silly to me.
Just to qualify my statements, I don't know anybody or anything about Barnstable County, so I'm just going on appearances. Could be completley legit for all I know.
 

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From what I have read in the Cape Cod Times (they have been running w/ this for about a week) the reserve program they are talking about is like pearl said, a social club. They do fund raising for charities and the like. No law enforcement powers at all. But, their badges sure look real! I guess this story broke because a car dealer was made a 'reserve' while under indictment for some funny business practices
 
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I dont know the particulairs about the Barnstable program except for what I read here on the board. But it sounds like a mirror image of the Middlesex program.

I totally agree with your view on a reserve program Pearl.

If the Sheriffs are going to allow this type of thing to continue then the badge/Id should say something like "Honorary" instead of Reserve as too make the distinction, just my
 

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Hey,

We can make French President a "faux sheriffe'"
(Friggin Frogs)

They're "reserve" human beings
 

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Now see it's things like this that ruin it for the Auxiliary and Reserve guys that go out and actually donate their time for a town or work for a town. Those guys deserve no respect and they should be charged with impersonation if they aren't reallly sworn in. just my


Scott
 

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First off learn the laws. You can't be charged with impersanating an officer unless you are doing it for personal gain. Walking around in police uniform is perfectly legal. If you tell somebody to give you money and you won't arrest them..... that's impersanating an officer. Also how are reserve deputies ruining it for aux or reserve cops. I'm not really sure what reserve deputies, aux, or reserve cops do. The sheriff's dept. i work at doesn't have those programs. to my understanding they are commisioned by the chief of police or sheriff to work as a cop or deputy and dont' get paid for it. People do this for free? Is this a police groupie thing?
 

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My County will give you an honory badge if you donate so much $$ to the Sheriff's re-election (do they or would they ever admit it no) but my friends brother did just that and he was showing me his shiny tim at the Pats game the other day. Mergethe Sheriffs with the DOC and make everyone happy it is infested with hacks, but there are some good Deputies too. So merge them give them a hell of a pay raise (DOC makes huge money) and get rid of all this hey I can be a Major in two years through my hooks and my contributions...
 

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SAPD,


I agree with you 100%. Devildog I think what he meant is their use of the word reserve. They have the title, but are more just the social gathering that everyone talks about. It gives real reserves a sort of bad rap. If you met someone from barnstable who told you he is a reserve and explains that it is a group thing, then next time you pass thru western Mass(Quite a few reserve officers) and you get pulled over by a reserve cop, you may associate him to the barnstable guy who is nothing more than a food or cocktail server at town functions. What the should do is call them Junior Sheriffs, kinda of like Junior Police.....You know, the title we were given in fourth grade, it was pretty cool, you got a mini silver badge that looked nothing like the real thing and everyone knew you had zero powers :lol: .
 

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devildog said:
I'm not really sure what reserve deputies, aux, or reserve cops do... to my understanding they are commisioned by the chief of police or sheriff to work as a cop or deputy and dont' get paid for it. People do this for free? Is this a police groupie thing?
Yes I do it for free... very proudly I will add... Not a groupie thing... a way to become educated in law enforcement and start to earn my way into what I hope will someday be a full-time career...

As with all factions of life there are good and bad apples in the Aux programs within the state... I for one respect that I am not a full-time Police Officer... however I have been trained per the MCJTC guidelines like any paid reserve Police Officer, have earned the same certifications in DT's, firearms etc as full and part time paid Officers and when on duty, at the direction of the Shift Sgt or my superior Full Time Officer, I have the duty and power to protect and serve which I willingly do so without any reimbursement to me...

Auxiliary Departments are constantly misunderstood and criticized because of the few bad apples that all positions endure... all the Aux's I have met in my short career are there for one reason... to support their full-time department in the most professional and thoroughly trained way possible... misconceptions of this is what makes it harder for us to accomplish that goal...

all IMO... thanks for listening...
 

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There's that "Major in Two Years" guy again! It seems everybody knows this guy, but everytime I ask, he's in a different department and no one knows his name. He was in mine a few months ago, even though we don't have Majors (Only One Left, and he's been on for like 100 years). He must get a lot of lateral transfers. Rumors are bad! :roll:

Devildog, I was just wondering...there have been no posts on this topic for nearly nine months, and you come out of the gate with "First Off, Learn the laws". Who or what was that directed at? :twisted:
 

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PearlOnyx said:
Devildog, I was just wondering...there have been no posts on this topic for nearly nine months, and you come out of the gate with "First Off, Learn the laws". Who or what was that directed at? :twisted:
Yup - I have the same question. This doesn't seem to be going down a very useful road. If that's the case, that makes 2 brass that I think are ready to slam the door shut on this one real soon. Watch you're tails folks!
 

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mv577 said:
Yes I do it for free... very proudly I will add... Not a groupie thing... a way to become educated in law enforcement and start to earn my way into what I hope will someday be a full-time career...

As with all factions of life there are good and bad apples in the Aux programs within the state... I for one respect that I am not a full-time Police Officer... however I have been trained per the MCJTC guidelines like any paid reserve Police Officer, have earned the same certifications in DT's, firearms etc as full and part time paid Officers and when on duty, at the direction of the Shift Sgt or my superior Full Time Officer, I have the duty and power to protect and serve which I willingly do so without any reimbursement to me...

Auxiliary Departments are constantly misunderstood and criticized because of the few bad apples that all positions endure... all the Aux's I have met in my short career are there for one reason... to support their full-time department in the most professional and thoroughly trained way possible... misconceptions of this is what makes it harder for us to accomplish that goal...

all IMO... thanks for listening...
I didn't mean all aux and reservers are "groupies" some are doing it for the right reason, it seems as if you are. I agree it is unfortunate that a few yahoo's will give everybody a bad name. After leaving that last posting, I went out and educated myself a little bit with the aux and reserves police. It seems like a great program if the correct people utilize it. But it also looks like anybody can jump in this program if they want. You meet one bad apple from a department, you're going to assume everybody is like that. I know that must be tough in your situation, you're out doing the right thing... but a few are making you all look bad.
 

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devildog said:
I didn't mean all aux and reservers are "groupies" some are doing it for the right reason, it seems as if you are. I agree it is unfortunate that a few yahoo's will give everybody a bad name. After leaving that last posting, I went out and educated myself a little bit with the aux and reserves police. It seems like a great program if the correct people utilize it. But it also looks like anybody can jump in this program if they want. You meet one bad apple from a department, you're going to assume everybody is like that. I know that must be tough in your situation, you're out doing the right thing... but a few are making you all look bad.
Agreed... I think in our case, our meaning Wayland, the program is taken a little more seriously than in some places... Our screening and interviewing process is detailed... and not just anyone is allowed on... our training is ongoing and required...

but like you said... the screw ups of some have given us all a bad name... even in Wayland... we work to fight off old stereotypes that our predocessors layed for us... it is a tough situation... but then again most worthwile things are tough... so I'm up for it...

Thanks for the reply... I appreciate your clarification...

Mike
 
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