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Brookfield police vehicles lack inspection stickers

Police chief apologizes for sticker snafu

James F. Russell
T&G STAFF



BROOKFIELD- Two Brookfield police vehicles lacking valid Massachusetts inspection stickers were put into service this year, Police Chief Ross B. Ackerman acknowledged in an interview yesterday.

Residents reported the problem to the Telegram & Gazette this week.

"At some point, these stickers expired," Chief Ackerman said. "It was an oversight on the part of our fleet manager.

"The bottom line is, our vehicles are safe and we are lenient with inspection stickers for others," the chief said. "I apologize to the public for the oversight."

The police vehicles lacking stickers were a 1997 Ford Crown Victoria and a 1987 Chevrolet four-wheel-drive pickup truck, Chief Ackerman said.

Maintaining the truck has been a problem, the chief said. "If we can get it to run a full four hours today, it will have a sticker today. This has been the worst winter for vehicle maintenance."

The truck runs poorly, he said, and the Police Department is reluctant to bring it for a sticker unless it can run for at least four hours continuously.

The Brookfield Fire Department is also to blame for the police truck not having a sticker, he said.

Police, he said, "lent the truck to the Fire Department for three months last fall because their utility vehicle was out of service. Why didn't they notice the lack of a valid inspection sticker?"

The Fire Department used the truck to transport safety equipment for motor vehicle accidents, Chief Ackerman said.

"This vehicle has performed some extremely difficult off-road duties," he said. "The fact it had no sticker does not change the fact we have needed to respond to emergencies in difficult terrain and in blizzards."

Contacted yesterday, state Police Lt. Marian McGovern, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Public Safety, said, "State police cruisers are required to have current inspection stickers; I am not aware of any exemption" for municipal police vehicles.

The four-wheel-drive truck is used, the chief said, "to transport the police boat; during snowstorms; for patrols if other vehicles are unavailable; and for off-road missions."

The four-wheel-drive vehicle was useful during the search that located Brookfield resident Gary F. Bonneau, whose body was found Feb. 7, the chief said. Mr. Bonneau was found in wooded and rocky terrain several thousand feet off Cronin Road in Warren, police said then.

"One reason the vehicles were not inspected," Chief Ackerman said, was because "I have been on light duty - 20 hours per week - since September."

The chief said his light duty stems from an on-duty injury in January 2001. "I was T-boned," he said, referring to the way another vehicle hit his vehicle at a right angle, "and the severity of the back pain was tremendous. I was not able to sleep and therefore went on light duty."

A salaried employee, the chief has been collecting full pay. The town is looking into salary reimbursement from the insurance company, he said.

"I probably would have spotted there was no inspection stickers, had I been putting in my regular 50 to 60 hours per week," he said. "I am hoping to be back full time in March."

Explaining why the 1997 Crown Victoria was not inspected, the chief said the cruiser "was refurbished last year and was put back on the road in late December." He said the cruiser passed inspection this month, but declined to specify the date.

The Police Department's two other cruisers "had stickers all along," he said.
 

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I hate to say it but expired stickers on cruisers and other municipal vehicles are nothing new. I drove a cruiser for a few months over the summer that could not pass inspection even though it only had 50K miles on it (front end problems, ignition problems,). The car was finally retired when we needed to use it stop a run-away town vehicle. Our fleet person says that it is difficult to track 25 cars and the dates of when the stickers have to be renewed.

I know we all have probably driven a department car that had an expired sticker, or even better, a blown headlight. I think it is quite embarrassing, especially when we are supposed to be enforcing these violations.
 

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How nice that a resident lemming thought it appropriate to run to the T&G instead of keeping the incident in-town. A call to a selectman (or the chief) would probably have resulted in the situation being rectified quicker. I would think that the safety of the vehicles in question, and compliance with the law, would be of paramount concern to the citizen: therefore a quicker resolution would be the desired result.

This suggests several questions:

1. If safety and compliance with the law are the issue, one wonders if all the other town vehicles were checked inre periodic inspection.

2. To the best of my knowledge, Chief Ackerman is a life-long resident of the Brookfields...wouldn't this fact suggest that he is more readily available/approachable than, say, the chief of Worcester PD?

3. Because it is a small town, one wonders whether the lemming has something personal against the chief or his department.

4. And lastly, what is up with the sign in some citizen's front yard, on Route 9, begging Chief Ackerman to "tell the truth"(I think the citizen has a new crusade now...I believe the sign has been changed since I was last in Brookfield).

Enquiring minds want to know. :-k I could understand going to the paper had the situation been reported to the town and hadn't been addressed. Given the chief's response this does not appear to have been the case. Note to the chief: too many excuses, sir...give the "scribe" only one and tell him the matter is being rectified, then tell him the interview is at an end. :wink:
 

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This is just another example of "all eyes are on you". This was drilled into our minds at the academy. Many people love to see the police do something wrong or "human". People are very jealus of our career choices... who wouldn't be..... best job in the word.....
 

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I remember awhile back a trooper wrote up one of our cruisers for having a bad sticker.. Funniest damn thing.. I don't know where our cruisers are getting their stickers but someone needs to look into that shady garage.. Ain't no way, no how those things should be passing.....

Lemmings... Very funny and very true. And that rag of a paper absolutely loves to print anything that casts police in a bad light.....
 

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Deuce said:
I remember awhile back a trooper wrote up one of our cruisers for having a bad sticker.. Funniest damn thing.. I don't know where our cruisers are getting their stickers but someone needs to look into that shady garage.. Ain't no way, no how those things should be passing.....

Lemmings... Very funny and very true. And that rag of a paper absolutely loves to print anything that casts police in a bad light.....
A Trooper wrote a Worcester PD Cruiser for 90-20? There must be one HELL of a story behind that one... :shock:
 

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Man that was just before I got on, so about 9 yrs ago I guess.. Trooper was piking E. Central St exit from 290 (in the city) and nabbed a couple cruisers with bad stickers leaving the station. Guess he had a case of the ass against Worcester or something.. Funny shit though. Hell you could still do that now, probably impound some of our heaps too... Needless to say that ruffled a few feathers and I think that's why some of the old timers still hate seeing troopers in the city.. I could care less, just let us (route guys) in on whatever if you're doing something.. We tend to get protective of our clumps of shit.....
 

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Right Mike.

Our cars have white US Government plates (with blue lettering). We are not required to have a registration in the car nor do we have car insurance (as required by MA law). The US Government is self-insured. If we get in an accident our agency is paying out of pocket for everything.

I wish we could get plates that say POLICE or LAW ENFORCEMENT. They look like every other government plate.

Tim, just make sure your car stays inspected...I will be checking it every morning at work!!!!
 

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First of all the Brookfield Chief has way too many excuses, he sounds like a little kid coming up with a fistful of excuses for why he didn't do his homework, hoping one will stick. All he should of said is it was an oversight and it's been addressed. The reason the truck probably hasn't been inspected is it's a piece of shit that wouldn't pass but the town hasn't provided the department with new vehicles, don't blame the fire department and sing his own praises for what he would have done if he hadn't been "t-boned".....that was pathetic and it made him sound foolish.
 

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Re: xx

Thimios315 said:
Pinkos you how some of our cruisers are.....there should be some type of "Inspection" beyond the one we do before we get in the cars. I guess someone is going to find out the hard way one of these shifts....
Knowing how Tim drives, this is scary to know. :shock:

Hope the Blue Streaks' brakes work.... :shock:
 

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Tim....you will be stopping the cars the Flintstone way!!!!

What kind of hard on is gonna write a V on another cruiser. I'm ticket happy but thats crazy.
BTD has ticketed our cruisers before. If I ever get one of their cars parked illegally, I'm calling City Side Towing
 
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