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Something different every day for officers
By Lisa Gentes / Daily News Staff
Sunday, July 10, 2005

SOUTHBOROUGH -- The two Brazilian painters looked frightened as they sat on the side of Rte. 9 waiting for the tow truck to pick up their green Jeep.

And they seemed a little uncomfortable as they were frisked in front of the police cruiser.

"Manos aqui," Southborough Police Sgt. Sean James calmly said to the two, as they each placed their hands on the cruiser for a search.

James, a California native and 20-year law enforcement veteran, calmed them a bit, using Spanish to help explain to the men, who didn't speak English, why he pulled them over. The men speak Portuguese but were able to understand James' Spanish.

The incident happened during James' 4 to midnight shift on Thursday. Around 10:30 p.m. he hit the sirens and lights, pulling over the Jeep's driver for following too closely behind another car on Rte. 9 east.

"Amigo," he said as he further interrogated the driver in Spanish.

James wrote up the driver for driving without a license. He then took the pair to the police station to wait for a ride home.

The married father of three has been on the 16-member Southborough Police Department for the past four years, working his way up from patrolman to sergeant.

On Thursday night, as he showed a reporter around during a ride-along, it was just himself, a patrolman and a dispatcher on duty.

Stopping three traffic violators and investigating a car break-in, the sergeant had a tight schedule.

"Eighty percent of the job is routine, 20 percent is high intensity," the 40-year-old said while driving in his cruiser. "You go about your business and have to be prepared for whatever happens."

"Something different happens every day," he said. "That's the best part of this job."

James pulled into the Southborough Commuter Rail Station, checking for any suspicious people or cars during the heightened terror alert.

The station was clear and he headed back out on street patrol.

At 8:45 p.m., James pulled over a blue Nissan Altima with a burned out headlight and expired registration
"How you doing?" he asked as he approached the car on Mitchell Street.

That driver had renewed his registration online and didn't know his light was out. He got off with a verbal warning.

And at 9:10 p.m., a man driving his wife's Toyota Highlander ran a red light on Central Street. The sergeant issued him a written warning, after checking his license and plate number.

He also came to the rescue of the driver's infant son, who dropped his pacifier out of the SUV's window while his dad was being written up. With a police flashlight lighting the pavement, the blue pacifier was saved.

James said pulling people over isn't about tickets, it's about safety.

"We're in the business of education," he said. "We want to make people aware. The purpose of traffic enforcement is safety and preventing accidents."

Shortly before 10 p.m., a call came in for a break-in at The Crossings Plaza on Turnpike Road. A couple, parked side by side, had their car windows smashed. The woman's purse was stolen, along with her wallet and credit cards. Luckily, the robbers only grabbed an empty computer bag from the man's car.

James checked for fingerprints and Officer Jim DeLuca took a report.

The sergeant told the couple it's quite possible the robber would use a credit card, which the police could use to help track the criminal down.

"I'm optimistic," he said.
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