Friday, January 12, 2007

Police seniority

In my story this week on the town government's 2008 budget proposal there's a section on the Stowe Police Department. After whacking over $25,000 from the police budget this week, one member of the Stowe Select Board raised the issue of cutting the full-time police force.

Any discussion about that will happen in executive session, behind closed doors, because they'd be talking about specific officers. Select board members said they'd prefer to do this, if at all, through officer retirements, as opposed to lay-offs.

Here's a breakdown of how long each the 11 officers has been at the police department, as outlined in the 2005 police union contract. I've updated the numbers for 2007:

• Ed Stewart - 30 years

• Ed Webster - 27 years

• Bruce Merriam - 22 years

• Steve Stewart - 22 years

• Chris McHugh - 17 years

• Bruce Emerson - 14 years

• David Knight - 9 years

• Loren Thresher - 9 years

• Chris Rogers - 9 years

• Fred Whitcomb - 7 years

• Michael Dougherty - 4 years

TOTAL: 170 years
AVERAGE PER OFFICER: 15.45 years

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stowe crime in 2006

A cellular telephone is lost on the Stowe Recreation Path. A motorist is charged with drunken driving along Route 100. A loose dog wanders onto someone’s property and is impounded.

The Stowe Police Department handled these and many other incidents last year, 4,863 incidents in all. That’s an average of just over 13 incidents per day.

Most incident categories are at the same levels as in previous years, said Stowe Police Chief Ken Kaplan.

The most noticeable change in 2006 involved a handful of high-profile, “brazen” drug rings in the area, Kaplan said.

In November, Stowe police and officers from several other agencies raided a house off Sylvan Park Road in Stowe, arresting six people and seizing guns, cash and cocaine.

The presence of drug rings in the Stowe area has fueled other criminal activity, too.

“There are so many druggies running around now — heroin is so prevalent throughout the county,” Kaplan said. “A lot of little break-ins happen so they can sell it and get a hit of heroin.”

Here’s a look at some of the top incident categories of 2006, and how many local police responded to from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31:

• Animal problems: 394

• Lost or found property: 194

• Thefts: 190

• Car accidents: 188

• Frauds: 183

• DUIs: 98

• Vandalism: 43

• Burglaries: 34

• Possessing drugs: 34

• Fire calls: 30

• Assaults: 15

• Forgeries: 13

• Thefts (vehicles): 6

• Embezzlements: 4

• Lewd conduct: 3

Police also handle many service calls, such as house alarms, and complaints or questions from residents.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Police budget in brief

It's the most expensive town department in Stowe. This year, the Stowe Police Department is proposing a $1.41 million budget for the fiscal 2008 year, up 5.5 percent over the current one. Like every other town department, police requests are being reviewed by the Stowe Select Board in preparation for Town Meeting.

Police, being the most expensive department, are sure to be scrutinized further in the coming months. A few highlights of the department's proposed budget:

Expenses

• The salary of Ken Kaplan, Stowe's police chief, goes from $71,704 to $76,366, up by 6.5 percent.
• Wages for the department's police officers goes from $542,276 to $568,568, up by 4.8 percent.
• Overtime pay for police goes from $82,912 to $93,737, up by 13 percent.
• Worker's compensation insurance goes from $26,222 to $42,004, up by 60 percent.
• Health insurance goes from $147,113 to $161,346, up by 9.6 percent.

Income

• Payment to supervise special events goes from $130,000 to $135,398, up 4.1 percent.
• Court fines goes from $30,000 to $34,946, up 16 percent.

Budget trends

• Since the budget for fiscal 2005 to the current one that's proposed, police spending has gone up 24.6 percent.
• Since the budget for fiscal 2005 to the current one that's proposed, police income has gone up 28.8 percent.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Tractor-trailor accident


A big tractor-trailor truck carrying granite went off the road around 2 p.m. today (Friday) on Route 100 near the Ricketson Farm. I was just down there as police and fire officials swarmed the area. A chunk of the Route 100 guardrail is bent in half and traffic in backed up in both directions. The tractor-trailor is owned by Bellavance Transportation of Barre.

Not sure if there were any injuries in the accident; I did see an ambulance take off shortly after I got there. I'll have the details in the next Stowe Reporter. Avoid Route 100 if possible; police are diverting northbound traffic onto Stagecoach Road as a detour. Scanner reports are saying they're opening Route 100 up to one lane of traffic southbound.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Police Blotter (Oct. 31-Nov. 6)

Stowe Police Statistics

Total incidents: 75
Total tickets: 16
Total warnings: 47

From recent reports:

Oct. 22, Krystle Ryder, 20, of Morrisville was charged with driving with a suspended license.
Oct. 31, Max Borsiczky of Stowe reported a cellular telephone lost in town.
Oct. 31, Troy Robinson of Stowe reported a wallet lost off North Road.
Nov. 1, a dog was impounded off Cemetery Road.
Nov. 1, 5 Star Video reported burglars had swiped $200 from the store’s cash register. Police said there were no signs of forced entry.
Nov. 1, Jeff Thompson of Stowe reported 10 political signs stolen from a lawn off North Marshall Road.
Nov. 1, a dog was impounded off Barnes Hill Road.
Nov. 2, Kevin Ericson of Wilmington reported fraudulent use of an ATM card.
Nov. 3, police said an assault involved two or three students at Stowe High School. No one was charged.
Nov. 3, Dianne Tanner, 48, of Marshfield was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.
Nov. 4, James Wheelock, 24, of Johnson was charged with disorderly conduct and transported for detoxification.
Nov. 5, Nicole Boilard of Maine reported a bracelet lost off Main Street.
Nov. 5, police responded to a report of a possible rabid raccoon off Mountain Road, near Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Police couldn’t find the animal.
Nov. 5, Dolorez Macy of Stowe reported a deck umbrella was stolen along Pleasant Street.
Nov. 5, police found a set of keys off South Main Street.
Nov. 6, police responded to a report of a possible rabid raccoon off Mountain Road. Police couldn’t find the animal.
Nov. 6, four 14-year-olds were charged with petit larceny and unlawful mischief. Two are from Stowe, the others from Wolfeboro, N.H., and Elmore.
Nov. 6, police shot a possible rabid raccoon off Park Street.
Nov. 6, police responded to a report of a possible rabid raccoon off Maple Street. Police couldn’t find the animal.
Nov. 6, Huntly Armbruster of Stowe reported a cellular telephone lost off Park Street.
Nov. 6, Jan Wadds of Stowe reported vandalism of a canopy off Mountain Road.
Nov. 7, Susan LeClair of Stowe reported a wallet lost off North Road.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Scanner traffic: A close encounter of the fox kind

Sorry I haven't posted in, well, almost a month. I've found that's the trouble with blogging "on the side" as a reporter -- there are periods when I just don't have the time (or don't make the extra time) to make sure I blog regularly.

That being said, here's a curious report I heard on the scanner last night: Local rescue and police were responding between 4:30-5 p.m. to a report of two people who had apparently been bitten by a fox. The fox encounter happened at the Trapp Family Lodge. It didn't sound like those bitten were in serious danger, but it goes to show what happens sometimes when human and animal meet. I'll probably follow up on this one in the police blotter for the coming week's newspaper.

On a related note, reporter Lisa McCormack takes a look this week at the prevalence of skunks in our area. The clincher comes at the end of a sidebar she wrote along with the story about her own recent encounter: "And Snuggles’ nose still smells skunky when she cuddles up with us in bed at night."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Police Blotter (Sept. 18-24)

Stowe police statistics

Total incidents: 83
Total tickets: 16
Total warnings: 36

From recent reports:

Aug. 31, David Stafford, 28, of Stowe was charged with driving with a suspended license.
Sept. 4, Philip Morey, 38, of Morrisville was charged with home-improvement fraud.
Sept. 11, Lynn Pesaturo, 29, of Stowe was charged with possession of marijuana.
Sept. 13, Ryan Moriarty, 50, of Morrisville was charged with careless and negligent driving.
Sept. 18, Erik Mogensen of New York reported a cellular telephone was lost in Stowe.
Sept. 18, Kenneth Stoudt III, 27, of Pennsylvania was charged with home-improvement fraud. Police have requested an arrest warrant.
Sept. 19, Douglas Lefedbure, 48, of Stowe was transported for detoxification.
Sept. 19, Donald Landerwehrl of Stowe reported an iPod was stolen at Stowe High School.
Sept. 20, police found a wedding ring off Sunset Street.
Sept. 21, Lindsey Owen of Stowe reported a wallet was stolen at the Backyard Tavern.
Sept. 21, A.J.’s Ski and Sports reported the theft of a vest.
Sept. 22, Arnold Marek of Stowe reported vandalism of a "Tarrant/Senate" sign off Moscow Road.
Sept. 22, John Hodska of Stowe reported the theft of a "for sale by owner" sign.
Sept. 23, Patricia McKibben of Waterbury reported a baby stroller was lost on the Stowe Rec Path.
Sept. 23, a dog was impounded off Pucker Street.