In a police department where promotions are at stake, its a dog eat dog world. Especially, when it comes to the rank of Police Chief.
There are those within the police department that believe the rank of Chief of Police is above and beyond the reach of disciplinary action. During the past five years Westfield town attorneys have been paid by taxpayer dollars to defend the actions of Westfield Police Chief John M. Parizeau despite evidence indicating the police chief allegedly violated departmental policy he created. While the Police Chief goes unpunished, other officers, not all, are held accountable for their indiscretions. Remember, theft by a police officer won't get you fired but forgetting to clock out of work will. It pays to be friends with Police Chief Parizeau, if you're a rookie, you're screwed.
|Police Chief John M. Parizeau|
Captain Cliff Auchter has been in the running for the title of Police Chief twice in his career. The first time he lost out to Bernard Tracy who lasted less than six years. After several complaints and lawsuits were filed against Tracy, town officials looked to replace Tracy with someone that could restore dignity and respect to the Westfield Police Department. Did town attorney's determine they could no longer defend Tracy's actions? Are they stumbling upon the same set of circumstances with the current Police Chief?
Cliff Auchter was once again a candidate for the job of Police Chief in 2005, but again lost out to Parizeau, an officer who initially did not want to participate in the selection process for Chief. What made Parizeau change his mind? Did Town Administrator Jim Gildea not want to recommend Auchter to the Town Council for the job? After all, common practice was to choose a Police Chief from the rank of Captain of which Westfield has two. If Parizeau opted out, that left Auchter. Some will say the "fix" was on.
Here we are six years later. The same amount of time that Tracy lasted as Police Chief. History has a habit of repeating itself. Once again, Westfield has a Police Chief embroiled in controversy. A Police Chief facing complaints and grievances as a result of his conduct, as well as an alleged lawsuit and others sure to follow. A Police Chief without the support of a majority of his officers is ineffective.
When will Westfield town officials including Town Administrator Jim Gildea, realize that self-preservation ultimately costs the Westfield Taxpayer? Bad decisions have cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That brings us back to the current ongoing Internal Affairs investigation. No suspects, all witnesses. Since when does an internal affairs investigation ensue without a suspect, without an accused? Some would call that a fishing expedition. Throw out the net and hope to catch something. Who authorized this investigation? Police Chief Parizeau? Town Administrator Jim Gildea? Mayor Andy Skibitsky? Who can forget Mayor Skibitsky professing his total support of Police Chief Parizeau despite the fact that Parizeau continues to cost the taxpayer's of Westfield as a result of some of his misguided and poor decisions.
So while countless hours are spent by the police department's Internal Affairs Bureau chasing after the source of information that they believe lurks within the police department, the Westfield Taxpayer is left to foot the bill of the investigation. Ranking police department personnel and other town officials are more willing to suppress the information and cover up their mistakes than they are willing to fix the problems within.
So much for Transparency.