In the May 31st edition of Westfield's local newspaper, a "Letter to the Editor" submitted by resident Christopher FitzPatrick, criticizes the process that took place to arrest a citizen with an outstanding warrant after police had determined that a warrant justifying the arrest existed. Fitzpatrick asks, "Is targeting ordinary citizens in this fashion, apparently for the purpose of raising revenue, what Westfield residents want our police force to be doing?
FitzPatrick appears to question the random computer checks on license plates as a violation of ones quality of life experience only when the computer check reveals a warrant for the arrest of the registered owner of the motor vehicle bearing the license plate checked by police.
The fact of the matter is that the Westfield police do not check license plates or arrest citizens for the "purpose of raising revenue." They do it because it is their job and the in-car computer terminal is just another tool that has enabled officers to do their jobs more effectively.
FitzPatrick criticizes the Westfield Leader for not questioning police behavior in it's "news"paper. The questioning of anyone's behaviour is typically left to those submitting a Letter to the Editor and other times, in editorial pieces written by the newspaper. Both have appeared in the Westfield Leader in the past and TFoTM does not doubt they will appear in the future. The veracity of the editorials may sometimes be tempered, but nonetheless they do appear.
Outstanding warrants must be acted upon to ensure that a violation is accounted for by way of a court appearance and a fine. To suggest that a person "frequently" does not know that there is a warrant out there for one's arrest suggests that the court system fails to notify a citizen of the warrant. Unless an address change or post office mix-up causes a warrant notice to go undelivered to it's intended recipient, or a person borrowing the motor vehicle of another fails to notify the vehicle owner in the event the vehicle receives a parking ticket, warrants typically make it into the hands of the suspect citizen. The Westfield police blotter is open to the public and newspaper reporters can pick and choose from the blotter to print what they wish.
One of TFoTM's original stories posted in December 2010 details the arrest of a citizen that questions the motives of then police Chief Bernard Tracy, and the town council, at a time when citizens were voicing their opinions for and against the town's proposal to build parking decks.
The arrest of James Abate (the outspoken citizen arrested at a town council meeting in 2004), albeit for a valid warrant(s), should be the primary focus of those, including Mr. FitzPatrick, questioning police behavior and the tactics they use. An officer doing a random computer check on their in-car computer, or "fishing" as most police officers call it, is a common practice that should not alarm anyone, except those with warrants for their arrest. TFoTM does not believe, for one second, that the arrest of James Abate was done as a result of a "random" computer check.
Go to the following link to read "The Arrest of an Outspoken Citizen."
Go to the following link to read Christopher Fitzpatrick's "Letter to the Editor" appearing in the Westfield Leader newspaper:
This site is a free service for communication, self-expression and freedom of speech. We believe this site increases the availability of information, encourages healthy debate, and makes possible new connections between people.
While reporting on topics, we will ask the questions some newspapers don't. We will print the questions that some newspapers won't.
All sources of information are confidential.
Email The Fact of The Matter at:
Email The Fact of The Matter at: