Friday, May 24, 2013

Our Friend, the Police Chief

Ed Moore, the new chief of the Hudson Police Department, met with residents of the First Ward on Thursday night at Basilica Hudson--a meeting arranged by First Ward aldermen Dave Marston and Nick Haddad. Among the reassuring things Moore told the First Ward community was he had been an unusual state trooper. He didn't like writing tickets and had written his last one in 1986. He shared his opinion that the police car was one of the worst inventions for municipal policing and made a commitment to putting more police officers on the street on foot--not only on Warren Street but also in the neighborhoods. He spoke of law enforcement as an art not a science--something he said he had learned from older officers when he started out in law enforcement thirty years ago and which is now cutting edge: community policing.

On the minds of many at the meeting was a burglary that happened last Sunday night on Allen Street. Moore's response was empathetic and reassuring. He pointed out that the person responsible for somewhere between fifteen and twenty burglaries had been caught and was now in prison. Moore shared the fact that his own home had once been burglarized and declared, "I hate burglars. I really want to get 'em and stop 'em."

Melissa Auf der Maur spoke of the nuisance and danger to people created by the gravel trucks making their way to the port. She talked of the dust kicked up by the trucks, the hostile attitude of the truck traffic, and the harrowing challenge of trying to make one's way on foot the few yards from the Basilica to riverfront park with trucks approaching from all directions. Bob Meching and Paul Barrett added that the gravel trucks were often not covered and they exceeded the speed limit. Moore pointed out that are "volumes of laws that pertain to commercial vehicles" and the state police do commercial vehicle enforcement. "That's easy," he said, speaking of getting state troopers to set up a temporary checkpoint in Hudson.

A comment by Phil Osattin, recounting a disparaging and insulting remark made by a Hudson police officer about the 100 block of Warren Street, led to a number of comments about the behavior and general attitude toward the city displayed by police officers. When Marston suggested that police officers should be required to live in Hudson, Moore responded, "If the rule applied, I'd be out." He went on to suggest that such a mandate might be impractical given Hudson's small size and relatively large number of police officers. (Moore had earlier remarked that the ratio of police officers to residents in Hudson was among the highest in the state.) When Victor Mendolia suggested that Hudson police officers were reluctant to live in Hudson because they feared their families might be targeted for retaliation, Moore said he didn't buy into that idea.

More refreshing news: Our new police chief seems to think that an inordinate number of parking tickets are issued in Hudson. [Full disclosure: There's an unpaid parking ticket in the Gossipsmobile right now, received two weeks ago when the Historic Preservation Commission meeting ran more than two hours.]


  1. The meeting at Basilica was a great first step. Needless to say, these types of meetings should be held in every ward and they should continue. People in the community know what is going on and they know where the problems are. Having a police force that listens to the concerns of the community can only lead to better things.

    All of our elected officials should take the lead that Aldermen Marston and Haddad have begun and organize similar meetings in their Wards. There are very different problems in every Ward. The very good news, is that we have a Police Chief who is looking to understand those problems.

    Things can only get better.

  2. I applaud putting police officers on the street on foot.
    It's the next best thing to them living in the town they are hired to protect.

    Hope to meet our new chief one day. Mr. Moore sounds unusually refreshing for Hudson!

    1. Exactly what I told the Chief in private, that he is "a breath of fresh air."

      I've been saying for years that we need the specific approach that he espouses. You can't imagine my surprise and delight that he's totally into it.

      Unfortunately the other half of the theory requires that code enforcement do its job maintaining a visual impression of order. So the new theory is already at odds with the old regime, which lets the rules slide until bad habits become the city's new norm.

      The sooner we're all aware of the canceling-out effect the code office can have on such a positive model of law enforcement, the better for the new experiment and the better for us all.

      Chief Moore has my total support.