Haarde: Don't Point Fingers at Sudbury PD Regarding Lavender

The Board of Selectmen vice chair recently sat down Police Chief Richard Glavin and came away convinced the department did everything right.

He called on Town Manager Maureen Valente to ask Richard Glavin to take part in a meeting he wanted schedule for this week.

Instead, Haarde met with Glavin on Friday to ask questions related to the Lavender incident from May 8-9 and left convinced the officers who worked that night did everything by the book.

"The Chief gave all details, and I've been confident all along they did the right thing," Haarde said. "I've always had the utmost confidence in the  and I never questioned their actions or decisions. My frustration is that the people of Sudbury don’t know all the facts and that is causing many to question what happened."

"Over a month went by, and I was never consulted about this, being the only selectman who wasn’t there and being the vice chair," Haarde said. "We had a meeting on May 22, no one brought it up. I found out details from Sudbury Patch. Then I went to see the Chief, and I've spoken with him several times since hearing about it from Patch. We spoke again on Friday after hearing the chief was distraught over the situation."

At a recent Sudbury Public Schools Committee meeting, resident Bob Stein questioned the Committee as to their whereabouts that night. After Committee member Bob Armour admitted to being at Lavender for a short time, Chair Rich Robison ordered the remainder of the Committee to not answer.

"The names of the people inside Lavender (at the time of the violation) are not relevant to the police department’s investigation because they were not in violation of anything under the law, nor did the officers present know any of the patrons other than Selectman O’Brien," Lt. Scott Nix explained. 

Selectmen John Drobinski, who also admitted to being at Lavender prior to when the violation happened, tried to squash Haarde's motion to invite the chief, saying he was worried it would split the town further.

But Haarde said the town is asking for answers and deserves to get them.

"The police are in a very, very difficult position because town officials were there violating the law the police enforce," Haarde said. "The police did the right thing by the book, followed every procedure to the letter, but they are not the LAPD, who are going to come forward with some type of press conference. There’s not more to it from the police perspective."

Glavin said his officers acted responsibly that night and he supports their actions.

"I back the (officers) who were there that night," he said. "I stand by what they did. I commend them for taking appropriate action. We've cooperated (in sharing information) and stand by our position. We understand residents have concerns but we make decisions 365 days a year irrelevant of who is involved.  I am comfortable and confident that each decision was made free of any bias as some people are suggesting. If that requires a further investigation by a third party so be it, we will cooperate fully.”

Glavin said he's been especially upset over comments made about one of his officers from that night.

"Erin Corey went to Iraq to serve our country, and to read people call her 'Barney Fife' ... I'm irate over that," Glavin said. "That young lady served in Iraq ... don't call her 'Barney Fife.'"

Residents have also called for an explanation as to how officers that night allowed an alleged drunk driver who crashed her car that night, and claimed to be at Lavender, be cited for an OUI yet not be arrested.

After being transported to Emerson Hospital that night to receive treatment for injuries sustained in the accident, she was cited for her third OUI.

In documentation shared by Sudbury police, it's been learned it's not unprecedented for the department to cite someone for an OUI and not arrest that person immediately.

In the past two years, there have been six incidents, total, involving a motor vehicle accident with the operator transported to a hospital for sustained injuries where it was suspected they had been operating under the influence.  Five out of the six, to include the current incident, resulted in the charging of the operator versus arrest.

"In one out of the six incidents the operator was arrested due other circumstances to include uncooperative, then combative, behavior where two Sudbury officers and several Concord officers were necessary to quell his combative behavior while he was being treated at Emerson Hospital," Nix said.

Sudbury has several officers who have been employed in other police departments where similar circumstances have resulted in the same consistent actions.

"We have and will continue to cooperate fully with those individuals in providing clarity," Nix said. “It is imperative we remain neutral in forming our decisions.  If not, that would be to our detriment in promoting a successful prosecution. 

"From the onset of the circumstances the morning of May 9, we have handled the application of our policies and philosophies consistent with past practice.  Where we have deviated from past practice is in the amount of time spent justifying our actions.”

SueChap June 19, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I would agree. I think one of the most offensive things disclosed by the selectmen occured when Selectmen Drobinski said it was the restaurants fault. We cannot blame the restaurant (though an apology would be nice) and we can't blame the police. They have done a phenomenal job on public disclosure and release of the facts. If it weren't for them, very little would be known even today. On the flip side, of those known to be present that night, the selectmen refuse to answer questions, the Town Manager goes on vacation, the SPS School Committee chair advises the committee not to acknowledge who was present that night. These are public officials, elected and appointed. It's like watching a small town version of the Fast and Furious debacle. While I have not heard anyone question the police, some on these blogs have been disrespectful which anyone who reads these has to look beyond. The police have been more than open and I applaud their efforts. Beyond the police department, our representation, employeed and elected should answer questions in open forum. I cannot understand why this so complex.
SkimThreePercent June 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Keep in mind folks, Sudbury BOS did not answer questions in open forum even BEFORE Lavendergate. The public would only be allowed to address King DroBrien and Queen Valente after submitting written documents well in advance of the meeting to allow them time to prepare for in all likelyhood would be from their perspective embarassing, pesky and annoying questions.With this protocol, most stuff could be swept under the table. So now, after Lavendergate who really expects DroBrien to welcome open forums? Nobody. There are no facts which if and when they see the light of day, are going to put lipstick on this pig. Sudbury Public Schools until recently allowed exchange of thought. Who would have ever imagined how much we would miss Beeler and Bracket? Then there's LSRHS where the trouble really began. I'm sore they are enjoying the fact that they now look good relative to the Town and SPS. Fast and Furious, good one! Time to change Town Council.
RA2 June 19, 2012 at 01:43 PM
"The names of the people inside Lavender (at the time of the violation) are not relevant to the police department’s investigation because they were not in violation of anything under the law" This is the quote from Lt. Nix. So it seems Bob that your concerns are mute. They are adults and can go to a bar, have a drink, not break the law. Case closed. Time to stop the witch hunt.
Rob June 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Very good points. I believe that the lack of information and transparency is what leads to people finger pointing. The lack of raw data can skew any conversation and that happened here. What is more concerning to me was the effort to obfuscate data rather then the transparency.
sla271320 June 19, 2012 at 04:03 PM
If you don't think that the SPS School Committee allowed for "exchange of thought", then watch the sudburytv videos from May 30 and June 6. At the June 6 meeting, there was altogether over an hour dedicated to Open Forum.
RA2 June 19, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Most curious....how the tune has changed. I believe that it was Mr. Semple that vociferously stated that it was an American citizen's right to protested anonymously. Bob, I would be happy to speak with you, except every time that I have I need to have my moral compass re-aligned. Let me illustrate. You give a tax deductible donation to the PO of you child's elementary school and feel that you have covered the additional portion of his needs, which it does not. But you rail against raising property tax $300 to cover the needs of all students in our school system(SPS & LS). As a cost saving measure the town, LS and SPS employees were forced into a lesser quality health insurance plan which requires increased out of pocket expenses, so basically costs were shifted from the town budget to the individual employee resulting in an effective pay cut. Then the FinCom asked the schools and town to participate in a budget exercise w/o a cost of living increase, not taking into account in the model that all town employees have just had a pay cut. Oh you argue, they will receive their step that will compensate for this cut, what about the approximately 30% of SPS teachers and the 40% of LS teachers who are at top step - our best and most experienced. Then this budget is passed at town meeting which codifies these cuts. If the respective school committees agree to give the teachers a cost of living raise this will result in teacher layoffs and even more crowded classes. You represent me ??
kyle mccarthy June 19, 2012 at 04:50 PM
While I tend think that Bob Stein at times loses credibility with the manner in which he presents his message, he is spot on. The reality here is that the same person (Larry O'Brien) who speaks about doing the right thing at DARE graduations all over town, has taken a "do as I say, not as I do" position. While he may not have broken the law (depends on how much he had to drink before getting in his car), he continues to break the bond of trust as one of our elected officials.
Robert D. Abrams June 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I'm just another Bob who will side with Bob Haarde and Bob Fucci; SPD has done everything right in this matter. Those who would use Lt. Nix's statement to exonerate the occupants at Lavender fail to recognize the difference between wrongful activity and criminal activity. It is not a crime for friends to let friends drive drunk. That conduct, however, is wrong. When an employer is involved that employer is subject to civil liability in the form money damages. Here the employer, the Town of Sudbury, acting through its Board of Selectmen should take disciplinery action against the employee, her immediate superior, and their ultimate superior. But wait, except for Bob Haarde, they were all there. That the public demands more answers and that Haarde, the only untainted person in command, is pursuing those answers is not a witch hunt. RA2 wants the case closed. We don't who RA2 is. Perhaps RA2 was there too
Mike Jones June 19, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I find it sad that grown adults use their political powers to deflect the real issue of one of their own. They are protecting their hangout and being secretive. Transparency is the key to success in government. Yet, they sit on their thrones passing judgement, being condescending and blaming others. There should be no witch hunt or blameins someone else because of hatred towards the other "click". Cops have a hard enough job to do as it is....even in a small town. The person was still charged and issued a citation in lieu of detention. The only diference is she didnt get a mugshot photo and get released 8 hours later. State wide and even nation wide the police cite people for OUI instead of booking them. People are allowed to go out and have a rip roaring good time as long as they pre plan for the ride home. Stop blaming, other, the diner and the police. The only people who did right in this whole :mountain out of a mole hill" situation was Officer Corey. I say elect her into office as she is the only one who has acted professional, transparent and unbiased despite the politics of the Town and get rid of the "clicks" that wave their sceptors around.
Robert Fucci (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 05:50 PM
For the record ... I have not taken a stance regarding anything that has happened in town the last two months ... SPS, BofS, Lavender, PD, etc. I'm just reporting what's been going on. Those who wish to speak are heard through my reports. Those who don't wish to speak have that right and I don't hold an opinion on whether they should or shouldn't speak. So please don't say you "side" with me because I'm not taking sides.
Publius June 19, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Thanks Robert for doing the additional research on this. As others have said, the police department is clearly operating well, and it does not appear that there was any additional influence placed on them by the BOS. Great job!
Edward Stark June 19, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I totally agree with Bob Stein's methodology. Our school committees have clearly proven that they are unable to manage taxpayer money over the last 10+ years which has obviously caught up with them. The PTO's on the other hand have proven that they can manage money and spend it effectively and efficiently. So who would you prefer to give your money to? Very easy decision to make here folks. I like Bob Stein will go with the PTO's.
onlyin01776 June 19, 2012 at 08:18 PM
hard not to take a look at the police department. if beth was a 19 year old man from marlborough, no matter what the staffing was, he would have been evaluated and spent the night in jail...lots of questions remain
dee June 20, 2012 at 12:46 AM
Has Lavender been cited for over serving? Typically this occurs if a patron is over served. It usually results in a loss of liquor license for several days etc., depending how many times the violation has occured. Usually the ABC is involved. It is the responsibility of the establishment to ensure that their patrons get home safely. Clearly this did not occur... as someone quite familiar with these rules, I am surprised it has not been brought up.
SueChap June 20, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Dee -- Maureen is looking for someone to review the rules, or so she was. Perhaps if you are familiar with the rules, the information could be provided to you and you could give an opinion or at least identify which additional questions need to be asked?
kyle mccarthy June 20, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Bob Stein, there was NO need to respond to my comment to make it about you, that was my point. Uggh it is so frustrating because you have some good points, but they get lost in the fact that the perception is that it is about you, rather than the issues you are bringing up. Take what I am telling you to heart and perhaps you will be more effective is garnering support if you were not so over the top and divisive. Under those circumstances, you are no better than the leadership you are railing against. So please do not respond to my comment.
YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh June 20, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Bob Haarde and Robert Fucci deserve credit for getting the questions about the Police response to the two legal issues that occurred as part of the "Lavender incident". I assume that any other legal issues, such as over serving, would have been considered and dismissed. The establishment has been cited and the alleged OUI is now a matter for the courts. If there are any other crimes, those would also be a matter for the Police and courts. If the "Lavender incident" was an official Town sponsored event, then Town Officials would be responsible and should answer questions. However, a reasonably objective person would conclude that this was a group of individuals gathering after Town Meeting. I agree that there is one issue that is Town business: Selectman O'Brien's apparent conflict of interest in reviewing Lavender's license. Again, Bob Haarde should be commended for doing the legwork to propose a way to address that. I have no idea if it is the best way or not, but, any reasonable proposal is helpful. If actual crimes are a matter for the police and it was not an official Town event, then it is not Town business. That leaves the behavior of individuals and since actual crimes are a matter for the police, what is the basis for further questioning? If there is no clear rationale that is in the best interest of the community as a whole, then this is by definition a witch hunt based on personal animosity or political gain or both.
Enuff June 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Yon, I am not sure why you are concerned about the offcial meeting or not. Two Selectmen, the Town Manager and others entered a bar at 11pm which would be closed to the general public. You can call that whatever you like. They were still there at 2:00am (one hour after the State liquor law). I find it hard to believe that the bar owner was not influeneced to re-open the bar and let the patrons stay very late. If that was myself and 20 friends we would not have a chance at getting into the bar never mind being served. This is more of an ethical issue than a legal issue. The selectmen and Town Manager got preferential treatment from Lavender.
SkimThreePercent June 20, 2012 at 04:22 PM
It's a well known fact going back long before Town Meeting that a very cozy relationship exists between Selectman O'Brien and this establishment. Mr. O'Brien hangs out there on a regular basis. He is treated here as a VIP. In fact, many commented before the election, that should he win, "party at Lavender". Also well know is the fact that Mr. O'Brien had fallen behind significantly in his Federal Income Tax obligations. This story did not start on May 8, 2012. It goes back many, many years predating O'Brien. There are actually two witch hunts in progress, the one against O'Brien and the other against the reformist group led by Haarde. Olive branch? No thanks. How about some transparency?
dee June 20, 2012 at 05:48 PM
It is a legal issue as well. The driver that received the 3rd OUI offense was intoxicated and identified Lavender as the establishment that she came from. Even if she did not drink at Lavender, and was at another establishment prior, Lavender is still responsible to ensure that she does not operate a motor vehicle. It is not know what her BAC was, but one would be curious to know. The fact that she could not identify her license (giving her SS card), and could not see the officer 2 ft in front of her, is a huge red flag that she had more than just a buzz. It is easy to file a complaint with the ABCC, and the Chief of Police should consider this as part of the investigation so this does NOT happen again. No bartender/mgr/owner likes to shut anyone off, but it is the responsibility of the establishment to do so. Obviously they must have felt pressure not to do so, which is why this whole matter is such a disaster to begin with. Bottom line: Lavender is taking the fall for all of this, but unfortunately, they lacked better judgment and put the lives of innocent people and the driver in jeopardy. http://www.mass.gov/abcc/.
dee June 20, 2012 at 05:57 PM
SueChap: Here are my questions: Can the employee or owner provide details with what she was served? What time did she arrive approx.? At what time did she depart? Is Lavender willing to provide receipts from the night detailing 'what' was served? Did the employee observe the patron to be intoxicated prior or during her visit? Is the employee properly trained in the service of alcohol? Responsible alcohol training is not mandated by the state of Massachusetts. However, some local cities and municipalities have made responsible beverage server training mandatory. In addition, many Massachusetts Insurance companies have made certification mandatory for the bars to purchase liquor liability insurance. This is not a witch hunt, but the public are all at risk if this is how they conduct business. Most likely, they felt the stress of the 'who' was in their establishment... I feel bad for the employees/mgmt/owner of Lavender. They have been left with all of the legal ramifications thanks to (some) of our Town officials/employees.
Kirsten Vandijk June 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
I like the notion of a "Reformist" group. I rings true...


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