Some Issues Involving Records access

November 25, 1994

Old Brookville Police Department
5701 Northern Boulevard
Old Brookville, New York 11545-2797

Chief Smith,

I am writing to inform you of two unpleasant incidents that took place Wednesday, 11/23/94 at about 12:30 PM.

I went to the office of the Village Clerk of Brookville, Jean Pailet. The purpose of my visit was the inspection of some government documents. He refused to admit me to the office and bodily shoved me off of the front porch.

The second outrage took place a few minutes later, at the police station, when I attempted to report this. Sergeant Piampiano refused to provide any sort of complaint form and stated that if I did provide him with a narrative, I would then be arrested for attempted burglary, since that was what my visit to the village offices obviously constituted.

There are several problems here. First is the problem posed by village officials using their residences as government offices. When this practice has been questioned at public meetings, residents (and others) have always given profuse assurances that these offices are as accessible and as open as those found at any municipal office building, and that documents stored there will always be made available, in accordance with New York State law. It is noteworthy that such officials receive tax abatements on the office portion of the house, and, of course, these functionaries are certainly not volunteers. They are well compensated for this use of the premises.

Sgt. Piampiano claimed the opposite, stating that the Village Clerk was under no obligation to admit me or anyone else. If and when a problem occurs, it seems clear that residents and other persons with legitimate business to conduct at these sites, can expect no help whatever from the OBPD.

His abusive and threatening manner was inexcusable under any circumstances. As a former resident of Brookville, where I lived for 37 years, and as the head of a local organization, such abuse cannot be ignored. It is interesting to note that, over the years, I have heard similar reports from various other residents who were outraged by the treatment that they received at the hands of your underlings. Usually, this took place when residents appeared at the police station relative to routine, trivial matters, such as obtaining permits. Clearly, the OBPD has “an attitude problem.” This stands in such stark contrast to the reassuring, friendly letters that you (and the PBA) sent us during the last major renegotiation of the police contracts.

I will wait until one week from today, for any reply that you may wish to make, before I distribute my complaint further.