Letter: Why do you Hate the RPD? 

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Dear Reading Residents,

I was on a local online group and asked if they would like to donate a couple dollars to support our local police department by sending an Ice Cream truck down. There was no political motive behind it. It was ME. Alicia Williams, your friendly neighbor doing something thoughtful.

When I put the request out I was stunned when people threw money at me. I had people who were not even in the group, stopping by my home unannounced, and handing me money because of their appreciation for our hard working police department. These donors were Reading residents I didn’t even know. I had so many wonderful conversations with residents.  In six days I raised enough money to send different treats over. I sent snacks, meals, and dropped off a pallet of Gatorade. And yes, the Cookie Monstah Ice Cream Truck went down for an hour.

I (and the police) were well aware of the daily donation limits of $50 a day per employee. I would not have donated more and certainly, the police would not have accepted more. Everyone fully complied with the law.

The police were blown away that OUR community did this for them. I received text messages from spouses of officers thanking me for my efforts because people knew I was involved. All I wanted to do was send an ice cream truck and the donations took off. It was heartwarming, I was seeing neighbors getting behind something positive for our town.

Then I received a phone call. Someone had put in a public record request at town hall for the list of “Gifts for Police”. Someone went on a fishing expedition trying to find out what, and how much the police received in food donations, They wanted to know how much each item cost. I asked myself; Why would someone do this? Did they think our police would not follow the donation law? Or were they trying to find yet another public citizen to shame for supporting the police?

Are people in this town so calculated as to go pull this list of donations to try and “catch” the police department or fellow citizen violating the policy? Do people in this town HATE the police that much and resent citizens who dare to support police in entirely lawful ways? Showing appreciation for teachers with flowers, balloons, food donations, gifts – nary an eyebrow is raised, and no public records requests on those. But showing support is not OK for other town employees like the police? Who would do this? I was disheartened and dismayed that someone would do this so, I put in my own public records request to answer the question “Who”. Fun fact: this person was campaign manager for one of the sitting Select Board members. I’ll let you try and guess who — it might not be who you think.

If the intent was to catch the police violating a policy, their fishing expedition was foiled. To violate this policy of $50 per employee per day, with RPD, one would need to donate upwards of $3k a day. Obviously sending some meals and an ice cream truck, over different days, did not hit such a limit. Where was this fishing expedition going? If this was an innocent request, could this person not have reached out and asked me? They could have asked Chief Clark who was donating. He knows where to find me.

Considering that the town now has a recall election based in part on handling of the police chief appointment by sitting select board member, and considering the person who made this request already has been quite public about not supporting the recall, one might wonder if this was a futile attempt to make our police and/or police chief look…unethical? It does make one wonder what those who resent our police in this town, are going to try next….

Alicia Williams
Marla Lane

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