Police Beat
Chief Atstupenas
On Saturday, April 30, 2011, the Blackstone Police Department along with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will coordinate a second nationwide one-day collaborative effort to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation's homes. This national initiative will provide an opportunity for the public to surrender pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications to law enforcement officers for destruction. Expired, unused, or unwanted controlled substances in our homes are a potential source of supply for the increasing abuse of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. The collection point will be at the senior center again this year. Please see next month's paper for times. If for any reason residents need to drop off items prior to this date, please contact Lieutenant Gilmore for arrangements.
Blackstone Police Join Forces with State Police in OUI Checkpoint
By Lieutenant Gregory Gilmore
The Blackstone Police recently joined up with the MA State Police in a joint enforcement of OUI (Operating Under the Influence) of laws here in Blackstone. On November 23, 2007 the state police BAT Mobile set up on Main Street in Blackstone and conducted a sobriety checkpoint. The enforcement effort involved coordination through both departments and was considered a successful event. There were a considerable number of arrests for drunk driving as a result of the enforcement. The state police BAT Mobile (short for Blood Alcohol Testing) is a state of the art vehicle equipped to analyze and process suspects in the enforcement. Suspects were either transported to the Blackstone Police Department or to the Millbury state police barracks for further processing and detention. The Blackstone Police Department actively sought the help of the state police in helping the department try and curb OUI incidents as well as enforce the law throughout the town. It was a proactive step that both departments found beneficial. The MA State Police indicated they would be interested in returning for further enforcement soon.

Carbon Monoxide Safety
With the arrival of colder weather, public safety agencies inevitably see a rise in carbon monoxide poisoning and deaths. This unfortunate rise coincides with two major producers of carbon monoxide (CO) in and around the home: home heating vapors and motor vehicle exhaust fumes. Let's first discuss what carbon monoxide is: it is an odorless, colorless, deadly gas. It can kill you before you know it because you can't see it, taste it or smell it. At lower levels of exposure, it can cause health problems. Some people may be more vulnerable to CO poisoning such as fetuses, infants, children, senior citizens and those with heart or lung problems. At higher levels CO will cause unconsciousness and death. Carbon Monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of the fossil fuels - gas, oil, coal and wood used in boilers, engines, oil burners, gas fires, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and open fires. Dangerous amounts of CO can accumulate when, as a result of poor installation, poor maintenance or failure or damage to an appliance, the fuel is not burned properly, or when rooms are poorly ventilated and the carbon monoxide is unable to escape. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without fever). They include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. Everyone should know the symptoms of CO poisoning. At moderate levels, you or your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. Death can occur if these levels persist for an extended period of time. Low levels can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea, and mild headaches, and may have longer term effects on your health. Since many of these symptoms are similar to those of the flu, food poisoning, or other illnesses, you may not think that CO poisoning could be the cause. People who have had long term exposure often state that while on vacation or away from their home for extended periods of healthier and alert. This is due to the replenishment of oxygen to their systems. It's something to be aware of if anyone you know experiences similar effects. What can you do to avoid this deadly condition? 1) Inspect all fossil fuel burning appliances regularly to be sure they are burning as efficiently as possible 2) make sure all exhaust vents, pipes, ductwork are sealed properly and vented to the exterior of the home 3) If you need to warm up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting the ignition. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine (generator, tube heater) indoors, even if garage doors are open?fumes can migrate back inside the home 4) Never sit in a running vehicle for extended periods of time (listening to the radio, on the phone, etc) 5) Inspect exhaust pipes/mufflers on your vehicles to be sure they are not rotted and leaking 6) Make sure the tip of the exhaust on your vehicle is not blocked by snow or snow drifts. Please use caution during the upcoming colder months, and don't become a statistic.

Blackstone Police to Conduct Crosswalk Compliance Enforcement
By Lt. Greg Gilmore

The Blackstone Police Department will be conducting several pedestrian crosswalk safety and compliance checks over the next few months. Crosswalk safety and enforcement is an important part of overall traffic and pedestrian safety. With school back in session, this is a particularly critical time of year to know and obey the crosswalk rules. Massachusetts Law states that a driver MUST yield and stop to pedestrians that are waiting to cross the street or already in the street and crossing at a designated crosswalk area. If a motorist fails to yield or stop, the state can assesses a $100 fine to the driver of the vehicle. Compliance checks are becoming more popular with law enforcement agencies, as the number of complaints about motorists failing to stop at these crosswalks grow. Most often these checks involve plainclothes officers or agents of the department using crosswalks in the community while other officers observe the reaction of motorists. If a driver fails to yield or stop, the officers monitoring the event will stop the car and cite the driver. Some agencies will issue warnings on the first day of the compliance checks, but subsequent compliance checks will often result in citations and fines. The Blackstone Police Department is serious about the safety of all citizens using the town's roadways. Motorists, cyclist and pedestrians should always feel safe when driving, pedaling or walking anywhere in our community. It's the responsibility of the police department to enforce these laws and we hope everyone understands just how important crosswalk safety is.

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