Hummer’s illegal blue lights may dog ‘deputy’
Thursday, September 23, 2004
It's quite a sight on the road - a black Hummer roaring along with flashing blue lights.
But the vehicle tagged with a Middlesex Sheriff insignia does not have the required state permit to display emergency lights, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The privately owned vehicle, with the vanity plate ``DSHERFF,'' is proudly displayed on the Web site of the Middlesex Deputy Sheriffs' Association.
The private, nonprofit group does community service with a pool of 900 members.
Its members are either reserve or sworn civilian deputy sheriffs, and work closely with Middlesex Sheriff James V. DiPaola.
Not only does the car's driver not have a permit for lights, but he applied for one this past summer, and was denied the permit, according to an RMV spokeswoman.
``We didn't see that there was any evidence that he needed it for official purposes,'' said RMV spokeswoman Amy O'Hearn. ``We are pretty choosy.''
The vehicle is registered to Dominic Zaia of Sudbury, an association member. Zaia also is a DiPaola campaign contributor who lists his occupation as a ``V.P./Arc. Welding Co.''
Zaia could not be reached for comment. DiPaola's spokesman, Mark Lawhorne, did not return calls from the Herald yesterday, but last week he said the vehicle uses the lights only for parades.
Michael M. Giacoppo, executive director of the association, also did not return a phone call.
The Herald has reported that the Middlesex group receives special badges that have been largely banned in other counties and carry absolutely no law enforcement powers.
Under state law, the head of the agency must sign the blue light permit application to state that the person is qualified and needs a permit for official duties. Violations of the 1949 statute range from $100 to $300.