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Seems our story on Watervliet, New York’s pistol permit application process has legs. Time Warner Cable News reporter Geoff Redick has been chasing Watervliet Police Chief Ronald A. Boisvert, Jr., trying to confirm TTAG’s chinwag regarding the PD’s “request” to applicants to log into their Facebook page in front of him. The Chief and the City are stonewalling Redick to the point where they’ve hired a public relations firm to deal with the issue. As part of that taxpayer-funded effort, the Chief has released the following statement [paragraph breaks added]. . .

“In light of recent inquires made to this Department regarding a Facebook post concerning Pistol Permit Application Processing at the Watervliet Police Department, the following is provided:

‘Local police agencies in New York State are charged with the important task of conducting background and character investigations of persons applying for pistol permits, a duty that we approach with the attention it deserves.

Today, social media is a vital investigative tool and we make a use of it in these background investigations in order to render a well-founded and complete recommendation on applicants to the courts.

None of the eight (8) applicants who supplied Facebook information have had their accounts accessed, which I know because I am the investigating officer and the only person conducting background checks.

I approach this duty with the greatest respect for gun owners and their rights, a perspective that is shaped by my 9-year service in the U.S. Navy and exposure to guns at a young age through my grandfather, a well-respected gunsmith. I do not take guns, gun safety or our freedoms as Americans lightly, and as Chief of Police I have a serious job to do, and I approach it with respect.’

– Watervliet Police Chief Ronald A. Boisvert, Jr.

*The form originally posted as being included in the Pistol Permit Package has been removed and replaced with a version that does not request an applicants’ Facebook information.

The Chief’s assertion that “None of the eight (8) applicants who supplied Facebook information have had their accounts accessed” contradicts what he told me over the phone: he looks at all applicants’ Facebook pages during a face-to-face interview, as directed by the county judges who approve or reject all pistol permit applications.

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48 Responses to Watervliet Police Chief Ronald A. Boisvert, Jr.: “Social Media is a Vital Investigative Tool” For Pistol Permit Background Checks

  1. The Chief’s assertion . . . contradicts what he told me over the phone

    I simply cannot believe that an officer of the law would . . . what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah. I can’t believe that he would lie. Because, after all, he takes our rights very seriously and he was in the Navy and all that.

    • Yeah, what’s with the NAVY crap and being involved with guns at a young age? He forgot to mention that he has lots of Black GLBT friends to back up his position and ‘badge’ in doing something unconstitutional.

        • Just another small patch of Real Estate within a small patch of Real Estate. IF you pack NY with another billion illegal aliens, and more intrusive LEOs, you still would not represent another square inch of America.

          When you get overrun by China, ISIS, the Henderson’s, or Sandy II, bitch quietly, we’ll be loading mags for a little bit before we come to bail you out (i.e., well watch the first wave come across the beach on CNN).

    • Weasel words. No doubt, if called on it, he would say he meant (a) the applicants’ accounts have not been accessed since their respective interviews, (b) no one “had” his account accessed, they all accessed their own accounts themselves, [albeit in front of the Chief], or (c) both of the above.

      • The original form that we saw asked for the applicant’s FB password. I’m thinking in this case the chief meant “accessed” as in actually logging in as the owner and not as simply viewing the public profile. That he didn’t access them doesn’t mean he didn’t look at them. Just guessing here, of course, but it’s a possible explanation for the difference between what he told RF and what he stated in the press release and the one thing that popped into my mind as a way that the two statements may not be contradictory.

      • I was thinking the same thing. Chief Fife from BFE, NY is attempting to pull off some Clintonesque silken obfuscations? Statists gotta state, I guess.

    • “I approach this duty with the greatest respect for gun owners and their rights, a perspective that is shaped by my 9-year service in the U.S. Navy and exposure to guns at a young age through my grandfather, a well-respected gunsmith. I do not take guns, gun safety or our freedoms as Americans lightly, and as Chief of Police I have a serious job to do, and I approach it with respect.’”

      He is either lying or he doesn’t care. Both are reprehensible, almmost as reprehensible as having to obtain a permit to exercise a civil right. What a crock.

    • 30 years ago a deputy sheriff, now a judge, told my brother he had a badge & a gun, His word was golden in any court of law, even if he was lying his ass off. Wonder how many feel this way?

  2. There’s good cops and there’s bad cops. I’d love to “investigate” this clown. Maybe look under his mattresses for some old Playboys. Or follow him around for a few days till I catch him coming out of a bar drunk, then see him drive home drunk.
    What a self-righteous, self-important POS.

  3. As I mentioned in a comment on one of the earlier stories, Colonie, a neighboring town that is in the same county (Albany) also requires that you log into Facebook in front of an investigator and let them poke around your account. They also will randomly canvass your neighbors and ask about you as part of their investigation. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

    • And for those of us that don’t have a Facebook account, that is probably grounds for denial… because we’re anti-social.

      • Or just have a realistic idea of how truly boring our lives are and understand the lack of interest anyone would have in seeing a chronicle of it, digital or otherwise.

      • Seriously, that is the first thing I thought when I read about this a few weeks back. What if I don’t have a facebook account? Are they just going to assume I’m lying and find another person’s account with the same name in the same area and assume it is me? Or deny me because I was ‘obviously lying…everyone has a facebook account’.

        asshats

        • I’d like to see anyone find a Facebook page with my name in my area with pictures of people that come anywhere close to looking like my boring Anglo-Saxon mug. With the first name Omer, I’ve only met three other people with the same name and two were relatives.

          I had a MySpace page and I know how time can get sucked into it. With Facebook being even more popular I can only imagine how much time would be sucked away from my family. No thanks.

  4. Chief,
    I hope your ‘closet’ is cleaner than those people your infringing upon.
    Perhaps a detailed inspection of your life is in order….
    After all, you are our servant.

    • Oh, wow. The official sounding, statist, job-justifying “I’m important, my job is important, and I take my position of wielding unnecessary and arbitrary power very seriously while respecting your rights that I’m trampling upon” speech. Perhaps I could use Facebook to let him know what I really think of him.

    • Yup. His, and his staff’s, character should also be examined carefully. Social media,taxes, salary, bank accounts, political donations/organization support, etc needs review. To include Spouse’s because things can be hidden or routed. Oh, and passwords, too, because private posts and messages can enligten us of his and his staff’s character.

  5. “Today, social media is a vital investigative tool and we make a use of it in these background investigations…”
    “None of the eight (8) applicants who supplied Facebook information have had their accounts accessed”

    …so it’s a VITAL investigative tool that you make use of… but you don’t use it?

    • BTW- I did 23 yrs in the Navy, and only handled firearms 4 times. Only one time as a requirement to carry on duty, the other 3 were optional familiarization shoots and an opportunity with the RN while sitting around for a different training event.

      Was he in when even gate guards and sentries weren’t allowed to have loaded weapons out of fear of negligent discharges?

  6. I’m normally a pretty calm guy, but F that guy and F that ridiculous state. I only pray I never end up in one those socialist states and have to give my hard earned taxes to those wannabe dictators. I can not imagine what kind of insane ideology allows him to be ok with violating people’s rights and privacy.

    • Technically I think he says it’s voluntary.

      But since it’s NY that means “it’s voluntary… if you want a permit.”

    • It may not be an official reason to deny a pistol permit, but in order to get one you need to be “approved” by the investigator (at least in Albany county; it can be different in each county). I went through the interview process in 2013 (they are still “processing” it, I expect to get the permit by the end if this year…), and if they want to jam you up for any reason, they can. I had everything in order, played their game, and it’s still taken over a year to go through the process, so imagine what they can do if they think you are being less than truthful. Combine that with being in a “may issue” state, and it’s just not worth the hassle of hiding your Facebook account unless you are intentionally doing it to mount a legal challenge.

  7. Has he noticed that the majority of states do not require this vital invasion of privacy, and it is not harming them at all? Is his state filled with more violent, brutal, vicious, criminal people than those other states? Can he point to his success in infringing on our RIGHTS with some positive result, like zero violent crimes during his tenure or trying to do a better job than NICS? What his job requires, realistically, is a rubber stamp, you can review around 10,000 applications a day and still be done before lunch, after which you can do some actual work.

  8. Local police agencies in New York State are charged with the important task of conducting background and character investigations of persons applying for pistol permits…

    Well that statement includes the false premise that background checks are an important task. Having only lived in states that have no background check more strict than the 4473 for getting a handgun from a dealer, and no check for a private party sale, states which also have a lower crime rate than New York, I’m going to have to call BS on him.

    I approach this duty with the greatest respect for gun owners and their rights.

    I think if that was the case, he’d either refuse to take part in the background check system, and refuse to enforce any law requiring a permit or registration for gun ownership. At the very least, he’d sit the prospective licensee down, apologize for having to put him through this invasive, expensive waste of time, and approve the application without asking a single question.

    • “I approach this duty with the greatest respect for gun owners and their rights.”
      That there is one of the best flips I have seen. He is doing background checks BEFORE people are licensed or denied…….hence these are applicants-NOT the gun owners he claims to respect. So glad I did not open my beer before I read it carefully………otherwise-sticky keyboard.

  9. what about how facebooks terms of use include not giving your password to anyone? terms of service are technically legal agreements.

  10. Oathbreaker. What he is doing is uncinstitutional. The permit system is unconstitutional as it infringes on the right to own a forearm and can be used arbitrarily to punish good people and deny them weak s to protect themselves.

  11. Has there ever been a blatant overreach that wasn’t defended as a “vital investigative tool? ”

    Torture? Check.
    Bulk data collection? Check.
    No-knock SWAT raids? Check.
    Constitution-free border zone? Check.

  12. The chief’s act itself is surely reprehensible, but the applicants’ who allowed him to commit this offense by not saying “no” is ultimately worse in that it demonstrates our country’s citizens are largely comprised of sheep with no comprehension of our history or our rights this country was born from.

    • That’s an important observation. There are too many agents of government exceeding the privilege of their respective offices and too many people rolling over taking it. “Only belligerents have rights.”

  13. What a POS. I thought Illinois sucked(it does). BTW I found out lots very easily on PeopleSmart about Ronald Jr. No expectation of privacy huh?

  14. Because the people trying to get pistol permits so they can legally buy a pistol in the PRNY are really the people the police should be scrutinizing.

  15. This is a violation of privacy and utter disregard for the Constitutional Rights of the people of New York.

    The only business of the permit issuing authority is whether or not you have a criminal record. Period! Any intrusion or demand for information beyond that is more than criminal on their part.

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