My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Census worker arrested for trespassing…how will the Census Bureau respond?

Most likely, the Census Bureau will come to the aid of its employee, but it will be interesting to see how this incident plays out in court. In a recent incident in Hawaii, the federal government staunchly defended their field worker. Let’s see how the following story plays out:

Count Me Out
Rosendale Census Worker Receives Summons for Trespassing
By Rochelle Riservato and Tod Westlake

ROSENDALE – A United States 2010 Census Bureau Quality Assurance fieldworker was involved in an altercation at a residence in Tillson on June 1, which then resulted in the bureau fieldworker being served with a “criminal summons for trespass.” The fieldworker was then issued an appearance date of Wednesday, July 21, in Rosendale Town Justice Court.

Apparently, the fieldworker — who would speak to the Journal only on the condition that her name be withheld from publication — was performing a re-interview visit at a Rosendale home, and was requested by the homeowner to leave the property. The census fieldworker stated that she got back in her vehicle to finish filling out “refusal paperwork” and left the premises.

“I want these charges expunged from my record,” said the fieldworker, “I was only doing my job — a ‘no-response’ is the only reason someone like me has to go at all.”

But a statement by the homeowner in question tells a different story. The homeowner says that she told the fieldworker that she had already filled out the form, but was told by the fieldworker that this was a “follow-up” visit. When the homeowner refused to cooperate, asking the fieldworker to leave the premises, the fieldworker responded that she was a “federal officer” and that she would “sleep in her car in [the homeowner's] driveway” until the homeowner complied. The homeowner repeated her request that the fieldworker leave her property, and the latter “laughed at her,” according to the statement. The incident took a total of 20-25 minutes, the statement says. The homeowner says that the fieldworker went so far as to suggest that the homeowner would be “wearing cuffs by the time this was over.”

The fieldworker says that, two weeks after the altercation, she came home to find a Rosendale police vehicle blocking her driveway when she arrived home from work.

“I said ‘Hi Officer, what’s going on?’ I had no idea he was coming to arrest me,” she says. “The officer told me I was under arrest for criminal trespassing and handed me a summons signed by Justice Robert Vosper.”

Chief Perry Soule of the Rosendale Police, however, said this was not an arrest. The officer was simply delivering a criminal summons from the justice court. Soule said that his office typically does not see complaints against census workers, and that these are referred to the justice court.

Click here for the full article.

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5 Responses to “Census worker arrested for trespassing…how will the Census Bureau respond?”

  1. Enumerate this Says:

    The two parties offer two very different sets of facts. Hard to say how it will play out. Again, when someone says “I want you to leave my property now,” you run a risk when you stick around. And that includes sitting in your car for two minutes filling out the EQ contact info.

    The enumerator would have been wise to apologize for the intrusion, thank the citizen for her time, and then immediately vacate the premises.

  2. anonymous Says:

    I have finished Re-Interview/Quality Assurance. I am currently working Vacant/Delete. The public is extremely tired of repeated visits by Census workers.

  3. Pablo S. Says:

    @Enumerate this…Well stated!

  4. Former NRFU-RI Says:

    I just finished RI work. Some my respondents claimed that I was the third or fourth census worker to come to the door, and refused to provide any information at all. If people refused some information (race, ethnicity, mortgage, etc) don’t keep going back hoping that they will break down and tell you on the second or third visit!

    Here is an idea for 2020: mail everyone a form. Ask only the number of people living there, and (maybe) name and DOB. Period. If people mail it back, they get counted. If they don’t mail it back, they don’t get counted.

    Have forms available in libraries, churches, gov’t buildings, for those who did not receive one in the mail.

    If you don’t want to be counted, census should not hound you.

  5. Census Supervisor Says:

    @Former NRFU-RI: Horrible idea. If you don’t want to be counted, you’re a law breaking idiot who is costing your community $1,300 for each year of the census, that’s ten years, $13,000. A family of four moron refusers costs their community $52,000 over ten years. And that’s not your right, to cost your community money by breaking the law, refusing to cooperate with the census. And every time you get “hounded,” it costs taxpayers approximately $46 to ask you the same tired questions you’re too stupid to answer. The census should hound EVERYONE to participate.