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 OutRosendale Census Worker Receives Summons for TrespassingBy 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.