Two weeks as Acting New Bedford Police Chief and Paul Oliveira is already facing a crisis.

Former Chief Joseph Cordeiro frequently withheld information from the public about serious crimes and even misrepresented crime statistics, creating a feeling of mistrust and frustration for many. There was hope that Oliveira would usher in a new era of openness and transparency.

Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn appears to have escaped charges following a bizarre multi-vehicle crash in a parking lot in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The reporting officer said Dunn "seemed confused, shaken and disorientated. I asked Mr. Dunn to remain seated and tell me his name. He was unable to answer right away but eventually, he stated his name was Hugh Dunn."

He was not given a field sobriety test as the officer said Dunn did not appear to be intoxicated. During a subsequent interview three days later, Dunn told the officer he had taken the drug Benadryl that evening and that he had a late dinner downtown. It has not been made clear if Dunn had consumed alcohol before driving or how he came to be in the parking lot where the crash occurred.

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To his credit, Chief Oliveira has called for a review of the initial investigation and has asked for anyone with information about the crash to step forward. I hope he is sincere. But Oliveira needs to quickly complete that review and address the public with his findings.

Too many folks are used to special treatment for those with connections. If Oliveira wants to build trust with the community, he must issue a swift, honest and concise report on what happened last Saturday morning, because frankly, I don't think many people are buying the bill of goods they are being sold.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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