A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Police Oversight in LA County

This link reviews an article that examines the review process for the LA County Sheriff's Office. It's a good read.

A Day in the Life of American Adolescents

OAS Report Presents "A Day in the Life of American Adolescents"

According to a recent report published by the Office of Applied Studies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2006, one third of U.S. youth age 12 to 17 drank alcohol and one fifth used an illicit drug in the past year.

The October 18, 2007, issue of The OAS Report draws on the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and other data to describe "A Day in the Life of American Adolescents: Substance Abuse Facts."


To access the report and related resources, visit http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k7/youthFacts/youth.cfm.

This information is part of a regular review of materials I use to measure where we should be looking at resources and problem areas. Identified cases making the headlines are just the small part of the problem as you can see by looking at these sources of information.

Another good source of information is the 2007 Hazelden Report that is more focused in Minnesota.

The numbers are disturbing and merit your attention,.

Reader Feedback

I received the following from a post I subscribe to. I'm passing it along as I think it is relevant to that is going on these days.

I had a mother, who is an attorney (bright-woman) tell me that she allows her teen son to drink at home so that when he goes off to college he would know his "limit".

I could not believe what she was saying. I said to her, "Well, then, are you going to allow him to try cocaine, ecstasy and sniff glue, because he really needs to know his limits there too?" (a bit sarcastically, I might add) She said to me, "NO". I said "Why not?" She said, well that's illegal. I said, well so is what you are doing! It took awhile to "get to her" , I had to go much further than just illegal....but, I did get there......Its true, they are just not thinking......
We've shared this before and its here again....Feel free to make copies and spread the word.....

11 Ways To Raise A Toxic Child

By Bill Oliver

Reprinted with Permission from The Passage Group

Be Their Lawyer -- No matter what they do defend them. Be their advocate-right or wrong.

Be Their Banker -- Finance all their wants. This will give them a sense of entitlement which will last them for the rest of their lives.

Be Their Insurance Company -- Any time they make a mistake, you pay the price. They have the party -- you have the hangover.

Be Their Agent -- Cut the best deals for them. Use you personal contacts and influence to be sure that they rise to the top.

Be Their Mechanic. If anything in their life is broken, you fix it .. even if they broke it themselves. That way they will never have to learn about "consequences."

Be Their Administrative Assistant. Every child needs a personal secretary. Be sure to let them delegate their responsibilities to you. Always do their homework for them -- that way they can make the "Honor Roll."

Be Their Butler. Learning how to manage servants will be important as they grow up and become successful. Let them start with you.

Be Their Apologist. Put your best "spin" forward. Make excuses for their bad behavior. Blame the teacher, the school, the community, the Republicans, the Democrats--anybody but your child.

Be Their Emotional Doormat. They have a bad day and you pay the price. They want respect from everyone but refuse to give it to you.

Be Their fairy godparent. Turn pumpkins into coaches. Wave your wand and make it happen. After all, making them "happy" is your primary function in life.

Fail to share a belief system with your child. They will have a system of belief. The question becomes who will teach it to them and what will it be. People act out of what they believe….in their hearts. The difference between Hitler and Mother Teresa was a matter of belief. Like the song form the musical South Pacific says, ‘You have To Be carefully Taught.”

The above may be reprinted without modification and in its entirety. It may be reformatted for publication and distribution purposes.

Bureaucratic Leadership

I'm currently reading a text that speaks to the interpretation of Constitutional issues with respect to public employees, primarily administrative type folks...managers, department heads, and others who are compensated for their efforts in government functions not elected.

The author of Leadership of Public Bureaucracies, by Larry D. Terry, purports a more contemporary approach than the older thinking of Woodrow Wilson and James Taylor. Along with several other "experts" in the area, he suggests that the role of public administration as active leaders in the policy process is constitutionally valid. He basis his premise on the interpretation used by the Framers to keep the three branches of government separate. Having completed two-thirds of the text which also contains selections from authors of like thinking, a more contemporary view of leadership emerges, pushing aside the 1950's thinking of more traditional bureaucratic mentality known for erecting barriers of "red tape" rather than facilitating smooth access of government to those of which we supposedly are serving.

Once could consider the shift as a realistic move away from some of those other archaic schools of thought that include zero-based budgeting and "feel good" management styles. I'm still amazed by the amount of leadership training out there that advocates 30-year old concepts.

Essentially, Terry seems to indicate that salaried managers and leaders should take their cue from the elected officials who are supposed (emphasis on supposed) to be acting for the good of their constituents, not just general perception and the squeaky wheel group. Since competent professional managers adhere to the same Constitutional principles as their elected counterparts, they have an obligation: ethically, legally and morally to work toward good government that is transparent and adheres to Constitutional principles. This means taking unpopular stands and often coming into direct conflict with peers and other officials. The goal is to be ethical, honest and true to Constitutional principles. To be a conservator of the process.

The goal of consistent and quality leadership in this area should produce a good service to those in which we serve.

This text is a good read. Terry's model of "Administrative Conservatorship" appears sound and a good model in which to follow.

I've said many times that those who are willing to put their names on a ballot and take the heat for doing so deserve an engaged and supportive community. It doesn't mean you have to like or agree with their positions, but one must respect their commitment to their respective communities if they act in an ethical, honest and competent manner.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Outside the Comfort Zone

Professionally and academically, it is important for me to step outside my comfort zone to review some research and the works of individuals who are often diametrically opposed to my take on things.

I'm currently reading a text authored by Kristian Williams entitled "Our Enemies in Blue - Police and Power in America.

I'm not completely done with the book yet but Williams seems to feel that policing is an extension of the "corrupt and brutal government" that use police to keep people in line.

There are some points, however, that I do feel have merit. One is the fact that policing should be a defensive response not offense, thereby questioning some of the legal and moral issues involving police involvement in questionable sting operations and so-called "intervention" operations.

I do part ways when Williams equates officers to lumberjacks when it comes to job-related deaths. There are few occupations that put a person in a uniform that is targeted by a segment of the population to try to kill for sport. It seems that in many places that is the case.

Williams does a good job of evaluating the comparison to other occupations and I find her analogy of the mystification of police duty deaths and the public support and memorials involved interesting. I do believe that her take on the use of the dead bodies of honorable police officers used as a ploy to justify inappropriate police conduct is despicable and I agree that this practice often takes place in police cultures throughout the world.

If one compares police response to civil uprisings in the US and Europe, you will find a significant difference in the levels of force used and the types of police responses used.

It's something that academics and police policy folk should start paying attention to. It' s also a good thing to step outside the boundaries to take a look around.

Book Information:

Williams, Kristian.
Our enemies in blue: police and power in America/Kristian Williams; with a new introductionh by Joy James - (Rev. ed).

First ed. published: Brooklyn, NY: Soft Skull Press, 2004
Includes bibloiographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-89608-771-2 (South End Press edition: alk. paper) 1. Police -- United States 2. Police brutality -- United states. 3 Police misconduct --United States 4. Police -- United States -- History. 1. Title.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fighting Terrorism One Neighborhood At A Time

I've been asked on several occasions recently about the best strategy in fighting terrorism.


It happens one neighbor at a time. The same time honored tool that prevents other crimes works with potential terrorist activity. Neighbors talking to each other, keeping track of who is doing what in their neighborhoods and communicating with their local law enforcement agencies.

Neighborhood Watch is a good model in which to use but basic neighborhood communication is the key.

Second, Congress has started the process of replacement of funding to local law enforcement agencies lost over the past 6 years. This is a good strategy. Although federal law enforcement agencies work well with international issues and issues that cross state boundaries, they rely on local law enforcement agencies for the base information that helps them connect the dots.

Be sure to contact your member of Congress and encourage them to continue to fund proactive programs to encourage local participation in crime prevention.

You can also got to the US Department of Homeland Security for additional prevention and response strategies.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Significant Date

October 16th holds a significant place on our family calendar. It's my mother's birthday. It's also our wedding anniversary. Give credit to my savvy bride to schedule our wedding date on her future mother-in-law's birthday.

This anniversary holds a special significance. Twenty-five years ago, I was fortunate enough to wed my bride Ruth. I marvel how quickly the time has passed. My social worker bride was introduced to me by a police dispatcher mutual friend of ours. Our wedding day competed with a Nebraska football game and our relationship was formed on mutual trust right from the start -- Ruth checked my background out and I checked hers.....

Ours has truly been a partnership built on trust and honor rooted in our foundation of faith. Despite the adversity and challenges throughout the past 25 years, our relationship has grown and Ruth still remains my best friend as well as my wife. The past few months has reminded me how precious our relationship is and how much I treasure our time together. Our faith teaches us that a husband should honor his wife as he honors God. It is a charge that I hold dear and accept with great joy.

The twinkle in Ruth's eye and that mischievous smile is just as vibrant and exciting to me today as it was the first time I met her. I have no doubt that I will be writing the same thing about my bride in another 25 years.

It's fitting that we will spend a good portion of the day honoring the commitments of our family. We'll spend this date mixing financial aid meetings for our graduating high school senior son and planning activities for our daughter's upcoming 16th birthday. A few hours tonight will allow us a quiet meal together in a secluded Northfield spot to gaze into each others' eyes, drink a toast and thank God for the life we have shared together and the many years yet ahead of us.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chicago PD Ongoing Issues

This Chicago Tribune article provide some insight into the ongoing efforts to build an environment of accountability and responsibility in the Chicago Police Department. The article outlines the challenges of managing special units in a police department that often lack the oversight of traditional units. Task forces that deal with special enforcement often enjoy a higher level of autonomy than do traditional police subdivisions.

The issue of not allowing small infractions to go unnoticed or without consequence hold true in the profession itself. It distinguishes a good field supervisor from a lackluster one.

It's true as stated in the article that 99% of the officers do the right thing. Unfortunately, we no longer have the luxury of the 1% that do not to continue in their positions. Communities must be willing to work with their elected officials and police administrators to enhance a working environment that encourages appropriate behavior and support to those dedicated men and women who go out everyday and deal with some pretty awful situations but still find it within them to do the right thing and be accountable to the community.

Officers Continue to be Gunned Down- This Time Odessa, Texas

This USA Today article reports on the nearly 54% increase of officer who have been gunned down over last year and the September 8th murder of three Odessa, Texas police officers while responding to a domestic dispute. The increase in the shooting of police officers is disturbing.

Almost as telling as the article and graphic are some of the comments posted after the above article.

Here's one rather interesting post by a reader:

"pixie wrote: 1m ago
geniusikn0wit wrote: 3m ago
jadeliz wrote: 6m ago
Domestic violence calls are a police officers worst nightmare. The wife usually calls on her abusive husband, and then after all of the yelling, screaming, hitting, and threats, the wife almost always refuses to press charges, and if the guy is really violent you have a homicide. I have lived with law enforcement all of my life, and I know first hand that this is a nighmare call for any officer.

Empirical experience has taught me that women are just as prone to commit an act of domestic violence as are men. Men are far less likely to even call the cops, let alone refusing to press charges, so it goes underreported.

But while the cops are busy mourning their dead, perhaps they should take some time to mourn the innocent people they have killed.
I am sure they do. How dare you say they dont. You have no idea what they do or dont do. Why do you think there is a high incident of suicide in the Police Force? I am sure they live with their decisions and actions 24/7 or they kill themselves."

Interesting perceptions from those reading the article.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tightening Police Officer Hiring Standards

This article speaks about the considerations being proposed in Wisconsin for stricter police officer standards in Wisconsin after the recent shooting in Crandon, Wisconsin by an off-duty law enforcement officer.

As the article states, it is unfortunate that such an event must take place before change happens. The real issue is the challenge for smaller communities and counties to place the same level of competency in their candidates as do larger agencies. It is a challenge given the costs involved but results such as what happened in Wisconsin are a high price to pay for being cheap on hiring and attracting good police officer candidates: and the issue goes much deeper than simply starting wages.

I would again suggest that a nationally recognized clearinghouse be established that will record the names of all decertified officers. There should be a minimal national standard for hiring, evaluation, education and basic training. There needs to be established standards of ongoing training, use of force reporting and officer assessment and support to help prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.

Communities need to be able to trust that their law enforcement officers are stable and trustworthy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tickets, Computers and an Overtime Dispute

This Houston Television Station reports that Houston officers are threatening to stop writing traffic citations to protest the reduction of overtime they receive for court duty. Ironically, I was always under the impression that citations were written to reduce traffic accidents and make our communities safer.

The article is an interesting read in the dynamics that overtime often plays in the inability of police administrators to adequately manage their agencies. I would also add that I believe this is an isolated incident that does not accurately represent the majority of police officials.

Unintended Consequences

Recent news reports have told of a recent court decision requiring the rehearing of a Texas murder case because the Mexican national had not been advised of his right to contact the Mexican Consul when he was arrested.

It was interesting to watch this play out in the media. No doubt about it..the guy deserves to be held accountable for the ugly, brutal slaying of two female teens. It was unfortunate; however that the Media- mostly cable news networks - seemed to be fueling the emotion and not providing a fair and balanced analysis of the relevant court decisions.

The international treaty of which the United Stated participated, allowed for a foreign visitor to contact their consulate if they were detained by police or government officials. This was an effort to protect US citizens while traveling and working overseas. The fact the US has now pulled out of the treaty puts every US citizen traveling outside the US at greater peril.

It's unfortunate that the emotion of the error of local law enforcement officers inTexas to adhere to the State Department guidelines has now created the consequence of US citizens not having access to US assistance when traveling overseas. Literally, US citizens can and most likely will be detailed and imprisoned and no one will even know, let alone be able to assist.

I've been in law enforcement since 1981 and the jails and agencies of which I've been associated always had a posted list or reference guide of which countries required notification of detention of their citizens.

It might have been more useful to concentrate efforts on making sure law enforcement and jail officials were aware of the notification requirements rather than expend all the energy on bashing the treaty and government officials under the label of "states rights."

Crime Trends

This USA Today article provides some insight into the shifts of violent crime that have been reported in the past several years. I sometimes think there is so much emphasis on the reporting part and not enough evaluation of what drives the numbers reported.

Previously I've mentioned a group of which I belong: Fight Crime Invest in Kids. The premise is to invest in early childhood development and work on those issues of poverty that put many kids at an early disadvantage to help drive down future risks of criminal behavior.

It would appear much of what drives the attention to violent crime is crisis management: letting things go or denying the existence of an issue until something blows up and then we throw untold resources taken away from other valued programs to react until things die down a bit and to allow everyone to forget the issue until it starts encroaching on their lives again or surfaces in a media focus article.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LAPD Holds Itself Accountable

In a move that is uncommon in most law enforcement circles, this New York Times article describes how LAPD faults itself for the dysfunctional response to a recent incident in Los Angeles.

Continued transparency is what helps build public trust.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Follow-up on Police Recruitment

In my previous post, I mentioned how Massachusetts law enforcement agencies were competing for police officers. This Houston Chronicle article shows it would appear that Texas is having the same difficulty in recruiting police officers.

Interest in Recent LA County Sheriff Activities

Several posts ago, I linked a story that reported how some LA County deputies had an informal contest for arrests and vehicle impounds. This link provides additional information and a video link to the report. This link will take you to the response of Sheriff Bacca.

In his response, Sheriff Bacca states that innovation and trying new ideas results in mistakes but the end result is worth it. His observation is correct; however, when the liberty and lives of people are at stake, police administrators must take great care in the instruction of supervisors and administrators to make sure appropriate boundaries are established and followed.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Nigerian Email Scams Continue

This article from the Milwaukee paper is a good reminder that you should not consider your Yahoo, Google, Hotmail or other email accounts secure. There are means by which another can compromise your information stored there and change your password and use your identity information. Email accounts established by local Internet providers who also include their own security software may be a bit better but the best rule of thumb is not to respond to email solicitations and in the case of having your email address hacked and stolen, contact family members directly if you get an urgent email asking you to wire cash to them....especially if it comes from Nigeria.

Police Officer Migration

The Boston Globe article about police officer migration illustrates the challenges of smaller communities to keep police officers who can generally move to larger departments and receive better salary and benefits. There is also a better opportunity for advancement. Fortunately in Minnesota, most starting salaries start in the high 40's or low 50's. It would appear this is pretty competitive based on the numbers listed in this article for Boston.

Lock Bumping

The Dallas Morning News posted this article about the continued problem with lock bumping. It's a good read. Now is a good time to review your home and business security levels and make the necessary changes as needed. Most local law enforcement agencies will assist you at no charge if you call and make an appointment.

Another alternative is to subscribe to an alarm service. But this option is full of pitfalls as well. There are a number of disreputable firms out there so check with your better business bureau before signing a contract. Make sure you read all the fine print of the subscription agreement as well as many require a five year use agreement or you have to pay a penalty.

The upside of an alarm system is that most homeowners insurance policies do offer a discount if you have a legitimate alarm system installed.

Community Responsibility

Syl Jones wrote this article for last Sunday's edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Discounting perhaps the labels. I think Mr. Jones has hit on a very key point in community activism. It seems to this observer that a good part of any community is disengaged in the day-to-day issues facing their respective communities.

Recent conversations with a number of individuals both here locally and through several forums nationally, have indicated they have an unwillingness to speak out on issues of concern for fear of being dragged through the gutter in the back rooms of coffee houses and web logs. They seem to have a concern for the response of elected officials as well as the risk they might run from a career standpoint.

I believe that Mr. Jones makes a good point that part of of a role of a good citizen is to support their community and be willing to stand up and be counted when things get tough. Public officials and elected officials, by nature of their position are open to more scrutiny and should be. Community members should be able to voice their concerns legitimately in a respectful and calm venue of discourse. With that right; however comes the responsibility to have their facts straight and not rely on rumor and innuendo.

I'm taking a graduate course that is reviewing the history of public administration. A constant theme throughout nearly 200 years of US history is consistent: ethical conduct on the part of public officials and a public that holds them to a higher standard and stands by them when the going gets rough.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Alfred L. Gordon Sr., of the Orlando, Florida Police Department was shot and killed while attempting to take police action during an off duty robbery attempt.

Officer Gordon was a veteran of the US Army where he served as an MP for 11 years. He had served the Orland Police Department for 18.5 years and was assigned to the Orlando International Airport. He is survived by his son.

LA Sheriff's Deputies "Contests" are "Problematic"

This USA Today article outlines how a Lieutenant in a section patrolled by the LA County Sheriff's Office engaged in "bragging rights" by designating days to have deputies compete for the most individuals arrested or the most cars impounded.

The intention may have been desired to be positive but as you will read in the article, there were pitfalls from the beginning. It would appear that the proper checks and balances were in place and intervened before the practice continued.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Senior Football Player Recognition Night

Last night (Friday) featured the senior football players. Ruth and I were invited along with the other senior parents to recognize their sons and daughters' participation in the Northfield High School football season this year.

Chris' football picture is below:

Ruth and I are very proud of Chris. He started his football pursuits later in his high school experience and weathered some injuries but stuck with it to try out this year. He's a hard working guy and we are very proud of him.

We also appreciate the efforts and patience of his coaches, especially Coach Allen who has spent extra time with Chris and other players and provided a positive role model for them. It's important for kids to have other adults in their life and we certainly appreciate the dedication and efforts of the coaches and support staff.

Mother Appreciation Posting

A friend sent me this link that will take you to Youtube for a video that pretty much says it all about the challenges of parenthood. This link takes you to an interview from CBS with the comedian/mother/actor.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Issues with Chicago Police Department

This Associated Press article was provided through one of the discussion groups of which I belong. I've posted the article below. The issues in Chicago amplify the challenges of positive change in police conduct, especially in a large department. As the article states 99.99 percent of the officers do the right thing but it is amazing how the few rotten ones have such a profound impact on the department and community. Consider that when former Minneapolis Police Chief Bob Olsen was working as a reform chief in New York state, among other things, his car was rigged with an explosive device. Such conduct is demoralizing to the officers and the community they serve.

For the reasons outlined in this article is the motivation for my advocacy for a national clearinghouse of names of individuals who have been decertified by states as law enforcement officers and the need for the development of a national standard by which to hire and train new officers. There also needs to be a consistent standard of compliance measurement of all law enforcement agencies in areas of training, community interaction, use of force and profiling in order to qualify for state and federal grants. It's not a very popular concept as of yet but the alternative of having a federal justice consent decree order to take over maladjusted agencies is not the best option.

The article is as follows:

Chicago Police Again Mired in Scandal

Updated: October 1st, 2007 11:07 AM PDT


Associated Press Writer


Videotapes of angry officers savagely beating civilians and charges that a murder plot was hatched within an elite special operations unit have Chicago's troubled police department reeling again.

Adding to the department's woes is word from federal prosecutors that they are investigating claims that homicide detectives tortured suspects into confessing to murders that landed them on death row in the 1980s.

Not since club-swinging cops in baby-blue helmets chased demonstrators through clouds of pepper gas at the 1968 Democratic National Convention have Chicago police been so awash in trouble.

The biggest shock came Wednesday when federal prosecutors charged special operations officer Jerome Finnigan with planning the murder of another member of the unit to keep him from talking to the government.

"This kind of stuff on Page One is just horrible," and reinforces a misleading stereotype of police, said Roosevelt University political scientist Paul Green, who taught at the police academy for four years.

"The overwhelming 99.9 percent do their job professionally," he said.

But evidence of deep-rooted problems is piling up.

Finnigan, 44, also is one of six members of the special operations unit, created to crack down on gangs and drugs, who are charged with operating a shakedown operation aimed at civilians. Prosecutors say they have him on tape weighing the possibility of having someone kill a fellow special operations officer to keep him from becoming a witness against him.

Finnigan and his attorney, Michael Ficaro, declined to comment.

In July, three off-duty officers pleaded not guilty to charges that they beat four businessmen in a bar in a videotaped confrontation.

In another videotaped confrontation, off-duty officer Anthony Abbate was seen apparently beating a 115-pound female bartender because she would not serve him another drink. Abbate has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated battery.

The quagmire is deepened by five federal lawsuits accusing police and city officials of covering up the torture of murder suspects at the Area 2 detective headquarters under violent crimes Lt. Jon Burge in the 1980s. Burge was fired in 1993 after a suspect in the murder of two officers allegedly was abused while in his custody.

A four-year study by two special prosecutors appointed by a Cook County judge, released in July 2006, found that Chicago police beat, kicked and shocked scores of black suspects in the 1970s and 1980s to get confessions. The report said it was impossible to file charges because the incidents were so old that the statute of limitations had long since run out.

On Wednesday, however, U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald announced the federal government was stepping into the torture case, saying it would seek evidence of "perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice by members of the Chicago police department."

"It's political, it's cultural, it's systemic," said attorney G. Flint Taylor, who represents several former death row inmates now suing Burge and city officials.

Attorney Richard Sikes, who represents Burge in the five civil suits, said after Fitzgerald's announcement that allegations against his client "have been fairly investigated by the special prosecutors who found that charges were not appropriate."

The department has been slow to put its best foot forward. Officers in the news affairs office said only department spokeswoman Monique Bond could comment.

Bond did not return three calls seeking comment over two days.

Mark Donahue, president of Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, said most officers are doing a professional job but the department's reputation has been hurt by the misdeeds of a minority.

"I subscribe to the few-bad-apples theory," Donahue said. "It is also due to the attention that the few bad apples are getting from the media."

The City Council recently revamped the Office of Professional Standards, which investigates charges that police officers abused civilians. Instead of reporting to department higher ups, as it did for years, the office now reports directly to Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Craig B. Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor, says such investigations in the past were shoddy and rarely resulted in discipline against the officers.

"If they investigated crimes the way they investigate complaints against police officers they would never close a case," Futterman says.

Reported Funding Crisis For Police Departments in Virginia

This link takes you to a Washington Post story concerning reported cuts in funding for local law enforcement agencies in that state. The story appears to significantly reduce funding for local law enforcement agencies. Ironically, at a time when local law enforcement officers are expected to shoulder more state and federal enforcement responsibilities, it is ironic that federal and state funding continues to diminish.

I believe there is a distinct correlation with increases in violent crime in our communities and the increased demand on local law enforcement agencies to increase the amount of federal and state enforcement activities. As the funding decreases and public demand for peace and order increases it's unfortunate that most of the cuts come in the proactive and prevention areas. Essentially, the current trend could have a very negative impact on future successes in crime prevention strategies and public safety.

Death at Arizona Airport

This link takes you to a video press conference that Phoenix police held concerning the previous death of a woman who was in the custody of airport police. Pay particular attention to the section where the commentator describes the woman being placed on the ground. The process the officers used in using multiple officers to bring the woman to the ground safely is a standard practice.

Unfortunately the news reporter referred to the technique as the woman being forced to the ground. This is another example how the words used by news personnel can certainly bring about the wrong perception.

On the other hand, the fact the woman was left unattended and unobserved in a room along later and was found unresponsive was unwise.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Court Decision on Senator Larry Craig

The Strib article announced that Senator Larry Craig's request to have his guilty plea retracted has been denied by a Minnesota judge.

The Court outlined the fact that the information at the time of the plea was accurate, intelligent and the senator had been provided ample time to consider the case and obtain the services of an attorney.

The decision can be appealed.

Suggested Reading

I had a chance to meet author Michael Quinn over coffee the other day. Mr. Quinn is retired from the Minneapolis Police Department and has published a book about police culture issues entitled "Walking with the Devil, The Police Code of Silence."

I enjoyed visiting with him about mutual concerns of the future of policing and the need to better plan for the future. The challenges of future police officers should not be underestimated. Recent discussions of a number of discussion links suggest the increasing difficulty of finding capable and suitable candidates for police service and other branches of the criminal justice field.

For those men and women to continue to meet the challenges of day-to-day law enforcement issues I will continue to have the utmost respect. Working in an environment that internally often promotes less than idealistic values, the majority of our law enforcement officers continue to make the right choices.

If you get a chance, check out a copy of the book at your local library or get your own copy. The book is available through the major book stores on site and on line.

Two Troubling Incidents

Several news items caught my eye this week. The first was an incident where a deputy chief of police found a hangman's noose in the police office in Hempstead Long Island.

The second report was two incidents were a noose was found in the travel bags of African-American members of the Coast Guard.

This trend follows a recent rash of the appearance of a hangman's noose since it was reported in connection with the Jena6 incident when white students in a small Louisiana town hung nooses from a schoolyard tree after black students sat under it.

Last month, two teenagers were arrested in Alexandria, Louisiana, after driving through town with nooses hanging from their pickup truck, the night after a protest march brought thousands of demonstrators to Jena, according to CNN.

This rash of a symbol of hate tied to a past time when African-Americans were hung for no reason other than racial hatred. It is unfortunate that the practice seems to symbolically have resurfaced, especially in a law enforcement location.

Such incidents in Minnesota in addition to being a terroristic threat would also be a bias crime and would be so investigated and referred to prosecutors. Hopefully the Media will emphasize the terrible representation a hangman's noose poses.

This type of sophomoric behavior, especially in a law enforcement setting is unforgivable.