Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Emanuel cop shuffle questioned
City needs to boost hiring, not just shift police, critics say
By John Byrne, Chicago Tribune reporter
September 15, 2011
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday indicated he's getting closer to his campaign pledge of putting 1,000 more police officers on Chicago streets, but critics continued to note he hasn't hired any new ones and is simply shuffling cops around.
The Chicago Police Department announced that starting Thursday, 59 officers from special units and 55 with desk jobs in the patrol bureau will patrol beats across the city. The tally of officers reassigned to districts now stands at 881 by the mayor's count.
Mike Shields, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, said the city needs to hire new cops to address the department's vacancies, not just move officers around.
While the mayor claimed some credit Wednesday, he also acknowledged the crime trend could change quickly.
"Everyone knows it can flip on you," Emanuel said. "It's a snapshot."
Shields asked: "If they take credit for the good, will they be here to take credit for the bad?
"Do Chicagoans really feel they are safer in the city? We are short officers, no matter what," Shields said.
Sound familiar Indianapolis!? Why does the management of Chicago Police sound so similar to that of Indianapolis Metro Police? I believe the paths of Straub and McCarthy have crossed before.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy: McCarthy began his police career with the New York City Police Department, rising through the ranks from a patrolman to Deputy Commissioner of Operations, the principal crime strategist for the entire department. (1999 TO 2005) Mr. McCarthy also conducts panels and trainings at John Jay College.
Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub: Straub is former Deputy Commissioner of Training for the New York Police Department (Through 2002). Straub also has a Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Many in the community and IMPD are concerned Dr. Straub would continue his surgical duties as Indianapolis Public Safety Director if Ballard is reelected. Please consider where some of his close associates are currently working. It is very unlikely Mayor Ballard will be reelected; however, if Ballard pulls off another miracle win, I highly doubt Straub will return. My guess is that he will trade his Colts jersey for a Bears jersey; which isn’t too bad of an idea considering the direction the Colts are headed. The Chicago Tribune article clearly indicates Straub and McCarthy have similar management styles (I wonder where they learned it???). Shuffling police around like they are pawns on a chess board seems to be the John Jay College way of doing things. Officers that work our crime infested streets on a nightly basis must use their guns, Tasers, pepper spray and batons as weapons; while Straub and McCarthy reason statistics, paperwork, knee jerk policy changes, and illogical manpower shuffling are the most effective weapons. PhD types seem to believe they always know more than the rest of us and usually aren’t afraid to tell you. Call me crazy, but it seems that picking the brains of veteran beat officers might provide more effective crime fighting ideas and techniques than hiring over-educated egotistical doctors; and it might save some money.
My prediction: Ballard loses to Kennedy in a very close election, which renders my entire article pointless. Although Kennedy received the FOP endorsement, I would wager that a majority of our local police vote for Ballard; despite their hatred for Straub. Kennedy’s involvement with Bart Peterson leaves many in blue with an uneasy feeling about Kennedy being their next boss. Can we all choose to go without a mayor the next 4 years?
Monday, September 26, 2011
The field of Republican Presidential candidates seems to be lacking a noticeable "fire and passion" for conservative change; with the exception of Herman Cain. He seems to be about the only true fiscal and social conservative. David Bennett, the head coach of the Coastal Carolina football team seems to have figured out the proper way of motivating. Therefore, I am offering Coach Bennett's words to those Republicans who seem to be more concerned about political posturing than doing the right thing; to those who are more concerned about their profession of politics than the health of our nation; to those who hunger more for power and influence than those who desire truth and humility. We can do without the liberal cats; we need conservative dogs!
Alright, so this might not be a deeply thought out article on politics and morality; but the video is funny. After the past 2 weeks, I need a good laugh.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The charges were one of “attempt”. Unlike other types of crimes (murder, theft, rape, incest, etc), attempted extortion and bribery are not as clear in terms of when does an action actually constitute extortion and bribery. The definition is easy enough to understand; but the substance, unless explicitly stated, is a matter of interpreting internal and unstated intent on the part of the actor. That is a difficult thing to do. The water becomes even muddier when the person in question is a private business owner, politician and law enforcement officer.
That grainy black and white video all of us saw on television has a context; a four month long context. The defense argued the payment that Mr. Plowman received on December 22, 2009 - before being confronted by the F.B.I. - was suggested early on in the relationship between Plowman and the fabricated strip club owner, later revealed to be an undercover FBI agent. This claim was documented in the audio recordings made by the FBI. In addition, Plowman requested that the cash payment be documented through an IRS10-99 form which was consistent with his off-duty/private business employment practices. The whole situation simply does not square with someone extorting or seeking a bribe.
The government’s prosecution of Mr. Plowman was a point, counter-point presentation; it was not a settled matter. I liken it to two separate Christian denominations arguing over the interpretation of the same statements. One group claims a specific verse means one thing while another group says otherwise. Or an even better analogy is the contention between creationist (Politico Monk and Jedna Vira) and evolutionist. Both sides of the debate have for their examination the same set of evidences; yet each side arrives at two different conclusions.
No question, the jury had its work cut out for them. Their duty was to critically examine the entirety of evidence presented by the prosecution inductively. Unfortunately, I don’t think they considered it very deeply. Their short deliberation is indicative of prejudgment regardless of their final determination. Instead, I believe emotionalism likely drove their decision more than anything else. Do we believe Lincoln Plowman was guilty of attempted extortion and bribery? No, we do not. Was he guilty of a great number of sins against God, his family, and his community? Yes, he was. But, while all crimes are sins, not all sins are crimes. In this case, the out come may be celebrated by some of the more conspiratorial opponents, but we think otherwise.
Nonetheless, we did not have a say in the matter. A jury said he was guilty and in the end that is all that matters as far as our criminal justice system is concerned. So what now?
Why does our government send convicted criminals to prison? 1) Rehabilitation? With recidivism rates over 70%this doesn’t seem to be a logical reason, although it is a stated purpose. The heart can only be “reformed” with a willing mind. 2) Punitive? Punishing bad behavior is certainly a function of our government and has a rational purpose. Punishment, whether imprisonment or some other form, can help prevent the specific offender (specific prevention) and others who would commit similar crimes (general prevention) from engaging in behavior the government deems morally wrong or illegal. But how hypocritical is it to punish behavior that our elected leaders routinely engage in. Isn’t It common practice for local, state and federal politicians to take money from lobbyists for election campaigns and personal ventures? The third and final reason to incarcerate a criminal is to 3) protect society. This is probably the most important reason, and certainly pertains to violent criminals that would prey on society. What I have briefly described is the Utilitarianism Theory of crime and punishment; the 3 ways to reduce crime in society are incapacitation, deterrence and reform. However, one aspect of crime and punishment that isn’t addressed by the Utilitarianism Theory is MERCY. My question: Should Lincoln Plowman go to prison?
The very fact Lincoln Plowman was convicted of two felonies automatically disqualifies him for political office, and the profession of law enforcement. One of the intended outcomes of this whole trial and subsequent conviction was to protect society from Lincoln’s ability to defraud them again. Last Thursday’s conviction satisfies this objective. However, the government may have a desire to “make an example out of Lincoln”; thus satisfying the “general prevention” aspect of the Utilitarian Theory. If political corruption within our local, state and federal governments wasn’t so extensive, this might be a worthy objective. However, anyone trying to use this line of reasoning should be laughed off the debate floor. General prevention of crimes such as extortion and bribery are unrealistic and unlikely. If sending a drug dealer to prison for 10 years doesn’t prevent the next dealer from taking his place, why would anyone assume a lengthy prison sentence for Lincoln Plowman prevent bribery and extortion?
If incapacitation and deterrence are not effective reasons to incarcerate Lincoln, that leaves reformation. Those who do not know Lincoln, and base a judgment solely on information gathered from the federal prosecutor, gossip or the media, may render an unjust opinion about the “reform” that’s already taken place. Ask Lincoln about the past two years and you may be surprised where his heart was and where it’s come. Skeptics’ will say,” Everyone finds Jesus when they are facing prison time!” That is an over-generalized statement and does not apply to Lincoln Plowman. Sometimes people caught in a web of sin need to be rescued in a dramatic way. Lincoln genuinely thinks he didn’t violate federal law, but he is certain he was unethical, immoral, sinful and “walked a very thin line between legal and illegal.” Lincoln will never represent another constituent or wear a police badge; that chapter of his life is over, but a new one is beginning. A new life is exactly what he needed.
Department of Justice 2009 Statistics:
Average Time Spent in Prison for: * Robbery (57months) * Assault (32 months) * Arson (36 months) * Vehicle Theft (18 months) *Fraud (17 months) * Drug Trafficking (24 months) * Weapons (26 months).
Despite Federal Prosecutor Joe Hogsett’s argument, Lincoln Plowman can no longer harm society, and imposing a lengthy sentence would only harm his family that depends on him.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
On Tuesday, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled to uphold its earlier decision in Barnes v. State. The following is a repost of this popular article which was originally posted on May 20, 2011.
After the recent controversial decision by the Indiana Supreme court, I was quite shocked to see the dissenting perspective among bloggers and political pundits, particularly in Indiana (given other recent controversies). Republican, Democrat, and Libertarians alike have appealed primarily to precedent. Tearing down centuries of common law, they have spoken in opposition. Yet, these same people deliberately ignore more than 3500 years of codified precedent regarding marriage. It is always amusing when they unknowingly expose themselves as hypocrites.
The case brought before the Indiana Supreme Court seems to be a fairly straight forward one. Police were dispatched on a domestic violence run. They arrived and while their investigation started in a public place, they eventually returned to the home. The wife goes in first, followed by her emotionally agitated husband, Mr. Barnes, who then attempted to stop officers from entering the residence. Police then scuffle with Mr. Barnes and he is arrested for resisting law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor in Indiana.
With homicide-suicide incidents as they are, no one in their right mind would allow that door to close with the victim now locked in on the other side with the offender. On these facts, I don't think anyone believes the officers were wrong in what they did (except possibly libertarians). What is aggravating everyone is the broad application of the majority opinion.
"We hold that there is no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers." -Justice David
We need to remember that almost all police encounters develop because someone requests police involvement. Citizens are the reason police are present in the first place. We have an obligation on good faith to cooperate with their limited investigation. The home is not a refuge for criminal behavior. It is not home base for a game of criminal tag in which concealment of crime is facilitated. If the nature of the investigation centers inside the house then we have no right to resist police presence. (I will also add that while the exclusionary rule may deter some improper police entries, it guarantees that 100% of concealed crimes in the house go unpunished for nothing more than procedural impropriety.)
Our constitutional process of law is abused, and severely circumvented by twisted lawyers, incompetent judges, and ignorant juries to the point that it has been rendered as corrupt and incompetent as the actors. But I want to address one of the more misunderstood elements of this ruling; one that I don’t think has been addressed yet.
Because our legal system, by design, is a cesspool of ambiguity, we often use legal terms interchangeably without distinction. This equivocation is partly responsible for the confusion surrounding what "illegal" means.
To illustrate, the whole illegal immigration debate hinges on the understanding of what it means to be illegal. It is not fundamentally wrong for someone to enter another country. It is expressed as illegal by statute only, not inherently. Therefore, the difference in the nature between mala in se and mala prohibita rules is plain.
On this ground, I submit that all "unlawful" entries are not the same. It is one thing to enter a home with criminal, (malum in se) intent, but quite another to enter in violation of process. If police (illegally) enter a house in violation of the fourth amendment (secured through process), that is a procedural violation, not a violation of a criminal nature. If anyone police or otherwise enters your home (illegally) with criminal intent, that is not a violation of process, it is a true crime. These two instances of illegal entry do not carry the same value or significance.
If a violation of process occurs then it is reasonable to expect it to be made right through procedural means. Such response is fitting for the violation. If police enter a house illegally, in the procedural sense, then the courts are the appropriate place to challenge this violation since it is from there that legality will be judged. Use of force is not a justifiable means to oppose this violation of process. The nature of a process infringement poses no imminent threat to life or serious bodily injury (strictly on process alone). In order for our use of force to be deemed reasonable it must fit the breach.
When we give more weight to the process rather than the substance we evolve into a legal system of circumvention rather than justice. The Barnes v. State ruling does not allow law enforcement any greater authority than they had previously. Therefore, we should not erroneously characterize it as doing so. It does, however, demand greater restraint from the citizenry and I do not see this requirement as unreasonable.
Absent true criminal intent we should respectfully restrain from using force against the government and seek post-incident remedies. If police entry is made and (malum in se) criminal actions follow, then we may act accordingly to protect ourselves. As local Indy blogger Paul Ogden points out, the rules for self-defense do not exclude police officers. But whether we are defending against a rouge, criminal officer or a non government intruder, our self-defense actions must be articulated and justified.
There is a part of me that feels ill at ease, because I know history and what governments can do to the people they are suppose to protect. At the same time, I am also committed to the responsible use of force and peaceable agreement with my government. To resist police, without some knowledge of criminal intent and for no other reason than "this is my castle", is neither wise nor moral.
On this issue, mistaken identity is the most troubling scenario for me. I've often imagined how I would react if I heard my door kicked in and people yelling. I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part that would invite law enforcement to my home. So I would assume all door breaking entries would be the bad guy and I would immediately defend my family. This is the extreme end of the spectrum but something that must be considered.
A more likely scenario would be exactly that found in Barnes v. State. So for those of you that fear the unintended consequences of everyday police interaction and your need to fight them, I give you the following advice: treat your spouse respectfully, get along with your neighbors, and limit your alcohol consumption to sensible levels. If you do these things, I would expect that you will never find a police officer at your door.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I considered posting a memorial article on 9-11 like many other websites, but my ability to write down my thoughts and emotions was crippled by the very thoughts and emotions I wanted to express.
For various reasons this 10th anniversary affected me more deeply than the previous nine. I watched the news coverage of memorial services and the replays of the news as it happened on that horrible day. One thing I learned is my sadness for the murdered victims and the anger against the Muslim terrorists has not subsided. It seems as though my sadness and anger hid for the last few years, but decided to pay a surprise visit this year.
Maybe the sadness and anger is greater because I’ve had to explain to my children, who have grown older and wiser, what happened on September 11th, 2001. My daughter, the oldest, seemed to notice the sadness and anger the most, and asked the most questions. I tried to explain why the Muslim terrorists’ hated and murdered Americans, but I wanted my daughter to focus more on the good our nation did and still does. My pride welled up for our military men and women and our policemen and firemen as I expressed to my daughter their heroic actions, only to be followed by more sadness as I consider their sacrifices over the last 10 years, to be followed by more anger that the evil terrorists brought this all on us. YES, it is the Fascist Muslim Terrorists that brought this pain, sadness, loss of life, and anger to our shores; NOT some insane Jewish conspiracy or because “America’s chickens have come home to roost.” Give credit where credit is due; Muslim extremists excel at hating and murdering and this is exactly what they did and continue to do. I encouraged my daughter to ignore the foolish America haters as much as possible and choose to remember the true heroes of that horrendous September day, and always honor those who would place themselves in harm’s way.
My inability to post an article on 9/11 is a reflection on what I thought was most important that day; my faith in Christ and my family. I only wish the 9/11/01 terrorists shared the same priorities then maybe I wouldn’t be so sad and angry on 9/11/11.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Approximately five years ago tax payers of Indianapolis Marion County were sold a lemon called police consolidation. Mayor Bart Peterson declared the dire need for a public safety merger, touting the wonderful benefits of saving money, greater efficiency, and increased effectiveness. What are the results, and have promises been kept?
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department owes its existence to former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson and 15 City-County Councilors. They decided that merging the Marion County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Division and Indianapolis Police Department into one giant agency would be best for our public safety. Discussions to merge the two police agencies began around 2004 and culminated with a December 19th, 2005 City-County Council vote (15 yea, 14 nay) resulting in the passage of an ordinance consolidating these two agencies.
The citizens of Indianapolis were promised that the merger of these two historic and proud agencies would save our city at least $8-9 million annually. Robert Clifford, Mayor Peterson’s City Controller, stated the consolidation could produce “$8,807,544” in yearly savings. He also stated that depending on the method used for consolidation there would be a savings attached that would be significant and perhaps more than what has been proposed. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #86 warned Peterson, the City-County Council, and anyone that would listen that these “promised” savings and efficiencies were not going to be realized. The F.O.P.’s findings, along with other consolidation studies, revealed that most cities that attempted a police consolidation similar to ours did not save money; the municipalities ended up spending more money. I know this might come as a surprise, but government bureaucrats have a propensity to spend money instead of save it.
City Controller Robert Clifford advised the City-County Council the MCSD budget in 2005 was approximately $100 million and the IPD budget was approximately $120 million. Common sense should tell you the Sheriff’s budget would likely decrease as a result of the merger; especially since MCSD no longer has a Law Enforcement/Road Patrol function. But this is GOVERNMENT and there isn’t any room for common sense! The 2012 proposed MCSD budget is $101,095,544. IMPD’s 2012 proposed budget is $192,255,983. Let’s do some 3rd grade math: The 2005 combined budgets for IPD and MCSD was $220 million. The combined IMPD and MCSD budgets for 2012 will be $293 million. That’s an increase of $73 million in six short years. Shouldn’t we expect to see a savings of at least $40 million?
During a June 8th, 2005 Indianapolis-Marion County Law Enforcement Consolidation Committee Meeting IPD Chief Spears addressed some questions posed by various City-County Council members. Chief Spears stated, “In a combined organization there would not be a need for as many command level positions. The executive staff level positions would be reduced and consolidated. Many appointed positions may revert to merit pay….Reductions would be seen in supervisory positions…” Chief Spears assured the Consolidation Committee that savings and efficiency could be realized within the new consolidated department by eliminating and combining positions. Would you like to guess if Chief Spears’ analysis became reality??? Using your common sense and what you know about government organizations; do you think there are fewer, the same, or more command level, appointed, and supervisory positions within the more “efficient IMPD”?
Citizens were also promised that public safety would somehow improve as a result of the 2007 merger. More officers could be made available due to “restructuring.” Any guesses on how many officers have been gained via the merger? The combined number of personnel of MCSD and IPD in 2005 was 1632 officers; the staffing level of IMPD in 2011 is 1626 officers. At best the staffing levels for IMPD are exactly the same or less than the staffing levels for IPD and MCSD prior to consolidation. I assert that there are more command level positions and fewer officers!
I’m no rocket scientist, but the area of responsibility for IMPD is exactly the same as it was prior to consolidation, and there is roughly the same number of officers. This is called displacement! During the 2005 Consolidation Committee Meeting, Councilor McWhirter asked Chief Spears if IPD anticipated officers being moved to the townships (i.e. relocating officers from the crime-ridden inner city to the outlying areas). Chief Spears stated that he does NOT anticipate the strength of the current patrol districts would be affected. If you are curious about “patrol strength”, find an IMPD officer that worked for either IPD or MCSD prior to the merger and ask him/her if there is the same number of officers working in various localities, and what the crime trend is like. On second thought, don’t bother the officers, I’ll just tell you what they’ll say. “We are spread too thin. Officers were moved from higher crime areas to cover larger township zones.” While I don’t necessary disagree with providing more police protection to the people who “foot the bill,” Chief Spear’s statement was a bold faced lie that everyone knew was a lie the moment it was uttered in 2005.
Was the 2007 merger of IPD and MCSD necessary for altruistic reasons like saving money, efficiency and effectiveness? The merger was certainly about money, but it wasn’t about saving money. Mayor Peterson had budget problems, as do most progressives, and needed to spread the IPD pension obligations countywide in an effort to “broaden the tax base.” Peterson couldn’t justify a tax increase on the townships if the people weren’t receiving service from the very police officers whose pension obligations were just affixed to their backs. The 2007 merger was about collecting more tax revenue, plain and simple. Bart lies and taxes rise. The FOP tried to warn everyone the consolidation would not produce the promised results, and now we have an inefficient, grossly overweight public safety problem. I don’t know if we are any safer as a result of the merger, but we certainly have less money in our pockets.
June 8, 2005 Indpls/Marion County Law Enforcement Consolidation Committee Meeting: http://www.indy.gov/egov/council/pdf/committee/minutes/imlec060805.pdf