Five before Midnight

This site is dedicated to the continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department, which was formerly overseen by the state attorney general. This blog will hopefully play that role being free of City Hall's micromanagement.
"The horror of that moment," the King went on, "I shall never, never forget." "You will though," the Queen said, "if you don't make a memorandum of it." --Lewis Carroll


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Location: RiverCity, Inland Empire

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hiding in Plain Sight: Sticks and stones

"Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."


"The term split-tail is degrading towards all women. I prefer snatch!"

----Anonymous comment left, February 2007

"If I was a bank robber . . . and I've got a shotgun and some 5-foot split-tail [female officer] comes running into the bank, I am not going to take hostages. . . . I am going to blow her little ass to kingdom come."

---Former Los Angeles Police Department detective, Mark Fuhrman, who taped this monologue himself for posterity, not guessing it would rear its ugly head years later during a criminal trial.

"For the male who sits back, crosses his arms, rolls his eyes, and suggest that women should make the coffee or sweep out the command van? Bring out the two-by-four. If that doesn't work, show him the door. For the cop who thinks it's funny to call women 'split-tails'? Forget the two-by-four."

---Retired Police Chief Norm Stamper, Breaking Ranks

"Eliminating prejudicial, racist, or sexist words from your vocabulary isn't just about being politically correct. It is about having a clear mind, free of obstructions., that allows you to make smart, maybe even life-saving, decisions. Ultimately it is about officer safety for you and your partners."

---Michael W. Quinn, former Minneapolis Police Department officer, in Walking with the Devil.

"If you don't do what they want, they will take a lie about you and make it true."


The second quote comes from a comment left by an unidentified individual using the name, not surprisingly, of a former porn actor (at least, according to Google) in response to a posting here about the racial and gender breakdown of the Riverside Police Department's officers in February of 2007. This specimen's contribution to discourse was meant to shock and offend, as a somewhat immature, adolescent expression of sexist humor. Pity, if this person's a grown adult.

What it provides here is an opportunity to discuss the prevalence of its use along with other sexist language in the professional workplace where women are present, most often in professions that are male-dominated including the military forces, law enforcement and other professions.

In one sense, "split tail" is used as part of the name of a species of carp, which is a fresh water fish. However, it became a derogatory term as a label for a woman's vagina. It's been used as a derogatory term for women in both the military forces and inside police agencies as well. Actually, it's used in workplaces in different professions where male employees greatly outnumber those who are female including a division at a General Motors plant, according to a law suit filed by a female employee working there.

It's just one of many slurs that are thrown at women to punish them for the "invasion" into an occupation and to try to keep them in their proper place, which is only second best to kicking them out of these professions altogether. The usage of these slurs against female employees either directly or indirectly over a period of time can constitute a "hostile working environment".

And that's exactly what's happened in many different law enforcement agencies from coast to coast, resulting in many law suits and probably even more grievances filed in response. Then there's the settlements and juries' verdicts, including those which hit the $1 million mark and beyond. You'd think that law enforcement agencies and the cities and counties which are financially responsible for them when things go wrong would at least rid them of sexual harassment for fiscal reasons alone. But if that's happening, it's at a glacial pace for many of them.

Reporting sexual harassment might be easier than in the past, the process may be more accessible and there may even be more processes available to choose from, but has it really changed things? Are the processes themselves more likely to be liabilities to those who use them? Meaning that, if you do use a complaint or grievance process to file a sexual harassment claim, could it be you who's out of a job or even a career in law enforcement?

Too often, the answer is yes to both questions.

After all, this was a profession that was essentially forced to accept women in its ranks. In many cases, while kicking and screaming. In fact, several law enforcement agencies were pressured to enter into federal consent decrees aimed at hiring more women. Quite a few of those agencies where the percentage of women is somewhat above the national average of around 12% got where they were because of these decrees, including those in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

You can read about the impact of consent decrees on the representation of women in law enforcement agencies here.

One of those agencies, the Los Angeles Police Department which is under a federal consent decree of a different kind has struggled with sexual harassment in the workplace including that which constitutes a hostile working environment. Below is just one example of what's been reported inside that agency.

Los Angeles, California


As seen above, "split tail" was a favorite slur used by former Los Angeles Police Department Det. Mark Fuhrman, whose tapes of himself talking were used by defense attorneys in the O.J. Simpson trial. What's well known about Fuhrman is his fondness for racial slurs. What's not is that he once allegedly headed a sexist organization of male officers in his department who hated and resented female officers in their midst. Call it a "He-Man Women Haters' Club" for grown men with badges and guns. Fuhrman used quite a few sexist slurs during his career as it turned out.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

But the bulk of the tapes concern Fuhrman's disdain for female cops and involvement in MAW, which he said had 145 members in five of the city's 18 police divisions during its heyday in the mid-1980s.

He said MAW members shunned or refused to work with female officers and called them names like "Critter" and "Hench Monkey" all in violation of departmental anti-discrimination rules.

And he badmouthed his former boss, Capt. Peggy York, the wife of Simpson criminal trial Judge Lance Ito, saying she used her sexuality to become the force's highest-ranking female officer.

On a 1988 tape, Fuhrman described tribunals as a cross between criminal trials and Ku Klux Klan rallies, where members would drink beer and conduct a mock trial.

"Standing around in a dark parking lot of a baseball diamond at 3:30 in the morning. And I put my hood on and I am calling a tribunal and we get in a circle with Tony standing in the middle. . . . 'Okay, the charges are as follows: . . . You were seen having coffee with one of the enemy,' " Fuhrman said.

Male officers found guilty of fraternizing with females were "sentenced" to punishments like a week of "silent treatment" or "the back," where other male officers would turn their backs on the offender, he said.

Furhman said he even placed his own partner on trial after overhearing the man having a chat with a female officer.

"I said: 'You're on trial next Saturday night.' . . . So after two days he asks: 'How can I keep from being put on trial?' I say: 'Publicly humiliate a female officer.' He never did it. I had to put him on trial," Fuhrman said.

On the 1988 tape, he also griped that the department's internal investigation was cramping MAW's activities.

"We haven't had a tribunal in five months. Mostly because [former L.A. Police Chief] Darryl Gates personally knows my name now. Because of MAW."

"MAW" referred to "Men Against Women" meaning men against women being in law enforcement, which was the unofficial mission statement of this "club". On its face just reading about it makes one think that it doesn't get much more stupid and juvenile than this and these men are supposed to be emotionally and socially mature and professional law enforcement officers entrusted to protect and serve communities? But it's about promoting the LAPD and law enforcement in general as bastions for White men only.

Its membership isn't or wasn't huge in a department that probably employed over 7,000 officers at that time and it was fanned out across about one-third of the department's field stations. But you still had over 100 male officers who so hated, resented and most likely feared having women in the workplace that they launched active campaigns against them and the men who didn't participate in the shunning. It's likely that other organizations exist inside other law enforcement agencies though they are probably more clandestine. After all, if Fuhrman hadn't been involved in investigating the murders of O.J. Simposon's ex-wife, Nichole and Ron Goldman, MAW may have never come to light to embarrass the LAPD.

But Los Angeles isn't the only place these things were and are happening.

New York City, New York


Across the country and years later, in April 2007 during a supposedly more enlightened era, three female New York City Police Department officers complained after a male sergeant used racist and sexist slurs during roll call.

The sergeant called the women, "hos" and another male officer then called them "nappy headed hos"

Another sergeant used similar slurs in a separate incident reported by another female officer.

(excerpt, Fox News)

In a separate incident involving the NYPD, a Queens narcotics detective said a sergeant used similar language while talking to her on April 12.

Detective Aretha Williams said the supervisor — now on leave — told her not to give him "lip," or he'd call her "a nappy-headed ho."

The comment "cut me to the core," Williams, a 15-year veteran of the police force, said Sunday. "I find it disrespectful, racist, sexist. It can't be tolerated."

Too often it is tolerated inside law enforcement agencies until a female officer sues to make it go away and hold the agency to a professional, non-racist, non-sexist, non-homophobic, non-women hating working environment. It might be tolerated until an outside agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decides to do its own investigation which is already allegedly happening in one of Riverside's city departments that's not public safety related.

Riverside's police department itself is no stranger to this type of behavior even during its roll call sessions, according to complaints filed by former officer, Rene Rodriguez and Officer Roger Sutton. According to depositions given by former Commander Richard Dana among others in connection with Sutton's civil law suit, allegations involving these comments were sustained against a former sergeant, now retired.

As a result of all this inappropriate roll call chatter, one of the required reforms of the city's stipulated judgment with the State Attorney General's office was to put video cameras in the roll call room and a live feed to several division offices including that of the chief. Of course allegations were made in both complaints as well as others that racist, sexist comments were said outside the roll call sessions and even outside the roll call room as well. It's hard to rope in a culture which is steeped in racism and sexism to the point that it would spill over in such a setting. It's something that can only be changed when it becomes a priority to do so, and even then it's very difficult as many law enforcement agencies have discovered when pushed to do it.

New York City was hit with another sexual harassment law suit about 10 years earlier by a female police officer who said that she was harassed and it was covered up by her superiors.

But it wasn't like she hadn't been warned by a relative who worked there when she joined up in 1986, she said.

(excerpt, New York Times)

"He told me it was a horrible job for women," she recalled. "Every day at work you will be talked about, sized up and dissected like a frog in a lab."

Stacey G. Maher spoke of a world where if female officers wanted to move up, they had to perform sexual favors and anyone who supported her, would face retaliation by other male officers. Her harassment began not long after she started working at the NYPD.


Her first difficult encounter, she said, came in January 1989, while she was still on probation, at the 84th Precinct in downtown Brooklyn. "My first day on the job, I was walking across the muster room," she recalled, "when a sergeant pointed to me and said out loud, 'That one, the blonde, is mine.' "

In her lawsuit, Officer Maher identified the sergeant as Joseph Monahan, who was her squad commander at the 84th Precinct. In the suit, Officer Maher asserted that after fighting off Sergeant Monahan's attempts to grope her, she was given "a punishment post" of foot patrol by herself on the Brooklyn Bridge in the dead of winter.

It just got worse the more time she spent on the job. Especially when she said she tried to expose a police sergeant who was corrupt. After that, she was labeled a "rat" and believes that information about her was leaked to her new assignment by the Internal Affairs Division investigator.

What's Maher's biggest regret? It's that she didn't take her allegations of sexual harassment to the federal agencies but instead trusted the department's own processes and those who staff them to do the right thing.


"This started out as a simple complaint against a lieutenant with free hands and a sergeant who might be doing something improper with a convicted felon," she said in an interview." I was trying to do the right things by cops, and I'm living proof that the police can't police themselves."

Sometimes, it can be quite a few female employees in a law enforcement agency filing complaints at once or even a joint law suit. Perhaps they also shared Maher's sentiment about inhouse investigations.

Hayward, California


Several months ago, 13 current and former female police officers and civilian employees in the Hayward Police Department in California filed a sexual discrimination and harassment law suit, according to the Oakland Tribune.


Their joint 85-page lawsuit details a long and sometimes lewd history of unrest at the department, involving sexist, anti-gay and hostile treatment of female employees.

Many of the women also allege that the department's internal affairs unit, or Office of Ethical Standards, provided little relief from abuse and instead was used as a tool to retaliate against them.

"After years of trying to get the department's attention in these matters, they just -- basically -- couldn't take it anymore," said Walnut Creek lawyer Stan Casper, who is representing the 13 women and asking for an untold amount of damages from the city.

He said the suit is "the result of a long and entrenched history of the department demeaning female officers and their value to the department."

That's often the phrase that you hear when these law suits are filed. I just couldn't take it anymore. This time it was a law enforcement agency up in central California.

One of the issues raised in the article on Hayward, is a theme that's raised in many an account of how sexual discrimination and harassment is handled inside law enforcement agencies especially after the complaint or grievance process is utilized. What is the role of the department's internal affairs division, for example? Is it to investigate misconduct by officers including sexual harassment? Is it to be viewed as a means for an employee facing sexual harassment to seek a form of redress through a fair, just and objective process? And if these are the things that it's set up to do, does it in fact do them?

What if the reality is far different and is actually intended to be different? What if instead those who file complaints alleging racial and/or sexual discrimination or harassment wind up being the employees who are actually investigated through internal affairs divisions and other mechanisms? What if protecting the culture matters most of all? What if those who do so are so steeped inside it that they don't realize that's exactly what they are doing?

After all, according to former officer, Kelsey Metzler's law suit filed in 2006, she alleged that a representative of the Internal Affairs Division was present when she was fired the first day she appeared to work at the Riverside Police Department. That was after a stint in the academy where she allegedly finished just outside of the top 20 graduates, but had filed a complaint of sexual harassment against one of her male classmates.

Some of the plaintiffs in the Hayward law suit said they were lesbians and had investigations launched against them because of this. Homophobia plays a strong role in gender harassment and retaliation in law enforcement agencies for different reasons. One, is that officers who are lesbians may face disparate treatment due to their sexual orientation. The second, is that because women are daring to enter a profession like law enforcement which was long considered the sole territory of men, they might be labeled lesbians even when they don't identify as such because they are viewed as breaking gender roles.

One example of this labeling which is as sexist as it is homophobic took place in Riverside's own police department where former sergeant, Christine Keers, filed her law suit in 1996 alleging that she worked in a department entrenched in sexism. Her declaration included comments where female officers were labeled as being "butch" and if two female officers worked together, their squad car was called the "lesbian car".

Another issue that the Hayward case addresses is the role of gossip in undermining women in law enforcement agencies. The "rumor mill" discussed below is a common reference in law suits filed by female law enforcement officers. It's called taking a lie and making it true, as mentioned in the quote earlier in this posting.


Of the numerous male officers of various ranks blamed for contributing to the discrimination, some represent parts of familial networks or close networks within the department. One of the officers named in the lawsuit is the son of an assistant district attorney. Another is a son of a former Hayward mayor. Two are twin brothers. One is a son of a Hayward police officer. One was the best man for the wedding of the officer he was tasked to investigate.

Casper said many of the women found themselves falsely accused, through the police department "rumor mill," of having sexual relations with numerous men in the department. Occasionally, the rumors were used as a basis for discipline or investigation, he said.

"Rumors of sexual activity or imagined alliances, conspiracies, bribes and tiffs are not discouraged by the management," the suit states. "The social hierarchy within the department is maintained through the rumor mill."

Keers' law suit refers to a similar "rumor mill" where false stories were circulated about the sex lives of female employees in the police department. When Keers mentioned that she learned information about knots from her son who served in the Navy, one officer said she was "doing the fleet."

Metzler stated in her law suit that statements made about her having sexual relationships with instructors at the Ben Clark Training Academy while she was a cadet there might have been told to future prospective employers, without it being clear whether those allegations were truth or attempts to defame her reputation as a form of retaliation for filing a complaint against sexual harassment. One would certainly think if it was true that these allegations had been made against Metzler and were enough of a concern to be forwarded to any prospective employers, that there would have been a major investigation conducted of the involved instructors at the academy as well and that if Metzler were to be penalized for any such behavior that the involved instructors would be as well.

In both lawsuits against Hayward and Riverside, when women were promoted, it was insinuated or said that they had sex or performed sexual favors for their supervisors. If they wanted to get promoted, the same things were said. In both cases, female plaintiffs reported essentially being fed the "boys will be boys" line and the men's behavior against them was blamed on the women's looks. In other words, they were just words and what could words do?

Similar allegations of nearly identical behavioral problems has occurred elsewhere.

In 1999, the United States Department of Justice sued the city of Belen, New Mexico alleging sexual harassment and a hostile working environment inside its police department. The terms of the allegations were stated in this complaint.

That eventually led to a consent decree which included a list of reforms such as policy changes, Equal Employment Opportunity training and other measures.

That's one tool that's been used addressing sexual harassment in both governmental agencies and private companies, usually through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This process begins with what's called filing a charge which if you're in Riverside for example, you would do here.

But the difficulty of getting the EEOC to respond especially while under a Republican administration makes it not a feasible option for many complainants who instead turn to the courts for a legal remedy. Cleaning up an agency's sexism in all its forms should be a priority but many of them either aren't concerned or are oblivious to it unless forced by legal action to confront it. But how many female employees have they lost to just get to that point? And do these losses matter?

USA TODAY has this article on the progression of female police officers and how sexual harassment has been addressed in different agencies in this country.

First a custodian, now a police officer. At 39, a long-time custodian of the police department is now working in the same department as a police officer.

What's it like to watch votes get recounted?. An interesting essay given that Riverside, the city is thinking of bidding the election process for its local elections out.

Fifteen across the board has a different meaning in the face of Riverside Renaissance and the upcoming fiscal year. What does it mean for your city services?

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Riverside Renaissance: Is the party still on?

Riverside Renaissance has finally raised some questions from the Press Enterprise which Columnist Dan Bernstein aside, has always appeared to be an unabashed supporter of the five-year plan.

The pace and growing costs of the ambitious in scope if truncated in terms of time allotted, wide-spread development plan for the city have made people nervous, something clearly seen during Election 2007 which sent two incumbent councilmen packing and was within 13 votes of removing a third from the dais. The budget for the renaissance has grown from its initial $785 million to over $1.8 billion, with the majority of the money being borrowed during times which have brought a housing crisis which will impact property tax revenue and a possible recession, not to mention a state that's been placed under a fiscal emergency by its governor.


The City Council has added more than two dozen new projects to the list, boosting the original price tag by more than $756 million. The new work includes nearly $300 million to build a new electric power plant and a substation to transfer electricity from the state grid to homes and businesses.

Plus, city officials said they revised the Renaissance budget as they finalized details of individual projects and to take into account the higher costs of steel and concrete.

To complete the now 200 projects -- from recarpeting the third floor of City Hall to street improvements, additional fire stations, new parks and a revamped Fox Theatre downtown -- the city will borrow at least $1 billion.

City leaders insist they will be able repay the money without draining the general fund, which pays for basic services such as police and fire protection.

But they are less sure how to cover the annual operating costs for many of the Renaissance projects, such as new parks, a fire station and library expansion.

The city employees don't seem to be all that concerned about the future. At least not for Riverside Renaissance. It remains to be seen how much of these "specific revenue streams" will be able to handle paying for the operation of this city's basic services without serious cuts.


The economic picture today is vastly different than when officials announced the Renaissance initiative. But City Finance Officer Paul Sundeen said, "It literally doesn't matter."

"We have specific revenue streams to pay for Renaissance," he said.

The city's elected representatives seem even less concerned though one did express mixed feelings.


Councilman Mike Gardner, who took office earlier this month, said city officials should make presentations to service clubs and neighborhood groups all over Riverside to help residents understand how the city is paying for the Renaissance.

"There's a real fear in many people's minds that the city is going to have to raise taxes," he said.

But Councilman Frank Schiavone said residents in his ward have not raised questions about how to pay for the plan.

"The sky isn't falling," he said. "I have not had two constituents ... that have expressed any concerns. It is all accolades."

Actually, not quite. There's quite a bit of concern among residents in Ward Four like other wards in the city by city residents, including those who believe that expressing anything critical about the plan that was introduced with much fanfare and cheered by a long line of Rolodexed Greater Chamber of Commerce, is not a productive use of their time and energy. Many of them are doing what their counterparts have already done in the odd-numbered wards. They are waiting until an election year to voice their concerns on the issue.

In Ward Four, people like, even love, many of the public projects but concerns include the time span allotted to complete them, the expenditures and most importantly where the money is coming from. Whether or not taxes will be raised. Whether or not residents will get to vote on the raising of property taxes to pay for it or whether or not the burden will be placed largely on property owners.

One of the major concerns of Ward Four residents I've spoken with is how the expenditures of Riverside Renaissance will impact city services, including parks and public safety. The people most likely to hear these concerns will be those who canvass the even-numbered wards during the next election for city council, because they will catch the views of those who don't contact their elected officials with their concerns.

Ward Four has one of the highest voter turnout rates of all the city's wards when it comes to electing representatives, with the only exception being the runoff election for city council the last time around.

I've lived in Riverside quite a while and I've yet to see an elected official or even a political candidate appear at my door or canvass my neighborhood during an election cycle. I doubt I'm alone in noticing this. Those running for election may get out in their respective wards a great deal but not all of its neighborhoods are reached during campaigns.

It's also not a coincidence that a newly elected council member is more aware of these concerns including the possibility that the city will raise taxes than those who've been sitting on the dais for quite a while. That's also one of the reasons why the first two city council meetings under the new leadership have seen packed chambers, because many city residents want to see what the new leadership will do firsthand.

The role of Riverside Renaissance on this past year's election hasn't been discussed much but if the plan at its current pace and expenditures was such a hit, then two of its biggest proponents on the dais, Dom Betro and Art Gage, probably would have won the first round of the election process and not needed to spend time campaigning and fundraising for the November elections that both ultimately lost. Their colleague Steve Adams of Ward Seven should have won easily but instead narrowly defeated a candidate in a runoff who he outspent about 15 to 1.

For some reason, there are two articles by two different writers on the Riverside Renaissance. Doug Haberman authored a more cheerful article here.


At the big public meeting the council held last year at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium before it voted to approve the Renaissance, resident Katie Greene said it almost sounded too good to be true.

"I will go home, hope and pray that you're not cheating me in any way," she told the council that night.

Now Greene says she is seeing the Renaissance come true.

"I like the progress," she said. "I'm excited to see it be completed."

Another resident, Art Garcia, said many of the improvements are needed, but he wishes the city had held more public meetings or asked residents whether the Renaissance projects are what the people really wanted.

"We're also seeing the price tag go up," he said. "I'm not sure how they're paying for it."

The Riverside Renaissance is not one vast project that the city is paying for in one lump sum. Each improvement has its own budget, and those projects that cost more than $50,000, whether for the Renaissance or not, come to the council for a vote in public.

The list of projects the council approved on Oct. 3, 2006, had a $785 million price tag. Many have since been revised, other projects have been added and prices for steel and concrete have increased so the cost now is closer to $1.8 billion, City Manager Brad Hudson said.

On top of that, the city is proposing to add a sewage-treatment plant that could cost as much as $250 million and would require an undetermined increase in sewer rates, Hudson said.

The money is there, or will be available, for most of the Renaissance, he and Beck said.

Most of the renaissance. Actually, about two-thirds of its budget is being paid through borrowed funds. And the maintenance of these improvements, long an expressed concern of those who question the renaissance who are otherwise known as its "partypoopers", has instilled enough concern even in Mayor Ron Loveridge.


Loveridge said the annual cost of maintaining and staffing Renaissance improvements could vex the council down the road.

"It's a little tough to keep expanding the level of services," he said.

At the bottom of this article, there's a section on how these borrowed funds will be repaid. As many have said, it will be primarily through the next generation of city residents through property tax increases in redevelopment zones and utility payments and "user fees". The article states that the money from the general fund can't be used to pay back redevelopment and revenue bonds, which should provide some comfort. Until you sit down and think about how a sewer fund was essentially borrowed against to pay to purchase properties on Market Street, not exactly the way that money is supposed to be spent either.

If you visit the city's Web site, you'll find this City Hall organizational chart. What is interesting about the chart which illustrates and illuminates the food chain in city government, is the link that connects City Manager Brad Hudson to Asst. City Manager of Finance Paul Sundeen. When I asked City Hall Central about this some time ago, I was told that although the Finance division had previously been separate from the city manager's office, it was placed underneath it some time around the period that Hudson was hired by the city council. Some lamented that development because they felt it removed a layer of accountability between the two divisions. Whether that's happened is difficult to say. Time will tell if that's the case or not.

What's also interesting about this flow chart of authoritative power is that if you look beneath Asst. City Manager Tom DeSantis, you will find unbroken links connecting him to departments like Human Resources, Public Information, Museum and Library. However, there are also broken links connecting him to the heads of the police and fire departments, which are also connected to Hudson's picture by unbroken links. There's no explanation on the chart as to the difference between the two different types of links, except to say that DeSantis likely has some authority over the public safety departments shared with his boss, Hudson though not as much so, as the other city departments under his command.

This mirrors concerns by individuals in the police department who were concerned earlier this year that the city manager's office was involving itself in the promotional process involving key management positions, a power usually enjoyed by a police chief. That concern culminated in a showdown at city council in March between the police union's leadership and the city manager's office with the city council in the middle, not long after the council had voted to give Hudson a huge pay hike. So who's in charge of promotions? That's a question that was somewhat answered that day, in a way that comforted and reassured many people, but has it been answered? It wouldn't be surprising to see this issue revisited again in the upcoming year.

Press Enterprise columnist, Dan Bernstein has taken out his crystal ball and is making predictions for the upcoming year. Here are several of them.


Stung by criticism that they have de-emphasized the novel, Riverside school officials will require students to read Monarch Notes for "The Old Man and the Sea."

In a brilliant tactical maneuver, RivCo DA Rod Pacheco will slap himself with an injunction that declares him a public nuisance and prohibits him from associating with Riversiders who want to talk to him about his injunction against the East Side Riva gang.

Attempting to tap into a booming sector of the healthcare industry, UCR will scrap its campaign for a costly School of Medicine and announce plans for a cheaper School of Medical Insurance, specializing in training students to deny health care to underserved groups.

Forging a statesmanlike compromise, Rep. Ken Calvert will build storage units on the controversial Mira Loma site, but will invite critics of the land deal to live rent-free in the units until after the oxygen runs out.

DHL will resolve all neighbor noise disputes when a new flight path takes cargo planes beneath the flyovers at the Riverside Squeeze.

In the Eastside, an injunction filed by the Riverside County District Attorney's office might be filed in its permanent form later next month, according to the Press Enterprise.

"I was trying to find every tool I could to stop kids from being shot in the wrong area at the wrong time," Tortes told a group of residents at a recent Eastside Think Tank meeting. "This didn't just happen overnight."

After Tortes retired, Lt. Larry Gonzalez took over as commander for the area. He speaks to groups, attempting to answer questions about how officers will enforce the injunction. Police have not yet arrested anyone on suspicion of an injunction violation. Gang members found in violation could be charged with misdemeanor violation of a court order.

"This is a small tool for us in a very large toolbox we have," Gonzalez said.

Department spokesman Steven Frasher said the injunction can be used when it needs to be, but so far police have not seen any trouble.

"If people are behaving themselves we have no reason to bother them with this at all," Frasher said.

Officers have already been trained on what the law says and when it's appropriate to apply it. Some residents have posed concerns about officers harassing young men suspected of being gang members who are not. Gonzalez told residents at the think tank meeting that he needs to be told if that happens.

Harrison Police Department has declared 2007 the "year of the law suits" and all of them lead back to the door of one single police officer according to the Journal News.


Officer Ralph Tancredi has given police brass and town officials a yearlong headache with his legal battles, both in and out of the department. He is a plaintiff in four federal lawsuits against Harrison police, and a defendant in three domestic-violence cases involving his ex-girlfriend.

Police Chief David Hall said Tancredi's lawsuits and other legal problems have hurt the department by creating tension among groups of officers.

Tancredi, who was suspended in July, became a Harrison police officer 10 years ago this month.

According to Newsday, five police officers in Schenectady, New York were suspended while being investigated for an onduty beating.

The Idaho State Police Academy has nixed the slogan referring to going out and causing PTSD after an uproar resulted when the news broke.

(excerpt, Associated Press)

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who attended the Dec. 14 graduation, pointed out the slogan to the academy's director, Jeff Black, minutes before the ceremony began, Raney said. A photograph of the program was e-mailed anonymously to news outlets throughout the state.

''That's not something we encourage or condone,'' Black said. ''It shouldn't have been there. It was inappropriate.''

Black said the class president was ex-military, and that the slogan ''slipped in.'' He declined to identify the graduate. Black said future slogans would be vetted by academy leaders.

Yes, that slogan was a poor choice. But why an individual would come up with it in the first place should also be explored.

Speaking of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a study conducted of rescue workers and volunteers who worked at the World Trade Center after 9-11 showed a wide variation in the rates of this disorder among them depending on their occupation, according to Psychiatric News.

Police officers had the lowest rates while construction workers, engineers and unaffiliated volunteers had the highest.

Riverside resident Aric Isom has a new entry on his blog. Check it out.

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Good Cops: One expert's look at police accountability and review

A long-time barber who spent decades cutting hair in the Eastside neighborhood of Riverside is hanging up his razor.

George Magaña's Three Palms Barber Shop has been a fixture on Kansas Avenue and many people, both regulars and newcomers came from miles around to have their hair cut.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

After today, Nguyen and dozens of other longtime customers won't have a choice. They'll have to find another barber.

Magaña, 72, who has cut hair at the Three Palms since 1962, will be hanging up his scissors for good.

"My wife and family said 'It's time,' " Magaña said, taking a break from giving Nguyen his "Marine-style" do. "They worry about me, especially driving home at night.

"And it's hard on the legs, the arms and the eyes," he said.

In San Bernardino, the Human Relations Commission is hearing complaints about police response times, according to the Press Enterprise.


Commission Chairman Terry Elliott and Commissioner Kenneth Wells said they asked for the report in response to Westside residents' complaints that police take much longer to respond to calls from the largely black and Latino neighborhood than to those from elsewhere in the city.

Elliott said the commission will take up the issue Jan. 9 under its mandate to monitor allegations of race- or class-based discrimination.

"The police say they're always running behind because they're short of people, and they have to have protocols for prioritizing calls. I'm specifically looking at those protocols," Elliott said. "A call might be a low priority to them, but then it escalates, and they have to roll a whole army out there."

Lt. Scott Paterson, a San Bernardino Police Department spokesman, said dispatchers and field supervisors treat all five of the city's patrol areas equally, according to policies that seek to use officers' time most efficiently.

"The department doesn't treat one part of town differently from another," he said. "That's just not the way we do things."

The average response time for police calls in San Bernardino is about five minutes but it can vary a great deal, according to at least one HRC commissioner, Kenneth Wells.


Wells said he has received many complaints from Westside residents recently, and they match his own experience. When he moved from the Westside to a home in northeastern San Bernardino two years ago, he immediately noticed a difference in police responsiveness, he said.

As a Neighborhood Watch captain in his old neighborhood, he learned that the best way to get a timely response, even to urgent calls, was to recruit several neighbors to telephone at once, Wells said. Otherwise, he said, he typically waited three and four hours for an officer to arrive.

"Where I live now, when I call, they show up right away," he said.

Westside residents are set to meet with city leaders including Mayor Patrick Morris with a United States Department of Justice mediator at their side to recommend policy changes and to address concerns about the police department.

The residents of San Bernardino are also exploring the option of installing a mechanism of civilian oversight over their police department's complaint process. The city does have a Board of Police Commissioners as it's called in place that was established in 1972. It was defanged in 1991 so that it couldn't process citizen complaints involving officers and it isn't currently funded by the city's annual budget. That means that it's essentially a convenient prop for people in government to admonish residents for not using but the residents know that its basically meaningless as an agent of accountability for their police department.

There are elements in Riverside's own government that probably glance over at what they might see as the model of perfection in San Bernardino and perhaps that's the direction in which Riverside's own commission is slowly heading. But if that's true, all that awaits at the end of the road is proof positive that Riverside hasn't learned a thing since it was in the international spotlight after a controversial officer-involved shooting by four Riverside Police Department officers on Dec. 28, 1998. And it's been an awfully long road to travel just to make that point.

David A. Harris looks at issues like civilian review in his book, Good Cops which is very good reading, including an excerpt on the Riverside Police Department's own experience with outside oversight from 2001 to 2006.

Part One of this series.

Harris also like many authors of books about issues in policing discusses the "us vs them" component of police culture between police departments' officers and the communities they police particularly when controversial incidents including excessive force incidents and onduty shootings take place that often show the tremendous gap that exists between the two entities. Harris also discusses the "culture within a culture" that permeates law enforcement agencies that sets up an "us vs them" dynamic of a different kind, between department management and the rank and file officers, most often through their union representation leadership. The public generally is only aware of this particular dynamic when controversy breaks after a police-related incident such as an officer-involved death.

Riverside saw both dynamics play out in full after the shooting of Tyisha Miller which placed then-Chief Jerry Carroll in a role of duality, the kind that often ends the careers of police chiefs before they would probably wish to step down. Neither of these dynamics were unique in Riverside's history and Carroll was not the only chief to face them. In fact, he was at least the third chief in a row during a period of less than 10 years.

The police chief is in the role of promoting accountability of both his or her department and of the investigations it conducts into controversial incidents, and insuring that he or she is also looking out for the officers under the command. The police officers through their union usually count on his or her fairness, or even loyalty and if they feel that their chief is favoring the community over them, they will act out as was seen in Riverside in 1999 culminating in an ill-advised head shaving campaign, particularly after Carroll fired the four officers and their supervisor after the department conducted its own internal administrative investigation of the shooting.

The community is pretty much as steadfast in its determination for accountability for a process that many of its members believe has little or none. The growth of civilian review nationwide is a reflection in large part of the lack of confidence that communities in these cities and counties have in the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate their own people in a fashion that is both accountable and transparent. If you listen to or review comments made by community members during this process in just about any of these cities or counties, you will find it said over and over again, I don't trust the ability of the police to police themselves.

A lot of this can be attributed to the cultures in police departments mentioned above, including what is called the "us vs them" mentality that is the backbone of it and them. That's one of the components that Harris addresses continuously in his book on the subject of preventive policing, in terms of reconceptualizing and redefining that profession.

There's an obvious difference between the relationship between the community and a police chief and the police chief and the department's police unions. Only the latter can hold the career of the police chief in their hands, through "no confidence" votes and other campaigns. Though technically only a city manager can fire a police chief in a city like Riverside that works directly under him or her like he can any other department head, the reality can be very different. How many chiefs have really been fired because police unions say or state that they no longer have confidence in them? How many mutinies or threatened mutinies within police agencies have led to the ousters of chiefs? How many chiefs have survived a "no confidence" vote from the rank and file?

In these situations, even all the support a community can offer is meaningless, as has been found in many cities including Riverside. Although with Carroll's ouster (as happened with other chiefs before him to the point that they stopped painting the chief's name on the door at the department's administrative headquarters), he had also lost support from the city government which in Carroll's case was actually negotiating with a group of the department's sergeants behind Carroll's back in attempts made to promote them, even adding new lieutenant positions if necessary as Mayor Ron Loveridge had said.

Three powers enjoyed by police chiefs to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction are the ability to hire, fire and promote and it's not surprising that once Carroll discovered that one of those was being circumvented, he decided to take a retirement after probably one of the worst years in his professional life. Whether or not that was the only power he had that the city circumvented will probably never be fully known.

The dynamics which played out in Riverside were hardly new. In fact, it was just the opposite. The only police chief which seems to ride out controversy fairly well is current Los Angeles Police Department Chief William Bratton who also has headed other agencies including the New York City Police Department but left before the era which included the 1997 torture of Abner Louima and several controversial onduty shootings including the 1999 fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo. In Chicago, a new police chief was hired from the outside to head that city's scandal-plagued police department.

Randy Rider, the president of the National Internal Affairs Investigators Association comments about the role his division plays in instilling what he calls, morality and morale in police departments across the land. The role it should be playing anyway. It comes out of discussion elicited by an ethics course being taught to law enforcement officers by former Minneapolis Police Department officer and current author, Michael Quinn.

Quinn wrote the book, Walking with the Devil: What Bad Cops Don't Want You to Know and Good Cops Won't Tell You which upset a lot of his supervisors in Minneapolis, but attracted the attention of many readers when it was published in 2005.


Send a positive message. Think of morals and morale. If WE have a problem then all of US must participate in the process of change. Obtain input from the line officer up. Even the old guys (like me) will take change differently if it is presented positively.

Take a look at the synonyms for moral. MORAL, ETHICAL, VIRTUOUS, RIGHTEOUS, NOBLE mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good.

MORAL implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong (the basic moral values of a community).

ETHICAL may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity (committed to the highest ethical principles).

VIRTUOUS implies the possession or manifestation of moral excellence in character (not a religious person, but virtuous nevertheless).

RIGHTEOUS stresses guiltlessness or blamelessness and often suggests the sanctimonious (wished to be righteous before God and the world).

NOBLE implies moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character (had the noblest of reasons for seeking office).

With the definition complete, what do these terms mean to us as investigators? Will our jobs be easier? Will the chief sleep easier at night? If handled the right way we will all rest better.

But is it handled the "right way" or is it all just wishful thinking?

Quinn, who left his department after 25 years in law enforcement, focused his book on the police culture and the code of silence it requires to live and move about within it. He viewed it as part survival mechanism, part crutch. He added that it was an inevitable part of being a police officer, as part of one as the badge and the gun, but he said that it needed to be constantly analyzed and the role it played in an officer's work because once it became part of "the road" for officers, it was destructive, corroding relationships between officers and between officers and the communities. Everybody in the organization knows about it, but doesn't talk about it out in the open. Communities discuss it, especially when there's controversy, like in the case of Louima who was taken into a bathroom in a precinct station, held down, tortured and sodomized by an officer holding a plunger which one of the involved officers then allegedly paraded around the station house with to show other officers.

People were shocked that something like this could take place inside a station house, but in order for it to have happened, the officers had to have believed that they could commit such a despicable act without getting caught literally in their own workplace. That belief comes to them courtesy of the Code of Silence, which dictates that officers do not tell on each other, even in many cases, when criminal conduct is taking place in front of them.

It didn't work completely in Louima's case, because the columnist of the New York Daily News who first broke the story stated that among those who tipped him off were several unnamed NYPD officers. But if this is the case, it's an unfortunate state of affairs that an incident like this comes to light and to a police department's attention, after officers anonymously leak information about a criminal act in their midst to a media outlet. Score one more point, for the code.

Pile that point with the rest of them. Too often even criminal behavior in law enforcement isn't reported until it spills out in a way that can't be ignored, something that isn't surprising according to the 1994 report released by the Mollen Commission. This body headed by Judge Milton Mollen in 1992 was set up to investigate allegations of corruption in the New York City Police Department. And what would be one element that needed to exist to fuel corruption inside a law enforcement agency set up to fight crime? The Code of Silence.

The 1994 Mollen Commission report (large pdf file)

In his book, Quinn discusses "creative report writing", "testi-lying" or adding charges of resisting arrest and battery of officers in cases where injured individuals are brought back to the station after being arrested. After all, the only ones out there who will be there for officers are other officers, and the message as Quinn puts it that resounds over and over, is we take care of our own. Otherwise known as the "us vs them" mindset that in cases like these are aimed not just at communities, but even more so at a department's management including its internal affairs division. Maybe that's one reason why interviews with these divisions are compelled and officers are often required to respond to questions asked by investigators inside these divisions unless they want to be fired. In theory even with the Code of Silence, this should work, because after all, it's all about silence or remaining silent to protect other officers? Compelled interviews are one tool used to break the code.

But Quinn also states that the Code of Silence is also based on lies and deception. How far does that go, is the question that is asked? Does it go as far as the interrogation room at an internal affairs interview? Only those who use it know for sure.

Quinn also makes many references to this report when analyzing the code and how it impacts the performances of law enforcement officers inside law enforcement agencies especially when it comes to confronting or even just reporting corrupt, unethical and even criminal conduct that occurs in their midst.

(excerpt, Mollen)

Honest officers who know about or suspect corruption among their colleagues, therefore, face an exasperating dilemma. We perceive that we must either turn a blind eye to the corruption we deplore, or risk the dreadful consequences of reporting it. The commission's inquiries reveal that the overwhelming majority of officers chose to live with the corruption.

A survey by the National Institute of Justice asked questions of law enforcement officers from many different agencies whether misconduct including that involving criminal behavior by other officers was reported.

The 2000 National Institute of Justice study: Police Attitudes Towards Abuse of Authority (pdf version)

The 2000 National Institute of Justice study: Police Attitudes Towards Abuse of Authority (text version)

Not surprisingly, the findings it produced were very interesting.


Key findings: The results of the survey indicate that the majority of American
police officers believe that:

--It is unacceptable to use more force than legally allowable to control someone
who physically assaults an officer.

--Extreme cases of police abuse of authority occur infrequently.

--Their departments take a "tough stand" on the issue of police abuse.

--At times their fellow officers use more force than necessary when making an

--It is not unusual for officers to ignore improper conduct by their fellow

--Training and education are effective ways to reduce police abuse.

--A department's chief and first-line supervisors can play an important role in
preventing police from abusing authority.

--Community-oriented policing reduces or has no impact upon the potential for
police abuse.

It also produced contradictory statistics on how officers' perceived the role played by the Code of Silence inside their agencies.


More than 80 percent of police surveyed reported that they do not accept the
"code of silence" (i.e., keeping quiet in the face of misconduct by others) as an
essential part of the mutual trust necessary to good policing (see exhibit 3).
However, about one-quarter (24.9 percent) of the sample agreed or strongly
agreed that whistle blowing is not worth it, more than two-thirds (67.4 percent)
reported that police officers who report incidents of misconduct are likely to be
given a "cold shoulder" by fellow officers, and a majority (52.4 percent) agreed
or strongly agreed that it is not unusual for police officers to "turn a blind eye" to other officers' improper conduct (exhibit 3).

A surprising 6 in 10 (61 percent)
indicated that police officers do not always report even serious criminal
violations that involve the abuse of authority by fellow officers.[9]

These figures are probably on the low side because those who follow the code don't tend to trust people outside of it so consequently, may choose not to share that with "outsiders".

Quinn tends to look towards law enforcement agencies and their management for accountability and particularly within each officer within his audience when it comes to how each one saying, "not in my presence you don't" to other officers. Meaning that the best way to institute the change of the police culture including its Code of Silence was for officers to change themselves.

But he said that police ethics couldn't be taught inside a classroom because the officers knew all they had to do was say the "right things" and they would get through it just fine without behavioral change. He volunteered to teach a class in Minneapolis himself and shared one of his experiences in his book.


"So it was pretty boring stuff until I brought up a tactic Chicago crack dealers were using to corrupt street and narcotics officerss. An angry shift commander immediately stood up and berated me for even insinuating that one of his officers could be corrupted by money. Taking no pity on him, I congratulated him on what must be his great leadership skills. Then I quickly reminded him it was an officer from his shift who was recently sent to prison for demanding sex from female traffic offenders.

He was quiet for the rest of the hour."

Quinn's attention to civilian review for example is minimal. He didn't view it as a mechanism in his city that many officers would fear, only because he believed that civilians on the board were easier for the police management to con than investigators from inside the police department. He focused his attention inward at the members of the profession he had once worked in. Whereas Harris addressed outside mechanisms of accountability and reform like civilian review and consent decrees imposed by federal and state agencies, Quinn focused on the responsibility of a police agency from top to bottom. That's not surprising considering that Harris is a lawyer while Quinn was a police officer for several decades.

To be continued.

Another Los Angeles County fire department will be paying out for racism within its ranks according to the Los Angeles Times.

This time Pasadena's fire department was hit by a $1.17 million jury's verdict from a civil trial stemming from a law suit filed against the city by a Black firefighter.


A jury awarded $1.17 million Friday to a black former Pasadena firefighter who said he was forced to retire after complaining for five years about other firefighters leaving blood, urine and feces in his bedding and scrawling a swastika on his equipment.

The penalty was just the latest case of a black firefighter alleging discrimination against a fire department in Los Angeles and surrounding communities.

According to Carter Stephens' suit, supervisors and co-workers also put mucus on his uniform and a captain referred to him by the "N" word.

Stephens, 55, said he felt vindicated after enduring racially-motivated attacks for five years.

"The general thought was, 'You just have go ahead and take a beating. Maybe it'll stop,' " he said. "That's what I tried to do. But it wouldn't stop."

Stephens said he filed numerous complaints to his supervisors, but instead of getting better, things got worse.

The housing market bust had plenty of help according to a local realtor.

Visitors this week have included the following.

City of Riverside

County of Riverside

University of California, Riverside

Los Nettos

Food and Drug Administration

Inktomi Corporation

Empire Federal Credit Union

Dynasty Suites Riverside

LG DACOM Corporation (South Korea)

Utah Educational Network

Asurion Corporation

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bits and pieces here and there

People in the Inland Empire are responding to the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She and at least 22 others were killed by a suicide attacker yesterday, after a political rally for her campaign for the prime minister seat.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Mohammad Shoaib Siddiqui, a Riverside civil engineer and native of Pakistan, said he had hoped for a Bhutto victory in the upcoming elections.

In her earlier political life, Bhutto was beset by charges of corruption, but she had matured, said Siddiqui, 52, who watched the violence unfold Thursday on Pakistani television via satellite.

"It's a big tragic loss," he said. "She gave her life for democracy."

Rob Bernheimer, an Indian Wells city councilman, had the opportunity to dine with Bhutto in January 2006, after Bhutto addressed 1,800 people as part of a city-sponsored lecture series.

She was living in self-imposed exile in Dubai at the time, but it was evident to everyone that she was passionate about Pakistan and about returning to lead the country, Bernheimer said.

"She clearly had a calling inside her. You could see it inside her," he said.

During her speech, she spoke of the need for free elections and more democratic rule in Pakistan, Berheimer said. She also spoke of her pride in becoming the first woman elected leader in a Muslim country and her efforts to curb abuses of women in Pakistan.

Bernheimer said Bhutto was down to earth but also embodied a "sense of greatness," and was one of the most captivating speakers to attend the lecture series. The city has hosted other world leaders, including former President George H.W. Bush and former British prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Have late library books? There's a food for fines program in place temporarily at Riverside's public libraries. So rush your food items to the library with your overdue books.

The pace to implement Boston's form of civilian review has been too slow stated a columnist with the Boston-Bay State Banner. Boston is one city which has added civilian review to its list of things to do this year along with others from coast to coast.


The past year did see some movement in the development of the city’s long awaited three-member civilian board charged with reviewing allegations of misconduct by members of the Boston Police Department (BPD).

But some critics in the community found the pace glacial — and troubling.

Headlining the plus side of the ledger: the board now actually exists. Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced plans to create the panel in August 2006, but it wasn’t officially established until this March, when the mayor signed an executive order bringing the newly named Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel (CO-OP) to life.

“It is in the best interest of the City of Boston and the Boston Police Department to have an oversight mechanism to build trust and confidence within the community,” Menino wrote in the order.

As mentioned previously, San Bernardino's residents have started their journey down that road as well to follow that taken by Riverside nearly nine years ago. In fact it was nine years ago at 2 a.m. this morning when the shots were fired by four Riverside Police Department officers into the car and the body of a Black teenaged woman that would be heard around the world, putting Riverside in a spotlight it didn't want. Tyisha Shenee Miller, 19, inside her aunt's car in medical distress with a gun that she might have felt safer with as a woman sitting alone in a broken down car in the middle of the night, was shot about a dozen times with all the bullets entering the back of her head or her body. At least 24 shots and some say more, fired in all in a matter of seconds on a chilly December morning.

Nine years, multiple investigations, one stipulated judgment and a civilian review board later, how much has Riverside and its police department changed?

The police department is mostly new. The city government's management is all new, as is the city council save for one elected official still remaining on the dais who witnessed first-hand the incident and its aftermath that shook the city to its core. Even the city council elected in reaction to the state of chaos and problems involving the then city council in the midst of it, is on its way out having not enjoyed a very long stint in power for reasons probably having little to do with police issues.

The main police union, where the leadership on average is still comprised of much more experienced officers than its membership at large, has seen two presidents with different leadership styles come and go and will soon have a new one, who will run it for the next two years. The current police chief who came on after a tumultuous series of events led to the ouster of his predecessor still remains in his position. The year that he arrived, 2000, had already seen three other high-ranking management level officers, both inside and out of it, lead or try to lead the department through a political minefield.

The civilian review board, the Community Police Review Commission, passed a couple tests of fire including a ballot measure passed by the city's voters in 2004 about four years after it was created by the city council through ordinance. The initiative won in all the city's precincts, surprising considering there should have been a few places in several wards where it should have faced a more aggressive challenge than it did. However, as has been seen, that was the beginning of a new chapter of challenges it would face coming from the city which birthed it.

The Los Angeles Times did an indepth article on the events surrounding the filing of corruption charges against Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona and the two women in his life.


Both women appeared at official functions together, the wife often sitting in the first row, Hoffman in the second. Photographers working for the Sheriff's Department sometimes snapped photos of the two women together and sometimes of both posing with the sheriff.

But just beyond public view, associates say, the sheriff's behavior with his mistress was reckless, even defiant: a trip to Las Vegas, text messages and pet names.

Now, Carona, his wife and mistress have been accused in a broad public conspiracy case that alleges that the sheriff sold his office for a stream of gifts and money. All three have pleaded not guilty and said they expect to prevail at trial. Carona, his wife and Hoffman all declined to be interviewed for this story.

On the morning after he was charged, Carona was ushered into a courtroom ordinarily reserved for drug runners, bank robbers -- the sorts of alleged criminals the sheriff had spent years trying to sweep off the streets.

The two Debbies sat nearby. Like the sheriff, they were in handcuffs.

Letters, notes and photos left at the neighbors of former Bolingbrook sergeant, Drew Peterson were rejected by investigators as potential leads in the case of the disappearance of Peterson's wife, Stacey who's been missing since Oct. 28.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Pam Bosco, a spokeswoman for Stacy Peterson's family, said a man claiming responsibility for the items called police and told them he did it.

"It was somebody who had been following the case too closely -- he was very emotionally involved and had a belief of what happened to Stacy," Bosco said Thursday. "It wasn't a valid lead."

On Wednesday morning, two neighbors of the missing 23-year-old Bolingbrook mother found letters in their mailboxes that said she was in a graveyard. One neighbor also had dozens of 5-by-7-inch photos of grave sites littered in her yard.

Bosco said the family wasn't surprised that police had discounted the incident as a lead in the case.

"We had our hopes up and everything, but you had to expect it to some degree because valid tips and leads don't come in like that," she said.

A detective in New Haven, Connecticut is under internal investigation for allegedly misusing informant funds according to WTNH. Apparently, an officer in that department being investigated for misconduct isn't news as three others have already been fired for corrupt behavior.

Did two Dallas Police Department officers assault a popular country-western singer? That's what investigators are trying to determine according to the Dallas Morning News.


"It appears that two unidentified Dallas police officers met the complainant at an off-duty social event and later went to the residence of the complainant," police spokesman Lt. Vernon Hale said in a prepared statement. "At some point, witnesses state that one of the men assaulted one of the hosts" at the home.

Lt. Hale offered little further information about the incident, but a 911 call record shows officers were dispatched about 5:30 a.m. to the Old East Dallas home that belongs to Mr. Holy. And through an attorney late Thursday, the singer said he and a friend were assaulted and gave his own account of what happened at the house in the 5700 block of Vickery Boulevard.

Steve Holy, the singer, said that he invited them along with other guests but that they got belligerent and attacked him.


"Do you know who you're [expletive] with, you're [expletive] with a Dallas police officer," Mr. Holy told investigators the man yelled at him. He said the officers showed their badges.

The officer yelled to the second officer to bring him his gun from the car, according to the account, and soon the officers were holding Mr. Holy and his friend at gunpoint.

Mr. Holy told police one of the officers held a gun to the back of his head while he lay face down on the kitchen floor. At one point, he went upstairs, telling the officers he would get his identification, he said, and told his wife, who had been sleeping in a bedroom, to call 911.

Meanwhile, his friend escaped to the home of a neighbor, who called 911. The off-duty officers left before police arrived. According to Mr. Holy's account, they threatened him with retaliation should he tell anyone what happened.

The last jaunt of Toby the wild pig who occasionally wandered in the Woodcrest neighborhood. Shot not by police, but by a woman who was walking, while carrying a gun which she may have felt was needed to protect herself.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Riverside City Hall: Revisions and other visions

Ward Three Councilman Rusty Bailey wants to nix a restaurant row near the Riverside Plaza, in favor of mixed development, according to the Press Enterprise.

Eminent Domain was what the city's Redevlopment Agency had used against local businesses to build the "row". That same land will now under Bailey's proposal be used for "surface parking". Merrill Street which is one of the alternative routes used by fire trucks when Magnolia is blocked by a Union Pacific train looking for a parking space, will still be closed off, possibly even before the grade separation for Magnolia and another possibly for Riverside are constructed.

Public reaction to the planned development was mixed, which shouldn't be surprising. What's not surprise is that demand for parking is as much a factor here as with other development projects in other areas of the city.


On Wednesday, people shopping or seeing movies at the Plaza offered varying views on how to use the Merrill land.

Antonio Fuentes, 39, a Moreno Valley resident who said he visits the Plaza four or five times a month, said stores and restaurants would be the best mix.

He said he could see an electronics store going in, like a Best Buy or Circuit City. If eateries went in, he would prefer they not be part of a chain, he said.

"Restaurants always seem to be in demand," Fuentes said.

But Paul and Paula Plaster said there are enough restaurants at the Plaza and, in fact, enough businesses altogether.

If the city approves more shops and restaurants at or by the Plaza, "we won't come here," said Paul Plaster, 54.

"I can't stand driving around for 15 minutes to find a parking space."

"Why can't they just keep it overflow parking?" asked Paula Plaster, 46, referring to the Merrill land.

The Plaza is doing well since its renovation, but any more commercial activity would detract from, rather than add to, the atmosphere, she said.

"Sometimes success brings you back to the bottom again," Paula Plaster said.

Giving instructions to try and save lives will be Riverside's dispatchers.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Here's how it works:

The dispatcher enters the type of call -- such as CPR, childbirth, seizures, severe bleeding and diabetic episodes -- into the computer. Based on the victim's age, gender and problem, scripted instructions from health professionals aim to ease the crisis until medics arrive.

Since the Riverside service began, dispatchers have given instructions on neck and shoulder pain, breathing difficulties, uncontrollable shaking and severe stomach pain, Peurifoy said. "It gives us the opportunity to help them, to increase their chances of survival before paramedics or an ambulance arrives," he said.

Thirty-seven dispatchers have been certified to work in the call center in the basement of the Riverside Police Department, Peurifoy said. The next training course, which starts in February, includes learning the computer program, reading medical journals and riding with paramedics.

A Riverside County Superior Court judge declared a former Riverside County District Attorney's office investigator factually innocent after a misdemeanor case was dropped against him involving domestic violence. He's still trying to get his job back through the courts having filed a law suit.

In San Bernardino, a panel there said that the city residents don't utilize the police complaint process already available to them, according to the Press Enterprise.


"We have a commission set up now, and it's not being utilized," Commissioner Carl Clemons said. "How do people know we couldn't bring answers and solutions to a problem if the problem doesn't come before us?"

But there's at least one major reason for that and it's below.


Councilman Rikke Van Johnson, who represents the Westside area, said his constituents want more than that. They're calling for a body with the authority to carry out thorough investigations, he said.

A San Bernardino law enacted in 1972 gives the Board of Police Commissioners the power "to investigate and to examine or inquire into the affairs or operation of any division or section of the police department." The law had no funding mechanism for such probes.

A 1991 addendum restricts the board to investigating only general police procedure -- as opposed to the conduct of individual officers -- and only after the matter is closed "by final action taken by the court, district attorney, or the chief of police, as the case may be."

Johnson said that rule "handcuffs the commission."

That's exactly what's been done. What can be said about chiding city residents to utilize a process that essentially has no power, no money invested by the city government to finance its operations? Not nearly enough.

San Bernardino may prove to be an easier setting for establishing civilian review than was Riverside seven years ago but if it's established, it will probably be just as difficult to maintain an independent and transparent form of civilian review as it is and has been particularly lately in Riverside. Westside activists are being credited with leading the quest but residents from all over the city support it as was and is the case in Riverside.

Two stories of law enforcement related domestic violence, one were a police officer is the perpetrator, the other the victim.

(excerpt, PoliceOne)

Domestic violence involving police officers as either perpetrators or victims is a phenomenon that has received little empirical study. It is understandable that police officers, even when promised anonymity, would be reluctant to self-report behavior that could put them in serious jeopardy at work. Denial, rationalization, and minimization of behaviors are normal human responses when “regular” people are questioned about their own bad or maladaptive actions and it is reasonable to expect police officers would be no different.

It is also reasonable to expect domestic violence would be under-reported among police and their families. When an officer is accused of domestic violence it is likely he or she will face consequences both legally and professionally. Unlike most professions, a criminally charged police officer faces consequences ranging from the loss of professional respect up to the loss of employment. The financial ramifications for the spouse are as significant as they are for the officer. The Lautenberg Amendment of 1996, banning anyone convicted of even misdemeanor domestic battery from possessing a gun, can signal “financial sudden death” for an entire family.

Even when the officer’s partner wants to report an incident there will be increased pressure not to, due to the potential consequence, and the victimized spouse risks further victimization. Finally, there are the victim’s frequently expressed feelings that, “No one will believe me” or “No one will take it seriously.”

Many police officers who are victims of domestic abuse are reluctant to report it. Fear of losing the respect of peers and supervisors or of having a troubled home life laid bare before colleagues is enough to prevent an officer from reporting the abuse. Some also report they are afraid they will be falsely accused by their partner or their attempts to defend themselves will cause them to be arrested.

Studies show that domestic violence is four times more likely to happen in police families according to the Chattanooga Times and Free Press.


Dr. Gary Lee, a clinical psychologist who counsels police officers affected by traumatic on-the-job experiences, described law enforcement as "a way of life."

Police officers routinely must shelve any emotions they may feel, especially when faced with particularly harrowing or dangerous situations, Dr. Lee, of Hendersonville, Tenn., said.

"In order to do what they do on a daily basis, they have to put aside, contain and hold natural human emotional reactions," he said. "They are taught that when they respond they have to keep control of the situation."

Over time, such suppression often makes it difficult for officers to communicate with those closest to them, Dr. Lee said.

"They're not able to talk about their jobs like most people do, so over time the stress builds and becomes cumulative," he said. "They basically shut down and there's not a lot of communication, which causes conflict."

Lt. Dunn, who serves as the Southeast Tennessee coordinator for the state's Critical Incident Debriefing Team, said he believes that extremely traumatic situations can trigger such behavior in almost anyone. However, he said, even the day-to-day stresses of an officer's job can add up.

"You go home and all you want to do is relax and recharge your batteries," Lt. Dunn said. "So when something happens at home, and you've got to get back in control mode ... you get a little irritated and upset. That's how things like that can happen."

In one case, a deputy who shot and killed his wife during an argument is asking for a lenient sentence according to the San Diego Union-Tribune because his wife verbally abused him.


Lowell Bruce also was abused as a child by his alcoholic parents and told a court-appointed psychologist that his childhood was “filled with stress and violence,” according to documents filed by Deputy Public Defenders Henry C. Coker and Steward Dadmun.
Bruce, 41, pleaded guilty Aug. 14 to a charge of voluntary manslaughter for the Dec. 14, 2006, shooting of his wife, Kristin Maxwell-Bruce, 38. She was shot in front of their 4-year-old son in the Alpine house they shared with Maxwell-Bruce's parents and grandfather.

Maxwell-Bruce was shot once in the jaw during an argument over Bruce's failure to get his two sons, the 4-year-old and a 7-year-old, ready for bed, according to his lawyers. She died about an hour later in the parking lot of a nearby elementary school where paramedics took her to wait for a medical helicopter.

Bruce faces up to 21 years in prison, but his lawyers are asking for six.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Bruce's lawyers have asked an appeals court to stop a judge who heard the case from sentencing Bruce. They said El Cajon Superior Court Judge Allan J. Preckel is biased against Bruce because of Bruce's position as a deputy sheriff in detentions and court services assigned to the Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee.

The Chicago Tribune related accounts of neighbors of former Bolingbrook Police Department sergeant, Drew Peterson finding creepy notes in their mailboxes.


"Creepy. Oh my God, creepy," said Sharon Bychowski, one of the neighbors who got the notes, along with about 50 5-by-7-inch photos of grave sites scattered in her driveway and yard and, hung on her mailbox, a Christmas stocking with a National Enquirer taped to it.

Lt. Ken Teppel, spokesman for the Bolingbrook Police Department, said another neighbor got the same note Wednesday, but no photos or stocking. Responding officers turned over the items to Illinois State Police, who are investigating the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, 23, missing since Oct. 28.

2007 saw a record of officers killed in the line of duty, with the highest number of deaths attributed to vehicle accidents and then shootings, according to Yahoo News. Heart attacks were third, with 18 recorded last year.


The report counted the deaths of 186 officers as of Dec. 26, up from 145 last year. Eighty-one died in traffic incidents, which the report said surpassed their record of 78 set in 2000. Shooting deaths increased from 52 to 69, a rise of about 33 percent.

"Most of us don't realize that an officer is being killed in America on average every other day," said Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Officer fatalities have generally declined since peaking at 277 in 1974, the report said. Historically, officers have been more likely to be killed in an attack than to die accidentally and shootings outnumbered car crashes. But those trends began to reverse in the late 1990s. This year, about six of every 10 deaths were accidental.

Floyd credited technology improvements with helping reverse the trend. Safety vests save lives and non-lethal devices such as electric stun guns prevent some fatal encounters, he said. He attributed the spike in shooting deaths to the increase in violent crime nationwide.

"Law enforcement is the front line against violent criminals," he said.

Of the 81 traffic deaths this year, 60 officers died in car crashes, 15 were hit by cars and six died in motorcycle crashes.

Benazir Bhutto (June 21, 1953-Dec. 27, 2007)

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

CPRC: Love it or leave it, it's here

My blogging on the book, Good Cops, attracted the ire of someone at Craigslist who obviously doesn't like the Community Police Review Commission.


Having just read the blog portraying itself as dedicated to "continuous oversight of the Riverside(CA)Police Department" I believe that the record needs to be set straight.

Fact: Measure II in Nov 2004 did not get on the ballot because of a groundswell of the electorate. In fact there was only a small number of people (as is usually the case in little Rivercity) who wanted to oversee RPD. As Mary correctly states, had it not been for our former council friend A. Gage, the charter measure would not even have appeared on the balott. Way to go Athur.

Fact: The Civ PR Commission was not chartered at the demand of the majority of Rivercitians. Nope, only 40,756 people voted yes. Why is that important. Because it clearly indicates that less than 14% of all City residents supported the ballot measure. So much for a mandate!!!

So stop overblowing this mary. We know that you like drama, but stick to the facts.

Actually, my anonymous critic, Gage only receives some of the credit for the CPRC's appearance on the 2004 ballot along with an assortment of other charter initiatives to be passed or not by the voters. Even more credit on the dais goes to former Councilman Ed Adkison and Councilman Frank Schiavone who voted in July 2004 during a city council meeting to approve all of the proposed charter initiatives to include on the ballot because, as they told people both in the audience and through cable television, they wanted the voters of this city to decide for themselves which of the initiatives would become new charter amendments.

Both Gage and Mayor Ron Loveridge were trying to go through the list sorting through individual initiatives, more concerned about whether or not their personal favorites would make the ballot, as Loveridge hoped with one which allowed him to pick committee chairs or the ones they disliked wouldn't in the case of Gage and what would become Measure II. Adkison and Schiavone made the right choice, and without their incentive and leadership, some of these proposed initiatives including the one regarding the CPRC wouldn't have made it on the ballot. Both of them oppose the CPRC, so they deserve a lot of credit for putting their feelings on the issue aside and allowing it to be included on the ballot. Though maybe they didn't believe it would actually pass the muster of the voters because one of the people who gets a bit peeved whenever I mention the passage of Measure II is, Schiavone.

Also greatly aiding the efforts to pass Measure II was the counter-campaign launched by its most ardent opponents, the Riverside Police Officers' Association. The insert they sponsored that appeared in several issues of the Press Enterprise basically implying that if Measure II passed, officers' hands would be "tied" and response times might suffer. That ad campaign led to sharp criticism by Press Enterprise columnist, Dan Bernstein and the newspaper's editorial board and it turned off a lot of on-the-fence voters as well. Some thought it was opportunistic to blame response times which are adversely impacted by very real staffing issues in the department that's several steps behind the huge population growth, on the CPRC for a political campaign.

The campaign wasn't much to celebrate even if you did support the ballot measure because it showed a very isolated, insulated police department and it wouldn't be surprising if police officers working for the city either didn't vote on the measure or even voted for it, not to support civilian review but simply to protest against the advertisement campaign put on by the union which was purchased by dues in the political action campaign fund donated by its members.

While it's true that voters' turnout was lower than it should be in a democratic republic like this one, what this anonymous commenter isn't telling you is that despite that, the measure to put the CPRC received the majority vote in every walk-in voting site and all but a handful of absentee precinct sites. Combining the two forms of voting together for each precinct and this ballot measure received the majority of votes in every precinct, in every ward, from one end of the city to another. That's a pretty strong statement coming uniformly from across the city.

Despite the fact that it passed in every precinct in every ward, there were and are political officials who oppose it and Gage was one, who tried to defund the CPRC by up to 95%. But the momentum for a ballot measure actually began before Gage did his thing during the budget reconciliation hearings. Concerns raised by city residents after Gage and Steve Adams in particular were elected, set the wheels in motion for the Charter Review Committee to draft its initiative to put the CPRC in the city's charter.

It's interesting when you talk about civilian review and the CPRC in this city like I do a lot. Concern about these issues and support for this type of body crosses racial lines, economic lines, age lines and political lines.

The below argument raised by the anonymous commenter holds an obvious flaw. He or she's assuming that all of Riverside's approximately 300,000 residents vote which would include many people including children, teenagers and noncitizens in this category. After all, only registered voters could cast a vote in the election. Turnout for that election was fairly good, because it was also a presidential election and you'd have to take about 60% of that vote and then compare it back to the figure for the percentage of registered voters, not the general population.


Nope, only 40,756 people voted yes. Why is that important. Because it clearly indicates that less than 14% of all City residents supported the ballot measure. So much for a mandate!!!

And if so few people in Riverside truly supported the measure according to how the commenter read the situation, then that's still more people than voted against it. So if a very small percentage supported Measure II, then an even smaller measure of people opposed it. This line of reasoning makes no sense because even it doesn't support the contention of the anonymous commenter that very few people supported the measure.

Not overblown. Not much drama here. Certainly not very many exclamation points.

In addition, the CPRC doesn't oversee the RPD. It reviews complaints that are filed by that department against police officers. Even outside law enforcement agencies such as federal and state agencies rarely serve an oversight function over law enforcement agencies with less than several dozen having experienced that. Riverside, is included in that list and unlike many law enforcement agencies made two lists, not counting the investigation conducted by the Riverside County Grand Jury in 1999 and 2000. It's not the city's voters that decide whether or not this happens particularly at the federal and state level, but the individuals in charge of the respective agencies whether or not to launch lengthy and very expensive investigations into the patterns and practices of law enforcement agencies. Many law enforcement agencies don't get considered for investigation by even one outside agency, in part because of the expenditures but Riverside's ended up high up on two lists of agencies to be investigated. Riverside's was in a minority and for good reason, reasons that the city spent $22 million trying to remedy as it essentially rebuilt its department.

These outside agencies investigate and if necessary, they sue the agencies to promote reform inside them. Most cities and counties ultimately settle with these agencies inside or outside of court. Riverside settled with the state and entered into its mandated reform process, coming out at its end the better for it because people worked hard on the program.

However, in cities like Oakland, a law suit filed by city residents in U.S. District Court can initiate such a process as well and put a law enforcement agency into federal receivership.

Longtime Asst. District Attorney Randell Tagami is stepping down from his position according to the Press Enterprise.


Tagami, now assistant district attorney, has seen many changes over the three decades he has been with the office, including the departure of longtime District Attorney Grover Trask, who opted not to run for re-election after serving more than 20 years at the post. Tagami, 59, is retiring at the end of the week.

"It's time to move on," he said recently, as he sat in his third-floor office at the Southwest Justice Center. "It's time to let someone else take over and see what they can do."

It is a different time and office than the one Tagami joined on Christmas Eve so many years ago. There were fewer than 100 attorneys working for the agency then, compared to 230 now. Tagami works out of a modern building in a growing part of the county, much different than the dingy, dark office space occupied in Riverside by staff members in the 1970s.

It was trial by fire, Tagami said, as attorneys handled everything from traffic tickets to murder cases. Tagami said attorneys handled 50 to 60 trials a year.

"Sometimes you'd be handed a file and told to report to a department for trial," Tagami said. "There was no time to prepare. You had to be quick on your feet, literally. You're walking to the courtroom having to learn about the case you are about to try by reading the file."

A retired Riverside Police Department officer, Tony Garcia, returned to working for the city as one of the downtown ambassadors.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Garcia -- whose brushed-back brown hair, salt-and-pepper mustache and ever-present shades still lend the look of a police officer -- is one of four "ambassadors" hired by the Riverside Downtown Partnership to assist visitors to the area and provide a little extra security.

Ambassadors are on the streets seven days a week, in several shifts that start at 10 a.m. during the holidays and end at 2 a.m. They roam the downtown pedestrian mall and the surrounding streets and patrol parking garages in the evenings.

Garcia explained how he works on a recent morning near the nonprofit Downtown Partnership's offices on University Avenue.

"Basically I just scan around and if somebody's looking for something, I help them," he said.

The ambassador program has been around in different forms since 2001, said Janice Penner, executive director of the partnership. But the ambassadors have been paid employees only since September 2006. The job pays $10.50 an hour plus benefits.

Ambassadors report more than 600 incidents in a given month -- from giving directions to out-of-towners to spotting graffiti to asking loiterers to move along to calling police to report a crime.

Garcia says he took the job almost a year ago as a way to get out of the house. But the self-described "people person" says it also reconnected him with the best part of his former occupation -- helping others.

"And when I approach someone positively, it's good for the city," he said.

Riverside police Lt. Chuck Griffitts, commander of the downtown area, said the ambassador job suits Garcia, whom he describes as "a pretty mellow guy."

"I think he's doing all the things now as an ambassador that he got into" police work for, Griffitts said.

A database publishing the names, titles and salaries of San Bernardino County employees is the center of controversy.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The newspapers had a legal right to post the names of county employees. But it was clearly the wrong thing to do. The danger and the possible embarrassment posed to these hard-working public servants far outweighs any public benefit. Keep in mind the vast majority of the county employees who were exposed are not elected officials, administrators or department heads. They are people with modest incomes who have dedicated their lives to making our county a great place to live and work.

I am proud of the work performed by county employees. But I am especially proud of the county employees and other members of the community who expressed their feelings and, at least for the time being, caused these two newspapers to rethink their actions.

"Don't suffer from PTSD. Go out and cause it."

This is the slogan of a police academy class in Boise, Idaho, according to Yahoo News.

PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a medical condition resulting from experiencing a traumatic event like a violent crime or serving in a war zone. Many didn't find the adoption of such a slogan very funny.


Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who attended the Dec. 14 graduation, pointed out the slogan to the academy's director, Jeff Black, minutes before the ceremony began, Raney said. A photograph of the program was e-mailed anonymously to news outlets throughout the state.

"That's not something we encourage or condone," Black said. "It shouldn't have been there. It was inappropriate."

Black said the class president was ex-military, and that the slogan "slipped in." He declined to identify the graduate. Black said future slogans would be vetted by academy leaders.

Thirteen deputies were suspended after a high-speed vehicle pursuit according to the St. Petersburg Times.


One sheriff's cruiser skids out on a patch of sand, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. Another blows a tire and pulls out of the chase. Two deputies, blinded by the dust kicked up by the stolen car on a lime rock road, crash cruisers through a T-stop intersection. One drives through a fence, the other hits a dirt berm and goes airborne.

Except, this script is real. And Sheriff Richard Nugent is not amused.

The sheriff suspended without pay a sergeant and 12 deputies involved in the 6 p.m. Thursday pursuit through Spring Hill and Royal Highlands. He said the risks "way outweighed" the possibility for arrest, especially because the incident only involved a stolen car and the deputies involved knew the culprit. The deputies violated multiple elements of the agency's pursuit policy and endangered many area residents, he said.

Each deputy has read and signed the pursuit policy. The latest memo went to all deputies a week before this incident.

"We are not going to tolerate it," Nugent said during an interview in his office Tuesday. "We are not going to allow our folks to jeopardize the safety of civilians out there."

The bulk of the blame went to the sergeant in charge of the deputies as the agency called the incident, "a breakdown in supervision".

In Bolingbrook, the holidays are somber as more questions are raised in the disappearance of Stacey Peterson now missing for nearly two months. Her husband, former Sgt. Drew Peterson is the focus of most of the inquiries, having been officially named as a suspect in her disappearance.


Drew Peterson, 53, who resigned from the police department after being named a suspect in his wife's disappearance, has told reporters that when he awoke around 11 a.m., his wife already had left.

About noon, Sharon Bychowski, a neighbor and friend of Stacy's, phoned Drew and told him she'd been to the market and had some candy for the kids.

Drew Peterson stopped by about 1:15 p.m., saying he had to run a brief errand, and returned about 15 minutes later, Bychowski said.

By mid-afternoon, around 2:30 or 3 p.m., Bosco said, Cales tried to call her sister.

Cales said Stacy had told her two days earlier that she feared Peterson might harm her and that she planned to talk to a divorce attorney on Monday.

Stacy Peterson had told family and friends that her husband — whom she'd met six years earlier, when she was 17 and he was married to his third wife — had become increasingly controlling, following her, tracking her with GPS and calling her incessantly on her cell phone.

Two weeks before she disappeared, she had gotten a new cell number after she found her phone bill in her husband's briefcase, some of the some numbers highlighted, Bosco said.

In Boston, the commissioner of the police department there said his hands were tied in terms of not being able to fire a police officer after he was given probation for punching his girlfriend off of a bar stool.

(excerpt, Boston Herald)

Boston police Commissioner Edward Davis said last night that when it came to punishing Murphy within the department, the Baltimore judgment amounted to a dismissal of legal charges.

“The lawyers told me that with what happened down in Baltimore, there’s no conviction for a domestic violence, that’s the key component of it,” Davis said.

Murphy and the department negotiated his punishment and agreed he would receive a 30-day suspension, but 25 days would not be served if he kept out of trouble for a year. Murphy began serving the five-day suspension last Wednesday.

Murphy, who earned $169,469 on a base salary of $78,436 last year, has been on paid leave since the April assault.

A CHP officer was caught trying to steal $1 million in cocaine from an evidence locker, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Joshua Blackburn, 32, of Murrieta, a six-year veteran, was being held at the Orange County Jail on $4-million bail.

"This is an extremely serious crime," said Susan Kang Schroeder, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office. "This is somebody the public put their trust in, so it elevates the case."

Blackburn's attorney, John Barnett, declined to comment except to say that his client had never been in trouble. CHP officials also declined to comment, and a call to Blackburn's home was not answered.

Blackburn is expected to be charged with transportation of cocaine, possession for sale and burglary, Schroeder said. His arraignment was set for Wednesday.

The crime came to authorities' attention about 4 a.m. Friday when CHP officers noticed that someone had broken into the evidence room, Schroeder said. They contacted the Santa Ana Police Department and the district attorney's office, which conducted an investigation.

Blackburn was arrested later that day, Schroeder said.

"We have recovered all of the cocaine involved and feel confident that there are no more [stolen] drugs floating around," she said.

Springfield, Massachusetts, is getting its new civilian review board but did its mayor-elect make the right choice by having his chief-of-staff lead it?

(excerpt, The Republican)

The nine-member board is responsible for reviewing citizen complaints against the Police Department, and serving as a link with the community at large. In October, Ryan appointed Melinda A. Pellerin-Duck as the full-time coordinator for the board, setting her annual salary at $60,000.

Sarno, who takes office on Jan. 7, said he will void Pellerin-Duck's appointment and salary, with Jordan taking over the duties as part of her $75,000 chief-of-staff position. By combining the jobs, the city saves money, Sarno said.

"I have the utmost confidence in Denise Jordan," he said. "She is eminently qualified with her civil rights background and her overall background."

Ryan urged the city's Finance Control Board last week to support his view that a full-time coordinator is needed for such a critical position, as recommended strongly by a consultant.

Having the job handled on a part-time basis "is seriously undercutting what should happen," the mayor said.

Naturally, the old mayor wants a full-time position which was also recommended by a consultant so he's asked a budget committee to make that recommendation which has ruffled the feathers of his successor. Riverside can relate as in 2005, right after the city's voters put its civilian review mechanism in the city's charter, interim city manager, Tom Evans decided to cut the executive director's position into a part-time job.

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