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

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Could there be snow in thar hills?

More rain and snow at possibly as low as 1,500 according to the forecast. Interesting weather in the holiday season this year.

An interesting discussion over the future of Greyhound Bus Services is taking place here about whether or not another location will be found in Riverside to house the transit system used about 80,000 or more times a year by people in the city. It's kind of hidden in round zillion of who has the worst grammar on the politicis thread but some of the comments on Greyhound are interesting.

Where the city council members stand on the issue is the crux of the discussion.

Councilman Frank Schiavone announced his support of Greyhound at the Friday Morning Group meeting several weeks ago, but the bus terminal will be without a location after Jan. 31 when it will be evicted. And it remains to be seen whether that same fervor to ensure that Greyhound remains in Riverside will even be lingering in the memories of the city council once the company has packed up, picked up its hefty check and left the building. Will it be out of sight, out of mind?

Someone of course brought up some interesting comments made by Ward Seven Councilman Steve Adams who along with Schiavone provided some transportation options for any passengers left stranded in Riverside and unable to get to the station in the next county. Did he mean it? Probably not, but given that it's the holiday season, it could be a season of civic miracles as well.

(excerpt, Inland Empire Craigslist)

If memory serves me correct, Steve Adams offered to drive people to the San Bernardino Greyhound station himself when the Council discussed the proposed location on Columbia Avenue a few months ago.

This person has a good memory. Adams and Schiavone both promised to provide shuttle serve to passengers who need to go to San Bernardino's bus terminal to catch a Greyhound bus at a city council meeting where this issue was discussed and voted on. Now it just remains to be seen if their memories are nearly as good or if they were joking when they made these comments. That's highly possible given that they were laughing at the time the discussion was taking place. What had people scratching their heads is why they concocted bogus plans as a joke or as a dismissive comment to personally offer transportation and then used that "solution" to galvanize their votes to kick Greyhound out of downtown Riverside.

Greyhound's identity as a crime magnet is only slightly less of a strawman argument than the one being tossed around about the Community Police Review Commission's investigators going around and trampling around "crime scenes" after officer-involved deaths. Police Chief Russ Leach told Press Enterprise Columnist Dan Bernstein that people didn't get off of Greyhound buses and commit crimes downtown. And Schiavone said to the Friday Morning Club that he didn't believe that Greyhound riders were all crooks either, blaming most of the problems on the Riverside Transit Agency.

Yet the Greyhound Bus Lines was painted as a bastion of criminal activity with its passengers being all pretty much labeled as felons and criminals, even though the majority of them are seniors, poor families and/or disabled individuals. That was done to justify ousting it, when as it turns out the space might eventually be utilized to house divisions in the police department. As reported here earlier, that would include the Internal Affairs Division which will lose its physical separation from the rest of the department if other police divisions are housed in the same building. That division is currently in the process of moving into the space occupied by the fire department.

The Internal Affairs Division was originally moved out of its old haunt at the Orange Street Station (which houses the administrative headquarters) several years ago and placed in rental office space near the Riverside Plaza because among other people, former State Attorney General Bill Lockyer said that it needed to be housed separately from the rest of the department. But you know, out of sight, out of mind so it's likely that it will be reintegrated into the rest of the department. Which is bad news for anyone who has to be interviewed by its investigators including complainants, witnesses and officers. But then again, it just serves to feed the age-old argument that police departments' shouldn't self-investigate, as if the Wayne Guillary case hasn't already shown that enough already.

Some say the ball involving Greyhound is in Melendrez' court. Melendrez has opted out of discussions on Greyhound while they have involved the downtown terminal because he says he owns property within 500 feet which disqualifies from discussing or voting on the issue within those perimeters. But if the downtown terminal is out of the equation, will he become more involved in this process?


If Melendrez really wants to find a place in Riverside for Greyhound, then allow it in his ward. It is most logical to have a multi-modal transit station at the Metrolink station downtown. Bottom line...why is he ok with RTA but not Greyhound? The vast majority of problems, criminal and otherwise, at the downtown bus station now is with RTA riders not Greyhound riders (check the statistics). It's a local ridership problem that is not being solved by RTA, Riverside Police, Riverside City Council, and the City Manager. Greyhound is the current scapegoat but the real problem will persist long after the scheduled departure of Greyhound from this city. Oh, and guess what, those "problematic" Greyhound riders that will no longer be delivered directly to downtown Riverside, well they will be delivered to the downtown transit station via RTA or Omnitrans. At least Riverside had some tax revenue before...even if they had a ridiculous lease agreement with Greyhound.

This storyline is sure to continue as the weeks pass by, with hopefully some solution that keeps Greyhound within or at least very close to Riverside's city limits. If not, then next year, hopefully the constituents who ride Greyhound who've essentially been written off will show up and vote at the election polls.

Inside Riverside, the blog about the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is back with this interesting assessment of what the department looks after one year of leadership by its current sheriff, Stan Sniff.

No soap opera is this fascinating. Bring on the organ music.


Tom "Where Did These Medals Come From" Freeman, the political guru that brought Doyle to the pinnacle of power, then gave him most (if not all) of the bad advice that led to the cash-for-badges scandal and the No Confidence vote by the Riverside Sheriffs Association in 2006 is still lurking in the shadows of Riverside County government at the mercy and blessing of Riverside County Supervisor Roy "The Professor" Wilson.

After stepping in a waste basket while moving the Royal Doyle's personal belongings off of the Second Floor of the Sheriff's Administration Center, Freeman was hospitalized, but recovered to take a job at Riverside County's version of Devil's Island --- the Economic Development Agency. He is currently the head of EDA's Press Information Office. Freeman has rubbed a lot of people wrong there in the last year, and is rumored to be on a very, very, very short leash. His boss probably doesn't want Freeman to do for her any of the career favors that Freeman did for Doyle over at the RSO. Wilson may be the only reason Freeman is still employed.

Throne was the last of the holdovers, but now as you read above, that oversight appears to have been corrected. The darkness that hung over the Riverside Sheriffs Department since January 2003 has been eliminated and the pure disinfecting power of natural sunlight is shining through the doors and windows.

If you have any credible information about any of these exciting and interesting items, dear readers, please post them in the comments. We will review, probe, and publish those which we deem legitimate and of interest to the news starved population of Riverside County.

The Riverside County District Attorney's office has filed a felony charge against an assistant fire chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department in connection with the death of Karley, a six month old dog.

The saga of the overwhelmed court systems in the Inland Empire continues, this time involving a shortage of facilities.

Deliberatons begin in the trial of a former Murrieta councilman.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Warnie Enochs felt he was above the law, so he signed the name of a nonexistent Murrieta police officer on a fix-it ticket -- that would have cost him $55 -- and falsified documents in an effort to cheat his ex-wife, Julia Enochs, out of money, prosecutor Richard West told jurors during his closing argument.

"There is a common thread, outrageous arrogance ... it is the defendant's apparent notion that he can do whatever he wants," West said in a downtown Riverside courtroom.

"Look at the allegations. The common denominator is Julia Enochs," Blumenthal said. "Julia Enochs is the one who has the ax to grind."

How will downtown Beaumont be developed? With guidelines.

Ousting troubled San Bernardino County Assessor William Postmus will be timely and expensive but the supervisors voted to take the necessary steps.

Will former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona testify during his own trial? The consensus is, probably not.

(excerpt, Orange County Register)

The defense began their case Thursday. One of Carona's attorneys, Brian Sun, told U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Guilford that the defense aims to finish calling witnesses on Thursday, which opens up the possibility that the government will conduct its redirect examination on Friday. The government only plans to put on about a day of redirect testimony.

The federal jury trial began Oct. 28. Guilford apprised jurors and alternates that testimony will likely finish by Dec. 23, and that they will then go on break until Jan. 6 — when jurors will listen to jury instructions and closing arguments.

Even though the guidelines have been revamped, the discipline allotted to law enforcement officers who commit misconduct off-duty still varies greatly in Utah.

(excerpt, Deseret Morning News)

During its quarterly meeting here on Wednesday, the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training Council grappled with how much punishment to hand out. Cases involving 27 officers were brought up.

Vernal Police Chief Gary Jensen defended one of his officers, who admitted having an affair with a married Uintah County sheriff's deputy. Faced with a one-year suspension for the man, Jensen said he's had a tough time hiring officers and needs every one he can get.

"I'd like to bring him back, but I know he has a penance to pay," the chief said. "He knows he's done wrong."

The affair became known, POST reports said, when Vernal police responded to the deputy's home on a report her husband was threatening suicide. The affair happened off duty, both said, and the Vernal officer signed a consent agreement for a one-year suspension.

South Ogden Police Chief Val Shupe suggested they slash the suspension to six months. That sparked a debate among council members about similar situations.

"Should we be in the business of disciplining police officers who engage in adulterous activities off-duty?" Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds asked. "We are held to a higher standard and I don't think we should apologize for it." Officers should be held accountable, but Orem Public Safety Director Mike Larsen asked to what extent, especially when the conduct isn't criminal.
"How far when we're dealing with something that has nothing to do with the workplace?" he said.

The latest stars of YouTube are law enforcement officers, according to the New York Times.


That is a fraction of the 1,784,775 views of the video showing Officer Patrick Pogan knocking a man off his bicycle during a Critical Mass ride in Times Square in July. Officer Pogan was charged with assault, harassment, falsifying business records and other charges. He pleaded not guilty in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday and was released without bail.

While that video has brought widespread attention, it is by no means unique. In fact, video and cellphone cameras have become so prevalent that they are just another part of the workday for many police officers. And they can cut both ways, sometimes assisting officers in solving crimes, and sometimes implicating them.

“People tape all the time,” said an eight-year veteran of the department, a female officer in Downtown Brooklyn who, like other officers questioned for this article, spoke only on the condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to speak to reporters. “It makes you uncomfortable, but that’s their right. You can’t stop them from taping.”

Speaking of the NYPD officer who was videotaped shoving the bicyclist, he was indicted by a grand jury
for unspecified charges.

(excerpt, New York Times)

But people with direct knowledge of the case said they believed that prosecutors were seeking felony charges of filing false records in connection with the police report that Officer Pogan filed after arresting the bicyclist, Christopher Long. Officer Pogan also could be charged with a misdemeanor count of assault.

“My client denies any wrongdoing in this matter,” Mr. London said in an interview on Monday. “I would have people withhold judgment until all the evidence comes out about the bicyclist’s actions prior to my client taking action.”

Alicia Maxey Greene, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, declined to comment on the case.

David Rankin, a lawyer for Mr. Long, said the indictment was “some good vindication for his client.”

“I’m very pleased with the district attorney’s office taking this matter as seriously as it has,” he added. “What this really shows is that once you’ve committed some type of bad act, going ahead and lying on a charging document to cover it up is not something that’s going to be tolerated by the district attorney’s office.”

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