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, February 08, 2009

Drops in the bucket in the Inland Empire

“I have never, in my experience, seen a research design [treatment plan] that included an explicit and detailed plan to justify the disposal of artifacts even approaching what is in this plan. This is clearly a plan for disposal rather than a plan for preservation.”

--- Dr. Scott Fedick, Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at UC Riverside on the Chinatown site.

"So my son went out and had a couple of drinks. He deserves to have a good time now and then."

---Mother of New Jersey Police Officer Martin Abreu who while driving drunk struck a couple, killing a young woman.

Over 500 people marched through the rain down University Avenue in Riverside from City Hall to the U.S. Border Patrol on Spruce to protest a Jan. 29 raid that took place at a day laborer site in the neighborhood of Casa Blanca in Riverside.

Riverside Police Department Lt. Bruce Loftus who serves as the commander of the Central Neighborhood Policing Center explained the relationship between the two law enforcement agencies and how they began working together. One area? Translation of the Spanish language.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

Police Lt. Bruce Loftus said he called the agency because his officers did not have time to verify the identity of the 12 men, and because the Border Patrol has experience in identity checks. The Border Patrol arrested 11 of the men on immigration charges.

Loftus said he called the Border Patrol to verify the suspects' identity but acknowledged "we know there's a chance people might be illegal aliens and we know Border Patrol has to perform their duties."

Loftus, commander of Riverside's central area, said he was among high-ranking police officials who met in November to hear the offer of assistance from the head of Riverside's Border Patrol office, Ramon Chavez.

Loftus said Chavez presented his offer as a way to assist local agencies with their day-to-day operations and barely mentioned enforcement of immigration laws.

Loftus said he told Chavez that police do not want crime victims to worry about being grilled on their immigration status, although he did not explicitly bar Border Patrol from asking such questions.

People have expressed concern about whether or not the Riverside Border Patrol office is operating under its illegal quota system which led to grievances being filed by some of its agents to their union.

Others expressed concern about the silencing of crime victims not just from the undocumented immigrant population (who some say are preyed upon by White Supremacists) but from legal residents and citizens who are Latino. Latinos have expressed fear of being stopped while walking without identification or that which is expired even if they are citizens or have residency papers. Neither the police department nor Border Patrol has done much or said much to allay these concerns.

Here is an account of the Jan. 29 raids conducted by Riverside Police Department and the Riverside office of the United States Border Patrol.

Included is a video where you can watch the same male Latino wearing a red cap in a bicycle get stopped by four different sets of police officers for riding a bicycle on the sidewalk (which is endemic in the area around UCR by the way so hopefully there will be a multi-agency operation against these lawbreakers) even though he is carrying an identification card and as one observer said, "has papers".

The Riverside City Council is meeting again this Tuesday for both afternoon and evening sessions. It's free but there's still no snack bar open during intermissions.

At 3:00 p.m., the plaintiffs in the lawsuit trying to save the Chinatown site will face off against developer and campaign donor, Doug Jacobs. The city council has been advised by its Land Use Committee through Chair Rusty Bailey to deny the appeal filed by the plaintiffs and to go through with the archaeological treatment plan submitted by Jacobs.

Are any of the plaintiffs who are trying to save Chinatown included on Bailey's endorsement list? Of course not but guess who is.

And this item is on the consent calendar which if passed will authorize funds raised by several private organizations which advocate for the city's libraries to supplement not replace money in the city's budget for the library. Which is kind of funny considering the major cuts made to that department's budget. Any money added to that budget from whatever source will be replacing money taken out through budget cuts no matter what it's called.

Riverside County shouldn't be pushed into not making cuts in public safety. So stated the Press Enterprise Editorial Board.


Those numbers hardly suggest that finding savings in the sheriff's and DA's budgets will put the public in peril. And Luna's figures raise particular questions about the district attorney's request for more money when the county faces a large shortfall. The DA's staffing expanded by 69 percent from 2003 to 2007, yet the number of concluded cases only grew by 14 percent.

In neighboring San Bernardino County, hardly soft on crime, prosecutors matched that growth in case dispositions with only a 17 percent staffing increase. So how can San Bernardino County prosecutors manage that feat, while Riverside County's DA needs more money and people?

Supervisors, to their credit, did not buy the scare tactics. Supervisor John Tavaglione, for example, said the sheriff and district attorney could make cuts without affecting public safety -- and that the board should insist upon that action unanimously.

He is correct. Riverside County supervisors have a record of strong support for public safety, and any suggestion that the board is soft on crime is ludicrous. Yes, county sheriffs and district attorneys have traditionally been able to play on public fear of crime to protect their budgets. But as Supervisor Bob Buster noted, "this time is different and they are going to find that out."

The supervisors need to stick to that sensible position, no matter what public pressure the sheriff and DA generate.

The county's yawning budget gap leaves no room for officials' self-serving posturing on public safety. Every segment of the county needs to be part of the solution.

More comments on the Press Enterprise article which led to the editorial.


Keenan cracks me up. "What crimes do you not want us to prosecute?" about exercising some brains and not filing on loser cases? There's one kid who was in jail for years and the D.A. had rock solid exculpatory alibi information that established he could not possibly be a suspect. Yet they tried the case anyway and the kid was acquitted last week.Pacheco himself is a real piece of work. Ol' Fat Boy could cut costs by terminating the new hires, and reducing administrative staff by attrition. He himself could take a pay cut and urge his staff to do the same. Obviously, he's not starving. Lots of people really hate that guy and it's his own fault.

Pacheco shows up without a plan and asks for more money. That shows a lot of gall. I wonder how he gets in his car every morning with a head that big! He can cut his budget by being selective about the cases he prosecutes and stop wasting our money on cases that can't be won. He can try being a little nicer to his staff and cut the personnel cost that must be through the roof... I miss Grover!

RSO needs to makes cuts at the top. To many chiefs. Take away their take home cars and save on gas and vehicles, insurance etc. Post a list of what the top positions get paid. The deputies and corrections are the blood line of that Dept. Clean up Admin and they will be fine.

Rod wants to know what cases not to procute? How about any cases where the death penalty has already been invoked, extradition from another state will be required and we (Riverside) will not get to impose the actual death sentence on the criminal. How much would that save? Then, Rod, here's an idea, why not fire your $500,000 (probably closer to 1,000,000 with benes) press staff. As a last and final resort to save money, Rod, why don't you stop grand-standing. These 3 items along will balance the county budget without Sniff needing to make any cuts in the real public safety.

Riverside County might be phasing out its overtime program.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

The elimination of the mandatory overtime hours is welcome news, said Jim Cunningham, executive director of the Riverside Sheriff's Association, which represents more than 2,000 employees in the sheriff's department, coroner's office, district attorney's office and probation department.

While personnel learn to adapt to the extra hours, there have been ongoing concerns about officer fatigue and safety. Cunningham added, however, that an earlier program that required personnel to work a fifth 10-hour shift -- also known as "yellow days" -- generated far more complaints because it eliminated one of their three days off and affected deputies' quality of life.

In an article published in 2008 in The Police Chief magazine, Jon Sundermeier, chief of the Lincoln, Neb., police department wrote about his department's yearlong experiment with 12-hour shifts.

Sundermeier wrote that fatigue is a factor for officers, but not to the degree that it affected job performance.

In a survey of his department's officers, 75 percent reported being "somewhat tired" after a shift, and six percent reported being "very tired." The rest reported no fatigue.

Lt. Rick Ells, a spokesman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, said he is unaware of any stations in his department asking their patrol staff to work regular 12-hour shifts.

How much money was spent by candidates running in the Board of Supervisors races for both inland counties. A hell of a lot.

And what were the tabs in Riverside County?

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

In Riverside County, 1st District Supervisor Bob Buster spent $710,518 last year.

His unsuccessful challenger, Riverside City Councilman Frank Schiavone, spent $315,715.

In Riverside County's 3rd District, Supervisor Jeff Stone spent $458,900 last year.

He won re-election against an opponent who did not raise money.

Riverside, the city will be holding its own elections this year for mayor and city council. The fundraisers have already gotten started including those for candidates affiliated with the Michael Williams Company. Some have already taken place but never fear, more of them are on the horizon.

Feb. 12: Councilwoman Nancy Hart (sixth ward) at 6-8 p.m. at the home of Judy Teunissen and Jay Lood

Feb.26: Councilman Andrew Melendrez (second ward) at 6-8 p.m. at American Eagle Wine Making Company Canyon Crest Winery.

March 12: Councilman Frank Schiavone (fourth ward) TBA

April 30: Mayor Ron Loveridge at 6-8 p.m. at Marriott Riverside.

San Bernardino held its annual Black History parade and in Riverside, so does the Dickens festival.

A police officer in New Jersey got drunk and drove, hitting and killing a pedestrian who was walking home with her boyfriend who was injured.

(excerpt, New York Daily News)

Marilyn Feng, 26, who recently finished New York University Law School, and boyfriend Dennis Loffredo, 26, a hedge fund analyst, took tango lessons nearly every weekend, friends said.

After dancing the night away, they were walking back to her apartment near Battery Park City around 3:40 a.m. when the driver of a 2007 Toyota Camry slammed into them.

Feng, who came to the United States from China to study and was about to start a new job, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Loffredo was in critical but stable condition with a broken leg at St. Vincent's Hospital, where family members didn't have the heart to tell him Feng was dead.

"You wouldn't see one without the other," Loffredo's mother, Diane, said of the couple. "I think they were going to get married."

Cops charged the driver, Martin Abreu, 25, of Jersey City, with vehicular manslaughter and assault and driving while intoxicated. He has been a Jersey City cop since 2005 and has been suspended, officials said.

"He's a good cop, and a really good guy," said Robert Reyes, 28, a Jersey City resident. "This is all just a big shock."

The officer's mother is blaming the couple by saying that her son did nothing wrong.

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