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

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Former police sergeant, Drew Peterson indicted for murder

"We're still very much in support of the Savio family because we've always said that Stacy and Kathleen had one thing in common, and that's Drew Peterson"

---- Pamela Bosco, spokeswoman for Stacey Peterson's family

The day finally came when former Bolingbrook Police Department Sgt. Drew Peterson was indicted on murder charges for the death of his former wife, Kathleen Savio.

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

Will County state's attorney's office spokesman Chuck Pelkie confirmed Peterson was arrested about 5:40 p.m. during a traffic stop at Lily Cache Lane and Weber Road in Bolingbrook in connection with an indictment in the murder of Savio.

When reached early Thursday evening, Peterson's attorney, Joel Brodsky, said he was unaware of the arrest.

"You know more than I do. I'm on a plane it's taking off in 5 minutes to go to NYC. I guess they'll have a bond hearing Monday," he said.

Another attorney representing Peterson, Andrew Abood, released the following statement:

"Drew has steadfastly maintain (sic) his innocence regarding the rumor and innuendo that has circulated regarding the unfortunate death of Kathleen. Although he is disappointed with the decision of the state, he looks forward to the opportunity to once and for all prove his innocence in a court of law."

Savio's family's reaction

(excerpt, Chicago Tribune)

A little more than an hour after news of the arrest burst into media reports, Savio's brother, Henry, said his family was "ecstatic," and many of the people associated with the years-long case also expressed pleasure with the news.

"We didn't really know too much what was going on. We wanted it to go this way and it did," Henry Savio, 50, said when reached by phone.

"It's been hard on my family, hard on my kids, my daughter has nightmares, I've had nightmares about this guy," Henry Savio said. "It's a miracle. We feel like opening up champagne right now. But we know it's a long road ahead, but at least we're one step ahead right now."

Henry said his sister was on his mind Thursday.

"I think my sister is smiling and saying good, it's about time. It's about time. I feel sorry for her kids, my nephews. They're always in our hearts," he said.

No mailers today. No mail-in ballot either. But don't panic, apparently the city went with the lowest bid for ballot printing outside the city which is contributing to the delay. So it should be in your mail box soon if you live in one of the even-numbered wards.

The Old Riverside Foundation is hosting a self-guided tour of old homes in Riverside on Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Norco's budget gap is among the smallest in the Inland Empire.

(excerpt, Press Enterprise)

To combat a general fund deficit estimated at $2.9 million, Finance Director Andy Okoro suggested continuing staff changes and cuts that began this year, trimming one law enforcement position, suspending contributions to two special funds, and freezing salary ranges, which would mean employees who aren't at the top of their pay range might still get raises.

One-time revenues from the sale of reclaimed water and a tax miscalculation by the state also would help plug the hole.

But Okoro told council members another $50,000 should be trimmed from various city departments, and the remaining shortfall of $792,000 still must be made up somehow.

The shortfall is largely due to two problems -- significant declines in property and sales taxes, and what officials call a "structural imbalance" in the budget.

"Our recurring revenues are not sufficient to cover ongoing expenditures," City Manager Jeff Allred said.

Sales taxes, which make up nearly 40 percent of general fund revenues, have plunged to $4.4 million from a high of $6.2 million over the past two years.

Property taxes also are down and are projected to drop 10 percent in the new fiscal year.

As you know there's federal stimulus money from the Department of Justice's COPs division to be used by cities to hire more police officers either through newly created positions or through unfreezing current positions. But did you know that several dozen law enforcement agencies have been banned from applying and receiving any funding?

(excerpt, U.S.A. Today)

The Amtrak Police Department and agencies in two New Jersey cities, Newark and Camden, are among the largest departments barred from getting new aid for hiring police. All of the agencies agreed to bans on new grants for up to three years rather than pay back about $7.1 million to the government, the documents show.

In doing so, the police agencies forfeit an important funding source to help protect the public during the economic downturn. In return, the federal government is giving up its claim on millions of dollars in misused grant funds.

"We're just trying to find money to retain good employees," says Morehouse Parish, La., Sheriff Mike Tubbs, whose department defaulted on $280,276 by failing to adequately document how the money was spent. The agency is nearing the end of its ban but won't be eligible for the new hiring funds. "I may have to lay off some people."

The bans stem from grants issued under the Clinton-era police hiring program known as Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The largest federally funded law enforcement build-up in U.S. history provided money for more than 100,000 officers starting in 1995. The Obama administration revived the program in its $787 billion stimulus package, allocating $1 billion to hire up to 6,000 officers during the next three years.

The Spring Lake Police Department in North Carolina has been stripped of its remaining police powers after the arrests of two of its officers.

(excerpt, Fayette Observer)

They delivered an order from Chief District Court Judge Beth Keever saying that all criminal work within the town, including misdemeanors, would be handled by the Sheriff's Office.

Grannis also said he plans to dismiss all pending misdemeanor cases filed by Spring Lake officers and will evaluate pending felony cases.

The action, which Grannis later called unprecedented, has in effect stripped Spring Lake police of any remaining powers.

The Sheriff's Office set up a mobile command unit at the Spring Lake Family Resource Center on Odell Road. Butler said roughly four deputies on rotating shifts will work out of that location.

Starting today, all emergency calls in the town will be forwarded to the Sheriff's Office. Residents who need assistance should call 323-1500.

Butler could not say how long his officers would handle Spring Lake's investigations.

"We're stretched, but we're going to be here till the issue's resolved," he said.

The proliferation of alleged police misconduct caught on video and posted at YouTube has attracted some commentary.

(excerpt, Philadelphia Weekly)

Things turn ugly fast. The cops have the man’s arms bent behind his back, and he’s being kicked in the back of the knee and pinned to the ground by his hair. One of the policemen then brandishes a Taser.

An officer (easily weighing in at about 300 pounds) uses a knee to drop his body on the naked man’s torso. It’s a sneak move straight out of the WWE villain’s playbook. Spectators gasp in disbelief.

The video gets nastier when the naked guy leaps up and tries to run, and the obese cop Tasers him. The man falls to the ground and spasms—clearly incapable of any further resistance—while a cop continues to Taser him. Kids in the crowd scream at him to stop. The cop carries on zapping.

A councilwoman in Erie, Pennsylvania wants a civilian review board in her city and Columbia, Missouri is taking another step toward creating and implementing its own civilian oversight.

(excerpt, Columbia Daily Tribune)

Rex Campbell, a co-chairman of the Citizen Oversight Committee that unanimously recommended civilian review of the police department last year, said the draft ordinance might undergo further amendments from Boeckmann and possibly the city council.

“We can’t anticipate every hole or everything that’s going to come up,” Campbell said. “This is a document in progress. This is a document we’re using to get started.”

Topics of discussion yesterday included whether the review board should have subpoena power, which Boeckmann included last month in a second draft of the ordinance, and whether the police chief should be on the review board as a nonvoting member.

Boeckmann said he added the subpoena power to the revised draft because it might be useful in some instances to encourage hesitant witnesses, but he admitted it might be difficult to enforce.

Under the ordinance, police officers are required to cooperate or face discipline, including possible termination.

“What if they don’t come?” said Chris Egbert, a former police captain who served on the oversight committee. “If there’s no consequences for not appearing, why have it?”

Open casting call to be a guide at Universal Studios in Universal City. It's an amusement park owned and operated by Universal Studios where you can pay pretty hefty prices (or buy a VIP pass) to get a tour of the studio's older and newer movie and television sets. Recent fires have heavily damaged the lot but a lot of what could be repaired, has been in time for the summer season.

It's pretty fun, though mainly for the younger set and there's many job opportunities for younger people. I stood in line once when I was with my friends some years ago and some guy dressed up like Frankenstein kept hanging around and I couldn't figure out why until my sister told me it was her boyfriend playing the role.

Sorry for the delay in blog posting but I nearly completed this one when I had to take a detour to the emergency room last night. All the tests they ran were normal except I had a slight fever so I was sent home.

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