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

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Three Amigos Out and About but Where's Lincoln?

Christina -Taylor Greene
(Sept. 11, 2001-Jan. 8, 2011)
Born on a day that united a nation; died on a day that divided it

A life born on the darkest day and lost on another, Christina Taylor Green,9, was one of 50 children included in "The Faces of Hope" a book about 9-11.

Chicago Avenue Reopened

[The portion of Chicago Avenue near Andulka Park damaged in the rains has been reopened after being repaired]

[The "Three Amigos" have been quite busy but not at Lincoln Field Station]

[Deputy Chief Mike Blakely (l.) has been busy at Orange Street Station overseeing the personnel division and has dethroned a king or two in his day]

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,

---William Shakespeare

And on Wikipedia: Riverside Police Department


n. Slang
A person, especially a woman, who is meddlesome or gossipy.

AWESOME! Given that like most women I'm no stranger to being called even less endearing "slang" for blogging and this term has a cool tradition as the world has produced some truly great "Yentas".

Of course originally like all terms associated with uppity females that are afforded them by annoyed men, it had a different meaning and having grown up close to several Jewish-American communities, I'm familiar with both.


1930–35; < Yiddish yente, orig. a female personal name, earlier Yentl OIt; cf. It gentile kind, amiable, orig., noble, highborn; see gentle

So thanks for the name, and Mazel Tov!

Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz and his two outside cabinet members, Asst. Chief Chris Vicino and Deputy Chief Jeffrey Greer have been fairly busy and out and about since their arrival. They've been front and center at the community meetings held recently at different locations in the four neighborhood policing centers in Riverside which has been most excellent. It's given many residents the opportunity to see them engaging with the community soliciting input on the what will be the Strategic Plan 2010-2015 (which will be the focus of a management planning session soon). They've been to different community groups and events and at city council meetings delivering messages from the department and representing it. That's been very nice as well to see. Whether to listen to what they have to say or to watch them, listening.

But one place they haven't been lately is the Lincoln Field Operations Station where all the field operations had been relocated, one NPC remains stationed awaiting the Internal Affairs Division to vacate its own space at the downtown bus terminal and soon, the Traffic Division will be housed there as well. But while Lincoln is bustling with lots of people especially dressed in blue and lots of activity, there's been some folks missing in recent months and that's been the Three Amigos, which are Diaz and two of his cabinet members. This strikes as being somewhat odd because at least one of them Vicino said earlier that he had tried really hard to be assigned to the Lincoln Station rather than at the administration headquarters at Orange Street to "be with the troops" which is an admirable goal. But since then neither he nor Greer or even Diaz have popped into roll call sessions or apparently made any visits recently to solicit questions from the officers at their roll call sessions. Not that they have to be or even should be there all or most of the time but to just show up once in a while? To show that maybe they know that they're there and that they formulate one of the largest and vital divisions in the Riverside Police Department?

Lincoln Station isn't the prettiest looking building out there, it's basically a brick block with a window and there and even after a long awaited renovation, it's still easy for the visitor to get lost as some of us did during the tour. But it's one of the vital centers of activities in the police department, one of its hearts, it's where most of the front line officers and their supervisors are assigned to work out of and to return to at the end of the shifts. None of the Three Amigos are stationed there, Diaz and Vicino are of course at Orange Street while Greer is located all the way across the city at Magnolia Police Center near the Tyler Galleria and La Sierra. But in the beginning of their tenures at the Riverside Police Department, they did visit there in roll calls. Diaz even did an impromptu promotion there by elevating Officer Hal Webb to sergeant during a late night shift some time ago.

But where have they been since then? They haven't really been showing up at Lincoln station much or at all. Maybe it has to do with how that would deviate from the style of leadership in the Los Angeles Police Department where two of these men hail from, where those in the highest positions of leadership don't show their faces to those at the lower ranks very much if at all. But then again, the LAPD is at around 10,000 officers and the Riverside Police Department would stand around 402 if all of its paid positions were filled, and the largest section of the department's sworn division is patrol officers. Many of whom were hired during different hiring periods including the post 2000 hiring period to address an 80% turnover in the department and then later that started around late 2005 before the freezes started hitting around 2007. The average age of officers has often been very much on the young side, certainly in the patrol division.

Here's a map of the area where you can find Lincoln Station which is very helpful in that it's actually on...Lincoln Street and it's across from the local division of the California Highway Patrol which is across the street. The industrial yard for Lincoln Station is actually sandwiched between the infamous Corporate Yard (which houses vehicles for Public Works and also occasionally, code enforcement officers who've been exiled) and the parking lot for the Public Utilities Division which is on the corner of Adams and Lincoln fairly close to the Auto Center.

[Map to Lincoln Field Operations Station]

So hopefully they'll drop on by this station and say hello like they've been doing out in the community including at meetings because it's important to build up and maintain those connections with all the stake holders in public safety. Along with Field Operations Capt. John Wallace who's apparently been rarely seen at the roll call sessions.

Vicino's been busy dealing with the establishment (well, the re-establishment) of the Community Services Division which is one of the largest priorities under Diaz. Lt. Guy Touissant beat out nearly every other lieutenant for the top spot. In contrast, none of the sergeants applied to supervise that unit so Touissant recruited Sgt. Dan Warren to serve in that position. Vicino's located next to Blakely at the Orange Street Station and apparently some interesting dynamics have developed between these two intelligent men with very different personality styles.

Greer being somewhat apart from the hub of administrative activity at Orange Street has a somewhat different dynamic with the others in the cabinet and his adjustment to his job has been a bit more challenging but he's been seen more often at community meetings and at city council especially during presentations than some of the others. He's quieter and just as smart and you have to remember the adage, "still waters run deep".

It's interesting because among the cabinet, there couldn't be three personalities more different from one another and it will be equally so to see how they mesh in the months ahead.

Palm Springs Police Chief Dave Dominguez Steps Down

[Palm Springs Police Department Chief and former Riverside Police Department Deputy Chief Dave Dominguez]

News broke that Palm Springs Chief Dave Dominguez stepped down in what the city labeled a "retirement" nearly two years after a vice sting at Warms Sands Villa, a hotel that caters to gay customers and guests. Allegedly during or after the sting, inappropriate and homophobic comments were made that were caught on audiotape because many stings of this type are recorded for evidence purposes later on as well to protect against charges of entrapment. Another allegations were that the incident came to light long after because the taped recording of alleged comments made by Dominguez were released by an unknown party not too long before Dominguez' retirement after a disagreement between Dominguez and this party, some say. Others say it's not clear how the incriminating recording came to light. Or if Dominguez when asked about the comments denied making them before the recording was produced to him.

This incident got traction not because gays and lesbians are particularly valued in society as they're not and have been subjected to legislation against them marrying and they couldn't be "open" in the military because of President Bill Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" which proved that homophobia trumped national security when after 9-11, the military fired two-thirds of its expert translators in the Arabic language because of their sexual orientation. Riverside unexpectedly became the epicenter of that controversy after U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips made her ruling on a related case in her courtroom. They came to light because Palm Springs is somewhat different because gays and lesbians bring their tourist dollars there in such large amounts and there's an active community there so any uncomfortable feelings about them would be put aside in favor of those economic interests and political pressure would soon come down on Dominguez and the police department. Some estimate that gays and lesbians might comprise up to 40% of the city's population.

It's disappointing that any police officers on duty would engage in any type of homophobic comments let alone a police chief if that's what happened. It's potentially an issue of civil liability to cities like Palm Springs if they sting and then arrest or detain individuals of a particular demographic and there's derogatory and bigoted comments associated with the parties in that situation as many cities and counties have discovered when having to settle related litigation, whether filed by these individuals or members of the law enforcement agencies themselves. Or when they lose at trial and are handed monetary verdicts. But beyond that, engaging in that conduct is not what's called protecting and serving the public and fortunately there are a lot of police officers who remember that and keep it in mind in their own conduct. In the Riverside Police Department, I've seen and heard of examples of officers who when hearing offensive comments including those based on race, they express displeasure even when they don't know it's been overheard or seen by others. Does that make a law enforcement agency immune? No it doesn't but it's a good indication that efforts are being made to not accept that conduct on some level.

Though apparently some including Dominguez in Palm Springs did not, in a city which is known as a tourism spot for gays and lesbians. Because if Dominguez made the comments to lower ranking officers then what does that say about the climate of his department?

Gays and lesbians are crime victims like anyone else and in some cases may be more vulnerable, as Riverside was reminded when Jeffrey Owens was murdered outside the Menagerie although later hate crime charges were dismissed. At least one man, a gang member, was convicted of killing him which I remember having been a member of the large jury pool for consideration in that trial some years ago. In that case from when it happened, the Riverside Police Department really did a good job particularly the Homicide investigators with that case. Gays and lesbians can also be perpetrators including in domestic violence cases and like any other demographic shouldn't be subjected to bigoted or offensive remarks in this case based on their sexual orientation. Dominguez had apparently along with his department in Palm Springs had reduced the crime rate there and he had spent a lot of time in community meetings and outreach, positive attributes of any chief. And in Riverside, Dominguez interfaced with many different people of different backgrounds including gays and lesbians who were friendly with him. But what he said would upset many people in that demographic and it's their prerogative to express that and respond to that.

But comments don't just have an impact on the public, they do internally as well.

Not to mention that there are gay and lesbian police officers and the Los Angeles Times did an excellent series of articles on some who worked in the Los Angeles Police Department and what they faced in the workforce and the public. Many gay officers at different ranks in different places remain in the closet and maybe that includes Palm Springs. And to have an agency where the chief can make homophobic comments can impact the use of them by others in the agency as well.

But police chiefs and sheriffs too, they are the leaders and managers of their law enforcement agencies and they set the tone through what they say and the decisions they make but mostly through their example. Because how they present themselves is really the most critical part of their job in many ways. It sets the tone for police officers and also for the public as well and it does make a difference to both as it's been very clear what happens when those in management including at the top aren't setting good examples for those they lead and manage and also interface with in the communities. Take the Riverside Police Department, did the arrests and prosecutions of five police officers (who all were high risk according to their backgrounds) during a 14 month period have anything to do with the fact that the sixth in that group turned out to be the police chief?

If leadership and management puts expectations on their officers as they should, then they should also live those expectations themselves through their examples. And if the remarks that Dominguez allegedly made were made in company with officers who were later viewed to have made inappropriate comments then why was there that apparent comfort level to engage in that kind of conversation to a police chief in the first place? How many police officers engage in inappropriate comments to their police chiefs or sheriffs? Though the investigation of this case stated that Dominguez wasn't in the police car when another officer used a slur. His comments allegedly came earlier than that, before the officer made his or her own remark.

The other part of this incident that raised brows was the relative lateness of its revelation given that the vice operation that led to a chief's resignation was nearly two years ago and the fate of the alleged recording which was withheld apparently for a lot of the time. The reasons presented appear to be different whether it was after one party became upset with Dominguez or whether there were other troubling issues in the Palm Springs Police Department. It'd be interesting to read the labor complaint that was filed last autumn in connection with one of the officers associated with the vice sting. Was the officer who made the slur treated differently than Dominguez, in terms of harsher discipline or was there some confrontation between this officer and Dominguez on another front? And when did the tape come to light?

After all, in the Riverside Police Department a detective was recently investigated for termination for making an inappropriate comment whereas a former lieutenant who used a racial slur apparently wasn't disciplined at all even as he was investigating another detective for the same remark (and this officer initially was looking at a hefty suspension for making the same comment in roll call) and later was hired by the city to work in another department. That seems backwards that someone in leadership would get a slap of the wrist and others in lower ranks would receive worse than that for the same behavior, by the same individuals in Riverside who laud that they demand leaders and managers to be accountable for their own conduct. But then for a while it looked like a mid-line supervisor associated with the DUI incident involving the former police chief was going to be the only one to have his pension negatively impacted by the incident whereas those in management wouldn't be so affected. And City Manager Brad Hudson appeared to have no problem with that...until the supervisor turned the tables on him and the upper level of the police department.

It's a reminder that as Shakespeare once wrote, the world is but a stage with a cast of characters and this incident probably has a lot more to it than has come out so far.

Al Franz is expected to be serving as interim chief while a committee to recruit candidates for the fourth police chief in the city since 2002 is expected to be formed soon.

The Desert Sun did some articles on the situation:

Palm Springs Police Chief Dave Dominguez to retire

Editorial: Police Chief's decision to retire the correct one

Chief apologizes for comment

This article details that one of the officer's involved in the sting filed a complaint against the city.


However, a Sept. 11 complaint, filed by Orange County-based attorney George Petersen, maintained Dominguez was in the undercover car the officers used during the sting and had “initiated the conversation” against the men arrested.The complaint accused Dominguez of saying “what a bunch of filthy (expletive)” and “you guys should get paid extra for this.” Petersen filed the complaint on behalf of at least one officer who took part in the sting.

Ready said Tuesday that the city's investigation concluded Dominguez was not in the car when his officer made the slur. By that point, Dominguez had made the remarks detailed in Petersen's complaint and left the undercover car so he couldn't have heard the officer's subsequent slur, Ready said.

In his memo to the council, Ready said the city should have reached out to Warm Sands hoteliers, businesses and residents to alert them a sting was being planned.

He said he regretted using undercover police decoys in an effort to attract men prowling for sex, which didn't represent the “best practice,” he said. The same goal could have been achieved through surveillance alone, Ready added.

City Manager defends decision on chief

Warm Sands case time line

No Reception Scheduled Yet for Incoming CPRC Manager

As of yet, City Manager Brad Hudson hasn't announced or even responded to inquiries into whether or not there will be a public reception hosted for incoming CPRC manager, Frank Hauptmann. It doesn't have to be some of the rather extravagant ones they've held in the past, it could be simple and include introductions and taking questions from the community members and perhaps some cookies and coffee which isn't too expensive to provide at one or more of the publicly owned buildings including City Hall.

The predecessors including Kevin Rogan received receptions even before they started working but Hauptmann who begun work on Jan. 3 didn't receive a reception and that's just inappropriate making it look like they are slipping him in the back door. And that's not how to do it, Hudson or least do it right.

Mayor and Nomination Screening Committee Fields Applications

[The Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee picked a long list of people to interview for three boards and commissions plus the Charter Review Committee]

The four-member Mayor's Nomination and Screening Committee met in the Mayor Ron Loveridge's office to field applications and select individuals to interview for vacancies on the city's boards and commissions as well as the upcoming Charter Review Committee. Over a dozen people including current commissioners Chani Beeman and Peter Hubbard were scheduled to be interviewed for three spots on the CPRC, the first time that commissioners had to be interviewed to be eligible for reappointment. This was done for the Planning Commission and Board of Public Utilities but one wonders if this is to provide some opportunity to bounce Beeman off after a single term.

Time will tell of course but the hallmark committee that was the center of the selection for interviews was the Charter Review Committee which will be encharged by the city council and Loveridge to hold meetings to receive, research and discuss before ultimately voting on what recommendations for ballot initiatives to send to the city government. Whereas the past choices were appointed by Loveridge and council members from each ward, these will be nine city-wide positions which means that potentially one or more wards might not have any representatives and no one's explained why doing this isn't a violation of the amendment that ensures ward representation given that like the boards and commissions, this is a committee created by a Brown Act body the city council. The city government might be getting around that inconvenience by calling it an ad hoc committee. Hopefully, they won't use that to justify holding secret meetings too.

Those interviewed include the following. Most of them have ties to the city, including serving in elected office, serving on city boards and commissions, ties to Best, Best and Krieger, the Press Enterprise (The Fourth Estate meets City Hall?) and the political scene while several impressive candidates with references were excluded from consideration. Not surprising considering that with these selection meetings, it's always the mayor or one of the members doing the following:

"Do you know this person?"

" you know...I don't you know...?"

"Yes I do..."

It's always a good time.

Ward One:

Brent W. Lee
Tomas A. Podgorski
Ronald R. Redfern
David St. Pierre

Ward Two:

Diana Medina
Michelle Ouellete
Montgomery Van Wart

Ward Three:

Michael D. Pope
Robert A. Stockton

Ward Four:

Maureen Kane
Damien R. O'Farrell
Sharon Tyrrell

Ward Five:

Thomas P. Evans

Ward Six:

Judy G. Teunissen

Ward Seven:

Wendel W. Tucker

The entire city council will interview and then vote to select members of this committee as well as those to fill vacancies on the three boards and commissions that undergo a similar process of appointment.

Riverside Downtown Partnership to issue awards including one to the late Officer Ryan Bonaminio.

Rain didn't mess at all with the attendance a the Festival of Lights.

Special Alert!

My name is Cynthia Ferry,
My parents are Bill and Geri Flounders. They came to CA to visit for the holiday. They left our home in rural Riverside County, the Greater Lake Mathews/Gavilan Hills area on Tues. Jan. 4, between 9 and 10 a.m. They were heading for AZ. They were to spend the night there and continue on to Santa Fe, New Mexico and should have arrived home on Wed. Jan. 5. They have gone missing. They are driving an extended cab, white 1998 Dodge van, lic. # Rock Art, registered in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My stepfather is 74 years old, short gray hair, about 6’, about 160 lb. My mother is 73, about 5’ 5”, short, curly gray hair, about 150 lb. They are traveling with a brown, pet rabbit in the back seat. My stepfather was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve, so is still recovering from his surgery and was not feeling really well when he left but, wanted to get back to his home to recover. My mother is diabetic and on medication.
We have a missing persons report on file and an APB in CA, AZ, NM and CO, looking for the van, checking hospitals in the area. I’m asking for help in finding them. It is not like them to not call us. They call us when they stop for the night at a hotel and they call us when they arrive home. We have not been able to reach them since they left. Police have checked their home and they have not been there and the neighbors have not seen them.
A report was received that a van had gone the road, they checked it out, but it wasn't them.
I’m asking everyone to put a search out over their facebook and other internet sources to help us find them. Please pass this information on and help me find my parents. My mother does not like CA traffic and my father was to drive them to the CA boarder and my mother was to take over driving from that point. The van had been in for a check-up prior to their leaving New Mexico and so should have been in fine driving condition. As a surprise Christmas gift we had their windshield replaced when they were here and didn’t tell them. As of the last time we saw them, they hadn’t noticed the windshield. There is a route 66 sticker on the lower left corner of the windshield, as we had made sure we got that off and put back on.
If anyone knows of their whereabouts please call Deputy Santiago, badge # 4429, Perris, CA, case # PC110060023, phone number (951) 210-1000 or reach me at (951) 657-6610 or e-mail Thank you!!!
Cindy Ferry

UPDATE: Ferry's parents have been found in a hospital where the father was receiving medical care for an infection. Thanks for all those who included them in their prayers.

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