A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Time to Remember

This is a time of year that most of us around Northfield get pretty busy....school starts, DJJD activities, and activities related to the change of the season.

Please take time to remember those who have been devastated by the recent hurricane on the gulf coast.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Daniel H. Golden, 27, of the Huntsville, Alabama Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a domestic assault on August 29th. Officer Golden had served his agency for 3 years. He is survived by his wife and two step-children.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Gas Prices Vary

Thought I'd post an interesting observation with respect to gas prices. I've had to do a bit of traveling the past couple weeks through about 4,000 miles of highway and about five different states. In one day I could see as much as 70 cents per gallon difference between states on the same Interstate route (35).

Yesterday, (Sunday), I met a friend as we reached a common location. He was headed south and I was heading back to Northfield. He filled up just south of Des Moines, Iowa and I filled up about 20 miles north of Des Moines. I paid 40 cents a gallon more than he did in a span of about 40 miles on the same road within 20 minutes of each other.

Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Taste of India from the Best of India

Monday night, I was invited to attend a pre-opening of a restaurant in St. Louis Park. This event was unique because one of the co-owners, Autul Mondal is a relative newcomer to the U.S. and has been a Northfield resident as of late. He has made the U.S. his home. His ability to work hard and save for his own business renews my faith that the "dream" is still alive here.

There were a number of Northfield residents present to help Autul cerebrate his accomplishment. The restaurant features an Indian fare and was excellent. If you get a chance stop by and say hello to Autul.

His business can be located at 8120 Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park. His establishment is called the Best of India.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Officer Memorial

Deputy Sheriff Michael Bancroft of the Robertson County, Texas Sheriff's Department was killed in an automobile accident on August 23rd. Deputy Bancroft is survived by his wife, three children and a brother.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Officer Memorials

Police Officer Timothy Webster of the Crystal Springs, Mississippi, Police department was shot and killed on August 13th after conducting a vehicle stop in his community. The suspect is charged with murder. Officer Webster, 32, had served with his department for two months. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Corporal John A. (Jay) Sampietro Jr. of the Missouri State Highway Patrol was killed on August 17th after he was struck by a vehicle while investigating an early morning accident on I-44 in Webster County. Sampietro Jr., 36, had served with the Patrol for 13 years. He is survived by his wife and two young sons.

Deputy Sheriff Eric Peter Loiselle of the Essex County, New York Sheriff's Department was killed on August 17th when he was struck and killed by a tractor trailer while conducting a traffic stop on I-87. Loiselle, 31, had served with his department for 4 years. He is survived by his wife, a young son, mother, grandmother and a sister.

Police Officer Michael King of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department was killed on August 18th by gunfire while attempting to take a man into custody for a mental health evaluation. King, 50 had served his department for 22 years. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Police Officer Richard Smith of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department was killed on August 18th by gunfire while attempting to take a man into custody for a mental health evaluation. Smith, 46, had served his department for 22 years. He is survived by his wife and a daughter.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Using Technology To Recruit Police Officers

Here's a link to an article I collaborated with several of my peers. It addresses the challenges of recruiting quality candidates for police officer positions.

One of the challenges a police administrator faces is the ability to initiate an interest in policing to individuals who have the qualities that make a person a good police officer. That's why I visit explorer conferences and often accompany our recruiters when they visit college campuses and recruiting fairs.

As the article states, we have to be savvy about the manner in which we reach an audience that have the potential to be good police officers. Recruiting and developing an interest in policing is a component of police administration that is often overlooked but is certainly a critical part of the job.

Officer Memorials

Agent Jesus Lizardo-Espada of the Puerto Rico Police Department was killed on August 1st when he was shot and killed while conducting an undercover narcotics operation. Agent Lizard-Espada is survived by his wife and two sons. He had served his agency for 1.5 years.

Detective Terry Melancon
of the Baton Rouge, LA Police Department was shot and killed on August 10th while executing a search warrant. He had served with his agency for 4 years.

Police Officer James McBride of the Metropolitan, District of Columbia Police Department died of hyponatremia on August 10th. Officer McBride had served with the Metropolitan Police Department for 2 years.

Deputy Sheriff Timothy David Graham of the Pima County Sheriff's Department was struck and killed by a car while he struggled with an emotionally disturbed man on August 10th. Deputy Graham had served with the Pima County Sheriff's Office for 3 years. He is survived by his wife and two step-children.

Police Officer Francis Ortega of the Pine Lake, Georgia Police Department was shot and killed during a traffic stop on August 11th. Officer Ortega was killed by a man who was wanted for violating his supervised release from prison. Officer Ortgega was a part-time officer for the department. He is survived by his six-year-old son.

Police Officer Roy Nelson of the New Smyrna Beach, Florida Police Department was killed in an automobile accident on August 13th. Officer Nelson had been with his department for seven years. He is survived by is wife and two children.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

DC, A Compact Car, Senators and Albert Einstein

I happened across an issue of The Weekly Standard. This particular issue was dated August 15-22nd. On the cover was a caricature of a family standing on a very desolate National Mall in our Nation's Capitol. It caught my attention because I've been a visitor to the mall and some surrounding locations a few times.

The author, Andrew Ferguson, goes on to describe his concern over his perceived decay of the Capitol, especially the National Mall area because of policy, building memorials and of course, politics. The article did bring back a recent visit to the mall.

In March of 2004, I was invited to testify at a Senate hearing on continued funding of of after school care for at risk kids. I flew into DC on a red eye that required me to spend about 3 hours at Chicago Midway Airport on my way from Minneapolis to DC. My reward for a late flight to Reagan National Airport, a cab driver that didn't know where my hotel was located right downtown in DC, was an unusually warm and clear spring day. The morning allowed a number of us the opportunity walk the downtown area in the early morning when the air is still crisp and our fellow pedestrians still had some spring in their step, despite the multitude of cell phone users already making appointments and brokering deals.

We met with a few people for some prep work over breakfast at the Dirksen Office Building and then we went up a few floors and presented our case. If was quite an experience.

The best part of the trip was still to come. We had a couple hours between meetings. One of the volunteers offered to drive a few of us around for a tour. That's where I met Albert Einstein.

Someplace near a government building, near Potomac Park, across the street from the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial is a small sunken garden. In the middle of that garden is a giant statue of Albert Einstein. It is sculpted with metal that looks like a child's work with putty. It is rough but the face of Einstein is unmistakable....the almost child-like grin hidden below the giant moustache, the twinkle in the eye saying that the real joke was on all of us. I was told this was our "guide's" favorite place. Kids like to come here and sit on Einstein's lap.

It was a bit surreal...here I sat in a suit and tie, face to face with a man who probably had more to do with significant scientific change in our world as anyone: unassuming, and simple in his appearance and demeanor...in a city full of symbols, power and high-stakes bravado. The location was hidden from the bustling street about 100 feet away from us...quiet....cool...the rustling leaves around us making the only sound. One could imagine Einstein quietly speaking in his hard accent...what's the rush...enjoy the day.

We walked across the street to the Vietnam Memorial. There are too many names of people I know on that wall. People took etchings of names. There was a man with his family there who was quietly sobbing, his family comforting him as he made a rubbing of a name carved on the wall. Standing there, with the breeze blowing slightly, again the pace slowed, the noise outside the confines of the memorial died down and time stopped for a while as I remembered faces, places and events connected to names I recognized on the wall from a very long time ago. It was a difficult place to be.

We walked for a bit to the Lincoln Memorial. This is one of my favorite places. Every time I come to this place I am impressed with the simplicity of the memorial and the statement it makes. I found the place that The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stood on the steps when he delivered his know famous speech. Close your eyes and imagine you are back 40 years ago and listening to the man who changed a society with a very simple phrase. The background noises dim and time slows again. I suspect that the designers of this memorial purposely placed it so that as you stand there, Lincoln, his eyes seemingly staring down at you saying...."do the right thing." grabs your attention.

We went on to Union Station to have lunch. I hadn't been there before and I found it a bit humorous as I walked the now food court, information center and movie theatre complex. It occurred to me that among the movies that had scenes filmed in that place was one entitled "Mr Smith Goes To Washington."

As I walked the station, I couldn't resist a chuckle between the similarities between the events that bought both Mr. Smiths to Washington many years apart. Both of us were headed to the senate chambers but for different reasons, I just hoped my debut would be less of a disaster than the first Mr. Smith's. I'm sure that many of you who know me would be confident that I could hold my own during a filibuster as did James Stewart in the movie. If you haven't seen the movie, go rent it and you will figure out what I'm talking about.

During my time in DC, I did get a tour of the Capitol. Despite the security measures, it is still a bit awe-inspiring. A later walk that evening from a local office to an eating establishment ended the day well with a good Italian meal.

The following month, I returned to the area for three months to attend the FBI National Academy. I was fortunate to have some time to return to DC and visit other locations.

Despite Mr. Ferguson's concern (Remember way back at the beginning?), I think the Washington DC National Mall and its places to visit are alive and well. The diversity of the memorials and places located there comprise our diverse background. The spirit is still there, despite the best efforts to barricade, hide and secure it.

Officer Memorial

Tennessee Department of Corrections Officer Wayne Morgan was shot and killed out side of the courthouse while escorting two inmates. Officer Morgan had served with his agency for 28 years. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sometimes Even The Crooks Help Us Out

These entries come from Snopes.com page on true stories about crooks who help out the Cops.

* April 2005; Rogersville, Tennessee:
Hawkins County authorities were tipped off to two would-be burglars' plans to steal a refrigerator from a mobile home dealership when a cell phone one of the crooks was carrying in his front pocket relayed a 40-minute-long discussion about the upcoming heist to 911 dispatchers. (The phone was of a type that automatically calls 911 when the '9' key is held down.) Sheriff's deputies hid in the woods near the dealership and nabbed the hapless thieves as they exited one of the mobile homes with a refrigerator and set it on the ground outside.

* March 1997; San Diego, California: Trying to call Mexico, a drug dealer dialed 911 instead of 011. Though he hung up when the emergency services operator answered, a police patrol was dispatched to his address. Four bad guys were arrested and 42 lbs. of marijuana and 2 oz. of methamphetamine were seized.

* February 1996; Frederick, Maryland: A lad called 911 to report the shed he was growing marijuana in was on fire. He got 60 days.

* August 1996; Los Angeles, California: Yet another failed attempt to call Mexico netted this drug dealer a visit from John Law. A gun, $15,000 and a 3 lb. bag of powdered cocaine were discovered at this fellow's house.

* February 1994; Laguna Nigel, California: A man programming his phone to speed-dial 911 (Huh? The number is that hard to remember?) was arrested when sheriff's deputies responded to his call. He and his two buddies appeared to be under the influence of crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was found in the apartment, so the three of them were placed under arrest.

* February 1990; San Diego, California: A phone programmed to automatically dial 911 when bumped or dropped gave this set of crooks away. Police discovered 250-300 marijuana plants growing in the house they'd been sent to investigate.

Just goes to show you that you never know who is going to help us out.


Bobo, Jeff. "Burglary Suspects Tip Off Police with Accidental 911 Call."
[Kingsport] Times-News. 5 April 2005.

Core, Richard. "Man Programming Phone Calls 911."
Los Angeles Times. 12 February 1992 (p. B1).

Agence France Press. "Dial 911 for Emergency Drug Bust."
19 March 1997.

Associated Press. "Woman Arrested After Mistaken 911 Call."
21 October 2004.

Los Angeles Times. "Boy, Did He Get a Wrong Number."
30 August 1996 (p. B4).

The San Diego Union-Tribune. "Phone Auto-Dials Cops."
5 February 1990 (p. B1).

United Press International. "Police Credit 911 Call for Drug Arrests."
20 November 1986.

USA Today. "Across the USA."
15 February 1996 (p. A8).

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Officer Memorial

Seasonal Park Ranger Jeff Christensen, 31, of the United States Department of Interior - National Park Service died on July 29, 2005 from what appears to have been a fall. Ranger Christensen had served as a park ranger for four years. He is survived by his parents.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Officer Memorial

Police Officer Larry William Cantrell of the Sapulpa, Oklahoma Police Department was killed in an automobile accident on July 31, 2005. He was 34 years old. His father was with him, participating in a ride-a-long and was also killed.