A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Officer Memorial

Detective Kevin Orr of the Uintah County, Utah Sheriff's Office was killed on November 21st after the helicoper he was riding in crashed into the Green River while he was assisting in the search of a missing person.

Detective Orr had served his agency for 11 years. He is survived by his wife and four children.

Senior Trooper Robert A. Hill Sr., 42, of the Virginia State Police was struck and killed on November 24th by a vehicle while he was conducting a traffic stop.

Senior Trooper Hill
had served his agency for 19 years. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Officer Memorials

Senior Patrol Agent David Norman Webb, 35, of the US Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol died on November 3rd as the result of an automobile accident.

Agent Webb had served his agency for 3 years. He was also an Army National Guard veteran. He his survived by his wife, two young sons and parents.

Deputy Sheriff William Tiedeman, 54, of the Virginia Beach, VA Sheriff's Office died of a heart attack on November 7th while participating in defense tactics training.

Deputy Tiedeman had served his agency for 12 years. He also served in the US Navy for over 23 years retiring as a Senior Chief. He is survived by his wife, son, grandson, brother, and sister.

Investigator David Petzold, 32, of the Upper Saucon Township, Pennsylvania Police Department was stuck and killed on November 9th by a vehicle while he was attempting to remove a dear carcass from the roadway.

Investigator Petzold had served his agency for 9 years and had also served as a special agent with the FBI for 1 year. He is survived by his wife and 3 children.

Deputy Sheriff Brian Tephford, 34, of the Broward County, Florida Sheriff's Department was shot and killed while conducting a vehicle stop. The incident occurred on November 11th and Deputy Tephford died an hour later on the 12th. Deputy Tephford was sitting in his patrol car running the suspect on his computer when he was shot.

Deputy Tephford had served his agency for 6 years. He is survived by 3 children.

Deputy Sheriff William (Joe) Hudnall, 43, of the Kern County, California Sheriff's Department was killed when his vehicle was struck head-on by a drunk driver on November 14th.

Deputy Hudnall had served his agency for 9 years. He is survived by his wife and 4 children.

Deputy Sheriff Dennis Wright Sr., 52, of the Effingham County, Georgia Sheriff's Department was killed in an automobile accident on November 17th.

Deputy Wright had served his agency for 8.5 years. He is survived by his daughter and 2 sons.

Friday, November 17, 2006

They're Already There

Tuesday evening while I was traveling through a number of airports, I watched several military men and women traveling to and from their deployment posts. I also watched a woman who struggled with a young child--very clear that both mom and daughter were fatigued--as I learned she was traveling for the holidays without the benefit of her husband who is in the military, stationed overseas. As a young man walked through the terminal in Denver, I heard an older couple comment on the changes in the uniform design. I overheard one child ask his mom if that was the same backpack his dad was using in Iraq: his mom obviously trying to maintain her emotions.

I'm afraid I didn't do so well. I wept.

Consumed by the sense of sacrifice these young men and women.. so close to the age of my own son...are making - sacrificing time with their families and even their lives.

The traditional holiday season is upon us and again our sons, daughters, fathers and mothers are standing up for their convictions. Politics aside...one cannot help but be proud of the courage of these men and women and the sacrifices their families make for all of us.

As I sat back tonight and listened to some random songs on my Ipod, a song by the group Lonestar came on entitled "I'm Already There (message from home). Interjected into the song were excerpts from spouses and kids of those serving overseas. I found a link to it on the web absent the excerpts. I would encourage you to listen to it now. And the next time you see a soldier passing through an airport or anyplace else, take the time to thank them. If you see a parent struggling with a child, lend some encouragement or at least some patience. Consider what sacrifices the families make for all of us.

Most of all, pray for the safe return of all of our men and women who are in harms way.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Items of Note

From time to time, I like to take note of news items that I find or are sent to me for consideration. I have two of them for you today.

The first one came to me by way of my sister who lives in Corpus Christi, Texas. Many of you may have seen this item in the news and on cable news networks. The story of a pee wee football coach who assaulted the referee after being warned by the referee repeatedly to stop using profanity. When the coach was ejected from the game, he apparently went ballistic and went after and assaulted the ref. Having lived in the area many years ago, I can attest to the seriousness of local football teams, but this goes too far. The actions of the coach have been condemned. Generally this type of behavior is not isolated. One wonders why it took such an extreme act to take corrective action.

Second, a friend sent me this article from the Grand Island Daily Independent. The story reports that a district court judge throws out a plea agreement to sentence a convicted child molester to 28-30 years rather than the 2 year sentence worked out between the public defender and the prosecutor. The article reported that Judge James Livingston stated "Schaff's lack of remorse and understanding of how his actions affected anyone other then himself underscores the danger he presents to children, Livingston said."

Oftentimes it seems the Media reports the outlandish decisions rendered by judges around the country. Based on the facts listed in this article...there are still judges out there who take an objective view of those cases and are not afraid to make hard decisions.

As a disclosure statement, I do know Judge Livingston from my time spent working in Grand Island.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Staying on Top of Things

Northfield PD hosted a training session this past week in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and Michigan State University. The two day training held at NCRC was targeted for senior administrators in criminal justice and security agencies.

The 25+ students came from Minnesota, Iowa, Dakotas and Wisconsin. In addition to providing excellent training in the area of security for our communities, we were able to showcase the NCRC (Northfield Community Resource Center) and our community to the visiting administrators, which included motel rooms and local eating establishments.

This training program was available in Minnesota one time...in Northfield. Our selection speaks well of our standing in the regional criminal justice community. In addition to being good for the knowledge base of our local law enforcement officials, it also helped out our local businesses a bit. A good combination all the way around. We've held training activities similar to this one previously and will continue to do so in the future. It's a win-win combination!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Never Forget

Today is Veteran's Day. It's a time for us to remember the sacrifices made by many, many men and women who have dedicated their lives to keep this country safe and free.

My dad was a veteran of the Korean War. Dad joined the Air Force after graduating from high school. He completed his basic training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Quite a cultural change for a Nebraska farm kid to go to Mississippi in the early 1950's. Dad was a RADAR and air traffic controller during his stint in the service. He didn't talk a whole lot about all the places he went or what all he had to do. I visited Biloxi a few years ago and found that the base is still there and involved in training for electronic operations of various varieties.

Dad spoke of a few of his buddies he worked with and kept in touch. The only name I remember was a guy by the name of Bob Haywood. I guess the last name stuck out in my mind and the fact he came through for a visit once many years ago. It's one of the few times I heard my dad converse with anyone about much of his military experiences. I remember looking through an old photograph album my dad had compiled of pictures while he was stationed in Mississippi. It looked like something out of an old Glenn Miller movie. My dad's dress uniform military picture bore a very striking resemblance to Miller.

I've mentioned before that I lived a bit of the military experience while Dad was in the service and then later, as a reserve. I was born in a military hospital located on Selfridge Air Force Base in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Some folks kid me that it's the reason I have an affinity for well polished floors. What the experience also imparted was a keen appreciation for those who serve in our armed forces and an uncompromising sense of patriotism and pride in this country.

My family spent the day doing some group things that took us to a few shopping places that were packed with early holiday shoppers. As we walked around the crowded mall, I thought about a symposium I recently attended that featured a number of members of the Israeli National Defense Force and Intelligence Division. They spoke of how they constantly are on guard for the regular bombings that take place at their shopping malls and the constant threat to the safety of everyone there. They spoke about how an entire family never travels together for fear that a suicide bomber might kill them all.

I'm grateful for the members of our armed services: past, present and future who have fought and died to keep this country safe and keeps us from the kind of environment that is found in other parts of the world. I'm grateful that I can document my thoughts freely without fear of attack or reprisal. I'm grateful that I can go to sleep tonight not having to worry about waking up in the morning.

I pray for the safety of those currently in harm's way and hope they stay safe and can complete their mission soon and return home to their families.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Officer Memorials

Master Police Officer David Whitson, 34, of the Bowling Green, Kentucky Police Department was shot and killed on October 31st after he and two other officers responded to a call of a man brandishing a knife.

MPO Whitson had served his department for 8 years. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Deputy Sheriff David Briese, 38, of the Yellowstone, Montana County Sheriff's Office was killed on November 3rd as the result of an automobile accident.

Deputy Briese had served his department for 5 years. He is survived by his two young sons and parents.

Deputy Sheriff David Rancourt
, 40, of the Androscoggin County, Maine, Sheriff's Office died on November 4th after suffering a hear attack while diving in the Androscoggin River, searching for evidence in a criminal case.

Deputy Rancourt was a US Army Reserve veteran of the Gulf War and War on Terrorism. He had served his agency for 8 years. He is survived by his expectant wife and young son.