A Discussion of Criminal Justice Issues and Other Things

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yet Another Example That Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

This news article linked from Fox News outlines a story where a woman shot her boyfriend because he would not let her sleep. It would be funny if it wasn't for the seriousness of a person using a firearm to resolve an issue that should have been resolved with reason and intelligent conversation. Just another reason why law enforcement officers have to exercise so much caution in dealing with reports of domestic violence.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we mark the birthday of a truly great American. Dr. King contributed much to our society and our way of life. His non-violence message resonates yet today. I remember standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC a few years ago in the very location marked there as the place Dr. King gave his remarkable speech so many years ago. As a kid, I remember how I was struck by the words "I have a dream..."

Take time to remember Dr. King today and the legacy he has provided us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Ruth and I had the opportunity to attend Nunsense this afternoon at the Granada Theater here in Emporia. Sally Struthers and the rest of the cast played to a packed audience of over 800 in attendance. We knew it was going to be a full house when we arrived about an hour early and the line to get into the theatre was already wrapped completely around the block.

The Granada has quite a history here in Emporia and its restoration has been amazing. I'd encourage you to visit their website and read the chronicles that brought the facility back to its glory.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Missing Person – Adji Desir

January 10, 2009
Immokalee, Florida



Date of Birth:

October 15, 2002

Place of Birth:

Naples, Florida










45 pounds


Black (Haitian descent)


Adji Desir has been missing from outside his grandmother's residence in Immokalee, Florida, since Saturday, January 10, 2009, at approximately 5:30 p.m.. Adji reportedly went outside to play with neighborhood kids after dinner. He was reported missing a little while later and his whereabouts remain unknown.


Adji was last seen wearing a blue and yellow t-shirt, blue and yellow shorts, and black and gray sneakers. He is mentally handicapped and functions at a two-year-old level. He has very limited vocabulary and is non-verbal.


The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of Adji Desir.

Individuals with information concerning this case should take no action themselves, but instead immediately contact the Collier County, Florida Sheriff's Office at 1-239-793-9300, the FBI's toll-free hotline at 1-866-838-1153, or the nearest FBI Office or local law enforcement agency. For any possible sighting outside the United States, contact the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate.

| Tampa Field Office | Kidnapping and Missing Persons Investigations |
| FBI Home Page | FBI Field Offices |

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Police Officer Deaths

The 2009 officer fatality report states that police officer deaths were down in 2008 compared to 2007. There were 140 officer deaths in 2008 compared to 181 in 2007. Although it is good the number of officers killed in the line of duty is smaller, it is still tragic that so many police officers are killed each year. This article from Fox News does a good job of reporting the information.

It is a stark reminder that police work is inherently dangerous. There are other occupations where dedicated folks are placed in danger but outside of the military, only law enforcement are charged to deal with armed confrontations and deal with situations that are required to intervene and have the authority to use deadly force.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

12 Year Old Missing for 10 Years Without Reported Missing

A 12 year old Kansas boy, Adam Herrman, has been reported missing after apparently having gone missing nearly 10 years ago. This CNN Article outlines the story.

This story underlines the importance of hotlines and individuals being willing to come forward to report suspicious or concerns, regardless of the amount of time passing or a reluctance to get involved.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children runs a 24 hour a day hotline that can be used for any person at risk or to report any concern an individual might have. You can call their number toll-free at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) 24-hours a day. You can also report it online live to a real person.

I'm sure that El Dorado and Butler County Officials would appreciate any information that could be provided.

Attempts to Manage Budgets Gut Juvenile Justice Programs

Most reasonable people would agree that funding prevention and intervention programs for kids at risk is a good idea. Ironically, as the economy slows, states begin the process of slashing programs deemed not necessary to balance budgets or at least slow the hemorrhaging.

This Fox News article pretty much sums up what we can probably expect in the future.

Hopefully people will not repeat the mistakes of the past. Penny-wise, pound foolish in this respect that trying to curb costs now will cost us exponentially later when the services of at risk kids are not met.

Take a minute and go to the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids website and review the correlation between high school dropout rates and jail incarceration. Also review how the pre-K investment pays future dividends.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Government to Judge "Bernard Madoff Goes To Jail"

This article details the alleged antics of Bernard Madoff, the individual who is accused of bilking billions, yes, I said billions of dollars from his previous investment customers. It's an interesting read as to the allegations of what the government told the judge at the hearing that Mr. Madoff is allegedly doing to apparently isolate and protect some of his assets from seizure.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Ultimate Stress Reliever: SPECIAL REQUEST

The Ultimate Stress Reliever: SPECIAL REQUEST

Friday, January 02, 2009

You’re Not A Cop Until You Taste Them

Every now and then, an event brings this work to my mind. I want to share it with you again. It's a good reminder of the challenges of police work and the terrible emotional toll it can take on officers and their families.


The department was all astir, there was a lot of laughing and joking due to all the new officers, myself included, hitting the streets today for the first time. After months of seemingly endless amounts of classes, paperwork, and lectures we were finally done with the Police Academy and ready to join the ranks of our department.

All you could see were rows of cadets with huge smiles and polished badges. As we sat in the briefing room, we could barely sit still anxiously awaiting our turn to be introduced and given our beat assignment or, for the lay person, our own portion of the city to "serve and protect."

It was then that he walked in. A statue of a man - 6 foot 3 and 230 pounds of solid muscle, he had black hair with highlights of gray and steely eyes that make you feel nervous even when he wasn't looking at you. He had a reputation for being the biggest and the smartest officer to ever work our fair city. He had been on the department for longer than anyone could remember and those years of service had made him into somewhat of a legend.

The new guys, or "rookies" as he called us, both respected and feared him. When he spoke even the most seasoned officers paid attention. It was almost a when one the rookies got to be around when he would tell one of his police stories about the old days. But we knew our place and never interrupted for fear of being shooed away. He was respected and revered by all who knew him.

After my first year on the department I still had never heard or saw him speak to any of the rookies for any length of time. When he did speak to them all he would say was, "So, you want to be a policeman do you hero?" I'll tell you what, when you can tell me what they taste like, then you can call yourself a real policeman."

This particular phrase I had heard dozens of times. Me and my buddies all had bets about "what they taste like" actually referred to. Some believed it referred to the taste of your own blood after a hard fight. Others thought it referred to the taste of sweat after a long day's work. Being on the department for a year, I thought I knew just about everyone and everything.

So one afternoon, I mustered up the courage and walked up to him. When he looked down at me, I said "You know, I think I've paid my dues. I've been in plenty of fights, made dozens of arrests, and sweated my butt off just like everyone else. So what does that little saying of yours mean anyway?" With that, he merely stated, "Well, seeing as how you've said and done it all, you tell me what it means, hero." When I had no answer, he shook his head and snickered, "rookies," and walked away.

The next evening was to be the worst one to date. The night started out slow, but as the evening wore on, the calls became more frequent and dangerous. I made several small arrests and then had a real knock down drag out fight. However, I was able to make the arrest without hurting the suspect or myself. After that, I was looking forward to just letting the shift wind down and getting home to my wife and daughter.

I had just glanced at my watch and it was 11:55, five more minutes and I would be on my way to the house. I don't know if it was fatigue or just my imagination, but as I drove down one of the streets on my beat, I thought I saw my daughter standing on someone else's porch. I looked again but it was not my daughter as I had first thought but merely a small child about her age. She was probably only six or seven years old and dressed in an oversized shirt that hung to her feet. She was clutching an old rag doll in her arms that looked older than me.

I immediately stopped my patrol car to see what she was doing outside her house at such an hour by herself. When I approached, there seemed to be a sigh of relief on her face. I had to laugh to myself, thinking she sees the hero policeman come to save the day. I knelt at her side and asked what she was doing outside.

She said "My mommy and daddy just had a really big fight and now mommy won't wake up." My mind was reeling. Now what do I do? I instantly called for backup and ran to the nearest window. As I looked inside I saw a man standing over a lady with his hands covered in blood, her blood. I kicked open the door, pushed the man aside and checked for a pulse, but unable to find one. I immediately cuffed the man and began doing CPR on the lady.

It was then I heard a small voice from behind me, "Mr. Policeman, please make my mommy wake up." I continued to perform CPR until my backup and medics arrived but they said it was too late. She was dead. I then looked at the man. He said, "I don't know what happened. She was yelling at me to stop drinking and go get a job and I had just had enough. I just shoved her so she would leave me alone and she fell and hit her head." As I walked the man out to the car in handcuffs, I again saw that little girl. In the five minutes that has passed, I went from hero to monster. Not only was I unable to wake up her mommy, but now I was taking daddy away too.

Before I left the scene, I thought I would talk to the little girl. To say what, I don't know. Maybe just to tell her I was sorry about her mommy and daddy. But as I approached, she turned away and I knew it was useless and I would probably make it worse.

As I sat in the locker room at the station, I kept replaying the whole thing in my mind. Maybe if I would have been faster or done something different, just maybe that little girl would still have her mother. And even though it may sound selfish, I would still be the hero. It was then that I felt a large hand on my shoulder. I heard that all too familiar question again, "Well, hero, what do they taste like?"

But before I could get mad or shout some sarcastic remark, I realized that all the pent up emotions had flooded the surface and there was a steady stream of tears cascading down my face. It was at that moment that I realized what the answer to his question was.


With that, he began to walk away, but he stopped. "You know, there was nothing you could have done differently," he said. "Sometimes you can do everything right and still the outcome is the same. You may not be the hero you once thought you were, but now you ARE a police officer."


Thursday, January 01, 2009


A friend of mine sent me the following from MADD.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Even if you make smart decisions about alcohol, that doesn’t mean that other people around you will. Imagine for a moment that you go to a party where there’s alcohol, and like a lot of other people, you decided to hang out but not drink. What if one of your friends makes a different choice and ends up drinking way too much? What should you do? What can you do?

First of all, if the person drinking has car keys anywhere on them – you should take them away. Make sure those keys stay with someone who is and will stay completely sober. Next, don’t let your friend have any more to drink! Stay with them at all times. Even if they stop drinking they won’t sober up right away.

There are a lot of myths floating around about ways to help a person sober up, drinking alcohol and what it can do to your body. Check out the real story. And the next time someone tries these lines on you, you’ll know your stuff.

Myth: It’s none of my business if a friend is drinking too much.
Fact: If you are a real friend, it is your business. Talk to them. Maybe they’ll listen. But never get into a car if the driver’s been drinking.

Myth: It’s okay to drink underage as long as I don’t drive.
Fact: Negative. Drinking any amount of alcohol underage is illegal. The minimum drinking age is 21 --- the law in all 50 states.

Myth: Someone can have a few drinks and drive safely.
Fact: Not on your life. Alcohol slows down your ability to think, speak and move. The safest way home is to drive sober or ride with someone who’s sober.

Myth: It’s just beer. It can’t hurt me.
Fact: All alcohol can cause brain damage, especially to brains still developing through age 20. Large amounts of alcohol can also do major damage to your digestive system, heart, liver, stomach and other critical organs as well as losing years from your life.

Myth: The worst thing that can happen is a raging hangover.
Fact: Sorry. If you drink enough alcohol, fast enough, you can get an amount in your body that can kill you in only a few hours.

Myth: A cold shower or a cup of coffee will sober me up.
Fact: Nope. Nothing sobers you up but time. It takes at least an hour for your body to get rid of one drink of alcohol. Nothing can speed it up. Not a shower, coffee, eating, throwing up, nothing.

Myth: You’ll get drunk a lot faster with hard alcohol than with a beer or wine cooler.
Fact: Whatever! The percent of alcohol in your blood is what determines how drunk you are. Not the flavors you selected. Alcohol is alcohol.

Myth: Switching between beer, wine and liquor will make you more drunk than sticking to one type of alcohol.
Fact: No, it’s the size that matters. One “drink” equals one 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, one five-ounce glass of wine or one-and-a-half-ounces of hard liquor. They all have the same amount of alcohol in them. So if someone drinks a 40-ounce bottle of beer, it’s actually more like three-and-a-half drinks, not one!

Myth: Everybody reacts the same to alcohol.
Fact: Not hardly. There are dozens of factors that affect reactions to alcohol – body weight, time of day, what you’ve eaten recently, how you feel mentally, body chemistry, your expectations, and list goes on and on.

Myth: Alcohol makes you more sexy.
Fact: The more you drink, the less you think. Alcohol may loosen you up and make someone more interested in sex, but it interferes with the body’s ability to perform. Then there’s pregnancy, AIDS, sexual assault and more to worry about. Not sexy at all.

Myth: A “blackout” is the same thing as “passing out.”
Fact: Think again. During blackouts, people appear to be awake and acting normally. The scary part is people who drink enough to have a blackout will do things they wouldn’t usually do, and the next day they don’t remember anything.

Myth: It’s okay to let drunk people “sleep it off.”
Fact: Sometimes it can seem like a person has just fallen asleep, when actually, they drank so much they are unconscious. If you can’t wake a person up, or they’re semi-conscious but can’t actually snap out it, the situation is very dangerous. Don’t let them lie on their back or else they could choke on their own vomit. Instead roll them on their side and call for help.

Myth: Drugs are a bigger problem than alcohol.
Fact: No way. Alcohol is a drug. More young people die from alcohol than all other illicit drugs combined.

Myth: People who drink only hurt themselves.
Fact: You can make some big mistakes when you drink and some consequences can last a
lifetime for you and those you love. Every person who drinks has a mother, grandfather, sister, aunt, best friend, boyfriend or someone who worries about them and can be impacted by your actions.

Bottom line: Trust your gut instincts. If it seems bad, it probably is. Don’t be afraid to call for help.

A little trouble is better than you or your friend being injured or dead