Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Where is the outrage?

At the time I was writing the previous article, an email was being delivered to me from an out-of-state friend. The source of the email was not included, so I don't know where this was published.

I agree with the content. Do you?

"Does anyone remember Detective Melvin Santiago?  He was a Jersey City police officer who was shot to death on July 13th.   Santiago was white.  His killer, Lawrence Campbell, was black.  Does anyone recall Obama appearing before national television and calling for justice for Officer Santiago's family?  Does anyone recall Eric Holder rushing to Jersey City to see that justice was done?
How about Officer Jeffrey Westerfield? He was a Gary, Indiana police officer who was shot to death on July 6, 2014. Officer Westerfield was white, his killer, Carl LeEllis Blount, Jr. was black. where was Obama? Where was Holder?
Officer Perry Renn was an Indianapolis, Indiana police officer who was shot to death July 5, 2014, the day before Officer Westerfield was killed. Officer Renn was white. His killer, Major Davis, was black. I don't recall any mention by Obama about the untimely death of Officer Renn. and, I doubt that Eric Holder rushed to Indianapolis to make sure justice was served.
Vermillion Parish Deputy Sheriff Allen Bares was gunned down by two men June 23, 2014 in Louisiana. Deputy Bares was white. His two killers, Quintlan Richard and Baylon Taylor were black. was Obama outraged? Did Eric Holder rush to Louisiana to make sure that the family of Deputy Bares found justice?
Detective Charles Dinwiddie of the Killen, Texas Police Department was murdered on May 11, 2014 by Marvin Lewis Guy, a black male. Officer Dinwiddie was white. Do you recall seeing anything abouth that on the news? Certainly, the white citizens of Killeen didn't take to the streets to loot and burn businesses. Do you recall any mention of Obama or Holder here?
Then, there is Officer Kevin Jordan of Griffin, Georgia Police Department. He was gunned down on May 31, 2014. Officer Jordan was black, his killer, Michael Bowman was white. This was a white man murdering a black police officer. Where was Jesse Jackson? Where was "The Reverend" al Sharpton? Was there looting and burning on the streets of Griffin, Georgia? No, in fact, we don't recall hearing about this one in the news as well. Why? You can draw your own conclusions.
Over the past 60 days, there have been five reported deaths of police officers by gunshot in the U.S. Of those, four were white officers who were murdered by black men. Blacks complain that white officers treat black men more aggressively on the street. You can draw your own conclusions on that one, as well.
A US President who tries to divide this republic, needs to be removed from office !"

Another reason to carry

The assassination of two NYPD officers provides yet one more reason to "carry."

But be careful!

When the troops arrive, you don't want to be mistaken for a Bad Guy.

Think ahead... What would you do, if you saw a law-enforcement officer being shot at. You might be driving by and spot an exchange of gunfire on a highway shoulder. You don't want to pull over and end up in the line-of-fire.

Think about what you'll say; i.e., how you will announce yourself to the cop as an armed citizen who is coming to his aid.

Be ready to present yourself as NOT a threat when other officers respond. Remember to stay calm and keep your hands in sight. Don't hold keys or cellphone in your hand. Holster your firearm. Or, if you've got it trained on a suspect, listen to the cops' instructions and do exactly what they say, when they say it. Comply. Don't argue or explain. There will be plenty of time for that.

Can you fire at a fleeing shooter, assuming that the shooter is leaving the scene on foot or in a car? A cop can;  but can you - a civilian? Even if you observed someone shoot down a cop? You may want to find out in advance - "just in case."

If you have to use the police radio to call for help for the officer, know where you are. Describe yourself to the dispatcher, so you don't get shot when other officers arrive. And remember to take your fingers off the microphone switch. Breathe! Don't panic!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Student kicked out for rifle cartridge

Grade schooler Cameron Carlson, of Chanute, Kansas, took a spent rifle cartridge to school (Chanute (Kansas) Elementary School) on the day after rifle practice with his mom to sight in their deer rifle. Read about it in their local newspaper.

The principal got on his high horse and kicked Cameron out of school for five days. When the mother attempted to intervene, the ante almost got bumped up to the 186-day max.

Now, somebody tell me - what is dangerous about a spent casing? No hot primer. No powder. No bullet.

What have we got here? A failure in communication. A bully. A man who is stupid and sets a poor example for students, parents, administrators, teachers and the community.

If you want to add your 2¢ worth, write to
Gary Wheeler, Principal
Chanute Elementary School
500 Osa Martin Blvd.
Chanute, KS 66720
Phone 620/432-2530
Email: try wheelerg@usd413.org (or send to Wheeler, c/o howellb@usd413.org).

Visit the Facebook page of Cameron's mother, Deana Leigh Carlson, and show your support. She writes on her Facebook page that her family has received "violent threats" for standing up in this case.

We must stop the bullying by school administrators in all schools.

The problem with suspension is that it occurs immediately, before the student has a chance to appeal to the School Board (not that it would necessarily be fair, either). Due Process is violated. If the School Board over-rules the Principal, the suspension has already been served and the damage to the student has already been done.

It's time for parents to insist on Firearms safety courses in schools - as early as grade school. Stop the hysteria about guns. Teach safety and respect.

What should be done to Principal Wheeler? Give him a five-day suspension. Better yet - fire him.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Who is responsible for bus stop shooting death?

The Chicago Tribune reports the death of Donatello Herrera, 35, early yesterday morning. Herrera was a Chicago worker at a Burger King near Ogden and Western Avenues. He was shot by a person in a dark-colored SUV,  about 1:15am, while he was waiting for a bus to ride home.

Who is responsible?

The Cook County Democratics, who made it unlawful to carry a concealed weapon on a bus, 'L' or train?
Father Michael Phleger, who continually rants about guns and wants them taken away from law-abiding citizens?
MOMS Demand Action, the group also on a tirade against guns?
The CTA?
The RTA?
The NRA and the ISRA for failing to knock some sense into the heads of those named just above?
The manufacturers of the gun and the ammo?
The manufacturer of the SUV?
The manufacturer of the dark-colored paint?

Guns in the hands of many law-abiding people on that corner might not have prevented the shots that killed Herrera. But, if 10-15-20 people had pulled out guns and started pumping lead into that dark-colored SUV after the shots were fired at Herrera, it wouldn't take long for word to get around Chicago that it was no longer safe to do drive-by shootings.

Who is responsible for Herrera's death?

YOU are. I am. (OK,  so I "was", because I lived in Illinois when the concealed carry law was being argued and passed.) - For failing to exert enough influence on the politicians to over-ride their insane desire to keep people from protecting themselves in many areas outside their homes in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.

Now is the time to call or write them and/or visit their Chicago office. Law-abiding, licensed, armed citizens are not the problem.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wash. deputy tries to justify MRAP

Did you read about the Spokane, Washington-area deputy who tried to justify the use of MRAP because of "constitutionalists"?

You do know what MRAP is; right? Mine Resistant Ambush Protected. These are military vehicles that are now in the hands of local law enforcement.

Against Constitutionalists? You mean, like you and me?

Recently, I spotted a "No Firearms" sign at the entrance to the V.A. Medical Center here in Columbia, S.C., and I got to wondering why I can't carry my firearm in my vehicle onto Government property. I mean, besides the sign... It's not like I'm going "postal", if I have to wait five minutes for an appointment. According to the sign, I can't even drive onto Government property with a firearm in my car. V.A. employees are left defenseless while commuting, because of this prohibition.

Across the country, states are giving lawful gun owners the right to carry firearms in their cars while commuting and to store them in their cars in company parking lots, even if the employer says, "Don't bring that thing in here."

But the Feds make a Federal criminal out of you, if they can catch you with a gun in your car in their parking lot. Even if it is in the trunk. Even if you don't take it into the building.

Same at the Post Office. If you are going to the Post Office to mail your Christmas packages, leave your gun at home. Go unarmed and unprotected to the Post Office. If someone starts shooting because the line is moving too slowly, just point to the sign that says, "No guns in here." Yeah, sure...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hungry lawyers go after deep pocket

Instead of going after Adam Lanza's mother's estate, greedy lawyers representing Newtown victims' families are going after the manufacturer of the Bushmaster AR-15.

Think those lawyers are working for free - pro bono? Or are they looking for a big pay day, if they find the right liberal judge or jury?

Maybe while they are at it, they should find out what kind of shoes he was wearing. If Nikes, go after Nike. What kind of car did he drive to the school? Sue the car manufacturer and dealership that sold the car. After all, they "should have known" he would use it in a crime.

And what kind of gas was in the car? Shell? Sue Shell, too.

And what did Lanza have for breakfast? Wheatie's? Go after the cereal company. Oh, don't forget the farmer. And the company that manufacturer the combine that harvested the wheat.

Somebody ought to get busy and sue those lawyers and those families for a frivolous lawsuit!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Where did Zinke land?

On December 1 the Northwest Herald reported that Andy Zinke had resigned as Undersheriff. That's the last time Zinke's name was in the paper.

Was it a good idea for him to clear out before Bill Prim was sworn in as Sheriff? He must have seen the handwriting on the wall and probably wanted to avoid the embarrassment of being escorted out of the building on Monday morning, as were the Jail Chief and Jail Deputy Chief.

In a timely response to a FOIA request, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department responded to my request for a copy of any inventory sheet showing official MCSD equipment and/or vehicle turned in by Zinke?
Their answer? "we have no document responsive to your request." Get that? No accounting of things like weapons, assault rifles, ammo, badges, patches, jackets, body armor, other equipment.

MCSD did provide a copy of Zinke's November 30th, 10:47am email to various MCSD department heads. He bragged that he had accepted "an awesome leadership position at another law enforcement agency on 11/25/14." Where did Zinke land? Does anyone know?

In his November 30th email Zinke asked that his "access cards" to the building be turned off effective 12/1, wrote that his portable radios and phone were in his office, ID and badges in Cynthia's office, and uniforms and equipment were in the sheriff's garage.

Now, about the uniforms and equipment being "in the sheriff's garage." Did he mean where Nygren sometimes parked his Tahoe, inside the Government Center? Or did he mean at the sheriff's "garage" at the end of Russel Court?

Others report that Zinke parked his car in the sally port and dumped his equipment on the ground by the vehicle. Various municipal police departments were delayed in delivering prisoners to the jail because of that equipment loose in the sally port.

By his 10:47AM email on Sunday, November 30, Zinke put Commander John Miller in charge of overall operations.

Let's see how McHenry County was protected, as the day approached when Bill Prim was to take over. Nygren was nowhere in sight; Zinke walked off the job. Miller was "in charge of overall operations." Guess it's a good thing there wasn't a major crime or jail break or jail death.

So much for any professional "style" to transferring the Department from the old to the new.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CIA report on torture

No, I haven't read the report. Probably won't.

What I do know is that there hasn't been another major terrorist attack in the United States since September 11, 2001.

The "detainees" (prisoners) at Guantanamo are not "nice" guys. And Obama cut five of the terrorists loose, in a dubious exchange for an American who may not have been worth it.

Should they be kept there as long as they have been, without a trial? No, I don't think so.

Watch Wolf Blitzer and that jerk, Diane Feinstein. Wolf makes a statement. She says, "Is that a question?" Of course, he was looking for a response.

She thinks she is sooooo important...

She said, "I am not going to get into this kind of discussion," after Wolf asked her if John Brennan, CIA Director appointed by Obama, was lying.

Diane could have just said, "Listen, damn it. My mind is made up. Don't try to confuse me with more facts."

John McCain's statement was described to me as "eloquent". I wish I could agree. He read it, and not very well. And, when you listen to it carefully, he really didn't say anything.

Lawyers sue over court fees

The subject of McHenry County Circuit Court's super-high scale of fees and costs is near and dear to my heart, even now. And even as a person who was not abused by them.

I chose to chicken out on a 2007 Woodstock headlight ticket, because I knew that about $200 in court costs and fees would be assessed, if I argued my case in court and lost. The ticket was unfair, because the cop was going to issue a Warning - until Cop #2 showed up and reminded him that the "word" at the Woodstock Police station was "If Philpott gets stopped, he gets a ticket, not a warning."

Many defendants in traffic court are not aware that they can avoid the court costs and fees by paying their traffic fines in advance of the court date. They show up in court and plead Guilty. The judge might be sympathetic, because he knows they are going to get socked at the Payment window, so he'll set a fine at $25-50 "plus costs". Imagine the shock when the poor (too often, literally) defendant gets to the Payment window and learns he has to cough up $250-275.

The boiler-plate language on the ticket information sheet given by the cop to the driver is insufficient to educate him.

Today's article in the St Louis Post-Dispatch online edition reports that some lawyers in St. Louis are suing St. Louis County courts in some municipalities over illegal charges, such as warrant-recall fees. Read the article.

What I am reminded of was the ease with which Attorney Jack Franks, in his capacity as a lawyer and not as a Illinois State Representative, stood before a judge in a civil courtroom at the McHenry County Courthouse several years ago and asked the judge, routinely and matter-of-factly, in case after case for a body attachment warrant.

Some poor sucker who couldn't pay his credit card bill was on the losing end of the stick, and the creditor had retained Jack to suck the money out of him. The debtor most likely received Notice to Appear in court and failed to appear - his mistake, of course, if he did receive the Notice. But the judge never, in even one case, asked for any proof of service or whether Jack knew why the defendant wasn't in court.

What happens after a body attachment warrant is issued? Let's say the subject of the warrant has run down to McDonald's for a sack of burgers for his kids. He gets stopped for a burned-out license plate light. Bingo! Wanted! So he gets arrested, has his vehicle towed, gets hauled off to jail and sits there until the next day's court. And the kids wonder where daddy and dinner are.

Ka-ching! Ka-ching! The money machine rings up another "sale" at the lobby ATM and at the Jail desk.

Unfortunately, most of the fees on the long Schedule of courts costs and fees are probably "legal", because the General Assembly (that would be Jack and his buddies in Springfield) passed them; the McHenry County Board did its part by tossing in their own set of charges.

Do the cops know you probably won't fight a ticket, because of the risk of those costs and fees? You bet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

McHenry County Jail? Squeaky clean? NOT

Aside from the dispatch of the jail chief and jail deputy chief on the first day in office of the new sheriff (and the arrival of a new jail chief who might have had a hard time finding the keys and where the coffee room was), it appears that the jail is running on a "business as usual" basis.

Except for the rumors that five sergeants are about to be demoted, leaving two sergeants standing in the jail. Will favoritism be rooted out? Will all employees now be expected to pull their own weight (don't close the gym yet)?

Will those with "good" pay and virtually no full-shift duties find more work on their desks?

And what about the new prisoner incident in the women's section of the jail? What was that, and how serious was it?

The new sheriff ran on a platform of transparency. Of course, if he doesn't tell the public about what he doesn't want them to know, how do you judge whether there really is transparency?

If what happened in the women's section of the jail was a crime under Illinois statutes (like when the male prisoner got into his girlfriend's cell for a little "afternoon delight"), was an arrest made? Charges filed? Is it showing up in the daily crime reports' log that used to be (and may still be) in the lobby of the Sheriff's Department, ready and available for any reporter or citizen to inspect? Of course, to examine that log you have to park in the parking lot, pass through security and enter the second floor Sheriff's Dept. administrative office lobby, under full observation and inspection of the eagle-eyed folks behind the counter.

Keep in mind, you do NOT have to identify yourself, if you go in to read the daily log of crimes. They'll ask who you are. Just say you are a citizen or resident. If they demand your name or ID, ask Why. Ask if you must provide ID to read the public record. They'd better say, "No." If they don't, get their names and badge numbers before you provide your own ID, or just leave.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What if the U.S. had a REAL president?

CCN.com wound up its current online article about the violent protests throughout the U.S. with this:

"In his interview Monday, Obama suggested that people who aren't 'African-American or Latino' view the deaths of both Michael Ferguson (did Obama really say "Michael Ferguson" or was this the wording of a careless CNN reporter?) and Eric Garner as 'tragedies.'"

No, Mr. President, WE. DO. NOT.

Michael Brown was a criminal who died while attempting to assault and batter a police officer - again.

Eric Garner's death is an entirely different matter. The whole story isn't known yet.

But neither death should be the cause of what has been unleashed in this country.

I'll tell you what the "tragedy" is - that the U.S. is tolerating hooliganism, violence, looting, burning, UN-peaceful protests.

A peaceful protest would be one when I could walk down a street where a protest is occurring and not be in fear for my life or my health or my property.

You, Mr. President, are encouraging the violent protestors by your wimpy, namby-pamby responses and comments. Of course you are safe there in the White House, surrounded by security and the Secret Service.

The People - white, black, brown, red, yellow - do not enjoy your level of security and safety.

The violent protests had better be stopped soon by law enforcement.

Questions about fundraiser for deputies

An article in the Northwest Herald provoked .many comments and numerous attacks on two people who had the courage to ask a couple of questions. I guess that's how the mob attempts to squash questions that might result in the "wrong" answers.

The fundraiser was for MCSD Deputies Maness and Satiewicz, who were injured in an on-duty shooting incident when they responded to what was initially called a "well-being check" by then Undersheriff Andy Zinke. Later, if memory serves me correctly, it was referred to as a "domestic" call.

A fundraiser was held recently for the two deputies. A December 6th online article described the fundraiser, which was sponsored by the Iron Justice Motorcycle Club and McHenry County Police Charities. State Rep Barb Wheeler sent out a broadcast e-mail about it.

The opening comment (by "GringoDaddy1963") questioned the need for the fundraiser, and the increasingly-personal attacks began shortly thereafter. A relative of one deputy acknowledged that, indeed, all medical bills were being paid.

This comment addressed to me by "macg4" read, in part, "Care to share your source on what the police charities does with the money?  You know sooo much, lets share it" That comment followed my remark that McHenry County Police Charities (MCPC) keeps a significant amount of donations made through it.

The question to me caused me to do a little homework on Guidestar.com, which is a popular resource for financial information on charities, and on the website of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.

The Mission of the MCPC is "To create an opportunity for 300+ children to work and socialize with 100+ police officers in uniform, in a positive, image building event. To raise funds with which needy children can purchase Back to School supplies in August and Christmas gifts for their family in December." This is locally known as the Shop with a Cop program.

Now, just where does fundraising for two deputies fit in its Mission? It doesn't.

Furthermore, I believe you cannot donate tax-deductible funds to a non-profit, tax-exempt charity, understanding that those funds will be distributed to specific individuals, such as the two MCSD deputies. Were donors told that their donations would be tax-deductible? Did they receive receipts? What was the wording on the receipts?

Did MCPC endanger its registration with the Internal Revenue Service by participating in this fundraiser? It might just have done so.

Any money given or "donated" to Deputies Maness and Satkiewicz was, I'm sure, freely given from the heart. Just don't try to claim it on your tax return by running it through MCPC.

The latest financial data on Guidestar from MCPC is for 2003, when MCPC's income was $50,240 and its expenses were $62,520. Let's hope they figured out how to do business.

What does the Illinois Attorney General have on file? The Form 990-EZ for the calendar year 2013, Part III, carries this statement: "Primary Exempt Purpose - To provide positive police interaction and a Christmas to those children in McHenry County that are less fortunate and may not have a Christmas otherwise."

MCPC started the year (2013) with $66,401 and took in $25,304. Then they spent $47,568. Walmarts in Crystal Lake and Johnsburg got $40,346 (what about Walmarts in Harvard, Woodstock, Huntley, Algonquin?). Office expense was $710, and insurance was $459. That's $41.515. $47,568 - $41.515 = $6,053. Where did the other $6,053 go?

Professional fees and payments to independent contractors totaled $2,290 (included in the $47,568 spent). Were those the commissions to raise $25,304? But there is still $6,053 that doesn't seem to be accounted for in the 2013 financial report to the State of Illinois.

MCPC's Mission is the "Shop with a Cop" program. So, was MCPC operating outside its legal authority, when it was a co-sponsor of the fundraiser?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7th - a forgotten day?

Today is December 7th. Something important in the history of the USA happened on this day in 1941. That was 73 years ago.

Wouldn't you think it would be mentioned by the
Northwest Herald?
Chicago Tribune.com?

Was it mentioned on any of the Sunday morning TV news programs?

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, "... a date which will live in infamy..."

Americans must remain ever alert. Be watchful. Be mindful.

And remember - "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance".

Be at the ready to protect this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Where was Nygren on Dec. 1?

Where was (now-former) Sheriff Keith Nygren on Monday, December 1, 2014?

Was he at 2200 N. Seminary to welcome Bill Prim as the new Sheriff of McHenry County? Was he there to walk Bill around the office and introduce him to employees, staff and deputies alike? Was he there to say, in person, how proud he was of the deputies and the Corrections staff and the office employees?

Was Nygren there to show Bill where the keys are and to escort him to get his building ID pass, keys, and find out who would re-assign the Tahoe to Bill?

Or had Nygren abandoned the ship, leaving the final dusting job to Andy Zinke?

And where was Andy that morning? Had he fled the ship, too?

They showed their true class (or lack thereof) on that morning.

Good luck to Sheriff Bill Prim.

The perfect Christmas gift

Looking for the "perfect" Christmas gift.

One that costs only $3.49? And doesn't cost more for shipping? One that will be kept for years? One for which the recipient will (or ought to) thank you year after year?

What is it?

Vik Khanna's book, Your Personal Affordable Care Act - How to Avoid Obamacare.

First, let me stress that this Vik Khanna is not Dr. Vic Khanna of Mercy Woodstock Medical Center. Vik is the public health official who wrote a super article in the NRA December issue of America's 1st Freedom. A public health official who doesn't think guns are bad. Imagine that! (The book is not about guns.) The article can be read on Health Care Blog. Look for the title "Why Public Health Needs a New Gun Doctrine."

Click on the link (book title above) or go to www.Amazon.com and find the book. If you have any hesitation, read the first part right on Amazon. Then click and buy it. And buy several copies as gifts.

And be sure to click on the links embedded within the book, especially one of the first, which is a short talk on TEDx by former Navy SEAL and doctor, Kirk Parsley.

OK, right now, go to Amazon and read a sample by clicking on "Send sample now" on the right side of the page. You can read it on your e-reader, SmartPhone or right on your computer. Or just skip the sample and buy it. You'll be glad you did.

NOTE: In my original article I mistakenly referred to Vik Khanna as a doctor. I had assumed that after reading "public health official" in his article. As soon as Vik saw my error, he quickly contacted me, and I corrected my article.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Resigning - McHenry County Style

Could this really be true?

Is it possible that a McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputy resigned and returned his car and all his equipment by just pullling up at the Department and walking away from the car and his equipment?

Wish I'd been there with a camera to catch the magic moment.

When you turn in equipment that has been issued to you, no matter what your rank, somebody (they probably don't have a Quartermaster) should be there with a clipboard and an inventory list and start checking off what is being returned.

Then there would be that empty column for equipment issued, but not returned.

If you just dump it in front of the Department, then you can claim that you returned it, but what's missing must have disappeared after you left it.

NWH snubs Prim?

On the Northwest Herald homepage right now is no mention of incoming Sheriff Bill Prim. Or, if there is, I cannot find it.

Prominently displayed is a photo of dearly-departed Andy Zinke, whose resignation has become effective. What "lucky" department will he grace with his presence? Why no mention of that in the article about his resignation? Can the reporters not do a little independent digging and "out" the next employer? How thoroughly did the new employer conduct a background check? What was its opinion of the legal action in Federal Court about Andy's objection to the process server at his door?

How soon with the Northwest Herald move Zinke to Page 2 and replace him with the first sheriff elected into office by the People, rather than slipped into place by the power brokers in the county?

Will Nygren be there to congratulate Bill Prim and hand over the keys?

And who will check back in all outstanding Department equipment in Nygren's possession? Will all the Department property - badges, patches, ID cards, keys, clothing, firearms, ammo., vehicles, snowmobiles, trailers, laptops - be accounted for?

And, for that matter, all Department property in Zinke's possession?

Departments across the country are notoriously sloppy with inventory records on equipment issued over the years. Is it any better at the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

"Souvenirs" are not allowed, strictly speaking.

Did Prim feel the knife?

On the way out the door, former MCSD Undersheriff Andy Zinke stuck a knife in Prim's back with this comment, as reported in the Northwest Herald, "I wish Bill Prim and the executive staff good luck. No matter who the sheriff is, our department is strong, and they can function no matter what."

The Northwest Herald says that Zinke resigned last Wednesday, effective today. Bill Prim will be sworn in as Sheriff this morning. Prim announced a new trio last week to help him steer the ship, and he eliminated the position of Undersheriff. (Remember, recently, when I wrote about such an elimination and had a bunch of lemons tossed at me by Primites, who claimed I was wrong?)

Cal Skinner reported Zinke's resignation as being effective at midnight Sunday (guess that would be 11:59pm on November 30). Current Patrol Commander John Miller issued an email on Sunday at 12:21pm (not to me, of course, but Cal apparently got a copy, either directly or indirectly) with this paragraph, "In the event something pressing comes up from then until Sheriff Prim is sworn in at approximately 0830 Monday morning please notify me ASAP." (Just about anybody familiar with military time knows that you don't say "0830 Monday morning"! "0830" is morning.

Which reporter will be first to learn the name of Zinke's new employer? There was a rumor a couple of months ago that Woodstock's Mayor Sager wanted to hire Zinke. Will Chief Lowen be retiring? Will an industrious reporter get on the phone this morning and call every law enforcement agency until she or he finds the right one?

Where was Keith Nygren in all this? Avoiding a speeding ticket near Minocqua or trying to avoid sunspots in Cape Coral? He was still the elected sheriff and pulling in his $150,000/year.

All Zinke did was quit a job. It's Nygren whose job ends with Bill Prim's swearing in. Zinke was still in charge at noon yesterday, assuming Nygren was AWOL. Did Nygren delegate to Zinke and did Zinke delegate to Miller? Doesn't sound like it from the wording of Miller's email.

And "something pressing"? Give me a break. With all that FBI training and a media relations deputy, couldn't MCSD even put out a professional announcement?

What's going to happen to Miller? Sedlock? Firman? What resignations will follow on Zinke's heels?

These potential departures caused me to think also about new hires.  Can the Sheriff hire anyone he wants, or do applicants go through the County hiring process with all the thorough background checks, reference checks and drug tests?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hire Darren Wilson?

If you were a sheriff or a police chief and Darren Wilson applied for a job, would you hire him?

Based on what I've read of the Grand Jury testimony and this case, I would absolutely consider his application in a favorable light.

Wilson's clean record for six years in that hellhole called Ferguson speaks well of him.

There was a nutty reporter on NPR last week who tried to make a big deal out of Wilson's never having used his firearm. Many police officers have never used their firearms. Some have never even drawn them on duty and have fired them only on the training range.

As a former part-time police officer and former reserve deputy sheriff, I drew mine only four times.

Late one Sunday night as the night police officer Mt. Vernon, Iowa, I found the back door at the lumber yard open. I could have waited an hour for a deputy to arrive as back-up, but I didn't. Instead, I went in. OK, so it was a town of 1,500 in the middle of Iowa.

Then in Colorado on my first night as a reserve deputy, I was riding with a full-time deputy and our first call was an alarm at a restaurant that was closed. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw a car leaving the far end of the parking lot. The back door was standing open, and the other deputy and I drew our firearms and entered. We checked every closet and corner but found nothing but dirty dishes. I mean, really dirty.

Then one night on a domestic call, I chased the offender from one room into another room. He dove for the sofa and stuck both hands under a cushion. He was smart enough to follow my orders not to move and to leave his hands where they were until two other deputies could get into the same room.

The last time was when I was patrolling late on a Saturday night and responded to a neighbor's call that the front door of the house next door was standing open in the middle of winter. Another deputy and I entered with weapons drawn. Every time I opened a closet door, I expected to find someone hiding. Then we went upstairs. The bedroom door at the top of the stairs was closed, and  I went up those stairs on my stomach, loudly calling out "Sheriff's Dept.! Coming upstairs."

I did not want to be greeted by a sleepy homeowner with a shotgun. Fortunately the house was empty.

Darren Wilson was confronted by a large, angry, young man who had already been shot once while tussling for Wilson's firearm, before Wilson ever got out of his police vehicle. Wilson's story is supported by the physical evidence, and the Grand Jury's decision was the right one.

Wilson's career as a police officer should not have to end.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Grand Jury got it right

Did you watch or listen to the entire statement of the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch last night, when he announced the decision of the Grand Jury? I listened via the website of St. Louis radio station KMOX, which is still on the air 70 years after I was growing up in University City, Mo. - six miles south of Ferguson.

He made a good statement, covered the facts and delivered it well.

Of course, the rabble in St. Louis wasn't interested in the facts. They wanted justice. What they wanted was their version of justice, and they didn't get it.

Was anyone surprised at the burning, looting and violence? I certainly wasn't.

Missouri Gov. Nixon made a huge mistake by ordering only 400 National Guardsmen last week. As I posted on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website after that announcement, he should have lined up 4,000!

And that dumb statement by Pres. Obama last night? Where was his message about the actions of Ofc. Darren Wilson not being a crime? All he did was pander to the rabble. What a disgusting example to be in the White House!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

THIS is a Sheriff

Be sure to read carefully this article about Sheriff Scott R. Jones, of Sacramento County, California. He has some very candid words for President Obama about Obama's Thursday grandstanding and probably illegal action regarding illegal aliens.

Read the part about the killing of one of Sheriff Jones' deputies by an illegal alien who had been deported four times!


Call your U.S. Congressman and Senators and tell them to do everything necessary to squash Obama's Executive Order - fiat - declaration - pronouncement - gift.

The law about anchor babies should also be changed. Why should U.S. citizenship be granted to a baby whose mother is in the U.S. illegally?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Calling all sheriffs - be n Washington on Dec. 10

Many sheriffs in the United States are expected in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, December 10, to let President Barack Obama know that they oppose his plan to grant favors to millions of illegal aliens.

These are sheriffs who believe in the Constitution of the United States and who believe that laws ought to be followed. They believe the border of the United States should be a border and not a road paved in gold for anyone who wants to cross into the U.S.

Read this article.

How big is the illegal alien in McHenry County? Of the County's 307,000 residents, how many are illegal aliens?

Where should the McHenry County Sheriff be on December 10? Vote in the poll to the right.

November focus on distracted driving

The November target of the Woodstock Police Department is distracted drivers.

So, if you are

chatting on a handheld cell phone
watching your favorite movie on your smart phone
looking for something on YouTube
reading your email
sending email
reading Facebook
reading the Northwest Herald

expect to see bright lights in your future.

Don't get caught reading The Woodstock Advocate while you are driving in Woodstock. That might earn you an extra ticket. Even now.

The PD couches their focus in safety terms, but we never see any statistics about just how dangerous distracted driving really is. So, is it just "show me the money"?

Read the Northwest Herald article here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weak Daily Herald interview with Sheriff-elect Prim

Sheriff-elect Bill Prim was interviewed by the Daily Herald. You can read it here.

Bill should have followed his pre-election strategy of staying out of the limelight. It's a soppy interview with no power at all.

I want Bill to succeed. The McHenry County Sheriff's Department desperately needs an infusion of integrity, honesty, transparency, and a desire to serve.

The Sheriff earns about $150,000/year. Glad to hear that Bill will be giving up his part-time security job; frankly, he should have given it up already. Has he already turned in his badge and resignation at the Kirkland, Ill. PD? (Kirkland's website indicates three police officers (chief, sergeant, patrolman), plus maybe some part-timers and auxiliary officers. How many badges has Chief Paul Lindstrom handed out over the years?)

Now what was wrong with what Bill apparently told the Daily Herald?

"You start by building trust." You don't "build" trust. You earn trust. Bill will need to say what he means and mean what he says. Then the deputies and the public will decide whether they can trust him.

Developing a program "... in conjunction with correctional officers and deputies, as well as with supervisor participation..." Sounds like collaboration, not leadership, to me. A first important step will be an order that reports will be written by deputies individually and independently. No more "team" efforts to write reports that mesh like gears of a fine Swiss watch. Seven or eight or ten deputies are not going to see exactly the same thing, and their reports shouldn't read like a three-act play.. Order the supervisors not to stand up in front of them and direct report-writing with a baton.

Wonder what I mean? In two reports in the David Maxson fatal injury case (Maxson died in 2006, after he was shot by a then-Deputy Zane Seipler with a beanbag "less-than-lethal" shotgun) there were identical 72-word strings of wording. The words, spacing and punctuation were identical. They were exactly the same. Copy-and-paste. Seventy-two words in a row - in two reports. And the supervisor approved those reports! I still remember my first thought when I read the five-to-seven reports I received; I thought, "The same person wrote all these reports!"

Supervisors will "mentor" personnel? Where, then, will the line blur between mentoring and training and supervising?

Prim didn't get elected because of the "... infighting and the bickering between the sheriff's office and the state's attorney's office..." Prim beat out Zinke because enough people who were sick and tired of the Nygren regime, and they responded to the efforts of Team Prim. The Republican Primary was close. Prim beat Zinke by 1/3 of !% of the vote in that race - less than 100 votes out of (how many? 29,000?).

As for a "citizens advisory board that will study policies outlined by the International Association of Chiefs of Police", that will be worthless if all they do is study the policies of the IACP. If Prim wants an effective citizens advisory board, he should let them tell him what is wrong at MCSD; i.e., where MCSD is not serving the residents of McHenry County.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

MIAT - who will lead?

MIAT = Major Investigations Assistance Team

Who will lead MIAT?

Undersheriff Andy Zinke has been the titular head of MIAT, a County-wide task force of specialists from a number of police agencies.

Why do I ask this question now?

There were four homicides in May-June 2011 that were in the McHenry County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction.

MIAT was not called out to assist!

I believe that MIAT's involvement would have been important, but MCSD, in all its glory, did not activate MIAT.

Perhaps with the approaching elimination of the Undersheriff position at MCSD (one plank of Sheriff-Elect Bill Prim's campaign platform), the head of one of the County's municipal police departments will assume the responsibility for activating MIAT.

Any recommendations?

CORRECTION: 8:26 PM. I have been informed that the above article mis-states Bill Prim's position on the Undersheriff position. A Prim supporter has explained to me that Bill never said he would eliminate the position of Undersheriff. At the time I wrote the article earlier today, I believed my memory to be correct, and I thought that Bill intended to halt the waste of $140,000/year on a redundant position.

Why would the Sheriff, at the top of the chain of command, need a $140,000 employee to stand between him and the commanders in charge of the various divisions of the Department. Why wouldn't the Sheriff just have those five-six commanders or "chiefs" report directly to him, so that he gets their reports and feedback directly, instead of filtered through one subordinate.

Nygren used the Undersheriff to run the Department for four years, so he could enjoy a Panama Canal cruise and abundant vacation and off-duty time away from the Department, earning him the title of Cell Phone Sheriff.

I think voters expect Bill Prim to be in the office, running the Department. So why would Bill need an Undersheriff?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Prim to be next Sheriff

The results in the McHenry County Sheriff's race have been pretty constant at 60/40 from the first count. At the 9:50PM posting of 93.87% of the vote, Prim maintains his 60% to Harrison's 40%, and he'll come out in the Number 1 position at the finish line.

Total votes counted at 9:50PM are 60,760 and represent 93.87% of the districts reporting. An estimated 64,700 votes will be cast so, even if Harrison got 100% of the remaining votes, it won't be enough to top Prim.

At the 9:50PM mark, Prim had 36,909 votes and Harrison had 23,851 votes.

It was a hard-fought contest.

Some are going to say the "best man" won, but McHenry County voters and residents won't know whether the "best man" won until well into the four-year term, which begins December 1.

If Prim keeps his campaign promise to eliminate the office of the Undersheriff, to what rank with Zinke revert? Will Zinke ever stay around? And what about the rumor that Mayor Sager wanted to bring Zinke on board as the Woodstock Chief of Police? And will Prim get rid of the "Commanders" and just have Lieutenants and Captains running things?

Watch for new hires and for lateral hires. Rumor has it that a number of law-enforcement officers from other jurisdictions are chomping at the bit to join MCSD.

If Prim falls for the "lateral-hire" gimmick, new deputies will come on board at high pay grades and may reduce or eliminate promotion opportunities for deputies who have devoted their careers to moving up through the ranks.

And new people will then come in with all their bad habits and have to be re-trained to the way things are done in McHenry County. Oh, wait; then maybe they won't have to change all that much, after all.

Show time!

If you didn't vote early or absentee, today is the day.
Even if you moved and didn't re-register, you might be able to vote. Go to your polling place and ask. There is a very small window of opportunity that might allow you to vote. Get the right answer at the polling place or call 815.334.4242. The election judges have printed guidelines about this.

Every single vote in the Sheriff's race will matter today.

By the way, I'm on my way to vote now and proudly wearing my "Vote Early & Vote Often" button. I wonder what the reaction will be in Columbia, South Carolina to this button.

When I left the polling place in Woodstock, my parting words were, "See you later."

Monday, November 3, 2014

How scared is Team Prim?

From the tone of email that is coming to me and from the comments on other blogs, Team Prim is running scared about tomorrow's voting.

I've been warned, threatened, chastised, blamed, ridiculed ... you name it.

In fact, I'm reminded of a story told to me in 1966 by man for whom I had high regard. He told me that, when he was a young salesman, he had been sworn at, threatened, spit on, yelled at, been hung up on and had doors slammed in his face;"but you know," he said, "I've never been insulted."

Regardless of whether Harrison or Prim receives the higher number of votes, the sun will still come up in the East on Wednesday morning.

I'd say that McHenry County voters don't really know what kind of sheriff they'll get if Prim comes out on top. There will be increased militarization and the potential for its use against the citizens.

Why do I say this? Because Prim has been a follower throughout his police career. While he claims leadership skills on his website, he has never been in a leadership role. He has always had a boss, albeit the police chief. His job was to follow orders, not make the orders.

Nobody apparently ever asked him during this campaign what experience he had, if any, with large budgets, manpower increases and reductions, developing contracts and handling labor issues. Well, maybe somebody did ask him, but who heard the answers?

His minions are worried about Jim Harrison's signs. How petty. Worry about something large, folks, like whether a SWAT team will be at your door over a parking ticket or an unpaid court fine. Or whether some rogue deputies will bust up your home and intimidate or beat up a suspect.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Presidential qualities

What if we had this kind of President?

Sit down, sit back, turn up the volume and listen and watch Bill Whittle tell you the kind of president this country ought to have.


While Bill gave this presentation in 2012, it applies today. He spoke shortly after Benghazi, and you know what happened there and what Obama's response was.

Many thanks to the reader who forwarded this to me.

M. Romano back in court last Friday

Michael Romano has been cooling his heels in the McHenry County Jail, ever since he was hauled back from Las Vegas in February, on the same prisoner-bus ride with William J. Ross. Romano was in court a week ago (October 23). Instead of sucking it up and waiting for his next "regular" court date on November 26, he upped the ante on Judge Prather and his court-appointed public defender by making a motion to the court, on which the court had to act.

As the story gets to me, Judge Prather and the attorneys were a little more than upset at him for being so presumptuous as to demand a speedy trial and to expect them to actually do some legal work. That's what they are, right? Lawyers? Supposed to practice law?

How good is the defense from the McHenry County Public Defenders office? First of all, an outsider ought to go in and analyze the caseload of each attorney. Is it actually impossible for them to prepare an adequate defense for any client? Are they understaffed and overwhelmed?

Why do court cases get an almost-automatic 30-day continuance? Does the judge have a rubber-stamp that prints "Continued for 30 days"?

If you were sitting in jail and believed you had a strong alibi (i.e., being somewhere other than the scene of the crime when the crime was committed), how long would you expect to sit in jail waiting for your lawyer, whether public or private, to get you out?

And what if your lawyer just blows you off with "What's another year?", when you ask when you'll get your trial?

Did Romano's first, and private, attorney have evidence that exonerated Romano? Were there, and/or are there, credible witnesses who can state where Romano was at the time his father and step-mother were murdered on (or about) November 19, 2006?

Sure wish I'd been sitting in the courtroom on Friday. What was the response of Judge Prather to Romano's motion? Did Romano claim he was not being represented fairly or properly? Was he allowed to say why? Was his own lawyer (public defender) upset with him?

You know? Sometimes people need lawyers to protect them from their lawyers. The problem, when you have a public defender, is that you have no money to hire that outside lawyer.

Was the press there? Did the Northwest Herald reporter show up? Was the Chicago Tribune there?

How closely does Romano's public defender work with him, as he prepares his case? Does he keep appointments with Romano? He knows where to find him. The lawyer doesn't even have to put on his coat to go and meet with Romano. If he makes an appointment with him, he shouldn't have any trouble keeping that appointment. There won't be any traffic jams, and he won't have to find a parking space.

And if Romano needs medication and medical treatment for an identified health condition, shouldn't he be getting it? And getting it as prescribed and when it is to be given to him? Are the corrections officers and the jail's nurse following the doctor's orders?

Romano's next scheduled court date is November 26. A jury trial is scheduled now for March 23, 2015. Will the State be ready? Will the defense be ready?

Tuesday is Election Day

If you are registered to vote in McHenry County (and if you haven't already voted), be absolutely sure to go to the polls on Tuesday and vote.

I encourage you to vote for Jim Harrison for Sheriff of McHenry County. Visit Jim's campaign website for information about him.

On Cal Skinner's blog this morning is a photograph of two election signs that have been vandalized. One is Bill Prim's, and the other is Andrew Gasser's.

Cal wrote that opponents of Prim and Gasser are vandalizing signs. This sentence is in the article, "Just take a look at which candidates are messing with their opponents’ signs."

The inference, of course, is that Jim Harrison and Nick Chirikos had something to do with that vandalism.

Here's my question. What if the signs were vandalized by supporters of Gasser and Prim, hoping to attract a sympathy vote?

I know Jim and Nick, and I believe they would not vandalism an opponent's sign.

Open Carry - maybe a good idea

When you read this morning's article on CNN.com about the mass abductions and executions by ISIS in Iraq, you have to wonder if open carry might not be such a bad idea, after all.

Sure, that's Iraq. It's not the U.S.A., not Illinois, not McHenry County, not Woodstock.

But, if your long gun is needed, there won't be time to go home and get it.

Laws should change all over the U.S. to allow concealed-carry and open-carry, and common sense should prevail when carrying. And there should be national reciprocity, like with your driver's license. The open-carry demonstration in St. Louis and the guy walking the streets of Neenah with his Mossberg "just because he can" only serve to inflame the opposition.

Remember the photo of the man on the rooftop of his business during the Watts riots. His store wasn't looted.

What if a flash mob left Michigan Avenue and hit the Woodstock Square and began breaking store windows and looting businesses? Cops from all over the county would show up. And what if, 15 minutes later, another mob hit downtown Crystal Lake or Huntley or Randall Road. The cops would be overwhelmed in less than an hour.

Then it will be up to the public to protect lives and property.

Makes you wonder what the plan of MOMS Demand Action is for that scenario, doesn't it?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

C.L. PD denies FOIA request for AR-15 theft

In a grand statement of stone-walling, the Crystal Lake Police Department has denied this week's request for the theft report of an AR-15 rifle from a vehicle believed to be owned by, or in control of, a McHenry County Sheriff's Department corrections officer.

And they didn't just deny part of the report, they denied all of it.

I had asked the Crystal Lake Police Department for certain information about the theft; in particular, was the rifle the property of the corrections officer (or did it possibly belong to someone else or even to the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?) Also, I asked if the rifle was capable of being fired in the fully-automatic mode. And how many magazines were stolen? And were they loaded? And what equipment, if any, such as a bulletproof vest or helmet, was stolen?

Why did I ask about the fully-automatic mode? If the rifle happened to be the property of MCSO, it could have been modified. And if it was the property of MCSO, then you can bet another FOIA request would be generated to MCSO.

Why did the Crystal Lake Police deny my FOIA request?

Well, they think that confirming the theft of an AR-15 might interfere with a pending or contemplated law enforcement proceeding.

Or that it might "unavoidably" (my quotation marks) disclose the identity of a confidential source or identity of persons who file complaints.

Since when is the victim of a theft protected?

And disclosure might obstruct or interfere with an active or ongoing criminal investigation.

Can you believe that nonsense?

Could it be that the Crystal Lake Police Department has not heard of redacting very limited information of the type that concerns them? Then they could provide the report, such as date, time, location of theft, and the basic information collected by the investigating officer(s). What's the big secret about a rifle being stolen from a convertible, after the top was sliced - if that is what happened?

And exactly what is wrong with releasing the name of the owner of the vehicle that was broken into?

Unless somebody is playing the hokey-pokey...

Let's see ... the address of the Public Access Bureau at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General is ...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Election Day - one week away

For the first time in recent voting history in McHenry County, voters are going to have a real chance to have a say-so in the race for Sheriff.

The incumbent is out. His hand-picked successor is out.

The past 17 years have shown voters and residents of McHenry County what happens when you have a "cop" in charge of the Sheriff's Department. It is virtually impossible to remove a sheriff from this elected office. Nygren had the dubious title of Cell Phone Sheriff, because of the amount of time he spent away from his office.

If you don't know by now whether you are going to vote for Jim Harrison or Bill Prim, now is the time to decide. Do not decide by default. Do not decide that the choice is too complicated.

Spend time on the websites of each. Read what has been printed in the Northwest Herald and in The Woodstock Independent (Oct. 22-28 edition, Page 15). Go and meet each. Call them.

Why wouldn't Bill Prim debate Jim Harrison? Voters would have benefited from being able to sit in front of them and hear their own words. And it would have been even better to have a debate, not a watered-down, milk-toast "forum".

Wouldn't it have been great to hear them go after each other in public in a no-holds-barred debate? Had there been a real debate, who would have come out on top?

What if McHenry County had a sheriff like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio or Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr.?

Here's a great quote from Sheriff Clarke's official website: "There is nothing so foolish as to do more efficiently something that should no longer be done."

Which candidate in the race for McHenry County Sheriff will do that?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Must Sheriff have public confidence?

Cal Skinner published a l-o-n-g outpouring by Mickey Schuch about the importance of getting out to vote. Mickey is a Woodstock businessman, a high-quality craftsman (visit his website), firearms aficionado, president of the McHenry County Right to Carry Association and strong supporter of Sheriff's candidate Bill Prim.

Mickey also had a little run-in with the Crystal Lake Police Department in November, 2000, which resulted in felony charges that were bargained down to misdemeanor pleas.

One commentor to Cal's article ("butseriouslynow" on 10/25/14 at 12:06pm) wrote, in part, "Who I feel for are the great local police officers who arrested Schuch and his gang having him paraded around in front of them by the guy who may very well be our next Sheriff in the weeks after local deputies were shot."

I believe he is referring to the recent Chiefs of Police luncheon, when retired police officer Bill Prim invited Mickey Schuch to accompany him, as he has to numerous other political and civic gathering in the run-up to the election on November 4.

What message was Bill Prim clearly sending to the police chiefs (and officers) of McHenry County by his thoughtless invitation?

What does it mean for the sheriff of a county to instill and hold the confidence of the public he serves?

This question assumes that the sheriff actually cares about that confidence, once he is in office.

Now we come to the election of November 2014. On candidate Jim Harrison's website is a tab labeled Public Confidence. I recommend that you read the writings below that tab. Here is a paragraph close to the end of it.

Public Office = Public Confidence
"The Sheriff must instill public confidence in the Sheriff’s Office from the first day in office until the last. The Sheriff must refrain from conduct that would bring disrepute on the Sheriff’s Office or that would damage public confidence. The Sheriff must be honest and trustworthy so that public confidence can deepen and grow. The Sheriff must work every day to demonstrate the highest level of integrity, leadership, and independence as an elected public official. With your help, I will be that Sheriff."

As the head of the County's law-enforcement agency, the sheriff must use good judgment in every case.
Was that decision one of good judgment?

Chicago Tribune - Harrison for Sheriff!

The Chicago Tribune has announced its endorsement of Jim Harrison for McHenry County Sheriff. Click on the link to read the full endorsement.

The important part follows.

McHenry County
Sheriff: "... Harrison, a former McHenry County sheriff's deputy, has an impressive legal resume. He has also given great thought to how to run an office that is efficient and free of politics — in short, an office that focuses solely on crime and responding to citizens. After all the battling in law enforcement circles in McHenry, Harrison would be a welcome change and he is endorsed."

Election Day is coming up one week from Tuesday.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Have dog; will ride

Do you ride a motorcycle or know someone who does? How about someone with a motorcycle and a sidecar? And a dog?

A new documentary has just been released, titled Sit Stay Ride: the Story of America's Sidecar Dogs. The project had been publicized on Kickstarter, and it exceeded its fundraising goal. The result is fantastic.

Eric Ristau and Geneva Liimatta, of Missoula, Montana, traveled from coast-to-coast, interviewing and photographing people and dogs with their motorcycles and sidecars.

I encourage you to purchase this $18.50 DVD from www.sidecardogs.com  Watch the trailer on the website. You'll enjoy it yourself, and it will make a wonderful holiday gift.

(No, I don't get any royalties...)

Michael Romano case dragging in McHenry County court

Remember the name Michael Romano from this blog back in January and February. No, you probably don't. Romano had been arrested on January 14 in Las Vegas, on a McHenry County warrant charging him with the 2006 murder of his parents. In my article on January 29 I wondered aloud whether McHenry County was becoming the new Guantanamo.

Romano waived extradition and could have been quickly picked up and returned to McHenry County. Instead, he was kept in jail in Las Vegas until William J. Ross was ready to go. Ross is also now accused of murder. Both men were transported on a prisoner bus, with the cross-country journey beginning on about February 3 and arriving in Woodstock on February 13.

What did it cost McHenry County to transport two men by prisoner bus for the 1,730 miles from Las Vegas to Woodstock. $1.00/mile?

Now comes the part of the story with which many are familiar. Court delays. Romano's case  (14CF000022) has had 2014 court dates, as follows:

Feb. 13 Rights
Feb. 18 Arraignment
Mar. 13, Apr. 29, June 4, July 25, Sept. 4, Sept. 25, Oct. 23. Continued - Defendant's request. Romano is represented by the McHenry County Public Defender's Office.

A person with knowledge of this case has provided some information to me, including that Romano may have been able to meet with his public defender-attorney only once to discuss his case. On court dates they would discuss only procedural issues with him and nothing germain to his actual case.

In April Romano signed a release, authorizing the Public Defender to contact the attorney whom Romano had used in 2006. Only recently did they do so. That information is crucial to his defense, but he is having a hard time conferring with his appointed attorney.

Romano apparently cannot even learn the Coroner's information about the time of death of his parents, for which he may have a verifiable alibi. 
Supposedly, the prioner van was even involved in a crash on an icy roadway, and Romano was injured in the crash.

Is this case one of "lock him up and throw away the key"? How many others are like it?

Does the McHenry County Jail maintain a spreadsheet showing the number of days each inmate has been incarcerated? 

Why do the judges tolerate excuse after excuse from defense attorneys, whether public or private, and grant Continuances merely upon request and without explanation or accountability?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ex-sheriff charged

The former sheriff of Lancaster County, South Carolina has been charged with "breach of trust with fraudulent intent," after state troopers found a 40 cal. Glock handgun and a laptop left over from his Mr. Sheriff days, which ended in 2008. It seems he should have turned in that equipment when he left office.

When the keys to the office at 2200 N. Seminary are turned over on December 1, 2014, how much equipment will be unaccounted for? Any?

Will the new sheriff be smart enough to order an inventory of all MCSO equipment? Vehicles, trailers, snowmobiles, firearms, badges, patches, uniforms, laptops, desktops, printers, etc., etc., etc.? Don't forget snowmobiles.

The current administration ought to know where each and every item is. Each piece of equipment should be on a list and either have a name in the issued column or be on the shelf at the office.

Want to bet on that?

Nygren and Zinke ought to make that inventory before November 30. Will they? Nygren's name has been on the door for about 17 years. That's a lot of time for equipment to "grow legs" and take a walk. How much of it did?

Did you hear? About Cisner's stolen AR-15?

Did you read that article in the Northwest Herald about the AR-15 that was stolen from MCSO Corrections Officer Cisner's car?

You didn't?

I didn't, either.  Any idea why not?

Why wouldn't MCSO issue a press release about a stolen AR-15? Especially one that was stolen from the vehicle of a Corrections Officer? But maybe that's why.

So, if you hear, "Psst, buddy. Wanna buy an AR-15?", pay attention. It might be a cool weapon. It might also be a hot weapon.

Was it really in view? Was it left in Cisner's convertible where it could be seen?

If it was, has MCSO ordered a pysch evaluation for CO Cisner?

What capacity magazine was with it? More than one magazine? Was the magazine loaded? To capacity? Was the weapon loaded with one round in the chamber? Was it in a case?

My understanding is that this theft is not being talked about at MCSO. There are certain topics that are off-limits for water-cooler conversations, and this seems to be one of them.

What if the theft had been publicized the very next day, including a photo of the car and the address where it was parked? Think there might have been at least some chance that a passerby might have taken notice and remember some detail?

Keep in mind that a corrections officer is not a law-enforcement officer. He is not a deputy or police officer. (Unless maybe he has been over to Kirkland (Ill.) and has been issued one of those badges that are fairly easily handed out by the Chief?

Cisner's loss is somewhere between $400 and $1,000. Who done it?

Monday, October 20, 2014

What will "they" say about you?

Here it comes.

Watch carefully in the case against Scott Peters, who is accused of shooting two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies.

According to the Northwest Herald, McHenry County prosecutors (name the prosecutors!) say that Peters has a history of being "anti-government" and "anti-police."

This ought to be enough to scare the bejesus out of about any citizen. Just imagine being arrested. When they start cleaning the skeletons out of your closets, will you be labeled "anti-government" and/or "anti-police"?

Have you ever griped about Obama's policies? Or Rahm Emanuel's? Or the McHenry County Board's?

Have you ever complained about militarization of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department? Or said anything bad about Nygren or Zinke or about any of the bad apples at MCSD? Or even of the waste at little ol' Spring Grove PD? Does that make you "anti-police"?

Will you be labeled "anti-government" or "anti-police"?

What are the "court records" that indicate Peters' such history? Are these "records" merely the documents that are filed in the current case? Or is there something substantial from his past that makes the foundation for the statements?

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." Do not let the McHenry County State's Attorney Office get away with this kind of nonsense, even in such a serious case as this!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

NWH endorses Prim - sort of

The Northwest Herald  announced its endorsement of Bill Prim for Sheriff of McHenry, but the wording of its "endorsement" certainly lacked any punch. Read it here, before they change it.

Before saying anything about Prim's qualifications (beyond the statutory ones), the paper's editorial staff, assuming that's who writes "Our View" and endorsed Prim in the column published this morning at 5:30am, the article said, "Harrison is an intelligent attorney who has extensive experience in employment law"

The editorial board mentioned "concerns" about two of Prim's campaign supporters, referring to run-ins with the law and "a great deal of unnecessary nastiness associated with Prim’s primary campaign against Zinke."

It then mentions State's Attorney Lou Bianchi and then the need for checks and balances. Could a tight relationship with the State's Attorney actually mean fewer checks and balances on the Sheriff's Department? 

And then it ends with "We endorse Prim", leaving me to wonder whether they really do.

Why Good People Should Be Armed

You may find this 13-minute video well worth watching. I did.

There were many good "sound bites" in it, but I won't repeat them.

For more information, check out www.JosietheOutlaw.com

MCSD illegal entry quickly "old news"

What do McHenry County Sheriff's candidates Jim Harrison and Bill Prim have to say about the illegal entry by MCSD deputies into the Crystal Lake home of Pete Sonneville on October 6?

The homeowner had stopped by his residence for lunch and a shower. Somebody (a neighbor?) called the cops, and three deputies entered the house.

Fortunately, Sonneville had locked his bedroom door. (Who does that?) What would you have done, if you had heard voices in the hall and someone identifying himself as police. Called 9-1-1? Armed yourself before opening the door? Sonneville could have ended up dead in his own bedroom.

Steve Stanek wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published October 17 with the title "Reckless actions". It drew 26 comments.

So, what would Bill Prim say about the entry by the deputies?

Would his words mimic those of Sgt. Tadelman and Det. Popovits?

What would Harrison, who teaches Constitutional Law, say about that entry?

Voters should find out before November 4.

WANTED: Legally Sane

I'm looking for a copy of Legally Sane, by Jon K. Hahn and Harold C. McKenney.

Do anyone have a copy or know someone with a copy?

The book was published in about 1972 by Henry Rengery Company, according to Amazon.com, and is out-of-print.

There must be copies around McHenry County, and I would be pleased to be allowed to borrow one, with its return promised. I'll pay for Insured shipment both ways.

I did get a good lead a year ago from a Crystal Lake attorney, and the person I contacted said he'd try to find his copy. Is there another copy available?


Saturday, October 18, 2014

USA under attack - by Barack Obama

Watch this video from the National Rifle Association

See what our neighbors, albeit far away from McHenry County, Ill., have to say. Imagine living in south or west Texas, in Arizona, in New Mexico. Just because you might "feel safe" in Illinois is not the reason to ignore what is going on.

Watch Janet Napolitano's absolutely stunning, and stupid, statement. The woman was clueless. Except she wasn't "clueless." She was lying. Then watch her put down a U.S. Senator. And he let her get away with it, instead of rising to his feet, striding to the front of the room, and putting her in her place. Kind of makes you sick, right?

Harrison endorsed by Daily Herald for Sheriff

Independent candidate for McHenry County Sheriff has been endorsed by the Daily Herald. You can read the full article here.

The Daily Herald editorial board summed up its endorsement in the final paragraph:

"But the position of sheriff is more than just that of a top cop. A sheriff sets policy, prepares and executes multimillion-dollar budgets, deals with complicated labor issues and more. For those duties, we believe Harrison, with his more well-rounded resume, business experience and legal background, holds an edge. We endorse Harrison."

Friday, October 17, 2014

NWH endorses Chirikos

The Northwest Herald has endorsed McHenry County Board incumbent Nick Chirikos for re-election in County Board District 1 race.

I met Nick several years ago, and he's one of the good guys. Not only that, he has a nice motorcycle. Even though he never offered to let me ride it, I still like Nick.

Vote for Nick!

Injured deputies named

The Chicago Tribune identifies the two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies injured Thursday morning as Dwight Maness and Khalia Satkiewicz.

See the 7:46AM article at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-standoff-in-holiday-hills-after-man-shoots-two-sheriff-deputies-20141016-story.html

NWH denies comments, allows tweets

Is the Northwest Herald going down a swirling drain?

What's up with the tweets by reporters and the absent of a reader Comment box after the local story of the year?

Dumb, really dumb.

Maybe this is the wave of the future. Stories, followed by reporters' tweets re-telling parts of the story and praising their co-workers.

Nygren's dumb statements in Peters case

According to the current version of the Peters story in the Northwest Herald, the three deputies (originally reported as two) who went to the Peters' house at 1:30am Thursday were responding to a "domestic dispute at Peters' home." That's a far cry from a "well-being check".

If there were such a thing as an investigative reporter covering this story, you'd think they would have demanded a correct story right from the beginning. Instead, reporters sopped up what was spewed out by the mouthpiece for the Sheriff's Department, and Nygren stayed out of sight and didn't talk to reporters. Otherwise, one of them might have asked who the injured deputies were and would have reported any evasive answer by the Sheriff's Department spokesperson or Sheriff.

Don't reporters know any deputies whom they could ask for the names of the injured deputies? Were deputies told not to reveal the names? Why? It's not like the deputies were targeted by Peters.

I'm also interested if they got shot "through the door", as was earlier reported. The shooting should be reinacted (well, not the "shooting") in order to determine whether they walked up to and stood in front of the door. Maybe the findings will keep deputies from being hit by shots fired "through the door" in the future.

Back to Nygren's dumb statements:

1. "The day ends on a positive note," Nygren said at a press conference Thursday night. "The neighbors who live in Holiday Hills can return to their homes, knowing that this incident is over and their community is safe again."

... and everyone lived happily ever after.

I corresponded with a neighbor of Peters whose house was searched by deputies. How about a little legal research into whether deputies have any right to enter houses and search, unless they have a solid reason to believe that a suspect is in that particular house? If they request and receive permission from the person in charge of the property, certainly. Go right in. But, do they have any right to enter, absent freely-given permission?

If you tell them "Peters isn't in here and you aren't coming in", what would happen?

Nygren's next SWAG (you know what that means, right? Simple Wild-Assed Guess ...)

2. "Obviously, he was not in plain sight," Nygren said. "We had aerial searches, ground searches, grid searches in that [Holiday Hills] area and didn't come up with him. I think it's safe to say he was secreted somewhere in the immediate area."

What Nygren is saying is that someone hid Peters in the immediate area. Nygren didn't say "Peters secreted himself." The only true part of Nygren's statement is that the "searches ... didn't come up with him." Nygren's guesses are worthless. And "secreted"?

And 3. "As the officers approached, Peters allegedly shot and wounded two unidentified deputies while a third returned fire and provided cover, Nygren said."

"Allegedly"? Huh?

No, Keith, the deputies aren't "unidentified", unless you don't know who they are. Obviously, you do. What's true is that their identities have not yet been released by the Department.

Is there anyone at MCSD who knows how to give a professional-sounding, law-enforcement statement to the press?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cocaine user booted from Navy

From CNN.com

A U.S. Navy reserve officer was kicked out of the Navy after he tested positive for cocaine. Big deal, eh?

As it turns out, it is a big deal.

The guy is Vice-President Joe Biden's son. He was just commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy last year. But get this. He is 44 years old!

When do most people go into the Navy? Wouldn't after college be the usual step? Why was Hunter Biden commissioned as an Ensign in May 2013?

What do you suppose the whole story is about his connection with the Navy?

Who are the injured deputies?

What possible value could there be in not identifying the two McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputies who were shot this morning by Scott B. Peters, of Holiday Hills, Ill.?

Sheriff Nygren said Peters has been charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, according to the Northwest Herald. Yet the paper wimps out by saying that Peters "allegedly sho" the two deputies.

Really? They must be really scared that Peters will hire a big-name attorney and sue the paper for libel.

But back to the issue. Who was injured? And why is the Sheriff refusing to name them?

McHenry County is a relatively small area, and many people will likely know the two deputies and want to extend wishes for their recovery and provide support for their families. What's the secret?

Facebook photos

A reader has alerted me to good, local photos of the Holiday (that's with one -l- in Holiday, NWH) Hills shooting scene.

Go to Facebook, and then to "You Know You're From McHenry If ...", or click here. You'll have to join the Group, in order to see the photos.

Thanks to the reader for this tip.

Rifle stolen from car - newsworthy?

If my car had been broken into and an AR-15 stolen from it, do you think there would be a story in the Northwest Herald about it?

Would I have filed a report with the local law-enforcement agency (McHenry County Sheriff's Department, if the theft occurred in the County), if a rifle had been stolen from my vehicle? You bet. And would the Northwest Herald have publicized it? You bet.

Did the Corrections Officer file a theft report with his employer, the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

Is he, or are they, interested in quickly finding that rifle? Was it an AR-15? Had it been converted to fire in the fully-automatic mode?

Why isn't the Northwest Herald reporting on this theft, as it would on any other weapons theft?

Was it his personally-owned rifle? Was it purchased to be used in connection with any duties related to his employment? Is he a CERT officer with the Jail? CERT = Community Emergency Response Team. These are the black-shirt guys that accompany certain inmates to court.

Why would they need or have AR-15s for work-related duties, if they do? And, if they do use such personally-owned weapons on official duties, what liability is there for the Sheriff's Department and for the County of McHenry?

Is regular practice required at the range? Who pays for the ammo at, probably $1.00/bullet?

What's the rest of the story here?

"Well-being check"? Oh, really!

Why is this serious incident being minimized by the McHenry County Sheriff's Department?

A "well-being check"? Anyone else believe that one?

Two people (family members?) escape from the house? Who called? What did callers tell the Sheriff's Department?

Isn't a well-being check when deputies go to the door of someone who might be ill and who hasn't been seen for some period of time? For example, when a relative or friend can't be reached and there is concern about the person's health?

Was this call-for-service that? Or was it different?

A good way to find out is for the Northwest Herald to request the Sheriff's Department's recording of the incoming call and the radio traffic (or computer records) of dispatching deputies to the address.Was it a 9-1-1 call?

It's no longer sufficient to take the word of the Sheriff or the Undersheriff about anything. Get the facts. More information surfaces every day about the times when they have withheld information or "shaded" it to their advantage.

Two deputies are injured, and the MCSD puts their mouthpiece (Dep. Aimee Knop) out in front of the microphones? Where is Nygren? Did he fly out yesterday after court? Where is Zinke?

Speaking of Nygren and court, be sure to read First Electric Newspaper a little later today for an interesting story about Nygren and yesterday's court and last Sunday's theft of a rifle from a vehicle of an MCSD corrections officer.

2 deputies shot in Holiday Hills

CBS Chicago is reporting that two deputies were shot in Holiday Hills about 1:30am. CBS got a statement from MCSD media deputy Aimee Knop and reported at 5:45am.

At 7:20am the Northwest Herald still had nothing on its website.

One deputy, according to a news article on the CBS website, is in critical but stable condition and the second is reported to be in stable condition.

Let's hope for the best with both deputies. Sit down right now and focus healing energy on them.

Thanks to the reader who called me about this.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stolen, vandalized election signs

Why do small-minded people vandalize or steal a candidate's election signs? Are they really so afraid that the candidate will win and the sky will fall?

I have heard from more than one candidate whose signs are disappearing from the highways and byways of McHenry County. Some candidates struggle to place them where laws allow; others just put them anywhere and everywhere, knowing (or at least believing) that no roads or highway department (State, County City, Township) will spend the money to remove them.

But there are small-minded people out there, tearing down 4x4 signs and removing the smaller signs.

Is there any correlation between the large number of signs for some candidates and the people who are tearing down others' signs?

If you drive by a sign and see someone furtively moving around the sign in the dark of night, call the nearest law enforcement agency. Try to get a license plate number of a car or truck nearby and be able to describe the person or people you see. These people are criminals. I would recommend against direct contact or involvement.

If you can watch from a safe distance and report the departure of the vandals, do that. Tell the cops which way they went. Follow at your own risk.

And remember to vote for the guy whose signs you don't see. That'll show the thieves who is boss.

Random inspections - ever?

Does the McHenry County Sheriff's Department ever conduct random, surprise inspections of Department-issued equipment?

MCSD issues a variety of equipment - some of it, really heavy-duty tactical equipment (ex., high-powered, fully-automatic firearms) - to deputies and, I suspect, an even more awesome list of equipment to SWAT team members.

With a huge shift in control rapidly approaching on December 1 (when a new Sheriff comes to town), this is the perfect time to get out the lists of issued equipment and inspect it and account for it. Or it could be the worst time.

If equipment is missing and unaccounted for, it would be a huge black mark on Nygren's "legacy". Undersheriff Zinke has been running the show for the past couple of years, while Nygren dusts off the furniture in his Cape Coral, Fla. and Minocqua, Wisc. homes.

Now comes the dilemma. Does the present administration (Nygren/Zinke) identify what's missing, or do they do nothing and wait for the new Sheriff to order an inventory?

An up-to-date inventory shouldn't be all that hard. Surely, they know who has what. Or do they?

Monday, October 13, 2014

MCSD AR-15 on the loose?

Rumor has it that a fully-loaded, fully-automatic AR-15 was stolen from a McHenry County Sheriff's Department deputy's personal vehicle yesterday.

So, just how many questions does this raise?

1. Why would a SWAT team member have a Department automatic weapon in her (his?) personal vehicle? Doesn't the deputy have a take-home squad car?

2. Who leaves a Department firearm in a convertible, where a top can be sliced and the trunk opened by a release latch inside the vehicle?

3. Was the firearm visible in the vehicle?

4. How much ammunition was with it and taken?

5. If the deputy was attending a post- or pre-game party where alcohol was served and drinking any alcoholic beverage, that SWAT team member was ineligible to respond to any SWAT call-out. Right? So why have the weapon in the personal car?

Note: Aren't deputies forbidden by General Orders from driving a County squad car after consuming any alcoholic beverage?

You'd better belief that MCSD is trying to keep this quiet. Other shifts may not have been informed at this time. Why not???

Sunday, October 12, 2014

You be da judge

Do politicians get favors in court? I can't answer; can you?

In 2005 Tina Hill got a ticket in Woodstock for illegal stopping, standing, parking (625 ILCS 1303), and there is an interesting court record in Judge Chmiel's court.

1/25/05 Charged by Woodstock PD
2/8/05 $75.00 fine, court costs, fees (this is before McHenry County figured out how to really screw over drivers with excessive court costs and fees; now those costs and fees would probably come close to $200, on top of the $75 fine.)
3/4/05 Motion to vacate. (Who attempts to get a $75 fine thrown out?) The motion was vacated, then reinstated, with a Notice to report disposition. (?)

3/4/05 A $60.00 total fine, including court costs and fees, is shown in the court record. Plus one-day supervision. ONE WHOLE DAY. WHOOPIE.
3/4/05 Supervision was terminated.

Who gets ONE DAY of Supervision?

And was $60.00 the revised, lower fine, court costs and fees? Or was it added to the $75.00?

Tina was represented by the law firm of Gummerson Rausch Lee Wand et al.

Who gets the highest-priced law firm in Woodstock for a $75 ticket???

Two other tickets got her 100-days' supervisions and, in another case, no supervision.

DownHill for Tina - car towed?

Tina Hill has indicated she will enter a month-long rehab at Rosecrance. Is this a strong decision/ commitment to recovery or a good defense?

What will the hospital blood tests show? Alcohol? Will B.A.C. results be released before trial?

Or prescribed drugs? Within therapeutic range? Will she blame her driving on medications?

Where was she Thursday night until 1:30am? Was she alone in the car?

Woodstock has an unpopular, and strongly enforced, Vehicle Impoundment ordinance. Was her vehicle impounded?

Was she alone in the car? Was an unimpaired, licensed driver allowed to drive it away? Was she permitted to call someone to come and get the car? If so, that's a privilege not accorded to most, if any, others.

How does impoundment work? Police call a local towing company. It comes to the scene and hauls away your car. Police issue an impoundment ticket with a $500 fine. To get your car back, you fork over a $500 bond, or else your car sits in the impoundment lot, racking up daily charges. About 10% of the owners forfeit their vehicles, because they cannot afford the ticket, towing, and storage charges.

You can contest the $500 impound ticket. You can win, if you have a trial on the DUI charge and are found Not Guilty. Getting the ticket bargained down or dismissed does not get your $500 back. You must have a trial and you must be found Not Guilty. In the meantime, your $500 bond sits in Woodstock's coffers.

Don't blame that one on Judge Eterno in the Woodstock Administrative Adjudication Court. His hands are tied. You can blame that one on the Woodstock City Council and its legal advisor.

The Woodstock Police were quick to charge her with DUI. Will it stick?