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 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?