Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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What is the opposite of resisting arrest? The cops resisting citizens who want to present evidence to stop crime is that. I have spent almost a decade trying to stop the obvious crime in my immediate neighborhood. This has turned out to be an illusive dream because I could not manage to show the TPD the evidence. Once this had been going on for a few years, we were then subjected to a fake neighborhood watch for the sole purpose of willfully denying crime is crime. This proved the point that crime left to fester just get worse. Now we were forced to keep all the crime in place, and pay taxes to support a fraudulent neighborhood watch. Everything has gone in the opposite direction of justice. We have been forced to keep the crime we have (which is significant) by a completely clueless system designed to serve and protect us. You don’t have to be shot in the back by the cops to have your life ruined by their dishonesty.
Finally, about a month ago I physically took the evidence to the station for the captain to review. During the month nobody has contacted me or informed me at all. This week TPD sent 3 cops to my house to ask what is happening, as if this is the first time they have heard of this. I showed them the evidence I still had at the house and told this very long complicated story one more time. They did not understand and asked me to call 911 if the ongoing financial fraud continued. This is not a realistic way to stop financial fraud.
Still TPD is completely silent. I told them I am not at all comfortable leaving that evidence at the station since the captain is on vacation, and he is specifically the only one I can trust. Silence. I fully expect that evidence to disappear at the Midtown police station and the whole 10 years of obstruction of justice to be swept under the table. We hear about corruption in government, but I have lived through a decade of it at the most extreme levels. These people aren’t even in collusion. They are simply clueless, too clueless to even collude. This is the scariest discovery I have made. They don’t intend to prevaricate. They just have no contact with reality. This corrupt bubble must be broken for the safety of us all.
When I was growing up in a small suburb of Pittsburgh my town had a small police department. Oakmont was so small that neighborhood policing was natural, as well as the only option. Everyone knew everyone’s business and everyone’s children. The photo above of the 1947 Oakmont force with the mayor was only a few years before I took up residence in the town. This was taken, no doubt, on Memorial Day after the parade at the cemetery. This is probably all the motorcycle cops, with the mayor in the middle. None of the people in this picture could have imagined how much the role of the police would change in society.
I had a frank discussion recently with Officer Marquis, who is a motorcycle cop at TPD. I asked him what it is like to wear the vest. His answers surprised me because he brought up an issue I had never considered. He told me how hot it makes him. OMG, you are out in Tucson in the summer wearing leather boots, and now you need to add a ceramic vest to protect your vital organs!!! How cruel and unusual can your job be? I was just thinking about the way the weight compresses the spine, but he made me see another way the vest has unintended consequences. The K9s are not allowed to wear their vests for too long because it will overheat and damage their organs and possibly their brains. Meanwhile, we are roasting our human cops. Officer Marquis wears a lighter style vest with ceramic inserts that he adds when he wears it. I think this eliminates a few ounces of the total burden..but then there is the physical mastery of the bike, which is heavy in itself. Tough job.
We talked about his bike and other interesting stuff. He seemed pretty happy about his job, despite the roasting factor. I asked him if he feels like a target (this was months before the world truly went barbaric). He said yes. On his motorcycle he is obviously less protected than the car cops. He was not complaining and I am absolutely sure he would not have brought the subject up had I not done so. I went on to ask a couple more cops that day if they felt like targets. The other two said no, but I wonder what they might answer now, after the the violent events of last week. All cops have to feel like victims now, because it is a very reasonable assessment of the situation that prevails.
The lady cop vests look particularly uncomfortable. I am not sure how they are fitted, but this lady told me hers was as long as possible (makes sense). She said she does not feel like a target. I was apparently the only person from the fashion police who had ever asked her about it. It does not flatter the female figure, to say the least. Even Jessica Rabbit would look like the Marshmallow guy from Ghostbusters in the lady cop vest. This lady cop wears hers well and does not mind wearing it, but one can only imagine how attractive she is in real life.
I have become obsessed with this vest question. It is symbolic as well as physical. It does compress their spine and add weight for their skeleton to carry, as well as keep them safe. It heats them up and makes it hard to cool down. The looney in Dallas wore one himself. In Tucson the cops have to pay for their own because city taxes are not set aside for that. I am shocked that the city can get away with that. In private industry I don’t think you can demand that workers risk their lives and BYO safety equipment. Can you think of an example of that, gentle reader?
I doubt that people here know that there is a charitable organization here with a purpose of providing the vests to the individual cops. Adopt-a-Cop is the program provide this necessary safety equipment to the force, since as taxpayers we are not even doing THAT. We need to step up to solve our civil unrest problems on all sides. This seems like a basic step to take, Tucson. Let’s buy them vests. Then let’s get some new politicians who will put the vests in the city’s budget.
In Tucson we experience a major dilution of our tattle as it passes through needless layers of middlemen to reach law enforcement central. We report one thing and the bureaucrats report quite another, which results in chronic problems that might be solved by collecting really reliable intelligence in the first place. Pure tattle goes from your lips to the ears of the principal. It does not travel through the teachers, the students, or the PTA. Tattle, and the need to deliver pure, unadulterated tattle, is not only a basic human right, but a basic human instinct. To make use of this instinct one simply needs to direct and manage it professionally. A vessel, a place, and a time must be established for the task of collecting pure intelligence from citizens and using it to both prevent and stop chronic crime.
I am urging my police department to initiate a program on-line as well as in person at the station near me to give folks a chance to express themselves for ten minutes at ten a.m. each Tuesday. I am choosing this increment of time because they always say they are too busy to try new communication methods. They can’t possibly argue that they don’t have 10 minutes a week. Citizens in my neighborhood have gone to the station with evidence of black tar heroin in a vial and a report of on going crime near their home, but were turned away at the window of the cop shop and the vial of evidence was thrown in the trash in front of the two ladies. We need a system that works much better than that. We need to trust that what we report and evidence we submit is used to help solve the crime problems here. I think a funnel that directs intelligence to the attention of the police live on a regular basis will make a difference to the level of trust in the whole operation. I believe intelligence is the most valuable commodity police can have. It protects both them and us.
I want to convince the commander of my local police station to learn more about the progressive use of social media. Controversy and conflict spread like wildfire on all platforms today. This is a reflection of our relationships in real life. It is easy to get into a political argument but not so easy to locate community spirit. We drastically need dialog and understanding to build better neighborhoods. The tension between police and citizens must be treated. Lack of trust must be brought to light and replaced with understanding. We need better communication, and I believe it can be achieved with judicious use of social media. I believe twitter has the power to prevent crime if used with imagination and good strategy, just as it has influenced some to fight for ISIS. The only way to stop an evil force with a twitter account is with a loving force with a twitter account.
In the photo above a young detective is joking around with SWAT Officer Salisbury, who was working showing off the SWAT stuff at the station the other day. I had just asked him what he detected about Officer Salisbury. He was telling me he that his colleague is very speedy. Their camaraderie is evident and the good nature of the joking between them was fun to see. These young men are charming and professional, but I certainly hope I will not require their services. It is fine to hang out in the parking lot, but I don’t want them to come to my house in the middle of the night.
It was all fun and games until I said, “I know you saw the PBS special last week about SWAT.” They didn’t really say much, but they indicated that this PBS reference had bummed them out. I don’t blame them because it is another blow to the already ragged respect for police across the country. News coverage brings scary evidence that violence is escalating in certain cities. Tucson is one of them. These young cops face ever-growing danger with no hope of a pay raise in sight. For them, as well as for all of us, we need to find ways to communicate to prevent crime of all kinds, particularly crimes against cops. We will find ourselves unable to recruit people who are willing to take the job if we don’t kick in and help them reduce crime and violence.
I believe social media has the potential to transform crime prevention because
What do you think, gentle reader, is the answer to the social disorder we are experiencing today?
I met Officer Rob McCusker ,who trains dogs to detect explosives at TPD, last November when he was training a new puppy. I featured Officer Cookie in a post because she was so sweet and friendly to meet as a youngster. When I saw Officer Rob yesterday I asked about Cookie. She has moved to Anchorage Alaska to work for a private security firm. It turned out that Cookie was doing well with her training until the time came to go outside. It became apparent that she just did not have the right stuff to be a bomb squad professional. I could tell listening to him tell the story that this had been a very heart wrenching experience for Officer Rob because their bond was very tight. They put in many months of training. Finally the breeder where she was born was consulted, and they decided together that there were no more training moves to be made to improve her skills. She had to retire from her law enforcement career.
The great news is that she nabbed a job in Alaska in which she never needs to go outside. She lives in a nice home up there and still has a place in the professional sniffing dogs universe. Since she is a dog she may not really think of us any more, but we remember her fondly and thank her for her service. The other fabulous piece of news is that JR, the bomb detecting dog who had retired at the McCusker family home at the age of 10, is back to work. Nobody could be more delighted than JR. He is extremely affectionate, and glad to be back at his job. He does not mind one tiny bit filling in while a new recruit is trained in the thousands of scents they must learn to detect explosives. It is old hat to him, and he is the life of the party. He is impressive in every way. He gets a bath about every 10 days to make sure his own scent does not interfere with his missions. He must be the cleanest black lab in the world. He is shiny, healthy and happy. It was a pleasure to meet him at thank a cop day, out of retirement having a wonderful time. JR is the bomb.
Today in Tucson police stations are hosting open house and demonstration events to bring attention to the work of the Police Foundation. I attended the morning’s demonstration in the parking lot of the midtown station. They had set up the SWAT team equipment and the bomb squad demo, complete with the bomb robot. I arrived early to find only one other citizen on hand to “thank a cop”. He was hanging out in the SWAT truck chatting up Officer Stoner, one of the officers on that team. We both had learned about the event on Nextdoor. I am not sure that the cops felt particularly appreciated by the presence of two senior citizens. Later I saw a large delivery of chicken from a local restaurant and realized there would be other forms of thanking going on today. Businesses drop off water, snacks and treats to supply the stations…including, but not limited to, donuts. Good to see that happening…it will last longer and be much more useful than the attention of a couple of old people.
I don’t think that most people in Tucson know that each cop has to buy his or her own bullet proof vest for duty. These expensive items are not supplied by the city because this is just one of the things the city says it can’t afford. Tucson makes a regular practice of underfunding the basic services departments in good times or bad. The root of this silly philosophy evades me. Scrimping on budgets must sometimes be a reality, but how can the city think it is okay to send these people out to risk their lives and not even provide them with adequate armor? Even the Roman army had good armor. There in the parking lot I saw all kinds of heavy equipment of the super expensive kind. Why are we out buying that stuff before we buy protective vests for all the cops on duty using that stuff? I object! Officer safety should come first. This policy makes it look like we don’t care about that. I don’t believe very many tax payers know this is the case. Nobody asked us if we thought this was acceptable. I would certainly have said “NO!!!! Vests first, please”..but I was not consulted.
Captain Kevin Hall explains the origin of the Police Foundation and the scope of this Adopt-a-Cop campaign to buy vests for all our officers. This fund is open all year, making purchases as vests wear out and are needed in the department. I see a lot of cheap talk about loving and/or respecting first responders, blah blah blah. Here is a great way to put money where your platitudes are. We need to show them some love by arming them properly for the job they do for us.
I have watched with interest the specials PBS aired last week about police and gun violence in America. The problems are even worse for law enforcement professionals than I thought they were. The panel discussion of police chiefs and victims of SWAT team violence revealed a shocking systemic practice of lying to the public to protect officers who make deadly mistakes on duty. A lively discussion on-line took place at the hashtag #PBSPeaceOfficer.
Both sides are heavily polarized on the issue, as we might expect. The police chiefs stressed that the problem needs to be addressed to the mayors and councils to find solutions. The cops themselves are following orders and protocol and strategies set by those in command. Hiring, training, and supervision are needed by the agencies to correct the current problems. In most cases they lack the funding to buy enough essential training and adequate supervisory personnel to equip and supervise recruits. The officers lack the skills they need to both protect themselves and the public. This seems to be the case across the country. While the citizens arm up and carry guns everywhere the cities refuse to provide enough funding to operate functional law enforcement agencies. This is an obvious recipe for more violence.
When the government declared war on drugs and terror, they began to distribute military surplus to police departments to fight these “wars”. Included in this discussion is the tendency to use this military equipment to occupy neighborhoods rather than protect them. The police chiefs were quick to point out that much of the surplus they receive is office equipment and other non lethal much-needed supplies. The police professionals also agreed they needed the military weapons because their own communities failed to arm the force adequately. There is now a new policy against militarized police forces, but they already have plenty of gear to continue the heavily occupation of America. The NRA has a strong lobby in support of arming the entire population. This is escalating an already terrible problem. We need disarmament negotiations between the cops and the citizens, apparently.
I have seen the TPD employ the SWAT team in my neighborhood. They came in the middle of the night to bust some dope dealers who had been operating boldly in the open for years, right on the street. I could have busted them myself any day during the previous couple of years, either making drive by deliveries from the front yard, or by busting the group of youngsters on tiny bikes that fanned out to deliver drugs throughout the hood before dawn daily. Some of the bike delivery guys were able to stay in the apartment and have a yard sale after the SWAT bust which I found to be amazing. I know for sure that one of my neighbors reported this obvious ongoing dealing but was told by a group of cops who had answered a call at his house that they were not interested. About 6 months after Russ told them about the dealing they showed up with flash bombs. This was evidence to me that they enjoy this use of force too much to be safe with all that fire power.
More of a concern to me than the use of force is the use of mendacity. They use statistics to tell us about themselves, yet they compile these statistics. If they are willfully blind to their own errors the law enforcement agency becomes a dangerous street gang. If they are encouraged by municipal authorities to hide mistakes rather than learn from them they become the villain rather than the hero in our society. This trend is very dangerous to our public health.
At the Cops and Rodders Car Show citizens have the chance to meet the police force. At the top of the popularity list are the canine cops. They attract everyone’s attention, from small children to senior citizens. I met Officer Evo last year and discovered that K-9 cops can have very sweet and social personalities. I am sure he would prefer to be riding in his car on the way to a case because he loves to do his regular job. But when his work includes posing for the camera or generally charming the crowd he fulfills his duty with personality and style.
A new dog was making her first appearance at the car show this year. Officer Cookie is a Labrador Retriever who is a specialist working for the bomb squad. She is in training to learn many thousands of different explosive components by scent. She is only two years old, so she exhibits puppy enthusiasm al the time. She had some trouble containing herself during the national anthem to everyone’s delight. Since bomb dogs work in crowds her friendly attitude is essential to her job performance. She has less general and more specific training as a cop. She will not learn to do many of the things Evo does because she is all about explosives.
While Officer Evo handled his adoring fans I had a chance to talk to Officer Rumsley, his trainer and partner, about the work they do. Evo is a Belgian Malinois, also sometimes called a Belgian Shepard. He was born in Czech Republic where the breed is raised for sport. He was trained by Officer Rumsley and goes home at night to live at the Rumsley home. He does not play with other dogs out in the world but he has a canine friend at home. When they go searching together they look for drugs or people, one at a time. When Evo gets as close as he can get to the source of the scent he scratches in the case of drugs or barks when he finds people. He does communicate clearly, but Officer Rumsley always initiates everything they do. Evo does not, like Lassie, ever say to Officer Rumsley “Timmy has fallen in the well. Come quickly!” They work as a team with Officer Rumsley making all the decisions. This seems like the best format because underneath his extensive discipline and training he is still a dog. It is always a treat to get to see him.
In a co-dependent relationship each side wants the other to be different. One striking example today is the relationship between the public and the cops. Police departments across the country are found to be engaging in all kinds of costly and illegal practices that are not in the best interest of the taxpayers. One such practice is the use of public safety disability systems to pay off and retire problem (and criminal) cops. We foot the bill for all the retirement and disability payments retired cops are given, whether they are valid or not. Obviously we want to protect, heal and compensate those who are legitimate victims of on the job injuries. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and thoughtless.
Since this system is so easily deceived by bogus medical claims it only makes sense to examine the system for fraud. Tucson has unreasonably high disability figures compared to the national average for cops, which drains our coffers in an unsustainable way. Either we are really doing something that injures our employees more than other cities, or we are being taken for a ride much more than other cities. I sense that it may be a little of each. If they do nothing to take care of themselves they will not be healthy as they go through their careers. Obesity, drug addiction, depression, mental health issues, and low back problems would naturally arise from a work life sitting in a patrol car all day or wearing a bullet proof vest to compress the spine. There are significant risks to health besides getting shot or killed. I think this problem needs to be addressed. They have direct exposure to the worst of general public all day, every day. None of us could do that without experiencing a loss of optimism and bliss. PTSD is as real for the cops as it is for the people who go to war.
In Tucson our police department is drastically understaffed by the city council. They loose more to retirement and atrophy then they can replace by training because they are so far behind in the process. The lack of personnel leads to highly impaired service. I hear people say they can’t get through to 911 after holding for 5 minutes to report gun shots next to their home. I don’t try to call 911 because I have never had a response, and am not expecting that situation to improve by itself. I do report and send in pictures of suspicious activity and crime I see on a phone app. This is a way for me to contribute to better law enforcement without wasting my own time. I think most of the crime in my neighborhood goes unreported. People have no faith that there will be a response or a solution.
To provide protection under the law for our city Tucson needs:
I just learned about an app called City Connect that creates two way communication between citizens and cities. Our neighbors have been using Nextdoor, an app which connects neighbors for private secure communication. Our police department in Tucson joined Nextdoor in September, and has been using it to update the public on crime and safety issues. Nextdoor keeps private the neighbors’ interaction unless it is in response to an officer’s post. This system is excellent for building community and better communication between neighbors. It allows the police to give us vital information if an emergency should occur, and update us about crime trends and how to avoid being victims of those trends.
Nextdoor discussions range from yard sales to lost turkeys. I think our greatest achievement to date was the safe return of Lurkey the Turkey who escaped from his own yard, was spotted running up the street, captured, and lived to tell the story. Lurkey would have been a goner in this hood full of coyotes if neighborhood spirit had not saved his feathered tail to gobble another day. We have more members all the time, and the ability to communicate does enhance our safety and quality of life. I look forward to the growth and strengthening of Nextdoor in Tucson. We have just begun to use this fun and powerful digital tool.
We learned through an officer’s post on Nextdoor that City Connect offers a full menu of information about the TPD, everything you ever wanted to know. The one stop shop for information about the police and what they are doing includes:
Your city has to be a participant and have loaded up their profiles, etc. for you to be able to use this system. I am very pleased that our police department has taken this step to make communication smoother and easier. I think it will grow in popularity because it aggregates information in one place, and makes participation quick and painless. The same company has created another app called Citizens Connect, to enhance communication about civic matters. That sounds good too. Do any of the gentle readers have experience with either one of these apps? I think they are brilliant.