Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I aspire too

My DSL modem crashed so sorry about the late post.

The following verse is the attitude/action/emotions/understanding/faith that I am striving to emulate. I seem to be able to treat the initial blow as I should, however after the incident I find my self muttering the mantra "Not fair" over and over again. I hope that one day I will find myself with the same level of faith and joy that these men of God demonstrated. Until then and it will be until I kneel at his thrown, a work in progress.

This is the verse that I use as my goal.

The verse: Acts 5:41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

The verse in context: Acts 5:40-42 40His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Someone who "gets it".

Every so often I encounter someone who, for the lack of a better term, "gets it" about our walk with Christ. He or she presents a concept that produces a "eureka" moment for me. It is always a concept that I am either first encountering, forgotten or (wrongly) not practicing. The means in which I discovered these religious nuggets are varied and rarely predictable. In this particular case I had my inspiration in the book written by Henry Rider Haggard called, Alan's Wife(1889).

First, about Haggard (From Wikipedia): Sir Henry Rider Haggard KBE (June 22, 1856 – May 14, 1925), born in Norfolk, England, was a Victorian writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations.

Secondly there is some controversy about Haggard and for that I point to the last page of his Alan Quartermain book: Maiwa's Revenge: or, The War of the Little Hand as proof that the controversy is essentially wrong.

Rather then continue to explain what I found I will simply present the passage from the book Alan's Wife (1889)that made me say that Haggard's got it. The Holy Spirit was with him. Excert from Project Gutenberg: It is in the Character's Alan Quartermain's voice.

Well, we reached the kraals safely enough, seeing nothing more of
Hendrika, and, were this a story, doubtless I should end it here
with--"and lived happily ever after." But alas! it is not so. How am I
to write it?

My dearest wife's vital energy seemed completely to fail her now that
the danger was past, and within twelve hours of our return I saw that
her state was such as to necessitate the abandonment of any idea of
leaving Babyan Kraals at present. The bodily exertion, the anguish of
mind, and the terror which she had endured during that dreadful night,
combined with her delicate state of health, had completely broken her
down. To make matters worse, also, she was taken with an attack of
fever, contracted no doubt in the unhealthy atmosphere of that accursed
valley. In time she shook the fever off, but it left her dreadfully
weak, and quite unfit to face the trial before her.

I think she knew that she was going to die; she always spoke of my
future, never of _our_ future. It is impossible for me to tell how sweet
she was; how gentle, how patient and resigned. Nor, indeed, do I wish
to tell it, it is too sad. But this I will say, I believe that if ever
a woman drew near to perfection while yet living on the earth, Stella
Quatermain did so.

The fatal hour drew on. My boy Harry was born, and his mother lived
to kiss and bless him. Then she sank. We did what we could, but we had
little skill, and might not hold her back from death. All through one
weary night I watched her with a breaking heart.

The dawn came, the sun rose in the east. His rays falling on the peak
behind were reflected in glory upon the bosom of the western sky. Stella
awoke from her swoon and saw the light. She whispered to me to open the
door of the hut. I did so, and she fixed her dying eyes on the splendour
of the morning sky. She looked on me and smiled as an angel might
smile. Then with a last effort she lifted her hand, and, pointing to the
radiant heavens, whispered:

"_There, Allan, there!_"

It was done, and I was broken-hearted, and broken-hearted I must wander
to the end. Those who have endured my loss will know my sorrow; it
cannot be written. In such peace and at such an hour may I also die!

Yes, it is a sad story, but wander where we will about the world we can
never go beyond the sound of the passing bell. For me, as for my father
before me, and for the millions who have been and who shall be, there is
but one word of comfort. "The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken
away." Let us, then, bow our heads in hope, and add with a humble heart,
"Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Someone you Should know-Irena Sendler

I was reading in the paper today about the heroine Irena Sendler. In WWII she was a Roman Catholic social worker in Poland that was allowed to enter the Warsaw ghetto by the Nazi's. Irena then saved approximately 2500 Jewish children by adopting them out of the ghetto to non-Jewish foster families. She keep the children's real parental records in jars buried behind her home. The following is an excerpt from her web site http://www.irenasendler.org

They found that Irena Sendler, as a non-Jewish social worker, had gone into the Warsaw Ghetto, talked Jewish parents and grandparents out of their children, rightly saying that all were going to die in the Ghetto or in death camps, taking the children past the Nazi guards (in body bags, saying they were ill, or using one of the many means of escape from the Ghetto-the old courthouse for example), and then adopting them into the homes of Polish families or hiding them in convents and orphanages. She made lists of the children's real names and put the lists in jars, then buried the jars in a garden, so that someday she could dig up the jars and find the children to tell them of their true identity.

The Nazis captured her and she was beaten severely, but the Polish underground bribed a guard to release her, and she entered into hiding.

That she was almost unknown until four rural Kansas students got a school assignment, again from the web site: In the fall of 1999, Mr. Conard encouraged four students to work on a year long National History Day project which would among other things; extend the boundaries of the classroom to families in the community, contribute to history learning, teach respect and tolerance, and meet our classroom motto, “He who changes one person, changes the world entire."

Three ninth grade girls, Megan Stewart, Elizabeth Cambers, and Jessica Shelton, and an eleventh grade girl, Sabrina Coons, accepted the challenge and decided to enter their project in the National History Day program. Mr. Conard showed them a short clipping from a March 1994 issue of News and World Report, which said, 'Irena Sendler saved 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942-43'. He told the girls the article might be a typographical error, since he had not heard of this woman or story. The students began their research and looked for primary and secondary sources throughout the year.

God selects his heroes from all walks of life, with all different forms of abilities, to carry out his great and holy plan. Heroes are not made; they're are people placed into unique circumstances that made the choice to act in accordance with God's will and teachings. The Bible is full of unlikely (David), unwilling (Jonah) and ungifted (Moses), right place right time (Ester), heroes.

Every day we should go out into our worlds and try to find the places where we are called to be a hero like Irena Sendler.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

Exodus 3:10-12

10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."

11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

12 And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you [a] will worship God on this mountain."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Methamphetamine and Children

I have posted part of a paper that I wrote for one of my master's classes. I attended a Methamphetamine lab detection class hosted by another department recently and this reminded me of this paper and the horrors inflicted on children by the manufacture and abuse of this drug. An interesting side note is that they believe that the lack of penetration into the Urban areas, which runs counter to previous predictions, is due to the fact that street gangs are too lazy to be part of the manufacturing process and they would rather sell crack for less of a profit then deal with acquiring the ingredients and participate in the manufacturing process.

Here is a few sections of the paper:

Family Destruction
Methamphetamine use is particularly concerning as it pertains to the family unit in which the child resides. There is a perceptible increase in cases involving methamphetamine use by a child’s guardian that necessitates the removal of the child from the home and placed into a safer environment. This action is always a last resort for the welfare agency involved and a sign of the destruction of a family that use of this illicit drug can cause. “Overall, 37 percent of the increase in out of home placements nationwide was attributable to methamphetamine, according to the NaCO survey. With counties with populations above 500,000, the increase was 54 percent reflecting the fact that methamphetamine is no longer mainly a rural problem, but an urban one as well. More than 300 countries in 13 states participated in the survey” (Mothers addicted to meth face losing their children, 2005, p. 2).
The long term prognosis for families affected by methamphetamine is extremely poor. Unlike most issues that cause child welfare services to become involved, mothers that use methamphetamine have an extremely high rate of permanent removal of their children from their care. Methamphetamine use by mothers, in which law enforcement and child welfare agencies become involved, tend to cause permanent dissolution of the families. “The reality…is that in 48 percent of these counties there are more families that cannot be reunified, 56 percent say the families take much longer to reunify than in the past, and in 27 percent of the counties, officials say recidivism is so great with meth users that the reunification of these families does not last” (Mothers addicted to meth face losing their children, 2005, p. 2).
Law Enforcement Concerns
The destruction to families and the increase in violent criminal acts that methamphetamine use is known to cause, has now become a major concern to law enforcement. “…NaCO also released a survey of law enforcement, in which 58 percent of the counties said methamphetamine was their largest drug problem. Next were cocaine (19 percent of the counties said this was the biggest problem), marijuana (17 percent), and heroin (3 percent)” (Mothers addicted to meth face losing their children, 2005, p. 3).
When law enforcement officers encounter a methamphetamine production lab in a home containing children there should be immediate thought given to obtaining medical treatment and protection to these children. “The danger to children becomes obvious when a methamphetamine lab explodes, killing or injuring them, or when authorities discover neglected children as a result of their parent’s methamphetamine use” (Manning, 1999, p. 2). Law enforcement officers should not stop at the obvious injuries to the child since even an apparently healthy looking child made be suffering from aliments that have not fully presented themselves. “…authorities have found babies crawling on carpets where toxic chemicals used to make methamphetamine have spilled. They have seen children cooking their own meals in the same microwave ovens that their parents used to produce methamphetamine. Also, they have discovered chemicals used in methamphetamine production stored in open or improperly sealed containers in areas where children played” (Manning, 1999, p. 2). A child found in these conditions should necessitate companion charges of child abuse and or child endangerment and child welfare groups need to be brought into the investigation to intervene on the child’s behalf.
Child Protection Strategy for Those Victimized by Methamphetamine
The first priority in protecting children victimized by parents making and using methamphetamine, is to increase the legal penalties for parents who perform either of these two acts around their children. For example California strengthened their laws, “…defendants found guilty of manufacturing methamphetamine in the presence of children under 16 face a 2-year prison enhancement. The methamphetamine producer can expect an additional 5-year penalty enhancement when a child is injured as a result of the methamphetamine production process” (Manning, 1999, p. 2).
The second step to decrease methamphetamine’s impact on children of producers and users is to create a program that unites the offices of law enforcement, district attorneys and social service providers. The goal of the program would be to cross-train these three agencies so that they may provide a unified response to incidents of methamphetamine production and use around children. A model program of this approach can be found in the San Diego County’s program call The Drug Endangered Children Program (DEC). “Besides enforcement, DEC studies and documents the environmental hazards that children are exposed to in these methamphetamine “kitchens of death.” Health care workers establish the medical procedures and document the testing of these children. Prosecutors then use this information to add child endangerment charges and new penalty enhancements targeting methamphetamine manufacturers” (Manning, 1999, p. 3).
This model program could easily be implemented in Illinois and more importantly locally in Cook County so that it can be in place to handle the increasing number of methamphetamine related incidents. The existence of successful multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency programs in Illinois such as: NEMERT, ALTERTS, MCAT and HIDA, demonstrate the viability of a program such as DEC that can be created in this state.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mission Field

I attended a conference hosted by my church with my father-in-law who is a long time veteran in Law Enforcement. The guest pastor was making a case to all of the men gathered there, to go out into the world and commit acts of charity, mercy and witness. The bulk of his message and the follow up small group discussion was how to budget the time needed to fulfill this mission and examples of organizations or areas in which one could serve the Lord. I realized that the premise to this entire weekend was that for most people their job does not meet their obligations to love your neighbor and serve the Lord. Leviticus 19:18 states: 18Never seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. In other words, if your only task is to make more and more money for your company you need to go out and serve the Lord on your off time. I leaned over to my father-in-law and said, “Is it not great that we get paid to be in our mission field.” Our work as Policemen and Policewomen places us directly on the front lines in the business of saving people’s souls and performing Christian acts of charity. There are very few professions that involve this as a direct consequence of its duties and responsibilities. Titus 3:14 states: 14For our people should not have unproductive lives. They must learn to do good by helping others who have urgent needs. When I was in the private sector I had to find ways and times in which I could help others and witness; while in Police work the next call received is the next opportunity to demonstrate the love you have received from Jesus. I, however, took this ideal to an illogical end when I concluded that my job allowed me to meet all of my perceived service obligations to the Lord, and I did not need to serve in any other capacity, which contributed to a lazy Christian attitude. I however, have since learned that to be a fully rounded person you need to serve other people in a different environment other than Police work so that you do not think that every one in need is a person who has or is about to commit a criminal act.
I was in our booking room, with my street gang crime specialist partner, talking to another one of our chronically criminally misguided youths. We had just arrested him for running out of his apartment with a baseball bat after receiving a cell call informing him that a rival street gang was in a four by four driving around the streets by his home. Besides the foolishness of bringing a baseball bat to a potential gunfight, he had not checked to see if there were any Police Officers around his apartment. If he had, he would have seen the two of us in our bicycle patrol gear right outside his apartment’s front door. We suspected this teenager of involvement in illicit drugs sales, robbery, batteries and assorted other local unsolved crimes.
We had come to the end of our interview and were just about to release our wayward youth to his mother with a local ordinance ticket, when my partner, who is not a Christian, asked him to sit back down for a minute. My fellow Officer and I had spoken about this gang member in the recent past and we thought that if we could some how reach him, he had the potential of rising above his family and environment and becoming a successful human being. My partner spoke to this kid about the evils of using illicit drugs, alcohol use, bad grades, negative influences (Other gang members, wrong kind of friends, violence) and a prediction of what his future would hold if he should continue on his current path. Just when I thought that my partner was finished, he shocked me as he stated, pointing his finger at the young offender, “You know what you need? You need to find God. He is the only one that can make your life right.” My fellow Officer looked over at me and asked if there was any way that I could arrange for this kid to attend services at my church. I am a member of an excellent, large congregation church, and later made arrangements for our church bus to pick him up in order for him to attend services through our Spanish ministry, a service that unfortunately he never availed himself (Yes I attend an excellent very large congregation church). When we had given back the misguided youth to his mother and they were safely away, to their home, I asked my partner where the idea to set the gang member up with church had come from. He told me that he had heard me say this to a number of people and the only time he has seen anyone straighten out their life was when they “found God”. He went on to say that he knew that I would not attend a sub par church and thus that same church would be good for the kid. I asked him if he would want to go to a service with his family and mine and we set up a time and date. (Unfortunately, due to cancellations, conflicts and excuses, I am still trying to persuade my partner and his family to attend).
When I look back on that day, it is with the conclusion that this is Police work in the heart of the mission field. Here, I see God’s hand acting both on the criminals and my co-workers due to my presence as a Christian. That is certainly not to say that God needs me in any way to enact his plan, but I am just happy that he makes me a part of it. I did nothing other than perform my work functions but because of the very nature of the service that Officers are involved in, God is there with us acting in a real and tangible way. Philippians 2:13 states: 13For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him. Christian Policemen and Policewomen are front line personnel in the mission field in the communities for which we serve.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stylish new uniform for Liverpool police station

Architectural lighting company i-Vision has completed a stunning lighting design and supplied all necessary instruments and fixtures for the permanent illumination of Merseyside Police Authority's (MPA) headquarters in central Liverpool.

What a cool cost effective measure to up-date a govermental building without any type of construction.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

When the Sheepdog kills the Sheep

Tyler Peterson the Sheriff's deputy who killed six and then himself in a rampage. This poses a question, what do you do when a Sheepdog kills his sheep? Tyler was a sworn officer that had promised to protect the innocent and by most accounts had performed that act adequately and now seven lives have been taken by his hand.

An officer that joins a police department must be ready, willing and able to take anothers or his own life should the circumstances call for it. The officer is provided with a multitude of devices whose sole purpose is to take anothers life away from him/her. That officer is trained on the proper methods and tactics to best take that life with the least amount of collateral damage. Then the officer is sent into the field and required to evaluate each and every incident to see if this ultimate course of action is necessary.

The unique and disturbing element of Tyler's actions is not that he killed or the method he used to take those seven lives but rather the circumstances of the incident in which the lives were taken. Tyler would be a hero if these lives belonged to terrorists or cult members in the midst of committing a terrorist act. Rather he is a monster because these six people were engaged in a party.

You can not ask the sheep to guard themselves because they quickly would fall pray to the predators. Nor can you make the sheepdog fang-less because then he/she would have nothing in which to guard the sheep. So the best you can hope for is to screen for the best sheepdogs and watch him/her to see if they grow rabid. We missed this rabid sheepdog and as a consequence some sheep died.

In the end the best that we can do is to remember all the sheepdogs that go about their business with honor and compassion when guarding the sheep and removing the predators. We must trust that the Shepperd knows the best way and will lead us from the fields to our pen.

Psalm 43:3
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Monday, October 8, 2007

To just throw it all away? -The source of bad ideas-

One of the strengths that an officer has is his/her ability to focus on the here and now and to not allow long term consequences affect their actions or duties. However this skill is a major detriment in your personal life. The following is a list of officers that have thrown it all away by not considering the greater consequences of their acts. Remember the average pension of an officer that has twenty years of service and has reached fifty years of age will be over 1,000,000 during his/her life time.

1) Jul. 4, 2007--FORT WORTH -- A Fort Worth police officer has been fired after officials say he used police resources to find the address of a romantic rival whose pickup was later struck by gunfire outside his home, according to a disciplinary letter filed Monday with the Civil Service Commission. Police officials suspect that officer Jesse Banda, who joined the department in December 1999, was involved in or had knowledge about the shooting, according to the letter signed by Police Chief Ralph Mendoza.

2)Police officer fired for bounced check
Decision in Duxbury follows suspension and 'last warning'
By Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent | August 23, 2007 Officer Dale Parks has been fired by the Duxbury Police Department for writing a bad check and failing to make due on $2,000 owed to a local car dealership, said Town Manager Richard MacDonald .
But Parks's lawyer called the incident "a simple misunderstanding" between the officer and the business. Parks has appealed his firing to the state Civil Service Commission, which hears appeals by public employees who fall under the protection of the civil service laws. "It doesn't rise to the level of an offense that justifies termination," said Bradford Louison, of the Boston law firm Merrick, Louison & Costello. MacDonald said Parks's actions warranted termination as "conduct unbecoming a police officer." Parks was also suspended for six months two years ago for similar problems and had agreed to avoid violating department regulations.

3) CHATTANOOGA — A Chattanooga Police Department K-9 officer was fired and two others were suspended after an internal affairs probe concluded they falsified police dogs' certifications. The investigation involved two drug-sniffing Belgian Malinois dogs, Casper and Viper, purchased last year for $7,000 apiece in South Carolina. Officer Iran Meadows, the department's head trainer and a 12-year veteran, was fired Thursday for submitting false documents, untruthfulness during an internal affairs investigation, neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming an officer, department officials said Friday.

4) Cop fired after asking for date. Dismissed patrolman had asked woman for date
The Arizona Republic Sept. 21, 2006 12:00 AM
A Chandler police officer has been fired after he pulled over a woman under the guise of a traffic stop but instead asked her out on a date. Following an internal investigation, Officer Nathan Dixon, 37, was dismissed in late August - the second Chandler officer to be fired this year. The woman called the Professional Standards Section of the Chandler Police Department on July 12 and told them she was pulled over at 2:15 a.m. on July 8 by an officer in a marked patrol car who asked her out on a date, according to a dismissal letter to Dixon from Chandler police Chief Sherry Kiyler.

5) Details in the case of a police officer fired after he allegedly sent electronic messages to a 16-year-old girl are being aired at a hearing in Regina this week. Roberto Armando Siguenza, 30, lost his job last summer after police said he tried to start a relationship with the teenager. He's appealing the firing. Siguenza had arrested the now 17-year-old girl for shoplifting in May 2006 and learned she had a profile on a social networking website, the appeal hearing heard Monday. The officer allegedly sent the girl three brief e-mails that were not sexually explicit but were inappropriate, in the police service's view. She didn't answer them, but reported what had happened. The department's head of internal affairs at the time, Staff Sgt. Lauri Morin, decided the police would go online, posing as the girl herself, to see what would happen. Morin said Siguenza participated in a 60-minute chat that often included sexual references.

6) Sheriff's officer fired after probe
by Michaelangelo Conte Thursday August 16, 2007, 7:12 PM
A Hudson County sheriff's officer has been fired following an investigation triggered by the arrest of a man in her car, where police say they found drugs and a loaded gun, officials said. Hudson County Sheriff Joseph Cassidy said Officer Jennifer Ocasio was fired Tuesday, based on an administrative investigation following the arrest of Travis Lee Bruce, 24, of Rahway, on Beacon Avenue at Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City on June 10. Officials said Ocasio, who was still in her first-year probationary period as an officer, was fired for giving conflicting statements in her explanation of events leading to the arrest in her car. She told officers she did not know Bruce had her car, but a security camera at the Sheriffs Office captured images of her handing him the keys, an official said. On June 10 plainclothes officers were at a gas station when they saw Bruce rolling a marijuana cigarette in the driver's seat of Ocasio's car, reports said. The cops took Bruce out of the car, and they found a bag containing smaller bags of marijuana in the car, reports said. Bruce was taken into custody and the officers then learned the car belonged to Ocasio, reports said. While one of the cops was driving the car to the police station, he found a loaded .38 caliber handgun under the driver's seat, reports said. Ocasio was issued a ticket for allowing an unlicensed driver to use her car, reports said. Cassidy said it was not Ocasio's gun, and said he did not know the relationship between Bruce and Ocasio. Ocasio remained on duty until her termination.

7) Police Officer Fired for Smoking by Chris Arnold. All Things Considered, July 1, 2003 · Wayne Jeffrey was fired from his job as a police officer for smoking tobacco off-duty. Not only that, but the action was based on an anonymous letter. It sounds ridiculous, but Jeffrey, like other Massachusetts police officers and firefighters hired since 1988, signed a pledge not to smoke. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

8)LENOIR CITY, Tennessee: A part-time police officer was fired and another resigned after a video of an officer's night shift activities titled "Memoirs of a Lonely Policeman" surfaced online. In one scene filmed inside a gas station, the video contained a caption that read "Me sooo horny" while officer Marc Grossbard was talking to a female clerk. Grossbard, who fills in on the midnight shift, appears in the eight-minute clip on duty and in uniform driving his patrol car and talking with other officers, according to a posting of the video by WBIR-TV. Grossbard was fired Wednesday for violation of several city policies, said Don White, police chief in Lenoir City. Another part-time officer, Kevin Walker, resigned Tuesday, citing personal matters, White said. "I feel like our citizens know that we have a professional police department," White told The Knoxville News Sentinel on Thursday. "This is not a reflection of the whole department, just a reflection of two part-time police officers."

9) Female Police Officer Fired For Appearing In Girls Gone Wild Video-Officer shown on Girls Gone Wild video

A female police officer in Florida was fired recently after it was discovered that she had appeared in a Girls Gone Wild video, a video series notorious for showing partying girls performing lewd, sexual acts for the camera. She showed the tape, which displayed her dancing and touching herself at the Fantasy Fest celebration in Key West in 2001 to a co-worker, supposedly inside a police car in Punta Gorda, Florida. "Her termination was for violating department procedures," said Butch Arenal of the Punta Gorda Police Department. The female officer says that the department knew of the video when they hired her. Can you imagine the moment when she pulls over a guy that has seen her "work" on the Girls Gone Wild video? Now that would be an interesting ticket... I guess it will never happen now though, now that she's been fired.

10) MARTINSVILLE, Ind. -- The Martinsville Police Department has fired a reserve police officer accused of firing a bullet toward the sky during a recent party, 6News' Ben Morriston reported. Police said they believe Reserve Officer David Ferris was intoxicated and pointed his department-issued handgun at his head during a party in a Martinsville-area subdivision. "The information was that he supposedly held it to his head and made statements saying, 'You think I won't? You think I won't?'" Martinsville Police Chief Frans Hollanders said.Authorities said friends tried to talk Ferris into putting down the gun. "While they were doing that, he took the weapon away from his head, pointed it up in the sky and fired a round," Morgan County sheriff's Sgt. Mark Wilson said. No one was hurt. Partygoers took the gun from Ferris and called 911, police said. Police said Ferris pulled the gun after believing that his 17-year-old son flashed a gang sign.

First you want them fired for bringing shame on our profession. Second you want better selection process so that they do not make it in the first place. But you have to acknowledge that the ability of an officer not to let the potential of death and injury to haunt them and diminish their productivity is the same source that produces these problems.

Psalm 116:5-7 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

6 The LORD protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

7 Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My son's letter to the troops-school assignment

Dear my solider friend,

My name is Ross. I am eight years old. My school is Messiah Lutheran School, which is in Chicago, Illinois. I am on a baseball team and play soccer at Merrimack Park and play baseball at Oriole Park. I have fun. My favorite book is the Hardy Boys. They are boys who solve cases. My favorite Hardy book is The Mystery of the Chinese Junk.
Thank you for fighting for us. I know that you are in the army to keep us safe and free. Where are you right now and what do you like to do? If you have a picture of you that you could send me I will take it to school and put it on a bulletin board so we can all pray for you.

Thanks again for serving,


I will post the reply, if any, he gets back.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Unexpected Sacrifices

I was thinking about the two Boston fire fighters that perished in the Tai Ho restaurant fire today. Paul J. Cahill had a blood alochol level of .27 BAC (.08 BAC considered DUI) and Warren J. Payne was found to have cocaine in his system. I then discovered the newspaper article about Wheaton Illinois Officer Thomas M. Wilson (35yoa) who was arrested because he shoved $85 worth of DVD's into his pants and then left a Costco Store.

I began thinking about the sacrifices we give up to be men and women police officers and fire fighters. These sacrifices are not always readily evident nor easily understood by those who partake of our services but are nevertheless outside our chosen fields.

The particular sacrifice I am alluding to is the ability to make personal mistakes and commit actions that lead to self-inflicted wounds. For most people in most professions substance abuse and mental illness damage only themselves with a little collateral damage to the families of those involved in personal destruction. The risk of showing up to work drunk is really about the DUI getting to work and the treat of loosing your job. However PO's and FF's metal and physical relate directly to the welfare of our co-workers and the citizens who we are trying to aid. We do not have the option to be a "functional alcoholic" or mildly psychotic. Simple put we have a lot less room to mess our lives up then the general public.

This may seem like an obvious point but we do not get second chances at life and remain in this profession. Further we do not have the luxury to temporally fall from grace then decide to pick ourselves up. Rather, we fall and then we have to flee.

In law enforcement addiction is three times the average, suicide twice the average and mental illness more than double the national average. I wonder if the added stress of wondering, while you are going through a dark time, if this personal trial will cost you your job. Quite an additional stress to an already stressful situation. While it is best poor personal decisions are never made. nevertheless they are indeed made all the time with terrible consequences. I wonder if I understood when I joined the force that along with many other sacrifices I would be giving up my life "mulligans"?

PO's and FF's sacrifice their ability to make mistakes in their personal lives in order to be there to bail out the public when they suffer the consequences of their personal destructions.

Dead Boston Fire Fighters found to have alcohol and cocaine in their systems

From the Boston Globe

Autopsies find alcohol, some cocaine, 2 officials say

New details on firefighters killed in blaze

By Jonathan Saltzman and Frank Phillips, Globe Staff | October 4, 2007

One of two Boston firefighters who died fighting a fire in a Chinese restaurant in late August was legally intoxicated at the time, and the other had cocaine in his system, two officials said yesterday.

A source who was briefed by a person with knowledge of the autopsies of Paul J. Cahill and Warren J. Payne told the Globe that one firefighter had a blood-alcohol level higher than .08, the level at which someone is too drunk to drive legally in Massachusetts. The other firefighter had traces of cocaine in his system, the source said.

A government official briefed on the findings of the state medical examiner's office said Cahill registered a blood-alcohol level of .27 in the autopsy, which would have placed him at more than three times the legal limit, while Payne had cocaine in his system.

Neither official was specific about the amount of cocaine found in the firefighter.

The two officials were briefed on the autopsy results separately. They spoke separately to the Globe on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

The two veteran firefighters were the first members of the Boston Fire Department to die in the line of duty since 1994. Thousands of white-gloved firefighters from across the country attended their funerals last month, and Governor Deval Patrick and Senator John F. Kerry were among those who paid tribute to two men praised as heroes.

Steve MacDonald, spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, said the department had not received any reports on the district attorney's investigation.

"Right now, just because of the actions today, we just really want to really reach out to the two families of the two firefighters and let them know that we're still thinking of them and we're here for them," he said.

Yesterday afternoon, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Merita Hopkins barred WHDH-TV (Channel 7) from reporting on findings from the autopsies, saying autopsy results are exempt from disclosure under state public records law and can only be released with permission from next of kin. The station informed Hopkins that it would appeal the ruling to a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court today, the judge's clerk said.

The Boston firefighters' union sought the injunction from the judge after learning yesterday morning that the television station intended to report on the autopsy findings.

Paul Hynes, the lawyer for the union, said that the families of Cahill and Payne had not seen the autopsy results and that it would pain them to learn about the findings on television. He also said that the law is unambiguous and that WHDH had to have broken it to obtain the findings.

Wheaton Illinois Officer Arrested

The article from the Chicago Tribune.

Wheaton cop accused of shoplifting in Costco

By Gerry Smith, Tribune staff reporter Tribune staff reporter Art Barnum contributed to this report

October 5, 2007 A Wheaton police officer who was named Officer of the Year in 2006 will appear in court next week with his career in jeopardy after being charged with stealing DVDs costing $85 from a Naperville Costco.

Naperville police arrested Thomas M. Wilson, 35, of the 27W000 block of Washington Street, Winfield, last month and charged him with misdemeanor retail theft after he was accused of putting a four-pack of DVDs in his pants and walking out of the store without paying on Sept. 2, said Naperville police Cmdr. Dave Hoffman.

After a security officer confronted Wilson in the parking lot, he fled on foot and was later seen driving away in a car, Hoffman said. Wilson turned himself in to authorities Sept. 9 and posted a $100 cash bond.

A hearing before the Wheaton Police and Fire Commission to determine Wilson's future at the department has not been scheduled.

A Wheaton police officer for 10 years, Wilson was named Officer of the Year last year and had an "outstanding" career on the force," said Wheaton Police Chief Mark Field.

"As soon as I found out about it, he was immediately placed on suspension with pay," Field said. "I will be seeking his termination."

Wilson's attorney, Michelle Moore, declined to comment on the charges, saying they "raise difficult issues for him and his family."

"He does have a very distinguished record of public service for many, many years," she said. "I think there are some extenuating circumstances at work here."

Last month after his arrest, Wilson applied to enter a court program that allows non-violent offenders with mental illness to receive mental health treatment in lieu of detention, according to court records.

Wilson is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Proof of God-The Causality Argument

Thomas Aquinas was probably the first to use the Causality Argument as published in his "Summa Theologica." Many others have arrived at the same point of view: Only nothing comes from nothing - everything else comes from something. Everything leads back to a more original form.

Thomas Aquinas argues that there is no case known in which a thing turned out to be the efficient cause of itself, because in that case it would be prior to itself, which is impossible. If, however, one thing was caused by another, there would be an infinite chain of cause and effect, which would be impossible. But if we take away the ultimate cause it is to take away the effect. If in efficient causes it is possible to go on to infinity, there will be no first efficient cause, neither will there be an ultimate effect. Therefore it is necessary to admit a first efficient cause, to which everyone gives the name of God.

Thx: http://www.self-realization.com/articles/proof_God.htm

In other words: A professor and his student are on a long walk through the woods. After some time they come into a clearing and see a small perfectly round crystal ball, sitting on the ground. They quickly look around but soon discover that they are alone. The student asks his professor, "Is there any way to determine how this ball came into being?" The professor responds, "Clearly by its flawless carving and polishing and where it has been laid we can determine, at least, that it was placed here by the hand of man and not by a random act of nature." The student pauses for a moment and asks, "If this crystal ball was the size of a boulder, would it be greater proof of an intelligent creator." The professor nodded his agreement. The student stated further, "If this was the size of a building would that be even greater proof of its intelligent creator?" Again the professor nodded. Finally the student said,"If this crystal ball was the size of the whole world?" The professor quickly responded, "No then it would be by accident."

There is no effect without a cause. You can follow this cause and effect train all the way back to one cause-that cause being God.

Proof of God-The Ontological Argument

These are straight from the source...

1. St. Anselm (around 1077) developed what is now called the "Ontological Argument" for the Existence of God in his book "Faith Seeking Understanding." He argued:
Men believe God to be the Being than which none greater can be thought. It is greater to exist in reality and in the understanding than to exist in the understanding alone. Therefore, it is contradictory to hold that God exists only in the intellect, for then the being than which none greater can be thought is one than which a greater can be thought, namely, one that exists both in reality and in the understanding. 2. Descartes:"Whatever is contained in a clear and distinct idea of a thing must be predicated of that thing; but a clear and distinct idea of an absolutely perfect Being contains the notion of actual existence; therefore since we have the idea of an absolutely perfect Being such a Being must really exist."

3. Leibniz:"God is at least possible since the concept of Him as the Infinite implies no contradiction; but if He is possible He must exist because the concept of Him involves existence."

Thanks to: http://www.self-realization.com/articles/proof_God.htm

Monday, October 1, 2007

Proof of God-Gambler's Proof

Gambler's Proof

1) If you do not believe in God and there is no God then you win and gain nothing.
2) If you do not believe in God and there is a God then you loose and gain hell.
3) If you believe in God and there is no God you loose and loose nothing.
4) If you believe in God and there is a God you win-heaven-everything.

There is only one sure bet.