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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Gothic New Years Eve

In 2007 I was in the basement of Macy's walking through their wine department looking for something different to bring over to a friends house for their New Years Eve party.  I stumbled into a section and discovered a sparkling Shiraz.  It is a traditional bottle fermented sparkling wine ( Champagne is a sparkling wine from a specific region of France).  Since most people's experience with anything red and bubbling is a super sweet wine they are always taken aback by it bold and very dry flavors.  It is a tradition in Australia and now in our home.

I do have to admit it feels a little like Gothic New Years Eve when I put up my glass to toast everyone in attendance and their clear little yellow wine is off set by my dark red bubbling glass.

Cheers, to a new year.  May God continue to bless you and your family in 2011.

Jeremiah 29:11 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Fellowship of Christian Police Officers-Elgin Chapter

I am a member of FCPO and used to attend the Elgin Chapter.  I really didn't know a lot of people there but I attended a number of times over the course of the year so they did know who I was and my department.  A scheduling conflict then came up and I missed a number of meetings.

Here's what bothers me a bit...I am on their email distribution list so I am notified about the meetings and coming events so they have my contact info...no one followed up about my missed meetings.  I started thinking that really no one at that chapter really cared if I attended or did not attend.  It was a little click-y and I was a new comer with limited or no professional contact with the other members and they had a lot in common but I did think at the time they wanted me there.  So I decided to wait it out and see what happens, because I could really be over reacting or just being selfish about my feelings.

My hypothesis became conclusion when I was serving at the Greg Laurie Chicago Crusade.  I happened to run into another member of the group, and he even remembered my name.  But, no how have you been, thinking about making another meeting or anything at all about the FCPO.  I had to bring it up and just gave him an excuse about why I was not currently attending just to see what he said.  What I got was a nodding of the head and nothing more.  So clearly they did not want me at the meetings...and with that I never went back, even though that scheduling conflict has since resolved itself.

Now the point of all of this is not to place blame since I could have been the cause of the problem and unintentionally alienated everyone and no one wanted to confront me on it.  I have just closed that chapter and moved on.  But the point is, please, if you are in a leadership position in church or Christian organization make sure you check in and reach out to the marginal people in your group.  It is easy for new Christians or people with problems or whatever to flow right out of church and right back into the evil of this world.  You need to always be holding that hand out to bring them back in.  One call, one coffee, may be all thats needed to shine a little of his light into another's life.

By the way a friend of mine went to the Chicago chapter of FCPO a couple of months ago and the first thing they mentioned after they had caught up with her was to ask how I was doing and see if I would be attending again any time soon.  Guess which group I will be going back to...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here we go again...this time an injury with a holiday theme

I had to visit the emergency room again Sunday...this time I tried to put a screwdriver through my hand while shucking oysters for our holiday dinner.

When it slipped and then hit, I yelled, "Shuck!  What the shell!  Clam-it!"  Or something similar.  Two hours, an ER visit, three sutures, one superglued thumb and a tetanus shot later I was able to eat the oysters I shucked.  I knew that things were bad when I looked into the wound, it had not started bleeding and the edges were white which meant I had cut through the fat layer.

Have a happy new years and stay safer than me.

Funny thing, the injury that hurts the most is the site of the injection.  The revenge of the eaten.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Christmas Work Party.

Been posting this a lot but here we go again...been neglecting the blog. Well I hope to end this year with a ton of posts to put a better cap on the blog for 2010 than how I started it. Plus I need to start using “you are” when appropriate.

Anyway I am in the midst of the office Christmas party season as is everyone else.  It’s a strange dance between drinking enough to appear social and not so much that you say or do something antisocial.  Think drunk guy stumbling through the different circles of conversations and knocking over the gift table to get back to the bar or worse.

The open bar has been the death of many a career and the ascendant of very few. What I always find interesting is that what was said that I am sure will cause a painful career backlash for the parties involved comes to nothing, but the off hand iniquitous remark becomes the ball affixed to the leg of ones career.  Then add to the fun that everyone in the room is a cop and trained to notice the smallest detail and commit them to memory...the party may be for one night but the legend lives forever.

So, be careful, not only to avoid the drunken driving crash but the drunken career crash as well.


P.S. stay with beer, the others are killers.  Or well...moderation but that seems to run away before I could ever have a chance to catch it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Surveillance-Hours and Hours of Waiting for Something to Happen.

I created this on a recent surveillance.  Hours go by and nothing happens...wish it was more like the movies and the second you get there the target incriminates himself/herself.

As you can see I am a doodle-ninja.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feeling the Heat-Police Laid off

Laid off Prospect Heights Officer
When I became a Police Officer fourteen years ago I knew that my employment was going to have a large trade off. I was going into a field that would be exciting, offer opportunities to enrich people’s daily lives and have a standard of job security not offered anywhere in the private sector. The trade off was I would not be able to take advantage of the economy when times were good and I would not be individually rewarded for my performance. The worst officer on the force makes the same as the best, even more if the worse has more time on. The promotions are not based on your performance but rather on your ability to answer a written test and your answers before an oral panel made up of the chief’s law enforcement’s friends, once every three years.

When times were good I would receive calls from my college buddies calling me stupid and lazy while their stock soared and they drove high-end BMW’s. When times were bad they would call and express their collective jealousy that they had been laid off while I was in no danger whatsoever of loosing mine. The trade off worked. Till Now.

Hoffman Estates-Laid off 4 Officers

Prospect Heights-Laid off 6 Officers

Naperville-Laid off 6 Officers

Other cities that have laid off police: Barrington, Calumet City, Downers Grove, Fox Lake, Highwood, Hinsdale, Hoffman Estates, Lake in the Hills, Lakemoor, Mundelein, Park Ridge, River Forest, Wauconda, Worth.

Story about Police Officers Laid Off

There have been over 300 officers laid off in Illinois this year alone.  That number does not include support staff who are easiler (due to lack of contact, no negative PR problems for the cities, etc)to lay off and their numbers easily are three times the number of police laid off.

So one of the major features of working in local law enforcement is slowly going away.
It has gotten so bad that even one of the major police academies The University of Illinois Police Training Institute (PTI) will be closing.  I never thought that would happen it has been a cash cow for the school for years.  But if no one is hiring police no police need to be trained. 

I would not recommend anyone seek a career in law enforcement unless they would be going to the Federal level-they have not let anyone go...as of yet.  Why take a reduction in salary and the lack of opportunities for advancement if you are going to be subject to the swings in the economy equal to the private sector?  While I have loved this job if I was just entering the job market I would have sought opportunity elsewhere.

Wow if only these Municipalities had done this:

 Genesis 41:34-36

34 Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. 35 They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. 36 This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

Christian cop, Christian law enforcment, Christian police, Christian Officer

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Blow to the Mexican Cartels-The Pig Captured

I try to keep up with the Mexican and American law enforcement responses to the danger that are the Mexican Drug Cartels.

I find our war with these criminal organizations analogous to the FBI’s war with the Chicago/ Philadelphia/New York Mafia in the post world war two era. The criminal organizations became violent over territory and profits and eventually law enforcement stepped in. It took a long time but eventually law enforcement took out all the major heads from all the competing families. The result was a neutered Mafia but one that still exists in a stunted form. That’s the future for these Mexican crime syndicates.

The Pig (Manuel Fernandez Valencia) has now been captured. A man that had direct connections to El Chapo, Mayo and ABL.

In the last three years, A.B.L.(Arturo Beltran Leyva) and Nacho (Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel)--killed.

VCN (Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla) , The Flores’ Brothers, Alfredo Beltran Leyva, La Barbie (Édgar Váldez Villarreal) and now The Pig --captured. Their talent pool is drying up, one man at a time.

ABL KilledThe Pig CapturedNacho KilledVCN CapturedThe Flores BrothersLa Barbie Arrested

The Story - the link first http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1327974/Alleged-drug-dealer-Manuel-Fernandez-Valencia-The-Sow-arrested-Mexican-police.html

Bringing home the bacon: Alleged drug dealer nicknamed 'The Sow' arrested by Mexican police
By Daily Mail Reporter

A drug kingpin nicknamed 'The Sow' has been arrested after a stand-off with Mexican federal police.

Manuel Fernandez Valencia is linked to the notorious Sinaloa cartel and is suspected of plotting with one of Mexico's most wanted drug lords to smuggle eight tons of marijuana into the US.

Seven other men suspected of working for the cartel were detained with Valencia.

The drug dealer worked closely with cartel capo Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman smuggling drugs into the United States.

He has been wanted for extradition to the US since 2009 on charges of trafficking heroin and cocaine, and the two met at least five times recently, police said.

Guzman and Ismael 'El Mayo' Zambada, who authorities say control the Sinaloa cartel, are Mexico's two most notorious fugitives, with a $2 million reward offered for information on their whereabouts.

Fernandez Valencia was courted by the leaders of the rival Beltran Leyva cartel in 2007, but he chose to remain with Guzman, police claimed.

In August, his son Marcial was slain in Culiacan, apparently because the killers mistook him for Guzman's son.

One drove a white Ferrari and the other a white Lamborghini

Police said intelligence indicated Guzman called Fernandez Valencia personally to apologise and vow to find the killers.

Monday's arrests come on the heels of the death of reputed Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, also known as 'Tony Tormenta' or 'Tony the Storm,' one of a string of high-profile kingpins who have been captured or killed by security forces stationed throughout the country to battle drug traffickers.
2 Samuel 23:6But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns, which are not gathered with the hand.

Christian Police Officer, Christian Cop, Christian Law Enforcment, Christian police

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crisis-provides proof of who you really are

I was randomly watching the TV the other day to burn up some time before I had to pick up my kids from whatever they were doing (their so busy that I can not remember what it was) when I came across a History Channel show about the Battle of  Fredericksburg.  The battle that turned into a meat grinder for the Union Army as they vainly tried to take a hill that the confederates were holding from a sunken road and a stone fence.  It’s a story that concerns heroic bravery, inept military leadership, an essay of the temporal nature of life and the mercy of one man.

It got me thinking about the nature of war and the basic nature of a true life and death crisis.  A number of people around me have stated at one time or another that they do not know or really understand who they are, what abilities they have and what is inside their core being.  All people wear masks, whether Christian or secular, we all try to hide who we really are.  We try to minimize our flaws, our base carnal nature, and over promote our gifts.  We get so good at masking who and what we are loose the sense of our true selves.  We end up wearing a mask to disguise us from ourselves.

Life and death crisis strips away our masks and reveales our true nature not only to ourselves but to all of those around us.  There is no time to carry all the layers of lies around when survival is at stake, we just have time to react as we are.

I have been in this situation a number of times and the results have been, at best, mixed.  There have been times when I have shown what the light of Christ in a life can produce and I have also shown what a flawed sinful person can produce.  It has always been eye opening.   

I am a work in progress, taking guidenence from the Bible, daily prayer, accountability to fellow Christians, to hopefully improve the core of the true me to come one tiny bit closer to God’s own heart.

I want to be Richard Kirkland, The Angel of Marye's Heights.  Not the Richard Kirkland that fought for the wrong side of the Civil War which fought for evil ideals, but the Kirkland that found himself in crisis at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  I want to be Kirkland at that one place at that one time.  I want my core to be this believer's heart of mercy that day for that reason.

His Story:

December of 1862, Kirkland had become a combat veteran, having seen action at 1st Manassas, Savage Station, Maryland Heights and Antietam. He had also witnessed the death of several of his best friends.

During the Battle of Fredericksburg on Dec. 13, 1862, Kirklandâs unit formed behind the Stone Wall at the base of Maryeâs Heights and helped slaughter the Union attackers. After a day of severe fighting, the scene shifted from severe fighting to tremendous suffering.

After dark on the 13th, doctors and soldiers began caring for the injured. The walking wounded made their way to the rear while those with disabling wounds remained on the field.

Daylight on the 14th revealed a ghastly scene to the Confederates behind the Stone Wall. About 8,000 Union soldiers had been shot in front of the wall and many of them remained where they had fallen. As hours went by without food, water or medical treatment, their suffering increased.

Nearby soldiers from both sides listened to the painful cries and pleas for help. While the suffering emotionally moved many, none dared face almost certain death to provide help.

At some point in the day, Kirkland could no longer bear listening to the pleas, so he walked over to the home of Martha Stevens. He went upstairs and told General Joseph Kershaw, his brigade commander, that he would like to try and help the wounded Union soldiers.

The surprised general at first refused the request, but he later relented. Kirkland gathered all the canteens he could carry and filled them at the near by water well. Then, at extreme risk to himself, he ventured out to help the Federal soldiers. He carried water and warm clothing to the suffering Federal soldiers.

He ventured back and forth several times, giving the wounded Union soldiers water, warm clothing, and blankets. Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies watched as he performed his task, but no one fired a shot. General Kershaw later stated that he observed Kirkland for more than an hour and a half. At first, it was thought that the Union would open fire, which would result in the Confederacy returning fire, resulting in Kirkland being caught in a crossfire. However, within a very short time, it became obvious to both sides as to what Kirkland was doing, and according to Kershaw cries for water erupted all over the battlefield from wounded soldiers. Kirkland did not stop until he had helped every wounded soldier (confederate and federal) on the Confederate's end of the battlefield. Sergeant Kirkland's actions remain a legend in Fredericksburg to this day.

I want to be Kirkland, a heart for at least one day that was the heart of Christ, the heart of mercy, the true light of the Divine out the core of himself.  So far I am far short.

Matthew 20:31
The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, havemercy on us!”

- Christian Cop - Christian law enforcement - Christian Officer

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Baylor Bears Beats The Texas Long Horns at Austin!

My Baylor Bears have actually beat Texas at Austin.

Since the two teams have been playing football against each other (1901) Baylor has managed to beat Texas in their home stadium eight times.  A Chicago Cub like record.  The last time they beat Texas at Austin was in 1997, the year I started on the job, a long long time ago.

We are now bowl eligible for the first time since 1995.

We are ranked in the top 25 (25) for the first time since 1993.

Baylor has never beaten more than two Big 12 teams...EVER...(Baylor has wins over Texas, Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado).

Aaahhhh so this is what it feels to be a fan of a winning collegiate football team.  Been a long while.

A Christian Police Blog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Good Police Work Nets Good Results

Police Work really is about keeping your mind open, observations sharp and your work ethic up.  I think its like any job in that the tasks become repetitive over time but a good Officer does not allow one incident to slip into the other and stays aware.  The big case or the treat to your life could come from your first traffic stop, the fiftieth, the hundredth and so on.  Here is a case of excellent police work by an officer that was aware and scored the big hit doing an mundane police task.

First the Link: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/article_3b0ebd48-bec0-5b62-83d0-3cd13c6381fc.html

Indiana State Police find $1.6 million in cocaine hidden in car

By Sarah Tompkins sarah.tompkins@nwi.com, (219) 836-3780 | Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 12:00 am |(11) Comments

Two Chicago residents were charged Friday October 21, 2010 with dealing cocaine after an Indiana State Police drug bust the night before revealed more than a million dollars worth of cocaine in a hidden compartment of their car.
Driver Doris Reyes, 40, and passenger Carlos Lopez, 20, could face between 20 and 50 years in prison if convicted, authorities said.
Trooper Jerry George pulled over Reyes' vehicle about 9 p.m. Thursday for unsafe lane movement on the Indiana Toll Road in Portage and noticed some "indicators of criminal activity" that led to a search, authorities said.
Details of the indications were not released, though an officer said the individuals' stories did not match up. Police were told the car was heading to Maryland from Chicago for a family visit.
Portage police brought a drug-sniffing dog to the scene that identified narcotics were present.
"A vehicle search located an odd piece of metal at the rear of the vehicle with what appeared to be hinges," Trooper Jason Carmin said. "Further examination under the vehicle showed aftermarket work that appeared to be a hidden compartment. "
Two mechanical arms lifted the rear floor of the 2004 Ford Expedition, revealing about 14 kilograms of cocaine. Fourteen kilograms of cocaine equates to about a $1.6 million resale value on the street.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chemically Burned Hands-Fun!

We were on the street in the very early morning hours when we needed to test the substances we seized.  It was discovered that we were all out of testing kits so one had to be scrounged up and it turned out to be one of the old Marquis Testing kits.

If you have never used these kits the are a short plastic straw with a small glass ampule on either end.  You pop the top put trace amounts of the illicit narotic that is to be tested into the tube, put the cap back on and then crush the top and bottom ampules.  If it turnes blue/purple you positively field tested cocaine or heroin, way to go guy!

Ok back to the story, I decided not to use the old kit and wait for some new ones to show up.  While this was happening I was rolling one of the little ampules around my fingers talking to the assembled and currently inactive group.  Now what you need to know is that this ampule containes concerterated Sulfuric Acid.  A very strong acid (or if your the Blues Brothers "Glue...strong stuff").  The glass on the ampule is thin so it can be crushed in your fingers, while its safely in the plastic straw (you know what going to happen next).  I was lost in thought trying to solve a minor problem when I put a little too much pressure on the ampule and *POP* it went, splashing my hand in acid and embedding a thousand tiny glass shards into my right hand.

Knowing that if I said anything or admitted my hands were burning off or someone realized what I had done, I would be reliving this moment once a month for the rest of my career to be capped off as a small vignette at my retirement party, I put a fake smile on my face, placed my left hand over my right (causing it to start burning with acid) and slowly, calmly walked to the bathroom.  I then proceeded to wash my hands.  At this point a little High School chemistry came back to me and I realized while my hands were clean they were still burning and turning yellow.

Start the frantic searching for some alkali! At the kitchenette I found some Comet Cleanser and after about ten washings the burning finally stopped.

The result, bright yellow streaks throughout my left and right hands and two burn marks.

See Law Enforcement is dangerous and...I am a dumb-ass. But I didn't get caught, but they did ask if I was obsessive-compulsive about hand washing.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Facebook-Data Mining One "I-Like" at a Time

I was driving, somewhere work related, when I heard this report on NPR about the Facebook "I Like" button popping up on so many web sites. What you may not know is when you hit the button Facebook sends your demographic data to that company, oh and the demographic data from each of your Facebook "friends". My initial reaction was one of anger and to vow to never hit any "I Like" button ever again. But then I began thinking, the service that I use is free, to stay free it needs a revenue source and this is making them billions and saving each company millions in market research. Plus if you want to influence the products that you use and enjoy each and everyday then the "I Like" button is a benefit to you.

But then if it was so harmless and beneficial, then why did they keep this data mining secret? I have yet to make up my mind but the business practices of Facebook is starting to remind me of Microsoft about ten years ago.

The article from the NPR site
Here is the link: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/10/01/pm-marketers-like-that-you-like

Here is the article:

Marketers like that you "Like"

The ubiquitous, but innocuous "Like" button on your favorite retail and media websites is a boon for marketers. Just one click and they access to a full range of your personal details -- and your friends' too.

KAI RYSSDAL: The movie to see this weekend -- by all the reviews that I've read, anyway -- is "The Social Network." It's the one about how Facebook got started and turned into the be all and end all of social networking that we know today.

Even if you don't have a Facebook account yourself, though, it's pretty hard to miss. Go to almost any corporate website today -- newspapers to consumer products to food -- and you'll notice the Facebook "Like" button. It's about the size of a Tic Tac. It's got a little picture of a thumbs-up on it.

Marketplace's Stacey Vanek Smith reports consumers and companies seem to be liking it.

STACEY VANEK SMITH: See a cute picture of your friend's Labradoodle?


You like it. Read a great article about Fashion Week in the New York Times?


You like it. A cool new tequila bar, "Wall Street 2," the striped grandpa cardigan at Urban Outfitters...

Zing, zing, zing!

Since it was launched five months ago, nearly two million websites -- from the New York Times to Pepsi to Yelp -- have added the Facebook "Like" button to their web pages, and it's not just about ego.

SALLY FIELD: You like me, right now! You really like me!

When you click on the little thumbs up icon, you hand over your Facebook data to the company and it gets access to your friends' data, too.

James Fowler is the co-author of "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks."

JAMES FOWLER: All of a sudden, they're tapped in to this vast resource that is going to help them to have a much finer picture of each one of their consumers.

So that company you "like"...


...Suddenly knows where you live, where you went on vacation, your favorite bands, your friends' favorite bands. Just about everything on your Facebook page. And the "Like" button boils all that down for companies. Fowler says that's what companies really like about the "Like" button.

FOWLER: It used to be that the problem was, we didn't have enough information. And now I think, increasingly, the probably is we don't have enough tools to sift through all of these mountains of data that we're collecting online. Essentially, what the "like" button is a one-question questionnaire.

In other words, pushing the "Like" button...


...is like sending up a flare.

Whistle of flare flying up

A flare telling a company, "I like your products -- offer me a deal!"

Andreas Weigend teaches social networking and data mining at Stanford.

ANDREAS WEIGEND: If you actually really deeply think about, it is that you are doing the broadcasting and they're tuning in. I think it will change the behavior of the next billion people.

Weigend says the Facebook "Like" button is turning our relationship with business on its head. We are suddenly marketing products for companies: Flagging ourselves as people they should sell things to, endorsing the product to our friends and handing the company our friends' information.

MEGAN O'CONNER: We definitely have seen huge excitement and engagement around the "Like" button.

Megan O'Conner heads up social marketing for Levi's, one of the earliest "Like" button adopters. She says the simplicity of the "Like" button is key. In the last six months, about a million people have said they "like" Levi's.

Zing! Zing! Zing! Zing! Zing!

O'CONNER: We have ratings and reviews on our site, which takes a little bit longer for somebody to engage with, and this is a really light touch way that people can engage with our products and really share that engagement with their friends.

So you can "like" the Jaded Rinse Boyfriend jean...


...or the Cry Baby Skinny jeans...


...and set up a Friends Store with your Facebook pals so you can see what they like, and they can see what you like and Levi's can see what everybody likes.

"Connected" author James Fowler says the "Like" button is letting retailers tap into the all-powerful friends network for the first time.

FOWLER: We tend to choose friends who are like us. Sociologists call this "homophily": It's a word that literally means "love of like," birds of a feather flock together. Because we tend to choose these people who are like us, knowing what they like helps us to know what we like.

And we like to know what we like, says Matt Britton, CEO of social marketing firm Mr. Youth. He says we trust information from our friends.

MATT BRITTON: Say I'm searching for an Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If I see seven of my friends all like one restaurant, I'm going to go there, and I don't care what else is on a search engine.

Britton says Google does not like this.


because Google has focused on bringing us the most popular results for our searches, but Facebook could show us what is most popular among our friends. What they thought of the movie you're buying a ticket for, or the brand of paint you're thinking about using in the nursery.

BRITTON: In a lot of ways, your social network soon is going to be the web. The web is your social network, where every website you're on and every web browser experience will be in some way socially enabled.

Britton says Facebook is hoping its "Like" button will just be the beginning, and eventually everything we search for, read about and shop for will be filtered through our network of Facebook friends. In other words, Facebook's little button?


Is, like, huge.

I'm Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.

And to include another thing to consider, here is a Wall Street Journal article about in "accidental" data mining committed by Facebook and its 3rd party apps.


The Journal Article Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304772804575558484075236968.html

The Article
Facebook in Privacy Breach
Top-Ranked Applications Transmit Personal IDs, a Journal Investigation Finds

Many of the most popular applications, or "apps," on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.

The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings. The practice breaks Facebook's rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users' activities secure.

The problem has ties to the growing field of companies that build detailed databases on people in order to track them online—a practice the Journal has been examining in its What They Know series. It's unclear how long the breach was in place. On Sunday, a Facebook spokesman said it is taking steps to "dramatically limit" the exposure of users' personal information.

"A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user's Internet browser or by an application," the spokesman said. Knowledge of an ID "does not permit access to anyone's private information on Facebook," he said, adding that the company would introduce new technology to contain the problem identified by the Journal.

"Our technical systems have always been complemented by strong policy enforcement, and we will continue to rely on both to keep people in control of their information," the Facebook official said.

"Apps" are pieces of software that let Facebook's 500 million users play games or share common interests with one another. The Journal found that all of the 10 most popular apps on Facebook were RapLeaf said that transmission was unintentional. "We didn't do it on purpose," said Joel Jewitt, vice president of business development for RapLeaf.

Facebook said it previously has "taken steps ... to significantly limit Rapleaf's ability to use any Facebook-related data."

Facebook prohibits app makers from transferring data about users to outside advertising and data companies, even if a user agrees. The Journal's findings shed light on the challenge of policing those rules for the 550,000 apps on its site.

The Journal's findings are the latest challenge for Facebook, which has been criticized in recent years for modifying its privacy rules to expose more of a user's information. This past spring, the Journal found that Facebook was transmitting the ID numbers to advertising companies, under some circumstances, when a user clicked on an ad. Facebook subsequently discontinued the practice.

"This is an even more complicated technical challenge than a similar issue we successfully addressed last spring on Facebook.com," a Facebook spokesman said, "but one that we are committed to addressing."The privacy issue follows Facebook's effort just this month to give its users more control over its apps, which privacy activists had cited as a potential hole in users' ability to control who sees their information. On Oct. 6, Facebook created a control panel that lets users see which apps are accessing which categories of information about them. It indicates, for example, when an application accesses a user's "basic information" (including a user ID and name). However, it doesn't detail what information friends' applications have accessed about a user.transmitting users' IDs to outside companies.

The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user's friends to outside companies.

Most apps aren't made by Facebook, but by independent software developers. Several apps became unavailable to Facebook users after the Journal informed Facebook that the apps were transmitting personal information; the specific reason for their unavailability remains unclear.

The information being transmitted is one of Facebook's basic building blocks: the unique "Facebook ID" number assigned to every user on the site. Since a Facebook user ID is a public part of any Facebook profile, anyone can use an ID number to look up a person's name, using a standard Web browser, even if that person has set all of his or her Facebook information to be private. For other users, the Facebook ID reveals information they have set to share with "everyone," including age, residence, occupation and photos.

The apps reviewed by the Journal were sending Facebook ID numbers to at least 25 advertising and data firms, several of which build profiles of Internet users by tracking their online activities.

Defenders of online tracking argue that this kind of surveillance is benign because it is conducted anonymously. In this case, however, the Journal found that one data-gathering firm, RapLeaf Inc., had linked Facebook user ID information obtained from apps to its own database of Internet users, which it sells. RapLeaf also transmitted the Facebook IDs it obtained to a dozen other firms, the Journal found.

RapLeaf said that transmission was unintentional. "We didn't do it on purpose," said Joel Jewitt, vice president of business development for RapLeaf.

Facebook said it previously has "taken steps ... to significantly limit Rapleaf's ability to use any Facebook-related data."

Facebook prohibits app makers from transferring data about users to outside advertising and data companies, even if a user agrees. The Journal's findings shed light on the challenge of policing those rules for the 550,000 apps on its site.

The Journal's findings are the latest challenge for Facebook, which has been criticized in recent years for modifying its privacy rules to expose more of a user's information. This past spring, the Journal found that Facebook was transmitting the ID numbers to advertising companies, under some circumstances, when a user clicked on an ad. Facebook subsequently discontinued the practice.

"This is an even more complicated technical challenge than a similar issue we successfully addressed last spring on Facebook.com," a Facebook spokesman said, "but one that we are committed to addressing."

The privacy issue follows Facebook's effort just this month to give its users more control over its apps, which privacy activists had cited as a potential hole in users' ability to control who sees their information. On Oct. 6, Facebook created a control panel that lets users see which apps are accessing which categories of information about them. It indicates, for example, when an application accesses a user's "basic information" (including a user ID and name). However, it doesn't detail what information friends' applications have accessed about a user.

Facebook apps transform Facebook into a hub for all kinds of activity, from playing games to setting up a family tree. Apps are considered an important way for Facebook to extend the usefulness of its network. The company says 70% of users use apps each month.

Applications are also a growing source of revenue beyond advertising for Facebook itself, which sells its own virtual currency that can be used to pay for games.

Following an investigation by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner, Facebook in June limited applications to accessing only the public parts of a user's profile, unless the user grants additional permission. (Canadian officials later expressed satisfaction with Facebook's steps.) Previously, applications could tap any data the user had access to, including detailed profiles and information about a user's friends.

It's not clear if developers of many of the apps transmitting Facebook ID numbers even knew that their apps were doing so. The apps were using a common Web standard, known as a "referer," which passes on the address of the last page viewed when a user clicks on a link. On Facebook and other social-networking sites, referers can expose a user's identity.

The company says it has disabled thousands of applications at times for violating its policies. It's unclear how many, if any, of those cases involved passing user information to marketing companies.

Facebook also appeared to have shut down some applications the Journal found to be transmitting user IDs, including several created by LOLapps Media Inc., a San Francisco company backed with $4 million in venture capital. LOLapp's applications include Gift Creator, with 3.5 million monthly active users, Quiz Creator, with 1.4 million monthly active users, Colorful Butterflies and Best Friends Gifts.

Since Friday, users attempting to access those applications received either an error message or were reverted to Facebook's home screen.

"We have taken immediate action to disable all applications that violate our terms," a Facebook spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for LOLapps Media declined to comment.

The applications transmitting Facebook IDs may have breached their own privacy policies, as well as industry standards, which say sites shouldn't share and advertisers shouldn't collect personally identifiable information without users' permission. Zynga, for example, says in its privacy policy that it "does not provide any Personally Identifiable Information to third-party advertising companies."

A Zynga spokeswoman said, "Zynga has a strict policy of not passing personally identifiable information to any third parties. We look forward to working with Facebook to refine how web technologies work to keep people in control of their information."

The most expansive use of Facebook user information uncovered by the Journal involved RapLeaf. The San Francisco company compiles and sells profiles of individuals based in part on their online activities.

The Journal found that some LOLapps applications, as well as the Family Tree application, were transmitting users' Facebook ID numbers to RapLeaf. RapLeaf then linked those ID numbers to dossiers it had previously assembled on those individuals, according to RapLeaf. RapLeaf then embedded that information in an Internet-tracking file known as a "cookie."

RapLeaf says it strips out the user's name when it embeds the information in the cookie and shares that information for ad targeting. However, The Wall Street Journal found that RapLeaf transmitted Facebook user IDs to a dozen other advertising and data firms, including Google Inc.'s Invite Media.

All 12 companies said that they didn't collect, store or use the information.

Ilya Nikolayev, chief executive of Familybuilder, maker of the Family Tree application, said in an email, "It is Familybuilder's corporate policy to keep any actual, potential, current or prior business partnerships, relationships, customer details, and any similar information confidential. As this story relates to a company other than Familybuilder, we have nothing further to contribute."

Psalm 35:11
Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blackhawk's game vs Nashville Predators

My day started out incredibly stressfull in that I had to take the written portion of my departments Sargent promotional examination, one hundred questions on 528 pages of General Orders.  It ended at the Hawks game which made my night even though they lost.

We were in section 217 which is the club level.  I have to say having our own waiter at our seats and having nice leather over-stuffed chairs in the bar area in between periods really makes a difference.  I am not sure if I can go back to the top level where my shoes stick to the floor and the bathroom line is two hours long with guys peeing in the sinks.

Well, but then again this is hockey.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I know I took some time off on the blog but not a whole month...where does the time go?  Sorry.  But on the flip side I have ideas for four or five topics so I will make up for my laxity quite quickly.

So to get back into the swing of things the following links are to petitions of various types that deserve your consideration.  Hit on the link and go to the petition site to electronically sign them.

 Change Illinois Pension Code for Police Officers

Reverse Parole Decision For Cop Killer Henry Gargano

No Parole For Ronald del Raine

Allow disabled Illinois Police Officers to carry their firearms

Police Officer Anthony T. Dwyerhttp://www.gopetition.com/petitions/police-officer-anthony-t-dwyer.html

Police Officer Robert Sorrentino, deny Russell Carroll parolehttp://www.gopetition.com/petitions/police-officer-robert-sorrentino-deny-russell-carroll-parole.html

Police Officer George Werdann

Maryland Fallen Police Officers' Memorial

And thanks to Duke's Daily Blotter for making me aware of this petition site.  It truly is a great blog.


PS:  For the life of me I will never understand why a "Cop Killer" ever gets parole.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Got another one-the Mexican Cartels take another hit

The war with the Mexican Cartels is much like the war against the Mafia from 1900-1990.  The war is winnable but it will be long, exhausting, deadly and expansive.  The final result will be a castrated cartel but not an eradicated which is what the Mafia is today.

Here is another one that I have been reading about for some time.

He's rumored to have killed 250+ or more for ABL.  But like Vicente he went down without a fight.  The number 2 for ABL and the number 3 for Chapo are now in US custody... whose next?

I am liking Calderón more and more

The news article.


Edgar Valdez Villarreal – suspected drug lord 'La Barbie' – arrested in Mexico

Mexico City – Mexico officials announced late Monday that they captured Edgar Valdez Villarreal, or “La Barbie,” one of the country's most-wanted men. Authorities have described him as a powerful drug lord responsible for supplying the American market with cocaine.

The arrest handed Mexican President Felipe Calderón a badly needed victory just ahead of his annual state-of-the-union address Wednesday.

Mr. Valdez, who was born in Texas and nicknamed “La Barbie” for his fair complexion, was captured Monday outside Mexico City. He is the third major trafficking suspect to be taken down in the past eight months. The military killed Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a suspected leader in the Sinaloa Cartel, in a July operation in Jalisco. In December, Arturo Beltran Leyva, the founder of a group that Valdez is allegedly vying to control, was killed by Mexican marines.

The capture is already being touted by Calderón's administration as a major success. “The capture of Valdez Villarreal is a high-impact blow against organized crime,” national security spokesman Alejandro Poire said in an e-mailed statement Monday night.

IN PICTURES: Mexico's drug war

Mr. Poire said the capture demonstrates that the federal government's public security office and its intelligence-gathering operations are capable. He said the search for the suspected drug lord was carried out across six Mexican states.

The government says that Valdez, 37, is a top player in the Beltran Leyva Cartel, and that his power has grown since the group´s founder Arturo Beltran Leyva was killed late last year. The group is suspected of being behind the growing violence in the central state of Mexico, bringing the types of beheadings andgangland violence to the capital region that were once confined to border towns hundreds of miles away.

Poire called Valdez a “highly dangerous criminal” who made connections with groups in Central and South America to smuggle drugs into the US, where he is also wanted. The US had offered $2 million for his capture, after an indictment alleged he had smuggled thousands of pounds of cocaine into the US.

The capture comes amid a string of recent setbacks for the Calderón administration, including the assassination of two mayors, a massacre of 72 migrants, and car bombs and continued attacks against journalists.

On Monday, 3,200 federal police were fired for alleged corruption and other offenses, another blow to an administration attempting to rebuild the federal police force and instill public trust in the institution.

But it is unclear whether the capture will quell violence or cause it to increase in the short-term. More than 28,000 people have been killed since Calderón took office nearly four years ago, in part, the government says, because pressure has caused drug gangs to splinter and fight one another.

Oh and good-bye Nacho where ever you are.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You know your a cop when...

Yes I know this have been done to death but hey I can contribute just like the rest of the herd.  So here is a brief list of and in no particular order....


  • You get onto a crowded elevator and turn slightly so that every eye is on you and you can watch every eye.
  • You are the last to get to the table at the restaurant but your the first to sit down because everyone had to get back up so that your seat is against the wall and views the exits.
  • Memories of the Fourth of July are not of parades, picnics and fireworks but they are of stupid drivers that would not follow your directions and drunken idiots that just plain couldn't.
  • Halloween see above and add little kids running into traffic.
  • That at one point in your career the midnight shift guy at the local convenience store is your best friend and you can't quite figure out just what country he came from. 
  •  Your regular friends ask you to stop calling at 2:00am to find out how they are because work is slow.
  • Waving to your wife when you are going to bed as she is getting up to go to work.
  • Having to say, "Ma'am please put your top back on and sit down!"
  • The only natural materials to touch your body is when the prisoner wants another blanket.
  • On one day you take a class on how to shoot to be deadlier, the next day you take a sensitivity class to be friendlier.
  • In the early 90's you were still writing reports with a pen and white-out.
  • Your cell phone had voice-mail before your department did.
  • Your grandmother had email before your department did.
  • That dumpster diving is not a sport but part of your profession
  • When times are good no one wants your job, when times are bad everyone tries to take your job.
and finally...sometimes the blue and black of the uniform matches the blue and black on your body.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Best Things in Life are...Dragonflies

I tend to go through periods of high activity followed by low activity.  I have been letting a lot of things slide lately  such as: Bible study, exercise, my piano/voice practice, this blog, my other writing projects, basic house maintenance and the like.  So I am getting back on board with everything again (I guess everything but sentence structure).

I was sitting with my daughter last Saturday watching my son's soccer game.  The temp was warm but not hot, there was a slight breeze and not a cloud in the sky (thats a rare event in the Midwest).  As I was watching the kids run from one side of the field to anther, I looked up and about two fields away there suddenly was a series of little sparkles, flashing about eight to ten feet up.  Suddenly all around us darting in and out of soccer players and spectators were easily a thousand dragonflies.  I have never seen anything like it.  There were at least two species maybe three buzzing around and then just as suddenly they were gone, only to return about five minutes later.

It became a moment, the time where you can just enjoy the warmth of the sun, the spectacle of soccer, the company of family and the wonderment of nature simultaneously.

It just readjusted my thinking and cheapened all my stresses.  The payments, the job, feuding families, stupid material arguments, all the things that we get caught up in that pull our heads down and stop of from seeing all the beauty and joy that God created for us.

It was a welcomed perspective shift.

I think I saw:  Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) and Common Green Darner (Anax junius)

Luke 12:23-25

23Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back From Canada

The family and I just got back from Canada in the area of Northlake, ON.  I went without shaving for about ten days, maybe eleven.  Looks like I will never be able to get that handlebar mustache that I always wanted...stupid genes.

It was much needed break with the family with no cellular telephone reception I could not be on call and it still took me three days before I stopped checking my phones.  I can't remember the last time that I was able to sit with my wife and kids and take three hours to put a puzzle together or sit in the lake till it came out of my pores.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Evolution of American Policing

Law Enforcement is very sensitive to public opinion and even more so to civil lawsuits.  The restrictions placed on me in 2010 are triple what they were in 1997 when I started.  Here is a perfect example, the first video is of a fan running on the field at a Phillies game and getting tased.  (An aside, the second a fan touches the field he/she has committed a crime.  The longer you chase someone the higher the chance that the offender does something even more stupid than running on the field and more important the higher chance someone gets hurt.  I was chasing someone and wearing the extra 40 pounds of gear and that caused an injury that cost me 9 months in recovery).  The officer stopped the offender, got him off the field and no one got hurt.

The second video is an Orioles game about a month later. after the blow back from the public that the officer at the Phillies game was just too mean to the fan on the field, so they just let him go on and on till he got tired.

The Police will stop enforcing the laws when all the public cares about is the wellbeing of the criminals and turn into meter maids with guns.  Oh wait isn't the national trend for the last five years showing an ever increasing number of citations issued and an equal lowering of initiated arrests?  That must just be a hitch in the numbers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's a Flood! Well in my basement at least.

Had about 5 inches come into the basement last night.  Spent all day cleaning up.  Learned two things: 1) check the basement if its pouring outside and 2) we have too much clothes...time to give a bunch away once they are clean again.  I wonder if with a little tile I could pass the basement as my new indoor pool.

Jude 1:12
These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Three Fallen Brothers

Three of our fallen Chicago Pd brothers, by the hands of others in the last two months. End of tour.  Please be safe out there, each and everyone of you, they are and will take our lives.  Our prayers are with the families they left behind and thoughts go to the promised day when peace is everlasting.

Michael R. Bailey, 62, a 20-year veteran weeks from retirement, was shot a little after 6 a.m. while cleaning his Buick -- a retirement gift to himself -- in the 7400 block of South Evans Avenue, police said.  He had just gotten home and was still in his uniform when as many as three men approached, a source said. Preliminary information indicates Bailey announced he was an officer, and there was an exchange of gunfire between Bailey and at least one of the men, a source said.  The officer's son, who was home at the time, grabbed one of his father's guns and ran outside after he saw his father on the ground, the source said. It was unclear if the son fired any shots at the attackers.  The men fled and were being sought this afternoon, the source said. Three handguns, including one belonging to Bailey and another believed to belong to the assailants, were found at the scene.
Thor Soderberg

Thor Soderberg, 43, a 11-year police veteran.-Before ripping away Chicago police officer Thor Soderberg's handgun and shooting him dead with it, Bryant Brewer, a felon with a long arrest record, inexplicably tried getting inside the last place anyone would expect him to go: a renovated police facility full of cops.  Moments before Soderbergh, an 11-year police veteran, was killed Wednesday, Brewer strolled down 61st Street, screaming and hollering at no one in particular before he tried opening a locked door to the oldEnglewood police station that now serves as a police deployment center, according to a witness.  After Brewer killed the officer, he fired shots at a stranger sitting across the street and then peppered the facade of the police building with gunshots before being shot by responding officers, prosecutors said Friday.

Tom Wortham, 30, 3-year veteran.-Late Wednesday, Wortham became the latest casualty, fatally gunned down in front of his family homejust steps from the basketball courts after four men tried to rob him of a brand-new motorcycle, Chicagopolice said. His father, a retired Chicago police sergeant, witnessed the attack from the front of his home and wielded his own weapon to try to defend his son.  One of the robbers was killed and a suspect was critically injured. A third suspect surrendered to police by late afternoon, and the last was picked up during a traffic stop Thursday evening, sources said.  Wortham was a three-year officer and a first lieutenant in the Army National Guard. He had returned from Iraq in March.
Tom Wortham

Friday, July 16, 2010

Going out of business-The Police Business that is

One of the reasons to go into law enforcement and not the private sector (and I promise you my roommates in college consistently called me in the 90's telling me what they were making and what they were buying and what a dumb ass I was to be a cop.  Further, they had an open offer that when I was done "playing around" I could get a real job through them...What a turn around a bad economy can make in people's thinking, their opinion about my stupid decision has changed 180 degrees but I digress) is the security of the job and the stability of the position, well until the automatons take over.

What I am seeing for the first time ever is towns giving up their police forces or cutting them down to nothing.  Its a good trend for those who survive the purging and go back to "just the facts ma'am" from "oh sweet old lady your lonely let me have a cup of coffee with you and draw up an action plan".  But a troubling trend nevertheless.

Here is a brief summary of towns that have given up their Police departments.

San Luis, Colorado.  Chief and five officers gone.  Sheriff to take over.  Link: http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/article_fe7833bc-8668-11df-afee-001cc4c03286.html

Maywood, California.  41 officers.  Sheriff to take over.  Link:  http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/29/news/economy/city_fires_employees/index.htm

Bethel, Maine.  Five officers, Sheriff to take over.  Link:  http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/penny-pinching-towns-put-police-out-to-pasture/19550879

Fallowfield, Pennsylvania.   Five gone, Sheriff to take over.  Link Same As above.

Oakland, California.  80 Officers 10% of force.  Link:   http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/07/13/state/n172707D60.DTL

Etc Etc Etc.

Now I must acknowledge that there is an incredible duplication of services as each of these tiny cities throughout the Unites States fielded their own public services, fire and Police, that economies of scale would have produced better results.  But they have managed to keep their police and fire while cutting everything else.  Now it seems we are now on the block.  It can also be seen with the larger department pairing down their staffs in the hundreds, just look at Chicago Pd, 4,000 down and counting with no end in site.Your neighborhood watch better become armed.

Genesis 47:18
When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, "We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Discipline or rather the lack there of it

Discipline...I am in vast need of a lot more lately.  Since law enforcement is a 24 hour, 7 days a week gig, you can quickly get out of your rhythm with all the different work schedules this job necessitates.   As a result, you tend to stop exercising because you are not hitting the street or the weights at the same time everyday.  Or eating right when you are in your 16th hour and the only thing open is fast food.  Or sleep, one day its bed before ten, the next after two with the corresponding wake up time differentials.  Missing family functions and not being there when the kids get up or go to bed or hit the ballfields etc.  

The only thing I am maintaining is family and church (read attending services) time and that's important but wow am I letting two many other things go because I will not simply force myself to due what must be done regardless of the time of day or work load.

So I am now attempting to, in no particular order:

1.  began running again...5 times a week...right now hitting 3
2.  volunteering with my church or really doing more with what I am volunteering for.
3.  practicing my music
4.  staying in touch with my friends (Jason...Jason...I think I remember someone with that name...)
5.  getting the important chores around the home completed...have a porch to finish and a basketball hoop to put up.
6.  get writing again-to include getting to the blog much more often.
7.  loose 15 pounds...its just got to go
8.  getting my physical and dental checkups done...off by years
9.  get back to school.
10.  drink less beer

There is a reason that veteran cops get heavy, smoke and are divorced...when you let all these things and more go because of your work schedule and duties you turn around and they are not around to recover.

Proverbs 1:2-4

 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
       for understanding words of insight;
 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
       doing what is right and just and fair;
 4 for giving prudence to the simple,
       knowledge and discretion to the young-