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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Simple Take on Gun Control

Law enforcement, on whatever level you choose to address, has always been very ineffective in the control or banishment of any type of item or substance.

Heroin has been banned since 1924.

Cocaine has been prescription only since 1914.

Until this decade cannabis has not been legal to ingest.

Don't forget prohibition.

Immigration control is nonexistent.

Not one of the proposed new gun measures would have prevented any of the recent mass killings.

Every time a new law is enacted it requires both time and money. There is a limited supply of both, so the even "saves one child that argument" does not stand. Since there is a limit to both time and money using it inefficiently takes resources from positive and successful measures and wastes them on ineffective program. Basically creating two sets of victims.

Without exception the gun violence rates for cities in America with tight gun control are significantly higher than the ones that do not.

The highest penalties in American juris prudence is for murder. If that does not stop these evil actors why would lesser penalties deter?

Finally we are at least five minutes away if you can get to a phone or someone hears you scream, why should you not have the right to protect your life after someone else has decided to take it.

I understand the need and drive of people to seek instant solutions in the wake of tragedy but the real issue is not the object but the actor. Until we address the real issue of mental illness, nothing done to control objects will have any affect at all.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Asset: Arrest, Search and Seizure Electronic Tool

The Asset: Arrest, Search and Seizure Electronic Tool was just brought to my attention.  It is a creation of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Government (first I have heard of them too).  I dropped it into my phone and I have to say I am impressed.  What this app delivers to the cell phone that is with me at all times, its equivalent in book form is filling half of my "go-bag".

Here is what I like:

1.  Portability-My reference material is stowed in my squad, which is usually far away from the call.  When a question of law arises and my backup is as befuddled as I am, someone has to stay behind while the other marches to the car and attempts to find the answer.  An Officer safety problem in all circumstances.  This app allows two of us to remain on scene to continue aiding each other.

2.  Liability-look at this app's name.  This is where you are going to get sued if you make the wrong call...just by having this on your person adds one more line to your due diligence law suit response section.

3.  Speed-this app's interface is simple and direct.  I can quibble with the long narrative sections once you hit the particular problem you are facing.  I have dropped similar long passages into my reports to justify my actions.  What I could recommend to improve this tool would be to bullet point, lets say duration with "Must be brief and accomplish only what you have suspicion of..." then click on that to get the full explication.  But this change would save, oh, about thirty seconds.

4.  Utilizing existing technology.     Most law enforcement tools are common everyday ware that is painted matte black and tripled charged.  This is using a smart phone 99% of us already have and making it useful for something other than killing time between traffic stops.

5.  It's free and not even a free trail edition.  My three years of no pay increases really make this a great feature.

6.  Updates.  I can not tell you how many times non-current information has risen up and bit me as a police officer.  Just last week I realized that they changed the statute numbers for retail theft...caught it just in time but had that gone to court it would not have been fatal but certainly embarrassing.  The stuff defense attorneys LOVE.

7.  Citations:  Peppered through they have the case law that led to the procedures that are in place.  There are reasons for everything even if the courts are just making them up as they go along.

The downside

Its primary focus is that state of North Carolina (no surprise there)...while there are many similarities, there are some differences I found that would not be the same for us here in the Midwest...since it would only require small changes here and there...I am hoping they have future plans for a state by state version.  When they do I certainly will be using it.

If this is what is coming from this UNC program I certainly applaud them for it and look forward to seeing what else they produce.

Links: UNC Asset App Link  I-Tunes Preview of ASSET: Arrest, Search, and Seizure Electronic Tool

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


As I am waiting for my wife to come out of a medical procedure I am reminded about when I first became a TFO with the Feds and went on my first couple of surveillances.

As a patrol officer everything is quick, you stabilize the scene, make sure everything is safe and stays safe, get everyone off the road or out of the house, write a quick report and go 10-8. If the case would take longer than a shift, or goes out of town or had complexity it would just be shipped to the investigators.

So when I was on my first surveillance we followed the guys right to the deal, the deal was made and we followed them away. I, while driving, threw on the full gear and got ready and waited for the take down. I waited, and waited and waited. After we had followed them for another six hours I broke for the post surveillance meet geared up. I was meet with quizzical looks and soon after derision. We ended up following those two guys for another three weeks before there was a bust signal. Those first months I was just crawling out of my skin sitting in my car waiting for something to happen and waiting for something to do. Then no matter what, I had paperwork that would take days, weeks, in one case, years, to complete. It was a culture shock.

The funny part, is when I first came back to patrol I keep saying, "what's all the hurry?"

So here I sit waiting again, somewhere between the zen of an TFO and the impatience of a patrolman waiting for the surgeon to stop cutting on my wife. Funny where a worried mind takes you.

Picture Credit: http://www.apuregeneration.com/blog/what-are-we-waiting-for/3763

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


On a much needed vacation into the great southwest.  Throughout the Bible there is a theme of hard work followed by rest.  Started in creation with The Lord creating for six days and resting on the seventh and placed as a mandatory work week for the Israelites.  You then factor in all the time off they took for festivals, holidays and the like and you get a number of rest days throughout the year.

Police Officers tend to come in two flavors when it comes to the idea of work and rest.  The first is always at work.  The 80 hr a week guy.  The someday the spouse is going to make the calculation that he/she can have all your money and none of your time or half of your money and all of someone else's time.

The second is the vacation bank at zero guy.  The 35 hr a week guy.  The counting days till he/she can burn a sick/return/vacation/holiday guy.  The why did you ever pick this job because you hate it so much guy.  The selling real estate off his/her cell phone in the squad guy.

I have been both of those guys throughout my career and I have to say both have significant downsides.  The blend of rest and work is always the best way to go.  Strange how that Bible thing keeps saying to do what is best for all of us.

Genesis 2:2

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.