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Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at: http://www.dukesblotter.com/#sthash.gzOejJCT.dpuf

Officer Down

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NEWS: (National) Search Continues for Suspect in Fla. LODDs

From Officer.com

RELATED STORY: NEWS: (National) Two Tampa Police Officers Killed in Shooting
Posted: June 30th, 2010 11:23 AM GMT-05:00

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. --

The man accused of killing two Tampa police officers has a history of arrests dating back to at least 2003, records show.

Dontae Rashawn Morris, 24, has been charged with writing bad checks, possession of cocaine and attempted murder - but nothing as violent as what he is accused of now.

Tampa Police say Morris shot and killed two officers after a traffic stop early Tuesday morning.

Officers David Curtis and Jeffrey Kocab, both 31, were slain after Curtis pulled Morris over because the car he was riding in did not have a visible license plate. Morris had outstanding warrants for writing bad checks at a grocery store in Jacksonville, officials said.

Police have launched a statewide manhunt for Morris. The driver of the car, Cortnee Nicole Brantly, fled the scene but was captured. She was later released from custody.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said Brantly may be charged later.

Detectives tried to reach Morris' friends and acquaintances Tuesday night. A large police command center near the scene of the shooting buzzed with activity overnight.

Records show Morris served time in state prison on cocaine charges on two separate occasions; a two year sentence, which ended in April and a nine month stint from 2004 to 2005.

Prison records show Morris was released in January of 2005. In October of that year, he was arrested and charged with attempted murder - but he was acquitted of the crime.

Meanwhile, Morris's family asked that he be allowed to turn himself in safely. A pastor for Morris' family said they do not condone his actions.

Authorities believed Morris was still in the Tampa area.

NEWS: Ruling Tilts Law Against Gun Limits

From Officer.com

Posted: June 30th, 2010 12:19 PM GMT-05:00

BY JOAN BISKUPIC and KEVIN JOHNSON
USA Today

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Supreme Court's historic decision Monday allowing gun owners to challenge city and state regulations as a violation of their Second Amendment rights clears the way for new challenges to firearms laws nationwide.

A five-justice conservative majority, over vigorous protests from the four more liberal justices, declared the right to keep and bear arms is fundamental to the American notion of liberty and can shield gun owners from certain regulations across the country. Although the majority noted some gun laws would stand, such as prohibitions on felons possessing firearms, its rationale is certain to usher in a new era of litigation over gun control.

The case stemmed from a 28-year-old Chicago law that was a rare, total ban on handguns. The law was challenged by four homeowners who said they needed handguns for their safety. The high court's decision could fuel lawsuits against myriad local regulations - from firearms licensing requirements to limits on weapons carried outside the home.

"It's going to be city by city, town by town, block by block," National Rifle Association Vice President Wayne LaPierre vowed Monday. "We're going to have to work into every level to make sure this constitutional victory isn't turned into a practical defeat."

Monday's decision was somewhat predictable, based the justices' 5-4 decision in 2008 that first found an individual right to bear arms in the Second Amendment, and on the tenor of oral arguments in the Chicago case in March.

Yet it greatly expands the force and consequences of the ruling two years ago and generated new concern from city officials worried it would undercut gun laws and lead to more violence.

"Across the country, cities are struggling with how to address this issue," Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said at City Hall. "Common sense tells you we need fewer guns on the street, not more guns."

David Pope, president of the village of Oak Park, outside Chicago, which also was defending a handgun ban, said the ruling curbs local flexibility to address crime. "For a long time, we always thought it was reasonable and constitutional for different cities and towns to have different regulations," he said.

Several large cities, including Baltimore, Cleveland and Oakland, had urged the court not to rule against Chicago. They were joined by three states with urban centers, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey, that warned if the high court extended the Second Amendment's reach, "nearly every firearms law will become the subject of a constitutional challenge, and even in cases where the law ultimately survives, its defense will be costly and time-consuming."

Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, which supports strict gun-control laws, predicted more than a new tide of lawsuits.

"People will die because of this decision," she said. "It is a victory only for the gun lobby and America's fading firearms industry."

As Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito announced the court's opinion from the bench Monday, though, he said experts differ on whether private gun possession increases or decreases death and injury.

Alito also said that the 2008 case, District of Columbia v. Heller, establishing the right to keep and bear arms under federal law, steered the court's decision Monday. The 2008 case arose from a handgun ban in Washington, D.C.

In Monday's case, Alito deemed the right to bear arms "fundamental" and noted the court had previously held that most provisions of the Bill of Rights apply to both the federal government and the states. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Breyer read portions of his dissent from the bench Monday, warning the new ruling would interfere with legislative efforts nationwide to control firearms and violence.

Dissenting separately, Justice Stevens, who is retiring, criticized the majority's view that the Second Amendment right to firearms is so fundamental and valuable that it must be applied broadly.

"Just as (firearms) can help homeowners defend their families and property from intruders," Stevens wrote, "they can help thugs and insurrectionists murder innocent victims. The threat that firearms will be misused is far from hypothetical, for gun crime has devastated many of our communities."

'Not the end of all gun laws'

Monday's case, brought by Otis McDonald and three other Chicagoans who said they wanted to keep handguns in their home for self-defense, presented the second round of high-stakes litigation over the scope of the Second Amendment.

For decades, despite polls showing Americans believed in an individual right to bear arms, most federal judges had ruled that the Second Amendment covered only a right of state militias, such as National Guards. That changed when the justices ruled definitively in 2008 there is an individual right to firearms in the home for personal safety.

In trying to distinguish its handgun ban from the Washington, D.C., ordinance struck down in 2008, the City of Chicago had argued that firearms violence there was of such a magnitude that the court should not extend its earlier decision to the states.

Chicago officials argued the Second Amendment involves a right to possess an item designed to kill or cause injury and cannot be likened to, for example, the First Amendment right of free speech, because it is not fundamental to individual liberty.

Alito's opinion for the court rejected that idea. He said that "a provision of the Bill of Rights that protects a right that is fundamental from an American perspective applies equally to the federal government and the states." He also dismissed arguments from Chicago officials and their backers that the court's extending the Second Amendment to the states would threaten all existing gun laws.

He said the Heller decision "recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not 'a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.' We repeat those assurances here. Despite municipal respondents' doomsday proclamations, (the decision) does not imperil law regulating firearms."

Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion signed by Ginsburg and Sotomayor, insisted state and local communities have carefully considered how they want to regulate guns and that their judgments would now be usurped by judges.

The Chicago challengers' case was brought on June 26, 2008, the day the Supreme Court struck down the Washington, D.C., handgun ban. Chicagoans Adam Orlov and Colleen and David Lawson joined McDonald in the case.

They were represented by Virginia lawyer Alan Gura, who had taken the lead on Heller.

"The court has made clear that the Second Amendment is a powerful, meaningful right," Gura said Monday.

"This is not the end of all gun laws. We weren't seeking an end to all gun laws. But it is going to be the end of those laws meant only to interfere with people's constitutional rights."

He said some registration laws, for example, can be so cumbersome that they restrict gun rights. Gura said he would soon be filing more lawsuits.

Some cities already revising laws

Chicago's Mayor Daley suggested the court's decision reflected a lack of understanding of the tragedies wrought by gun violence. "To suggest that Chicago's elected officials haven't done enough to protect our city's residents shows many of our highest level officials don't understand that gun violence pervades America, not just Chicago," he said.

He said the city was considering how to revise its law. The justices' rationale is likely to lead to the invalidation of the Chicago handgun ban, but the high court's majority did not definitely rule against the city's ban, and instead sent Monday's case back to lower courts for final action.

Some cities had begun revising their gun-control laws in anticipation of Monday's ruling. In Wilmette, Ill., Village Manager Timothy Frenzer said the community repealed its 19-year-old gun ban shortly after the high court's 2008 decision, largely because the "outcome (Monday) was predictable."

"All the groundwork had been laid in 2008 for the court to take the step it did today," Frenzer says.

In the two years since the community's gun ban was repealed, Frenzer says there has been "no detectable change" in crime.

Some cities, including New York, have strict gun licensing rules that critics such as LaPierre say end up being a ban for some would-be gun owners.

"I will continue to collaborate with mayors across the country to pursue common-sense, constitutional approaches to protecting public safety," said Bloomberg, co-chairman of the national coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The majority of states sided with those challenging Chicago's ban. Thirty-eight states, led by Texas, said the Second Amendment should apply broadly. They said that some 44 states have a right to keep and bear arms in their own state constitutions.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers' reactions reflected the public's deep divisions over gun laws.

Judiciary Committee members Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., praised the ruling. Hatch called it a "victory for law-abiding gun owners." Leahy said "state and local governments will now have to proceed more carefully" on gun regulations, but "it will be in respect of a right that belongs to all Americans."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and member of the Judiciary Committee, countered that she was "extremely dismayed" by the court's ruling.

"I believe the proliferation of guns has made this country less safe, not more safe," said Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor. She assumed that job in 1978, after then-mayor George Moscone was fatally shot by former supervisor Dan White.

Contributing: Judy Keen in Chicago and Kathy Kiely in Washington

NEWS: (Bellwood) $472,255 to run a town of 20,000

From Chicago Tribune


--Hmmm, I wonder if this guy negotiated for DK. Seems to be able to get a lot for doing nothing--
Duke

Village officials can't explain why Roy McCampbell was paid so much to run Bellwood

By Joseph Ryan, Tribune reporter

7:42 PM CDT, June 29, 2010

For running a blue-collar western suburb, taxpayers paid Roy McCampbell $472,255 last year — the highest total compensation of any suburban municipal executive — and village officials now say they're not sure why.

McCampbell, known as one of the first suburban officials to push red-light cameras, said he did the work of 10 people for Bellwood — comptroller, administrator, public safety CEO, finance director, budget director, human resources director, mayoral assistant, corporation counsel, property commission director and development corporation officer — and was paid like it.

"I didn't hold a gun to anybody's head to get this," he said of his pay. "I'm not trying to do anything bad."

Village officials gave him two six-figure salaries, McCampbell said, and he stockpiled unused sick and vacation days, some of which he legally cashed out last year to pad his paycheck — a move that also boosted his pension.

McCampbell's contract granted him generous vacation, personal and sick days. He accumulated nearly five months' worth of such days a year starting in May 2008, on top of the 435 days he already had on the books by 2008.

When the Chicago Tribune recently started asking questions about McCampbell's pay, village officials said they were just completing their own probe and turning over records to the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Village Attorney John Rock said town officials were "a little shocked" when they saw that McCampbell's 2009 income totaled nearly half a million dollars.

"We are still trying to get to the bottom of it," Rock said, declining to say why officials were surprised or to elaborate on the probe.

Cook County state's attorney spokesman Andy Conklin said he could not say whether there is an investigation. Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale did not return phone calls seeking comment.

McCampbell said all of his pay was approved by the mayor and board of trustees, and even reviewed by the village's outside legal counsel at his urging before his Jan. 31 retirement, which also came with a $59,336 payout this year for unused vacation time under a separation agreement.

Village executives in other suburbs typically command $100,000 to $200,000 a year, according to a Tribune review of salary records. After McCampbell, the next five highest-paid suburban executives averaged total compensation of $264,973 in 2009 — 44 percent less than him.

McCampbell's 2009 base salary as comptroller and administrator was $128,940, according to a five-year contract he provided the Tribune that was marked as approved by the board in February 2008.

He was set to be paid $115,101 for also holding the titles of public safety CEO, budget director, human resources director, finance director, head of two separate development boards and a classification as "assistant to the mayor."

He was given a $66,000 stipend for "special duty assignment" as corporation counsel.

About $126,000 of his 2009 compensation, McCampbell said, came from cashing out 120 unused sick and vacation days as allowed under Bellwood's policies.

Left unaccounted for in the documents provided by McCampbell is about $36,000, which he said likely came from cashing out vacation or sick days, or perhaps another stipend he couldn't remember. He maintains that he wasn't the one to calculate his salary. That, he said, was up to village accountants.

McCampbell also was given a car and gas paid for by taxpayers. And they covered his premiums for health and life insurance, as well as his pension contributions, according to his contract.

McCampbell said he did the work of all of his positions for the suburb of roughly 20,000 packed into three square miles along Interstate Highway 290. He showed the Tribune red journals containing notes on his daily activities and a tally of hours he worked, which ranged from about 70 to 80 hours a week. He had one journal for each of the last three years.

"I'm anal," he said, when asked why he would keep a personal log of his work hours.

McCampbell was hired as comptroller-administrator to run Bellwood in 2001 after decades in government positions, including stints in west suburban Schiller Park, Franklin Park and the western Illinois city of Macomb.

Starting pay was about $120,000, according to McCampbell, but it quickly escalated as he took on more titles and the stipends that came with them.

Village records show that his pay skyrocketed by 150 percent between 2005, when he made $168,593, and 2008, when he made $420,589.

Taxpayers are not done paying for McCampbell's services.

They are now helping to cover pension checks for the rest of his life — checks that are significantly higher thanks to those final years of pay bumps and vacation time cashouts.

McCampbell's exact pension payments could not be obtained from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund as of Tuesday. But general IMRF guidelines indicate his monthly pension checks could be about $22,000, or $264,000 year. Had McCampbell's salary stayed level at $236,555 from 2006 to 2009, his yearly pension would have been about $180,000.

The pension system is funded largely by local taxpayer dollars, and Bellwood picked up McCampbell's own mandated 4.5 percent annual contribution.

Aside from concerns about salary, Bellwood officials and McCampbell also can't agree on why he left.

McCampbell said he had long planned to retire, eyeing the day he would be able to have enough credits to draw a full pension when he turned 55 in September of last year. He ultimately used 240 stocked-up sick days to gain a year of credit toward his full pension.

Rock would only say, "There were a number of things occurring at the village, and the village thought it would be best if they separated ways."

McCampbell said he is "absolutely shocked" that village officials would now question his compensation, particularly after signing off on his contracts and separation agreement.

"I didn't go in the dark of night and steal anything from these people," he said.

But McCampbell does concede the size of his compensation would be jarring to the average taxpayer.

"Yeah, I made a lot of money," he said. "But it was based on the amount of work I was doing."

Asked if he ever felt like he was being overpaid for his work, McCampbell said, "I truly didn't."

Tribune reporters Dan Hinkel and Joe Mahr contributed to this report.

NEWS: Prospect Heights police mark 20 years of service

From Daily Herald

By Daniel Hamilton | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 6/29/2010 12:58 PM

Celebrating 20 years of service this week, the Prospect Heights police department is facing financial issues which are impeding the ability to have an ideal number of officers in uniform.

Despite the staff shortage, the city council honored the police department with a proclamation Monday night for its 20 years of service.

"The entire commission did a great job and the gentlemen they brought on to the force have done a great job for the city," said Dick Wolf, chairman of the police and fire commission.

"Happy birthday to our police department," said Mayor Dolly Vole.

Police Chief Bruce Morris said the department became partially operational in July of 1990, with five experienced officers and another 11 who would graduate from the police academy a few months later. The first police chief was Robert Bonneville.

Now staffed with 22 officers, the entire police force, including Morris, patrol the streets of Prospect Heights full time. Morris said that with the low number of officers and the lack of money to hire more, it's necessary for everyone to put in their time on the streets.

"The guys have really done well," said Morris of the extra hours required of the officers and sergeants.

While the ideal number of officers for a city the size of Prospect Heights is 30-32 according to Morris, the highest number they have ever had is 26, which was before the recent economic downturn.

Before they had their own department, the city contracted with the Cook County sheriff to provide police service. Currently, in larger cases where extra help is needed, other departments are brought in to assist Prospect Heights.

The first station for the newly established police force was at an old paint store. In contrast, they now have their own facility on Camp McDonald Road.

Morris said that the city saw a 17 percent decrease in crime in 2008, which is the last time there was a statistical analysis.

The funding troubles stem from the fact that there aren't any property taxes in the city for money to go to departments such as the police, public works or administration. Morris said multiple measures to raise taxes to get sufficient funds have been brought up, but always voted down by residents in referendums.

"The city needs to look real hard at this police department and how they're going to fund it," said Morris.

Of the original 16 officers and sergeants, Morris said 13 of them there are still active. This may also pose a problem in the coming years because many of the officers are nearing retirement, which means pension money will have to be paid in addition to the salaries of new hires, he said.

The "Good Old Days"

--This is awesome. Thanks to Jim McMahon for finding it. Even though I started in 1989 I at least got a couple years of the "Good Old Days".
Duke

I retired from the police department in 1989. I was going to send this privately and not post it to the whole group because only "dinosaurs" would appreciate its content. But after seeing how many other list members were near retirement, thought I'd share it.

Just before retiring, some young puppy was busting my chops about how law enforcement has changed, and the system is improving for the best. I just smiled and gave him a little laugh.

He asked what was so funny. I told him that I felt sorry for him. When asked why, I told him, "Because in about 25 years, THIS is going to be your good old days."

We all saw the change in our jobs. I came on in 1958. I used to tell the rookies that our academy lasted 3 months. They gave us a stick, a gun, a dime, and kicked us out into the street. They told us: If you need help, use the dime. If you can't get to a phone, use the stick. If using the stick pisses him off, use the gun.

And the first order we received when we were assigned to a precinct was from our road sergeant. His order was "Don't you EVER bother me, kid."

Law enforcement then, was much different than the current mission. We delivered babies, got rough in the alley when we needed to, made "Solomon like" decisions at least once a tour, and often wound up being big brother to the kid we roughed up in that alley a year or so ago. And, for some reason, none of that managed to get on a report. And the department didn't really want to know. All they wanted was numbers, and no ripples in the pond.

Because of the changing times, and the evolution of law enforcement, the modern young officers will never see that form of policing, and of course this is best. The current way is the right way... now. But it was different then (ergo, the Dinosaur Syndrome).

When it's time to go, we wonder if we're going to miss the job. After all, other than our kids and a few marriages, it was the most important thing in our lives. Actually, it was the other way around. The job was first, but only another cop could understand how I mean that.

But have faith, brother! After a short time of feeling completely impudent, (after all, you're just John Q. now), reality hits like a lead weight.

It's not the job we miss after all. It's what we, as individuals, had accomplished while in this profession that we miss. The challenge of life and death, good and bad, right and wrong, or even simply easing the pain of some poor bastard for a while, someone we will never see again.

We know the reality of what's happening out there. We are the ones who have spent our entire adult life picking up the pieces of people's broken lives. And the bitch of it all is that no one except us knows what we did out there.

I was once told that being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

What I missed mostly, though, were the people I worked with. Most of us came on the job together at the age of 21 or 22. We grew up together. We were family. We went to each others weddings, shared the joy of our children's births, and we mourned the deaths of family members and marriages. We celebrated the good times, and huddled close in the bad.

We went from rookies who couldn't take our eyes off of the tin number of the old timer we worked with, to dinosaurs.

After all, what they gave us was just a job. What we made of it was a profession. We fulfilled our mission, and did the impossible each and every day, despite the department and its regulations.

I think the thing that nags you the most when you first retire is: After you leave the job and remove your armor, the part of you that you tucked away on that shelf for all those years, comes out. It looks at all the things you've hidden away. All the terrible, and all the wonderful things that happened out there. And it asks you the questions that no one will ever answer.

"Do you think I did OK? Did I make a difference? Was I a good cop?"

You know what? Yeah, you were a good cop! And you know it!

In closing;

The best advice I got, by far, was from an old friend who left the job a few years before me. He told me to stay healthy, work out and watch my diet. He said "Cause that way, the first day of every month you can look in the mirror, smile and say……Screwed them out of another month's pension!!"

Be well, my brother!!

The Disabled Police Officer "Gone AND Forgotten"

Reprinted from Disabled Illinois Police Officer's Safety Group

by John M. Violanti, PhD

Profile:
Dr. Violanti is a Full Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He spent 21 years as a Trooper in the New York State Police, Albany, NY, retiring in 1986. He has acted as Coordinator for the Employee Psychological Assistance Program, with the NY State Police; taught as Professor in the Criminal Justice Department. 
 --I hate to say it, but I can relate to a lot of this.--
Duke
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what had happened. The phones stopped ringing, the visits dwindled. I made a lot of friends in twenty years. Where were they? No matter how much damage was done to me, I was still the same Richard Pastorella I had been before the bomb went off. Then I began to understand it. My broken body reminded them of how vulnerable they were."

These were the comments of Detective Richard Pastorella, New York City Bomb Squad. Detective Pastorella was placed on disability after a terrorist bomb ravaged his body. He suffered the permanent loss of his eyesight, hearing, and most of his fingers. Richard Pastorella could not understand why the job had abandoned him. Unfortunately, this is all too common an occurrence for disabled officers. No one wants to be reminded of a tragedy that could happen to them. This is a real disservice to disabled officers, because the best support at a time like this, are other officers.


THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM

Particular attention has been given in recent years to the high rates of disability retirement among police officers. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, 56% of all retiring police officers terminate employment due to disability (National Conference of State Legislatures). Although concern has been expressed in various jurisdictions over the increasing rates of disability retirement, the experience in Washington, D.C. has been extreme. In 1969, for example, 98% of all police had retired on disability.

Police retirement pensions generally provide disability retirement eligibility after five years of service. Disability retirement payments range between one-third and three-quarters of the officer’s annual average salary. Information received from four major metropolitan areas, Chicago, Houston, New York and San Francisco, indicated that the average age of disability for police was ten to twelve years less than the average of other service employees. In general, police disability retirees were in their early forties.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), protective service workers reported higher than average occurrences of acute conditions over a one-year period. Fifty-three point eight percent reported that they had seen a physician regarding their health problems. Acute conditions included injuries (18.8%), respiratory conditions (50.1%), digestive conditions (4.4%) and infectious conditions (9.7%).

Several chronic disabling conditions had high occurrences among protective service workers. Rates for diabetes were almost twice that of all other occupations, 50% higher for rates of heart disease, 40% higher for chronic bronchitis, 10% higher for asthma, 25% higher for arthritis, 10% higher for back problems and 3% higher for ulcers.

From these findings, it appears that protective service workers as a group, which include a variety of law enforcement and police functions, suffer significantly from both acute and chronic disabling conditions. This is not only evident in statistics,
but also in the perceptions of protective workers. When NCHS conducted their survey, they asked workers to assess their health status as “excellent, very good, good, fair or poor,” approximately 7.2% of the protective service work force responded that their health was poor. This response was higher than average for all occupations. The problem certainly exists and must be addressed by police administration and health professionals.

ATTITUDES TOWARD DISABILITY

The definition and use of disability pensions in police work remains ambiguous. Police administration can use this type of pension to eliminate problem officers, while some officers can use it to get out of police work with a lucrative pension. It appears that the original intention of disability pensions, to assist disabled officers, has become distorted.

In some cases, officers who get a disability retirement are admired by peers. They view this as a victory over the police system. A police officer commented on a recent fellow officer who received a disability pension after ten years of service:

I don’t blame the guy for taking a disability. Otherwise, he would have had to put in another ten years for his retirement pension. Why should he? He didn’t like his job anyway, so this was a good opportunity to make out like a bandit. It’s not a bad deal…three quarters of his salary for the rest of his life and tax-free. I could use that myself.

Comments like this are common among police officers. Some see the disability pension as an easy way to retire. However, it is generally a minority of officers who use the system. The majority of police officers like their job and want to remain on the force. When these officers are forced into a disability retirement, they may experience adjustment difficulties.


ASSISTING DISABLED OFFICERS

When a police officer is injured in the line of duty or disabled due to a disease, he or she may be forced to retire on disability. However, police officers lose more than their health when they become disabled; they also lose their identity. Often, the disable officer is forgotten both by the department and fellow officers. To assist the disabled officer, it is first necessary to become aware of certain stages that he or she may experience after the injury occurs.


STAGES OF DISABILITY RECOVERY

Richards (1990) has outlined several stages of recovery form injury that may apply to disable police officers. They are:
1.The survival honeymoon;
2. adjustment shock; and
3. recovery.

The survival honeymoon usually lasts from four to twelve weeks and is a welcome period during which officers gain strength. During this stage, survivors will frequently involve themselves in activities that will prove their normality. However optimistic and encouraged the survivor may be at this point, their only reality is that they are alive. They have not yet grasped the full impact of possible limitations and lifestyle adjustments.

Following the survival honeymoon is what Richards refers to as adjustment shock.

Officers injured or traumatized may begin to feel unsure of themselves and their abilities to cope with the future. They begin to experience less attention from friends and family. Soon, no one calls or stops in to see them. This may leave the disabled person isolated and alone. In cases of serious physical injury or disfigurement, the survivors become keenly aware of their different and abnormal condition. Survivors may also feel guilty for failing to meet their recovery goals. Often, they blame themselves for not trying hard enough.

The recovery stage occurs when the injured person shows signs of successful adjustment to the event or injury. Losses or physical limitations are accepted and overcome as best as possible. One of the first encouraging signs of recovery is when survivors can talk about their life-changing event comfortably and discuss how they have adapted to the situation.

Police officers are not the only ones who experience the effects of a disability. The officer’s family experiences its own shock, fears, anguish and expressions as a result of the officer’s ordeal. Richards comments on the affects on families:

Children are especially vulnerable. They can become confused because they don’t understand the dramatic changes that are happening, either physically or emotionally. Often they interpret events as a rejection by their parents or as if somehow they are being blamed for all the hurt and unhappiness they sense. Children need constant loving attention, and strong reassurances throughout the entire recovery period…spouses are usually the ones with the most difficult struggle. Typically, they are torn between two extremes: on the one hand, they don’t want to accept major life adjustments. They continually hope that life will return to what it was before the injury. On the other hand, they see physical and emotional problems and realize that life will never be the same.

Thus, police families of disable officers require just as much love and compassion as the officer does. Often, the attention of everyone is on the disabled officer, at least in the beginning, and the family is left without support or care. Later, both are left with the support of friends or the department.


COUNSELING THE DISABLED OFFICER

Providing help for the disabled police officer is not an easy task. Police officers are a special breed, they are proud. Most officers have an attitude which may work against them in terms of rehabilitation. They expect too much of themselves because they are police officers, and tend to forget that they are human. Imagine the psychological let-down when the actually do get injured or incapacitated.

Agent Jim Horn of the FBI Critical Incident Team often mentions the case of the agent who was shot in an ambush situation. Jim counseled the agent and happened to ask him a question: “You were hurt pretty bad, yet you didn’t cry or complain at all.” In confidence, the young man told him that he was suffering from terrible pain but that he couldn’t cry in front of his peers. His comment to Jim was that “John Wayne never cried.” For the police counselor, this type of macho image is difficult to break through.

Becoming disabled in an environment where health, strength and good physical functioning are the ideal can be psychologically difficult. Fellow police officers should be made aware of these complications. Many officers view their disabled comrades as useless simply because they can no longer fulfill police duties. Nothing could be further form the truth. Other officers are cynical towards disability-retired officers, viewing them as taking advantage of the system. The disabled officer may thus experience prejudice from society and his/her own peers.


DISABLED POLICE OFFICER GROUPS

The group is a useful tool for the disabled police officer to reach out and share problems with peers in a safe environment. Groups can facilitate the transition from police work to civilian retirement, especially in cases of disability. Detective Richard Pastorella, mentioned earlier in this article, started a group to help disabled officers cope with their problems and to educate other officers about disability. To date, his program has been very successful.

Tom Williams, Director of the Post Trauma Treatment Center in Aurora, Colorado, was one of the first to formally apply the group concept for disable police officers. His contention was that law enforcement is a way of life, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and that it affects all aspects of one’s life. A loss of that life is potentially devastating.

Dr. William’s first groups consisted of twelve police officers with various problems. They have lost their jobs due to law violations, accumulated job stress, shootings, medical injuries and police combat wounds. The overall theme was that years of good service to the department were soon forgotten the moment the officer became disabled or separated. Resultant feelings of rejection by the department and their brother officers were hard to overcome.

Group members often expressed the feeling that former peers saw them as diseased. If the working officer accepted the reality of police disability, it seemed to make the feel vulnerable and unsafe, feelings not congruent with being in control on the street. The working officer would rather blame the disabled officer than the job. Police officers in Williams’ group felt penalized by their former peers.

Williams found that the loss of a power base, mystique, respect, the ability to control others and instant deference left many officers in the group feeling powerless and confused. There seemed to be no employment or retirement hobby that could replace the authority and responsibility they had in law enforcement. Most had wanted to be cops all their lives and could not envision themselves in any other occupation. These feelings, coupled with a disability, devastated most of the officers.

It is evident that disability leads to serious adjustment difficulties for police officers. Perhaps two factors can help to alleviate the pain. First, it is important that disabled police officers not be abandoned and forgotten by peers and the department. For most officers, this appeared to be worse than the physical injury itself. Secondly, police officers should perhaps reconsider the need for help from professionals or peer counseling groups. They are, after all, human first, police officers second. Paulie Ciurcina, a highly decorated officer who left the New York City Police Department on a disability discharge, said it best:

“This job took my dignity from me…You can’t be ashamed to go to a therapist. You deserve to know why, after you pick up a dead child, you go home and cry like a baby in the corner. If a cop asks for help, you should be proud of him. PROUD!”

NEWS: Chicago cop arrested in towing scam probe

From Chicago Tribune

June 29, 2010 9:20 PM

A Chicago police officer was arrested today as part of an ongoing investigation by federal officials into police pocketing bribes to steer work to tow truck drivers, an FBI spokesman said.

The arrest was made late today and officials expect to release details on Wednesday, said Ross Rice, an FBI spokesman.

The officer was charged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Rice said. Rice said he could not give details of the arrest or give the officer's name or other information until the charges were unsealed in federal court.

Rice said the arrest was made as part of the ongoing "tow scam investigation." A spokesman for  U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said more information would be available on Wednesday.

In 2009, former Chicago police officer Joseph Grillo pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of mail fraud for helping the other officer pull off an insurance scam.

Grillo, a 14-year veteran who worked burglaries in the Grand Central District, was arrested in 2008 as part of the FBI probe into police officers pocketing bribes to steer work to tow truck drivers at accident scenes.

-- Carlos Sadovi and Todd Lighty

PENSION: State shouldn't contribute to 401(k)s, Brady says

From Chicago Sun-Times

--I guess this guy doesn't check the law either before making dumb suggestions. The fact is, Mr. Brady, as public employees we are entitled to pensions by law. If you wish to reform the system, we can look at a split in the system as was suggested to me this past weekend. We would have a 60/40 type of system where 60% of our retirement is pension (we deserve this benefit, and yes we deserve a secured retirement for our public service) and 40% is defined contribution like a 401k. This would be along with reform to the laws so that as public servants we are better protected against unfair rulings based on out dated and misunderstood definitions within the laws.--
Duke 

Candidate for governor retreats on lowering minimum wage

June 30, 2010

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter apallasch@suntimes.com

If elected governor, state Sen. Bill Brady would give new state workers private 401(k) retirement plans that receive no contributions from the state.

"There's many companies that don't" contribute any matching funds to retirement plans, Brady said. "Let [employees] determine, as in the private sector, what percentage of their wages will go into their 401(k) employee-owned pension."

Speaking to the City Club of Chicago Tuesday, Brady outlined what he called a businessman's approach to cutting the state's out-of-control budget.

He backed away from his suggestion to bring the state's minimum wage down to the federal rate to avoid losing jobs to other states.

"The reality of it is the minimum wage is where it's at," Brady said. "We should allow the federal minimum wage to catch up to the state minimum wage."

Brady explained his unpopular votes on some bills by saying he looks at issues like a businessman: Why did he vote against state mandates that insurance plans cover pap smears, mammograms and contraceptives? Because he votes against all mandates which he says raise the cost of health insurance.

"For the first eight years of our business, I couldn't afford to provide health insurance at all for our employees," Brady said. "In many cases we benefitted because they had a spouse that worked at a place that gave it to them." He started providing health coverage but, "as government got more and more involved and passed mandate after mandate, those premiums went up."

Matching state employees' 401(k) contributions would tempt legislators to get generous with public money as they have with pensions in the past, Brady said.

"The problem I have with the government sector making a contribution is the corrupt nature of the unfunded pension liabilities we have today," Brady said. "If you get into a system where 401(k) matches are made [you allow legislators] to give away a windfall to state employees."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NEWS: (National) Florida Sheriff Suspends 7 Deputies for Bad Behavior

From Officer.com

Posted: June 26th, 2010 06:38 PM EDT

JOHN DAVIS and ANTHONY CORMIER, Staff Writer
Sarasota Herald Tribune (Florida)

SARASOTA COUNTY --

They drank beer and shots, brazenly hit on waitresses, snapped illicit cell phone pictures of themselves in the bathroom and, at the end of a raucous night, staggered to their cars and drove off.

The men were undercover deputies driving agency vehicles -- and the scene last month at Evie's Tavern on the Range, a popular bar on Bee Ridge Road, left patrons in shock and Sarasota County's sheriff dismayed.

Seven deputies, all members of a countywide anti-drug team, have been suspended without pay for their behavior at the bar on May 27.

The Sheriff's Office has not named the deputies, citing their undercover work. But a supervisor has been suspended for six days while others involved received suspensions ranging from three to five days.

The case was reported to the Sheriff's Office by a patron, who wrote an anonymous letter to Sheriff Tom Knight that kickstarted the investigation.

Each was cited for conduct unbecoming of an officer.

"This type of conduct will not be tolerated during my administration," Knight wrote in an e-mail to the Herald-Tribune. "I elevated their punishment to ensure they sit home and reflect on their poor choices and make clear to them that they are under the microscope as far as I'm concerned."

An internal affairs report included redacted photographs taken of the men inside a bathroom and a copy of their $185 bar tab.

According to the report:

The men ordered 38 alcoholic drinks, including nearly two dozen 25-ounce beers -- a normal can or bottle contains 12 ounces -- in addition to shots of Wild Turkey bourbon and Rumple Minze schnapps.

And, over a period of two hours, the men grew louder with each new round and continually made passes at waitresses.

Other patrons, angered by their behavior, asked if they were regulars and a waitress said:

"They're our finest."

At some point, three of the men went to the restroom and took pictures of one another at a urinal. When they returned, they remarked loudly about their genitalia.

The comments, and the names of the deputies, were overheard by a patron, who followed the men out of the bar and saw them get into undercover vehicles to drive away.

"I thought to myself, are these guys really cops?" wrote the patron. "Even if they were not cops, I do not think their behavior was appropriate for anyone."

The patron, whose name was not included in the internal affairs report, included the deputies' names and vehicle descriptions in a letter to the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's officials could not conclude whether the deputies were drunk when they drove that night, according to the internal affairs paperwork.

NEWS: Hoffman Estates police may see more cuts

From Daily Herald

By Ashok Selvam | Daily Herald Staff

Published: 6/29/2010 12:02 AM

Earlier this year, Hoffman Estates laid off four police officers earlier this year due to budget concerns. It appears the economy may force even more reductions.

There's no timetable or even a definite plan to decrease department staffing levels, Hoffman Estates Police Chief Clinton Herdegen said, and the next batch of reductions wouldn't affect the number of patrol officers out on the street.

Village money woes forced Herdegen to present a plan Monday to reduce the number of sworn personnel from 97 to 93. Village officials stressed no one is being fired or laid off - the plan relies on attrition, including retirements, for the reductions.

Salaries and benefits for the four posts - three sergeants and a lieutenant - would save the village more than $400,000 total, Herdegen said after Monday's committee meetings. The board voted unanimously in favor of the plan, with Trustee Cary Collins absent. They'll have to approve the action again next week at the July 6 meeting, which has been moved to Tuesday because of the Independence Day holiday.

Herdegen described the move as a way to give the department flexibility, adding he didn't know of any sergeants or lieutenants planning to retire or leave the department this year. The plan wasn't made in anticipation of anyone leaving the department, Herdegen said.

Herdegen said the department would keep the "same level of service." While the reductions would save the village from paying full-time salaries, during a major incident the department could offer additional shifts to officers who working a previous shift.

The new plan eliminates the three patrol sergeant posts, created five or six years ago. One patrol sergeant works one of the department's three shifts. The reduction would leave the department with 11 sergeants, down from 14.

Sgt. Mike Brady, head of the union that represents the sergeants, attended Monday's meeting but had no comment. Lieutenants are part of the administration but aren't unionized. The number of lieutenants the department is required to have was reduced from six to five in February, and the department continues to staff six positions.

The village's 74 officers are represented by union President Flo Williams, who said before Monday's meeting the reduction wasn't a surprise.

Budget problems hit the department when the village reduced the number of patrol officers by four earlier this year. Labor talks turned contentious as the officers' union and the village attempted to trade police benefits in order to retain the laid-off patrolmen.

The police, fire and public works departments were ordered to trim their budgets by $400,000 each last year. The police department's reductions came from the layoffs instead of forgoing an already-negotiated salary increase.

NEWS: (Chicago) Accused serial killer arrested again after DNA match: cops

From Chicago Sun-Times

RELATED STORY:

NEWS: (Chicago) Man charged with serial murder of three women

June 29, 2010

Sun-Times Media Wire

An accused serial killer already in jail after DNA linked him to three South Side strangulation murders has been re-arrested, in connection to the death of a fourth woman, according to police.

Michael Johnson, 24, was charged on Saturday, May 29 with three counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault after another potential victim he left for dead survived and later identified him, Lt. Anthony Carothers said.

Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos-Ciesil ordered Johnson, of the 100 block of East 120th Place, jailed without bond on Sunday, May 30 in those three attacks.

Police had been looking into Johnson's possible involvement with the death of another woman, who was found slain on May 16, police said.

He was taken out of Cook County Jail and re-arrested Monday at 11:15 a.m. after DNA taken from a fourth victim, Lutelda Hudson, who was found strangled to death on May 16, apparently matched his, according to a police report.

As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, Johnson had not been charged with Hudson’s death, according to a Calumet Area police sergeant.

The three other victims -- who were all strangled to death and found in abandoned buildings on the Far South Side -- have been identified as Leslie Brown, 38-year-old Eureka Jackson and 30-year-old Siobhan Hampton.

Hudson, 29, of the 11800 block of South Princeton Avenue, was found dead at 10:42 a.m. May 16 in a vacant building in the 11900 block of South Harvard Avenue, authorities said. A May 17 autopsy determined Hudson died of strangulation and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner's office.

At 10:50 a.m. March 30, Hampton’s body was discovered naked in an abandoned first-floor storefront on the 11300 block of South Michigan Avenue, police said. The building was previously the site of a fast food chicken restaurant.

Hampton, of an unidentified address, was dead on the scene and a March 31 autopsy determined she died of strangulation and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

Brown, of an unidentified age and home address, was found murdered Jan. 11 on the 2000 block of West 119th Street, according to the medical examiner’s office. Brown was pronounced dead on the scene at 4:25 p.m. and an autopsy Jan. 12 determined the cause of death was strangulation and it was ruled a homicide.

Jackson was found hanging in an abandoned building on the 30 block of East 120th Street on Nov. 23, 2008 and she was pronounced dead on the scene there at 4:45 p.m. An autopsy Nov. 24 was inconclusive initially, and was pending a police investigation.

All the victims were African-American women, and all were found in the area of 113th to 120th streets from South Michigan to South Harvard avenues, according to a community alert. Police said all the victims led “high risk” lifestyles.

DNA evidence from Hampton’s remains were later found to match the DNA profile previously obtained from Brown and Jackson, according to a police report. That evidence was used to bring the murder charges of Hampton, Brown and Jackson.

Johnson is 6-foot 3-inches tall, 220 pounds and missing three fingers on his right hand.

Calumet Area detectives are continuing their investigation.

NEWS: Oak Park leaders vow continued handgun regulation despite Supreme Court ruling

From Pioneer Press

June 28, 2010

By BILL DWYER bdwyer@pioneerlocal.com

Saying they were disappointed but not surprised at today's Supreme Court ruling overturning Oak Park's handgun ban, village officials vowed to continue efforts to regulate what they insist is a public health and safety issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 Monday to overturn blanket handgun bans in Oak Park and Chicago. The ruling, which broke along strict ideological lines, holds that the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which mandates equal protection under the law, requires that the federal right to bear arms under an interpretation of the Second Amendment must supersede all state and local laws.

The 56-page majority opinion left open unspecified legal latitude for state and local governments to regulate fire arms. There was also a 34-page minority opinion.

Deferring to Village President David Pope and Village Attorney Ray Heise after huddling with Pope at the village hall Monday morning, Village Manager Tom Barwin said “We're all on the same page, and we'll all probably say the same things.”

Pope and Heise clearly were of one mind Monday.

“We fully intend to maintain the public safety of our community,” Pope said flatly.

“We feel the regulation and control of handguns in the village remains an important goal,” said Heise, who wrote the Oak Park ordinance banning handguns. Both men termed the issue of handguns a public health and safety issue.

“That was the reason (the ordinance) was instituted in the first place,” said Pope.

While Heise called the court ruling “water under the bridge” and hesitated to revisit the issue, he expressed puzzlement at the emphasis of handguns specifically for home defense.

Village law, he said, has always allowed for the defense of one's home.

“If it's truly the right to defend one's home, why handguns?” Heise asked. “Residents have always had the right to have rifles and shot guns to defend their homes.”

Pope said the Oak Park ordinance did not limit “law-abiding gun owners” from owning long guns, nor licensed gun collectors from keeping handguns in the village.

“Oak Park's ordinance simply limits the free flow of handguns into the village. Guns which can be easily concealed and far too often, in urban America today, are used to perpetrate violent crime.”

Heise said the court ruling is "only the beginning" of what promises to be a long legal struggle to clarify local government's rights to regulate fire arms. He acknowledged those inevitable court fights will be expensive, perhaps too expensive to wage on some fronts.

“We're going to have to weigh our ability to wage that battle,” he said.

Pope agreed, saying the resources of a village of 53,000 don't compare to those of a city of 2.5 million. But he added that the village's health and legal departments had already begun the process of delving into the ramifications of the handgun ban ordinance being overturned.

“We're going to have to take a close look at the options the court has left open to us to adopt a reasonable regulatory framework that will help ensure the safety of our citizens,” said Pope.

That will entail “looking closely at steps Washington D.C. has taken,” and “working closely in consultation with the City of Chicago.”

“Mayor (Richard M.) Daley and I spent some time talking about this issue two weeks ago at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Oklahoma City,” said Pope.

Following the overturning of its ban two years ago, Washington D.C. adopted strict requirements for new gun owners, including a four-hour class on firearm safety, an hour of firing training and passing a 20-question exam. Newly purchased guns are also required to be turned over to police for test firing in order to establish a ballistic identification for that gun.

Chicago's firearms registration law requires that guns be registered prior to a purchaser taking possession and that gun owners re-register weapons on a yearly basis and pay an annual tax. Those provisions are also currently being challenged in court.

“I think there are a number of reasonable actions the village can take that will be within the parameters of this Supreme Court decision,” said Heise.

Opponents of the village's handgun ban could not be immediately contacted for comment.

But one Oak Park resident who supports broader gun rights was able to laude the court's decision over the airwaves.

“I asked for some celebratory music,” conservative talk show host and Oak Parker Cisco Cotto said in opening his WLS 890 Radio show Monday morning.

MELROSE SEVEN: Board to review Cervone, Scavo, Montino's pensions

From Pioneer Press

--This should be a short, cut and dry issue. They lose their pensions. Think I will have to find some time to attend this meeting. Hopefully after this, Melrose Park can just move forward out of the dust. Lot of good people and cops in that town deserve a chance to get out from under the dark clouds.--
Duke

June 29, 2010

By DAVID POLLARD dpollard@pioneerlocal.com

A big turnout is expected at July 8 Melrose Park Pension Board meeting with the pensions of three federally indicted former village police officials on the agenda.

Guy "Ric" Cervone, who was just released from prison, will be one of three people, who will be seeking his pension.

Former Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo is also expected to attend along with former Melrose Park Deputy Police Chief Gary Montino.

Cervone is eligible for his pension at age 50. He is currently 49 years old and served as a lieutenant in the police department before becoming a commander over the department's part-time police officers.

Cervone was released from federal prison in Duluth, Minn. June 25 after serving 60 days in jail. A $5,000 fine and 250 hours of community service also came with his sentence after he pleaded guilty to corruptly endeavoring to influence, obstruct, impeded and attempting to influence, obstruct administration of justice in July 2009.

The pensions of persons working for a government entity and found guilty and convicted of felony charges are usually forfeited.

Scavo was sentenced to six years in jail in federal court on Feb. 17 after being found guilty in 2009 of 22 counts of racketeering, conspiracy, extortion, obstruction of justice, mail and wire fraud, and filing false taxes after a seven-week trial.

Montino was sentenced in March to a year and a day in prison on charges of one count of racketeering and four counts of mail fraud. After serving his time in jail he will serve two years of supervised release and wear an electronic monitoring device that he has to pay for. One of the two years of his supervised release will be relegated to home.

Montino will begin his sentence in October, while Scavo's will begin in August.

The pension board meeting will take place at 5 p.m. at Melrose Park Police Department, 1 N. 19th Ave. in the courtroom.

NEWS: (National) Two Tampa Police Officers Killed in Shooting

From Officer.com

RELATED POSTS: 

R.I.P.: Officer Jeffrey Kocab

R.I.P.: Officer David Curtis

Posted: June 29th, 2010 10:08 AM GMT-05:00

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. --

A second Tampa police officer has died following a shooting during a traffic stop.

Officials say 31-year-old officer David Curtis died at Tampa General Hospital. Officer Jeffrey Kocab, also 31, died earlier following the shooting early Tuesday.

A massive search is on for a man and woman who were driving a red Toyota Camry.

Police say Curtis pulled over the Camry because it didn't have a visible tag. He called for backup because the male suspect had a misdemeanor warrant.

A few minutes later, police received a 911 call that the officers had been shot. Authorities found the officers lying on the ground. The male suspect is believed to be the shooter.

Kocab's wife is nine-months pregnant. Curtis was a father of four.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)
- A Tampa police officer was killed and another seriously wounded in an early Tuesday shooting during a traffic stop that has prompted a massive manhunt for two suspects.

Officer David Curtis pulled over a red Toyota Camry around 2:15 a.m. because it didn't have a visible tag. He called for back up after a background check revealed the male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanor charge for writing a worthless check, Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.

Six minutes after the traffic stop, a witness called to say Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab had been shot. Authorities arrived to find them lying on the ground. Kocab, 31, died. Curtis, also 31, was on life support Tuesday, police said.

Helicopters, police dogs and dozens of officers searched for the passenger, who is believed to be the shooter. A female who was driving the car was also being sought, McElroy said.

"We know they are armed and extremely dangerous," McElroy said. "We don't know what else they're capable of."

A few dozen officers in bulletproof vests combed the area for evidence, digging through trash cans and knocking on doors. Police from several surrounding cities responded.

The shooting happened on a main road near Interstate 4, which stretches from Tampa, through Orlando and into Daytona Beach.

Authorities had IDs on both suspects, but weren't sure if they were stolen.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Pam Iorio announced Kocab's death at a news conference at the hospital where the officers were taken. Dozens of somber officers filled the hospital.

"Our hearts are just breaking. It is so very tragic," Iorio said.

Kocab was a 14-month veteran with the force. His wife is nine months pregnant, police said.

Curtis, a father of four boys, has nearly four years with the department, police said.

This is the region's second incident of law enforcers being shot in less than a week. Two Polk County deputies were shot early Friday in Lakeland after stopping a man riding a bicycle. They are expected to recover.

R.I.P.: Officer David Curtis

Officer David Curtis
Tampa Police Department
Florida
End of Watch: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Cause: Gunfire
Biographical Info
Age: Not available
Tour of Duty: 3 years, 8 months
Badge Number: Not available

Officer David Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab were shot and killed while attempting to make an arrest at a traffic stop.

Officer Curtis stopped a vehicle because it did not have a visible license plate. He called for an additional unit to assist him because male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanor charge for writing a worthless check. When Officer Curtis arrived, he and Officer Kocab attempted to arrest the suspect. The suspect drew a weapon and shot both officers at close range. A witness called six minutes later to report the officers had been shot.

A witness called 911 to report the officers had been shot. Officer Kocab died on the scene and Officer Curtis was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Officer Curtis had served with the Tampa police for three years and eight months and had previously served with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He is survived by his wife and four young sons.
 
Photograph: Officer David Curtis
Patch image: Tampa 
Police Department, Florida

R.I.P.: Officer Jeffrey Kocab

Officer Jeffrey Kocab
Tampa Police Department
Florida
End of Watch: Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Cause: Gunfire
Biographical Info
Age: 31
Tour of Duty: 1 year, 2 months
Badge Number: Not available

Officer Jeffrey Kocab and Officer David Curtis were shot and killed while attempting to make an arrest at a traffic stop.

Officer Curtis stopped a vehicle because it did not have a visible license plate. He called for an additional unit to assist him because male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanor charge for writing a worthless check. When Officer Curtis arrived, he and Officer Kocab attempted to arrest the suspect. The suspect drew a weapon and shot both officers at close range. A witness called six minutes later to report the officers had been shot.

A witness called 911 to report the officers had been shot. Officer Kocab died on the scene and Officer Curtis was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

Officer Kocab served with the Tampa police for 14 months and had previously served with the Plant City Police Department. He is survived by his expectant wife.
 
Photograph: Officer Jeffrey Kocab
Patch image: Tampa 
Police Department, Florida

R.I.P.: Natural Resources Officer Luke D. Nihart

Natural Resources Officer Luke D. Nihart
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Law Enforcement Division
Kansas
End of Watch: Saturday, June 26, 2010
Cause: Accidental
Biographical Info
Age: 32
Tour of Duty: 11 years
Badge Number: 1247

Officer Luke Nihart was killed in an ATV accident while working the Country Stampede music festival at Tuttle Creek State Park.

He was entering the parking area of a Department of Wildlife and Parks office when his ATV flipped over at approximately 3:20 am. He was transported to Mercy Regional Health Center where he succumbed to his injuries two hours later.

Officer Nihart had served with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for 11 years. His is survived by his wife and two young children.
 
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this officer's photograph
Patch image: Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Law 
Enforcement Division, Kansas

Monday, June 28, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: (Chicago) Burge found guilty of lying about torture

From Chicago Tribune

June 28, 2010 3:40 PM

Former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, the subject of accusations of torture against suspects for decades, was convicted today on all counts of an indictment charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice.

Burge was convicted of lying in a 2003 civil lawsuit about his use or knowledge of torture of criminal suspects.

The verdict came hours after jurors asked their second question of the day. The jury noted that Burge had objected to two key questions in the lawsuit before he issued his denials of torture. The jury wanted to know if his answers still counted since he first objected.

Lefkow agreed with prosecutors and responded to jurors that the denials to the torture indeed still counted. The defense simply wanted the judge to refer them to the legal instructions and let them continue to deliberate.

In the first question today, jurors asked the judge whether a defendant could assert his 5th Amendment rights in a civil trial.

While no explanation for the query was stated in court, the question almost certainly pertains to Burge's allegedly false answers in a 2003 civil suit that serve as the basis for the obstruction of justice and perjury charges he now faces.

Assistant U.S. Atty. David Weisman argued that Lefkow reply that a defendant has the right to assert 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination in a civil case, but Burge waived those rights by answering questions in interrogatories during the 2003 case.

Burge's attorney Marc Martin objected, saying that prosecutors had their chance to address the issue in their case but did not, and there was no evidence to support an answer to the jurors' question. He asked Lefkow to tell the jurors to continue deliberating without answering their question.

Lefkow offered a down-the-middle solution. "Let's just say yes and if we get a follow-up question, we'll deal with it then," she said.

She then dictated a note to be given to the jurors: "A defendant in a civil case is allowed to assert the 5th Amendment."

-- Matthew Walberg

R.I.P.: Officer Brett Oswald

Officer Brett Oswald
California Highway Patrol
California
End of Watch: Sunday, June 27, 2010
Cause: Struck by vehicle
Biographical Info
Age: 47
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: 13164
Officer Brett Oswald was killed when he was struck by a vehicle at the scene of an abandoned vehicle.

Officer Oswald responded to a report that a vehicle had hit a tree on South River Road in Paso Robles. After investigating, Officer Oswald determined that no accident had occurred and that the vehicle was abandoned. He called for a tow truck and was waiting next to his patrol car, when a passing vehicle crossed the double yellow lines and struck the patrol car. The force of the impact pushed the patrol car into Officer Oswald.

Officer Oswald was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries.
 
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this officer's photograph
Patch image: California Highway Patrol, California

NEWS: Inmate died in agony while pleading for help

From Daily Herald

Associated Press

Published: 6/28/2010 12:00 AM

PEKIN -- For days before he died in a federal prison, Adam Montoya pleaded with guards to be taken to a doctor, pressing a panic button in his cell over and over to summon help that never came.

An autopsy concluded that the 36-year-old inmate suffered from no fewer than three serious illnesses -- cancer, hepatitis and HIV. The cancer ultimately killed him, causing his spleen to burst. Montoya bled to death internally.

But the coroner and a pathologist were more stunned by another finding: The only medication in his system was a trace of over-the-counter pain reliever.

That means Montoya, imprisoned for a passing counterfeit checks, had been given nothing to ease the excruciating pain that no doubt wracked his body for days or weeks before death.

"He shouldn't have died in agony like that," Coroner Dennis Conover said. "He had been out there long enough that he should have at least died in the hospital."

The FBI recently completed an investigation into Montoya's death and gave its findings to the Justice Department, which is reviewing the case. If federal prosecutors conclude that Montoya's civil rights were violated, they could take action against the prison, its guards, or both. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment, saying that the matter was still being investigated.

The coroner said guards should have been aware that something was seriously wrong with the inmate. And outside experts agree that the symptoms of cancer and hepatitis would have been hard to miss: dramatic weight loss, a swollen abdomen, yellow eyes.

During Montoya's final days, he "consistently made requests to the prison for medical attention, and they wouldn't give it to him," said his father, Juan Montoya, who described how his son repeatedly punched the panic button. Three inmates corroborated that account in interviews with The Associated Press.

The younger Montoya was taken to the prison clinic one day for "maybe five, 10 minutes," his father said. "And they gave him Tylenol, and that was it. He suffered a lot."

The federal prison in Pekin will not discuss Montoya's death. Prison spokesman Jay Henderson referred questions to the Bureau of Prisons, which denied an AP request for information on Montoya's medical condition, citing privacy laws.

It isn't clear whether the prison system, relatives or even Montoya himself knew the full extent of his illness. Montoya's father had no idea his son had cancer or hepatitis. Inmates who knew him said he told them he had cancer, but they knew nothing of his HIV.

According to its website, the Bureau of Prisons tries to screen the health of new inmates within 24 hours of their arrival. A closer examination within two weeks is required for prisoners with serious, long-term illnesses. But officials have not said whether Montoya was given any kind of exam or whether his medical records made it to Pekin.

Montoya pleaded guilty in May 2009 to counterfeiting commercial checks, credit cards and gift cards. Prosecutors will not say how much money was involved in the scheme, but Montoya was ordered to pay a little over $2,000 in restitution.

Montoya, who had a history of methamphetamine abuse, was released while awaiting sentencing and was ordered not to use drugs. At the time, he was living with his father and working for his father's process-serving business, which delivers legal documents. His father said he was paying Montoya's bills and paying him about $300 a week.

Then in mid-June, Adam Montoya was diagnosed with HIV.

"It hit him like a ton of bricks," his father said.

After the diagnosis, Montoya retreated back into methamphetamine. Following a urine test, he admitted using the drug three times in a month, and he was locked up.

Montoya began taking antiviral drugs, so his father still had hope and tried to give his son a sense of the same. "I thought, 'You'll get out. You'll get your probation, and you'll have years of life," the elder Montoya said.

In mid-October, Montoya was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. When he arrived at a federal prison transfer center in Oklahoma City, his medication was waiting for him. His father took that to mean that the prison system knew Montoya suffered from HIV.

Montoya arrived at the Pekin prison on Oct. 26. He lived just 18 more days. The inmates around him say he spent much of that time pleading for help from his cell.

Prison staff told Montoya he had the flu, according to Randy Rader, an inmate in the next cell who wrote letters to his mother about Montoya and discussed him in an e-mail interview with the AP.

"That man begged these people for nine days locked behind these doors," Rader wrote to his mother on Nov. 14. The letter was first obtained by The Pekin Daily Times, which wrote about Montoya's death earlier this year.

Rader has since been moved to a prison in California -- far from his family in Michigan. He suspects the move was retaliation for speaking out about Montoya.

The last time a staff member visited Montoya, about 10 p.m. on Nov. 12, he reported having trouble breathing and complained that he could no longer feel his fingers, Rader said in the e-mail interview. The staff member told Montoya that he would try to get help the next day.

Around 6:30 a.m., prison officials found Montoya's body in his cell.

The autopsy showed that Montoya's spleen was almost 10 times the normal weight because it had been engulfed by a cancerous tumor, which was on its way to doing the same with his liver.

The pathologist who examined Montoya's body said his eyes were also yellow -- an unmistakable sign of hepatitis. Dr. John Ralston is reluctant to speculate whether treatment could have saved Montoya's life by the time he reached Pekin. The doctor suspects he would have needed a liver transplant to have a chance.

That said, "You would think that he would have been feeling bad enough and complaining enough that somebody should have tried to get to the bottom of this," Ralston said.

The AP sought opinions about Montoya's condition from other doctors who did not examine him but were familiar with his diseases. They agreed he probably displayed obvious signs of distress.

Montoya would have had a swollen abdomen because of his spleen. At the same time, he probably was losing weight rapidly because the large tumor would have left little room in his belly for food, according to Dr. Krishna Rao, an assistant professor of oncology at Southern Illinois University Medical School in Springfield.

Someone in Montoya's condition should have been taking heavy doses of chemotherapy for his cancer or receiving stem cell transplants, if he were healthy enough, said Dr. James Egner, an oncologist with the Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign.

If the cancer was too advanced, Montoya should have at least been treated for pain with powerful drugs, possibly in a hospice, Egner said.

The president of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project said it isn't uncommon for medical records not to arrive with a federal inmate.

"Sometimes it arrives late, and sometimes it doesn't happen at all," said David Fathi, who has spent 15 years studying prison conditions. "That's why it's so critical that the new facilities do a medical screening" of new inmates.

Fahti said Montoya's death "is really an egregious failure, of the kind that you wouldn't expect from even a small county jail, let alone the largest prison system in the United States."

After his son's death, Juan Montoya wrote to the prison complaining about its medical care. Warden Richard Rios wrote back to defend his institution.

"I must respectfully disagree with your characterization of the medical care Adam received and want to assure you that we carefully monitored you son's medical condition," wrote Rios, who was not hired for the job until months after the death. He did not elaborate, writing that privacy laws limited what he could say.

The elder Montoya is now waiting for his son's medical records, but he doubts they will offer many clues. The family has hired lawyers but has not decided whether to file a lawsuit.

Montoya thinks a lot now about the assurances he offered his son as he headed for prison.

"Your time will go by fast, and you'll get out, and we'll get you a job and be part of the family," Montoya recalls telling his son. "It never happened."

NEWS: Heroin abuse surging in Chicago and its suburbs

From Chicago Sun-Times

June 28, 2010

BY MONIFA THOMAS Staff Reporter

More people in Chicago and its suburbs are admitted to hospital emergency rooms for heroin use than in any other major city, and heroin is now the most common illegal substance for which people in Illinois enter drug treatment, a new study shows.

In addition, heroin-related deaths have risen sharply in the collar counties, as use of the drug continues to expand among young, white suburbanites.

These are among the key findings from a report released today by Roosevelt University's Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy.

The report -- which is based on federal and state data on admissions to hospitals and drug treatment programs, as well as county death records -- illustrates that heroin is "the most significant illicit drug threat in the Chicago metropolitan area," according to co-authors Stephanie Schmitz and Kathleen Kane-Willis.

In 2008, there were nearly 24,000 heroin-related hospital admissions in the Chicago area, more than in any of the 12 other cities included in the federal government's Drug Abuse Warning Network. New York and Boston had the next-highest totals.

"I get five or six heroin addicts per month in my treatment program," said Dr. Jeffrey T. Johnson, medical director of the Behavioral Health Service of Central DuPage Hospital. "Alcohol is still the predominant drug, but with heroin, there's been a rise over the last five years or so."

Johnson said one reason more people might be seeking treatment is greater availability of naloxone and buprenorphine, replacement drugs that minimize symptoms of withdrawal.

While heroin users in Chicago tend to be middle-age and black, suburban users are more likely to be under 25 and white, researchers found. Young whites are also much more likely than blacks to inject heroin -- a factor fueling a significant increase in injection drug use in Illinois over the last 10 years, Kane-Willis said.

In addition, deaths from heroin overdoses in McHenry and Lake counties have more than doubled in the last decade. Cook County, on the other hand, has seen a 16 percent decrease in heroin deaths since 2000, though deaths among white women have increased 40 percent.

Chicago's status as a transportation hub and the increasing purity of heroin from South America and Mexico make it a cheaply available drug, Kane-Willis said.

Particularly for suburban youth, heroin has become "trendy and exciting," and Internet sites make it easier to find, she said.

John Roberts, a retired Chicago Police officer whose 19-year-old son Billy died of a heroin overdose last year, said many parents aren't aware of how available heroin is to their children.

"I know I wasn't," said Roberts, who lives in Homer Glen. "Their kids can try heroin for $10, and if they're lucky, they never try it again."

But Billy Roberts did try heroin again, and he got hooked. After showing some progress in treatment, Billy died of an overdose in September.

"He found an inexpensive drug, and he thought he could control it. And you can't," John Roberts said.

The report recommends putting a larger emphasis on heroin in drug education programs, increasing funding for substance abuse treatment and passing legislation to provide partial or full immunity to people who call 911 to report a drug overdose. Increasing the availability of syringes to injection drug users could also help prevent the spread of HIV and other infections, Kane-Willis said.

NEWS: (Chicago) Supreme Court casts doubt on Chicago gun ban, extends nationwide gun rights

From Chicago Sun-Times

--Reading this article shows just how clueless Mayor Daley truly is and how afraid his top level employees are to tell him to shut up and stop embarrassing himself and the city.
This quote in this article from Daley says it all. It shows he has absolutely no idea what laws are on the books and what power the criminal justice system actually has.
“What does a first-responder [do when they] come to your home, if you have 50 guns and you pointed a gun at your wife? You have a legal right to a gun,” the mayor said.
Well, his NITWITTEDNESS, the offender is usually arrested, sent in front of a judge who issues an order for the offender to turn in any and all weapons to the police and their disposition will be decided at a later time following the criminal proceedings.
Next stupid question.--
Duke

June 28, 2010

BY FRAN SPIELMAN and ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court held Monday that the Constitution’s Second Amendment restrains government’s ability to significantly limit “the right to keep and bear arms,” advancing a recent trend by the John Roberts-led bench to embrace gun rights.

By a narrow, 5-4 vote, the justices signaled, however, that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.

Writing for the court in a case involving restrictive laws in Chicago and one of its suburbs, Justice Samuel Alito said that the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority.

Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in the District of Columbia, a federal city with a unique legal standing. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms here.

Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says those laws appear to be the last two remaining outright bans.

Lower federal courts upheld the two laws, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.

The Supreme Court already has said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local, as well as federal, laws.

Monday’s decision did not explicitly strike down the Chicago area laws, ordering a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. But it left little doubt that they would eventually fall.

Still, Alito noted that the declaration that the Second Amendment is fully binding on states and cities “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

The City Council’s Police Committee is scheduled to meet at 10:15 a.m. to consider a replacement ordinance introduced directly to the committee by Mayor Daley.

Chicago gun owners could be required to take a training course, register their firearms, allow police to perform ballistics tests and even purchase liability insurance.

Daley hasn’t tipped his hand on all of the specifics as he awaited the court ruling. But, he has said to protect first-responders, he’s prepared to go above and beyond the replacement model crafted by Washington D.C. after its handgun ban bit the dust.

Washington requires gun owners to get five hours of safety training, register their firearms every three years and face criminal background checks every six years.

Gun owners there are further required to submit fingerprints and allow police to perform ballistic tests. They must keep revolvers unloaded and either disassembled or secured with trigger locks unless they have reason to fear a home intruder.

As sweeping as those provisions are, they apparently don’t go far enough for Daley, who hinted strongly at an insurance component to protect police officers and paramedics.

“You have to think about the first-responders. You’re putting them in a difficult position to make decisions. What happens if they don’t make the right decision? A person has a gun, but is [it] the person in the house? Does he have a right to carry a gun or is he the person [who] broke in?” the mayor told reporters last month.

“I’m not laying it out, but there are gonna be many topics we’re gonna talk about and who pays for it. And [the city may require] authorized people like the Chicago Police Department to train you.”

Last Friday, as he awaited the Supreme Court ruling, Mayor Daley continued to fret about the dilemma the ruling would cause police officers, firefighters and paramedics arriving at emergency scenes.

“What does a first-responder [do when they] come to your home, if you have 50 guns and you pointed a gun at your wife? You have a legal right to a gun,” the mayor said.

“Can we interfere with that display of a gun if you’ve shown it to somebody in your home? Of course not because everybody wants to sue the city. They want to sue you, the taxpayers, to try to get money out of your pocket…That’s what we’re worried about.”

NEWS: (Chicago) Another deal goes sour for Daley nephew

From Chicago Sun-Times

--Let's reform the pension system and let's take more away from the working men and women but then let's keep allowing OUR money to be used by politicians and criminals like it's their personal piggy bank. They want to be able to pay our pension funding? Then get guys like Daley and his family into court and make them pay back all the money they screwed us out of with deals like this--
Duke

June 28, 2010

BY TIM NOVAK Staff Reporter

For the last three years, Mayor Daley's nephew Robert G. Vanecko has been a frequent figure in the news.

First, when the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that five city pension funds gave him $68 million to investment in risky real estate deals.

Later, when a federal grand jury began investigating.

Now, Vanecko's real estate deals are falling apart, records show, potentially jeopardizing the money he got from the pension funds representing Chicago's police officers, teachers, city employees and CTA workers.

And it turns out that other Daley family members were involved in one of those soured deals -- a plan to build condos next door to the mayor's favorite South Loop restaurant, the Chicago Firehouse.

The restaurant, opened 10 years ago in a former city fire station, is next door to the longtime home of the National Association of Letter Carriers' Chicago branch. Three years ago, union leaders decided to sell their two-story building, hoping to turn a profit so they could build a new headquarters elsewhere in the city.

Several developers were interested. The best offer came from Vanecko and his business partner, mayoral ally Allison S. Davis. They wanted to put up a 32-story building -- either condos or hotel rooms -- on the property at 1411 S. Michigan Ave. and agreed to pay $8.5 million for the land once the union built its new headquarters at 3850 S. Wabash.

They gave the union a down payment -- and advanced millions of dollars in city pension funds so the union could buy land and build its new home.

To date, Vanecko and Davis have given the union more than $4.5 million in city pension funds -- including an $850,000 down payment, a "predevelopment commitment'' advance of $400,000 and a $2.9 million line of credit, records show.

Last summer, Vanecko walked away from the company that he and Davis created, DV Urban Realty Partners, soon after a federal jury issued subpoenas to the company and the pension funds. Then, Davis and his son Jared Davis told the union they no longer wanted to buy the property -- and they wanted the pension fund money back.

The union said no and filed a breach-of-contract suit last September in Cook County Circuit Court against DV 1411 South Michigan Avenue LLC, the company Vanecko and Davis had set up to develop the property. DV 1411 filed a countersuit in March.

"They're trying to back out of the deal,'' said Mack Julion Sr., president of the National Association of Letter Carriers. "They say they couldn't get the zoning they needed, but they had ample time to do that. ... They're pretty much leaving us holding the bag.''

Neither Davis nor Vanecko responded to interview requests.

Vanecko has been a source of public embarrassment for his uncle, the mayor, who said last summer that he'd been unaware of Vanecko's deal with the city pension funds until he read about it in the Sun-Times.

"When I did find out, I made it very clear that it was not a good decision and that he should end the business relationship immediately,'' Daley said then. "But, as an adult, Bob made ... a different decision, which led to a very painful string of news stories that have, indeed, caused tension in my family.

''I love my nephew. It's difficult for me to have my disappointment in him made public."

While the economy has hurt the real estate investments made by Vanecko and Davis, it hasn't kept them from collecting more than $4 million in fees from the city pension funds since 2007.

Davis, 70, and Vanecko, 44, set up their real estate investment company in November 2004. They asked a host of government pension funds and businesses, including Commonwealth Edison, to invest in DV Urban but were only able to persuade five city pension funds to invest a combined $68 million, which they said they would use to redevelop neglected neighborhoods in Chicago.

Their first deal closed in September 2006 -- a 344-unit apartment building at 1212 S. Michigan with a $56 million mortgage and about $9 million in pension money.

Over the next year, Vanecko and Davis bought another apartment building in South Shore and invested in two office buildings, including the former Chicago Defender headquarters that's now owned by Matthew O'Malley, who also owns the Chicago Firehouse restaurant.

Then, they struck the deal to buy the letter carriers building next door to the restaurant on Aug. 29, 2007, a month before the Sun-Times exposed Vanecko's deals with the city pension funds.

"It was the best bid, in terms of dollars,'' says Elvin Charity, the union's attorney. "We were real clear that we were looking for the highest bids and whatever support we could get from the developers to finance a new headquarters."

To negotiate the deal, Davis and Vanecko hired the law firm of Daley & George, founded by the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and now headed by Michael Daley, the current mayor's younger brother. Michael Daley's son-in-law, Allan "Kelly'' Ryan IV, worked the deal with Dennis Aukstik, ex-brother-in-law of William Daley, another of the mayor's brothers.

The deal gave the letter carriers union three years to relocate to a new headquarters, a move it made last fall.

Davis and Vanecko agreed to obtain City Hall's approval for their project, including "all necessary zoning,'' within one year. But they never formally sought city permission to develop the property because Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) didn't support the project, according to court records filed by Davis' attorney Edward T. Joyce, a relative of the mayor's longtime political adviser, Jeremiah Joyce.

"The alderman's unresponsiveness was a clear indication to DV that its [planned development] application would not be approved,'' Davis says in court documents, explaining why they never filed those applications with City Hall.

Where the two sides disagree is whether Davis and Vanecko failed to act in time. The union says Davis and Vanecko missed their one-year deadline but still have to come up with the remaining money to buy the property. Davis argues that, since they couldn't get zoning approval, the deal should be off and they should get their money back.

Davis' son Jared says they would still be interested in buying the property -- if the union would lower the $8.5million price.