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ere the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:
Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:

Officer Down

Thursday, March 31, 2011

FOR THOSE IN NEED: Safe Call (For Public Safety Employees and Families)


Public Safety is a stressful, demanding career. You keep communities safe. You protect life and property. You enforce laws. You resolve conflicts. Public safety rests on your shoulders.

What happens when your personal life and career are out of balance? You are going through a divorce. Your finances are out of control. You can’t sleep. A traumatic event at work is haunting you. Drugs and alcohol seem to lessen the effects.

Don’t ignore the warning signs. Safe Call Now was established by public safety employees for public safety employees. Talk to someone who understands the stressful demands of your work. It’s a simple and confidential phone call away.

*Date of post changed to keep at top of Blotter for one day (Posted on March 30, 2011)*


PENSION: (National) Actuaries deal with political reality of pension questions

STORY AT Statehoue News Online

By Frank Keegan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One actuary at the Public Employee Retirement Systems Workshop on  Wednesday put the question in plain language:

“What do you say when a taxpayer asks, ‘You’re telling me I took a hit on my 401(k) and get no health benefits, and you’re going to raise my property taxes?’”

Larry Johansen, who joined the New Hampshire Retirement System [1] last year as investment director of the $5 billion trust fund, said, “It’s not the first time I’ve heard that,” to a murmur of agreement through the audience of about 50.

Enrolled Actuaries [2] gathered here for their 36th annual meeting under the lengthening shadow of guaranteed pension promises states and municipalities made to workers without setting aside money to pay for them.

Losses of 20 percent to 30 percent in the recession exposed and increased the unfunded liabilities. Actuaries are not responsible for investing pension funds, but do the calculations used to guide how much money the funds must get from taxpayers to pay future pension benefits.

If enough money is not available in pension funds, taxpayers are expected to make up the difference.

Right now, pension funds are $700 billion to $3 trillion [3] short, depending on how actuaries and accountants calculate. States and municipalities have deficits from overspending and revenue that dropped to 2007 levels during the recession.

Most states have to write pension checks before they pay any other bills, including earnings of current employees.

Johansen said New Hampshire’s pensions are 58.5 percent funded using standard assumptions that deem any plan less than 80 percent funded in danger of not being able to pay benefits.

How to make up the difference?

“Constituents are telling the legislators they can’t pay it,” Johansen said.

William “Flick” Fornia of Pension Trustee Advisors [4], who moderated the discussion with Johansen, said the problem is compounded by public officials who don’t listen to actuaries generally advising them to make bigger contributions every year and invest more conservatively.

“In some places our numbers are gospel; others they just nod and say, ‘that’s interesting,’” he said.
The result is an ongoing political controversy as state and local governments face cutting expenses and raising taxes on residents battered by the recession.

Johansen put “Wisconsin Implications” on a board listing major issues as audience members called out what they wanted to discuss.

One said, “I have a large public pension that wants to do what Wisconsin does,” which is have public workers share in some of the risk if pension investments fall.

Another audience member said, “Why it’s a hot topic in Wisconsin is a real puzzle. On a market value basis, they’re at 96, 97 percent. You can design a plan that is very stable and still get in political trouble.”

Gov. Scott Walker is pushing pension changes one audience member referred to as “draconian.”
Fornia said, “The more responsible systems better funded in the first place tend to bite the bullet when they have to.”

One person commented, “Some politicians have it in their minds” that public defined benefit pensions, guaranteed by taxpayers no matter how investments perform or whether required contributions are made, should be replaced with defined contribution plans similar to those that displaced pensions for most private sector workers. In those plans employees, not taxpayers, take the risk.

Fornia said he talked recently with an American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union official about pension reforms. “He had a map. It is in the union states. His take is it’s a union busting move.”

Another person said “a lot of this, if we could dig down and see who’s pushing DC (defined contribution), we’d find the names of Fidelity and Vanguard” because investment firms would get the trillions of dollars now going into public defined benefit funds that employ actuaries.
An audience member asked, “In Michigan teachers went DC. How’s that working?”
Another answered, “They did it about 15 years ago. Interestingly, the governor who pushed it chose to stay in the DB (defined benefit) plan. So did the treasurer, as did the House member who sponsored the legislation.”
Johansen asked the crowd: “So how do you deal with it in the public space?”
Audience members responded with suggestions ranging from explaining to taxpayers what caused the underfunding, to “sharing pain as well as gain,” to ending abuses such as salary spiking and double dipping that can throw off actuarial calculations and “create headlines,” to implementing variable defined benefit plans.

One thing they agreed on as time ran out is “when employers hire one (an adversarial actuary) just to move the needle in their direction,” for example to reduce annual contributions, pensions end up in trouble.

URLs in this post:

[1] New Hampshire Retirement System:
[2] Enrolled Actuaries:
[3] $700 billion to $3 trillion:
[4] Pension Trustee Advisors:

NEWS: (Illinois) Both sides weigh in on concealed carry bill

--An amendment was approved to the bill this week that adds Libraries to the list of places that firearms would not be allowed.--

STORY AT  ABC7 Chicago

March 29, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Should Illinois residents be allowed to carry a concealed weapon? There's a bill being considered that would make Illinois one of the last states to approve permits for concealed carry.

Those on both sides of the issue are weighing in on the proposed legislation.

Illinois is one of only two states that do not allow concealed carry. Wisconsin is the other.

Twice, Wisconsin has passed a version of concealed carry, but it was twice vetoed by then Governor Jim Doyle. There is a new governor now who has indicated he would sign it if the bill reaches his desk. Were that to happen, Illinois would be the only state in the union without some form of concealed carry, and once again the battle lines are drawn.

Three years ago, Mary Kay Mace lost her daughter. Ryanne Mace was 19. She was one of the victims of the shooting rampage on the campus of Northern Illinois University. The shooter had a mental health history, but he still managed to obtain firearms.

"As long as there is an enormous backlog of records is missing from the database, it would be reprehensible to pass legislation to allow people to carry concealed firearms," Mace said.

Tuesday morning, Mace joined other relatives of gun violence victims to urge the General Assembly to reject a bill that would allow the concealed carry of handguns in Illinois.

"Common sense tells us that fender benders could turn into a shootout," said former Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine.

Opponents have long argued that the ability to carry concealed weapons does not lessen crime in the vast majority of states that have it, but raises gun crimes of passion and opportunity.

"I don't think that's true at all. I think that you've seen a lessening of crime, particularly against the elderly and women. And I also see that you don't have the spikes that they say you will get in crime if you have people walk with fire arms who have been properly trained," said Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

The Illinois General Assembly has always turned down concealed carry, but the dynamics of the debate have changed somewhat since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last June allowing handguns in the home for self-protection. The question is, does that not extend to the street?

The bill now before the Illinois House would allow county sheriffs to issue concealed carry permits to those who qualify for a Firearms Owner ID card, undergo an FBI background check, and pass both classroom and range training for handguns.

The Illinois Police Chief's Association has relaxed its opposition to concealed carry, though not Acting Chicago Police Superintendent Terry Hillard, who was himself twice wounded in the line of duty.

"If we have a different mindset on that, I have to stick to my principles also. I want to protect our cops," said Hillard.

And for a mom who lost her daughter in a place she presumed to be safe:

"I think it's very offensive and very misleading when people say kids carrying guns on campus will save lives. That's not the case," said Mace.

House Bill 148 has had a second reading. Similar bills in the past have not had much traction, but the legal and political landscapes have changed significantly in the last year.

Opponents think concealed carry stands a good chance of passage. Gun control advocates in the General Assembly believe it won't, but one of them said Tuesday afternoon the issue is closer than it has ever been.

NEWS: Sex Trafficking in Chicago: Cook County Sheriff's Dept. Helps Raise Awareness

STORY AT FOX Chicago News

Published : Wednesday, 30 Mar 2011, 10:21 PM CDT
By Jan Jeffcoat, FOX Chicago News

Chicago - Some might think sex trafficking is something that just happens in other countries. It's a growing epidemic in the city of Chicago.

Some experts say it is a dangerous problem that few people are aware of, and is hard to believe goes on so close to home.

A young Chicago woman who was caught up in a sex traffic operation shared her horrific story with FOX Chicago’s Jan Jeffcoat.

To protect her identity, we are calling her Brittany. She told Jan her nightmare began when she was just 16 and on a night when she got into a heated argument with her parents.

“So I ran away from home and ran into a girlfriend of mine. She had informed me that I could come and stay with her and her boyfriend at the time, I said yes and it sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun, freedom. No parents, no problems," Brittany said.

Brittany said she went with the couple to a house we can only tell you is in the South Suburbs. She also said she only planned to stay just one night.

Once in side the house, her plan changed. Brittany says her friend's boyfriend took her to back bedroom and "that's when he forced himself on me. He raped me right then and there."

Brittany fought and tried to get out, but she was chained to a bed and locked inside a room. She says the boyfriend then told her "he was a pimp and was going to prostitute me out."

Brittany refused and tried to get away but couldn’t do so.

"They say it, you have to do it. If you don't, they'll kill you or they'll kill your family," she said.

Brittany said there were several others girls in the house, some even younger than she was. They were not allowed to communicate with each other but she could hear their screams through the walls.

"There were probably four, maybe five different bedrooms. Each room had a different girl and it would have a letter above the door and that's how he would tell the ‘John’ to go in that room."

As for her room, "All I had was a bed, there was a chain from the bed to my ankle and I had a coffee can cup which I had to use to go to the bathroom. He would throw us a sheet every now and again because the rooms would get pretty cold for us to keep warm with but yet again we were completely naked," Brittany said.

Brittany said she was held captive for more than three years, constantly sedated and injected with drugs, all while hundreds of "Johns" walked through the door.

No one ever reported seeing the young girls chained to these beds. No neighbors thought the constant traffic in and out of the house was suspicious.

"I worried about my mom a lot, wondering if she knew where I was? If anybody was looking for me, if the police were looking for me,” Brittany said. “A lot of times I would pray the swat team or officers would kick in that door. I wanted to go home but they never kicked in."

Brittany's story is real and it concerns people like Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

“People aren't understanding the magnitude of [sex trafficking] and seriousness of it," Dart said.

Dart said the sex trafficking industry is widespread in Chicago; it is hard to track the number of underage girls involved. Sheriff Dart said he has seen girls as young as 13 years old become victims.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Illinois is among the top 10 states it receives the most calls from and the Department of Justice recently designated Chicago as a "high-intensity area" for sex trafficking.

Once enslaved, many girls never make it out. Brittany never gave up. She eventually tricked one of her captors into letting her outside, and that's when she made a run for it and escaped.

"I want girls out there to know that there are people that are trying to help,” Brittany said. “There is help out there to get the strength like I did, get that will and get away."

Brittany is now 22 years old, and told Jan it took her a year to sober up after her three years of her drug induced enslavement.

She works with the Cook County Sheriff's office and Dreamcatcher’s foundation to help educate and rehabilitate other young women who share a similar story.

Police Blotters March 31, 2011

Click on the town you are interested in.

Franklin Park, Northlake, Leyden Township

La Grange, Lagrange Park, Westchester

Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace

Elmwood Park, River Grove


Norridge, Harwood Heights

Oak Park

Park Ridge

Maine Township

River Forest


Forest Park

Arlington Heights, Wheeling

Des Plaines, Mount Prospect


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: (Chicago) 2 cops arrested after alleged sex assault

--UNBELIEVABLE!!!! This is just pure stupidity in action.
More information will be forthcoming.--


March 30, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Two Chicago Police officers in uniform and in a marked department SUV are accused of pulling up to a young woman as she walked home alone along Broadway on the North Side.

"They offered me a ride home," the victim told ABC 7. She accepted.

Police are now investigating her claim that both officers came into her apartment, which is outside of the Wrigleyville district where they work, and sexually assaulted her.

At some point, she ran to neighbors for help. The officers allegedly ran off, but not before sources say they left behind parts of their uniform and a cell phone.

A police spokesperson released a statement saying: "Upon learning of the allegations, an immediate investigation was initiated. The investigation is on-going, and the accused officers will be relieved of their police powers. These allegations are egregious and taken very seriously."

ABC7 has learned that both officers have been arrested but not yet charged. The victim has identified at least one of them in a line-up.

UNION: (National) Ohio Lawmakers Pass Anti-Union Bill

--These states just continue to put their employees on the firing line. The future ramifications of these laws will be felt sooner rather than later.--

STORY AT New York Times

March 30, 2011

The two houses of the Ohio Legislature approved a far-reaching bill on Wednesday that would hobble the ability of public-employee unions to bargain collectively and undercut their political clout.

They sent the bill to Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican, who lawmakers said would sign it in the next few days.

The Republican-dominated Senate voted 17 to 16 in favor of the bill Wednesday evening, hours after the House passed it, 53 to 44, with 5 Republicans joining 39 Democrats in opposition.

Republicans applauded the bill, saying Ohio’s deficit-plagued state and local governments could no longer afford the costs that public-sector unions extracted in collective bargaining. But Democrats criticized the legislation, saying it effectively eviscerated public employees’ bargaining rights and would make it harder for them to stay in the middle class.

The bill would bar public employees from striking and would prohibit binding arbitration for police officers and firefighters. It would allow bargaining over wages, but not health coverage and pensions and would allow public-employee unions to bargain only when the public employer chose to do so.

Numerous unions and Democrats were vowing to sponsor a statewide referendum, probably this November, to overturn the legislation.

The push by Ohio Republicans is part of an effort by Republicans in Wisconsin, Indiana and nearly a dozen other states to curb the power of public-sector unions by weakening their ability to bargain and engage in electoral politics.

Under the Ohio bill, when there is public-sector bargaining and management and union fail to reach a settlement, the legislative body, such as a county or school board, would make the final decision on what offer to accept. But if the legislative body refrains from selecting either side’s last best offer, the public employer’s last offer would become the agreement between the parties.

Republicans said the bill would restore fairness for Ohio’s taxpayers and would help prevent large-scale layoffs by allowing local governments to hold down their labor costs.

Immediately after the House voted, William G. Batchelder, the House speaker, said: “Today, this House has taken an unprecedented step toward public policy that respects all Ohioans, especially our taxpayers and our hard-working middle class.” He said the bill “protects the collective bargaining rights of Ohioans while also giving local governments an additional tool in the toolbox as they balance their budgets.”

But James Brudney, a labor law professor at Ohio State University, said the bill effectively crippled collective bargaining. “There’s a kind of mask or illusion element in this,” he said. “The essence of collective bargaining is when you can’t agree on terms of a contract, you have a dispute resolution mechanism, by strikes or perhaps binding arbitration. Here, you have none of that. That’s not collective bargaining. I’d call it collective begging. It’s a conversation that ends whenever an employer decides that it ends.”

The bill would allow public employees who are covered by union contracts but who choose not to belong to the union to opt out of paying union dues or fees. The bill would also bar any governmental unit in Ohio from deducting any part of a worker’s paycheck and giving it to the union for political activities unless the worker gave express permission.

The bill would bar any union contract that limited a public employer’s ability to privatize operations. It eliminates statutory schedules and steps that automatically increase salaries year by year, and it bars seniority, by itself, from determining who is to be laid off.

“This bill is a reprehensible attack on the middle class and the rights of Ohio’s workers,” said Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “It undermines our basic American values by attacking the right of Ohio workers to have a voice on the job.”

Mr. McEntee, whose union represents 114,000 public employees in Ohio, criticized the bill for eliminating the ability of public employees to negotiate on health care, outsourcing and staffing levels for nurses, firefighting crews and police squad cars.

Under the bill, if a public employer chose the costlier of two final offers from management and union and that choice forced a community to raise taxes, then voters would be given the opportunity to overturn the contract through a referendum.

“We’re doing everything we can to return the power to the taxpayers,” said Michael Dittoe, a spokesman for House Republicans.

Armond Budish, the House Democratic leader, said he was disappointed, but not surprised, by Wednesday’s vote. “It’s part of the governor’s effort to balance the budget on the backs of working people,” he said.

BREAKING NEWS: Cops: NW Side raids yield 3,000 pounds of pot

Omar Gonzalez, Mario Rodriguez, Cesar Diaz, and Samuel Alvarez all face felony drug distribution charges after investigators found 3,000 pounds of marijuana in their homes this week. They are being held on bail in the Cook County Jail. Police estimated the marijuana has a street value of about $8.2 million. (Chicago Police Department)
--Nice job guys--

STORY AT Chicago Tribune
Staff report
4:06 PM CDT, March 30, 2011

Four men face felony drug-trafficking charges after authorities seized about 3,000 pounds of marijuana from their Northwest Side homes.

Omar Gonzalez, 37, and Mario Rodriguez, 19,  both of the 4700 block of North Central Avenue, and Cesar Diaz, 33, and Samuel Alvarez, 25, both of the 3200 block North Odell Avenue, all were arrested at the homes about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday in joint raids involving the Chicago Police Narcotics Unit and the Drug Enforcement Administration, police said. All four face felony charges of manufacturing or delivering marijuana.

Gonzalez and Rodriguez were ordered held in lieu of $500,000 cash bail while Diaz and Alvarez were ordered held on $200,000 cash bail in a hearing midday today before Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. in Central Bond Court.

Investigators first uncovered evidence the home of Diaz and Alvarez on Odell Avenue might be being used in the drug trade, and later determined the Central Avenue home of Gonzalez and Rodriguez might be a second “stash house,” according to a police news release.

On Tuesday, police, including Jefferson Park District officers, found about 2,000 pounds of marijuana at the Central Avenue home and another 1,000 pounds at the Odell Avenue home. Officers found a 9mm handgun at the Central Avenue home, police said.

In total, police estimated the total street value of the rugs at close to $8.2 million.

All four are scheduled to be in Cook County Court Branch 57 on April 13.

PENSION: (Illinois) begins campaign against public pensions

Illinois is has begun a statewide radio ad campaign to attempt to turn the citizens of Illinois against it's public employees.

Their statement right here shows their hypocrisy. 

"Make no mistake, teachers and other state employees work hard and we want to fulfill the promises that have been made to them. Pension reforms will have NO IMPACT on CURRENT RETIREES. And no matter what, we will not touch any benefits earned up to this point for current employees, but as we move forward all options must be on the table to ensure the pension systems don't go bankrupt."

In other words they think they can violate the State's Constitution and change our pension benefits from a certain date.

They have released two radio campaigns to begin their assault on the public employees.

Please listen to these ads and see how they are misleading the people.

AD 1 - It's our problem

AD 2 - Springfield math

As I have said before, whether they want to admit it or not these types of assaults against public employees place police officers and fire fighters in DANGER.

Their ideas of reform are as follows:

From website

Pension Reform

Any pension benefits already earned by a government employee cannot and should not be diminished, but something must be done about retirement benefits that have not yet been earned. We would propose:

    Giving current employees a choice of 3 pension plans:
        Defined contribution plan;
        Reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in Spring 2010; or
        Current defined benefit plan.
    Giving new employees the choice of either:
        Defined contribution plan; or
        Reformed defined benefit plan that was enacted in Spring 2010.
    Set future State contributions to pension plans at half of "Normal Cost" (cost of annual pension accrual) of reformed defined benefit plan. Employees pay any additional costs associated with the plan they choose.
    Require State to pay off unfunded State pension liability attributable to previous service, calculated using current wage levels.

Retiree Health Care Reform Proposal

These proposed reforms would apply to State Employees Group Insurance Program only. Reform applies to new and current employees upon retirement and to current retirees.

    State makes same contribution toward retiree health care premium for all retirees.
    Contribution is calculated as a percentage – based on years of service – of the Medicare rate. (Current Medicare rate is approximately $300/month).
    Retiree is responsible for all additional costs associated with health care coverage, including dependent coverage.
    State uses savings from reform to begin pre-funding retiree health care liability.


NEWS: (Chicago) Weis talks uniforms, politics, case of Daley's nephew

--I have learned that when you have to spend so much time defending your actions, they were probably questionable to begin with.
He made almost a million dollars in three years to lead a department that is now in the worst shape it has ever been in. 
He did nothing but target rank and file officers while covering up for his command officers on a regular basis.
Time to just go away--

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

Former top cop proud of efforts, says there were a few 'whiners' on force

John Kass
2:25 AM CDT, March 30, 2011

Former Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis said Tuesday that the 2004 death of David Koschman — after a confrontation in the Rush Street nightclub area with a nephew of Mayor Richard Daley's — should be reinvestigated by an independent law enforcement agency.

The case was recently tossed into the palms of Illinois State Police by the Cook County state's attorney's office. But I don't see how any law enforcement agency — except Weis' old FBI — can clear this one up.

When a nephew of the boss of Chicago comes up in a police investigation, it is by nature a heater case, a political hot potato. And I don't think the politicians are done tossing this one back and forth.

"I think now that the best thing is to have an independent investigation and see what it shows," Weis told me during a wide-ranging interview about his three-year tenure as Chicago's top cop.

We sat for hours at Yolk on South Michigan Avenue, where he talked about what he was most proud of, and what troubled him, during his time running the police in this most political of cities.

He was proud of his police force and the historic drop in homicides in 2010, from 460 in 2009 to 435 a year later. He feels vindicated that he shifted police to high-crime areas and that he gave his officers equipment they needed, from assault rifles to Tasers.

Weis said he liked working for Daley because the mayor gave him the autonomy to do his job. Daley put Weis in command after a series of scandals rocked the department, from corruption to brutality. Weis lowered crime. And he did his job honorably.

And though Weis said that most officers supported his changes, he noted that some in the rank and file "whined."

"A very small percentage of our force are whiners. Unfortunately, they whine very loud," he said.

Yet what really frosted Weis was the criticism he received over the uniform issue — his decision to wear a police uniform to ceremonial functions though he was never a Chicago police officer.

What I'd never heard before is that before taking the job, Weis asked Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue about wearing the uniform.

"And he said, 'I don't think that's a problem,'" Weis said. "If he would have told me, 'Jody, I'm telling you, never wear a uniform,' I would have never worn a uniform. My whole purpose of wearing a uniform was out of respect. Basically he said, 'I think that would be fine.'"

After Weis began wearing dress blues, Donahue's union cadre began ripping the superintendent. It snowballed and stuck to Weis, who felt betrayed.

We called Donahue, and he confirmed that he gave his OK on the uniform. "He asked me my opinion before he started and I told him," Donahue said.

So when union members ripped Weis, why didn't you stand up and say you'd given him the OK?

"People are entitled to their opinions," Donahue said.

During my interview with Weis, we also talked about the Koschman case. That's the case that the Sun-Times has featured for the last few weeks.

On April 25, 2004, Koschman was celebrating his 21st birthday on Rush Street with friends. He was a little guy, 5-foot-5 and 140 pounds.

The mayor's nephew, Richard J. Vanecko, is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. There was a confrontation outside a bar, and there was either a punch or a push, but either way, the little guy fell, hit his head and was dead 11 days later.

Weis told me Tuesday that he ordered up a review of the Koschman case. He said his people found "nothing to prosecute."

But witnesses came forward with accounts different than those in the old police reports.

And Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who did not charge anyone in connection with Koschman's death, tossed the hot potato case over to state police last week.

There are other questions about how the police handled the case. Koschman was described by police as the aggressor, but his friends now reportedly say that's not true.

Because both sides in the confrontation had been drinking, I don't even know if a conviction is possible.

But what I want to know is that the Koschman investigation wasn't subject to political clout.

The problem with state police handling it now is that that lying to them won't land the liar in federal prison. And someone is lying in the Koschman case. Either some cops are lying or some witnesses are lying.

If you're caught lying to the FBI, you could be looking at from two to three years inside. And if you're a cop, you'll lose your police pension.

But Weis said he didn't know on what grounds the feds could become involved.

"Maybe as a civil rights matter? Maybe corruption? I don't know," he said.

Will anyone ever get to the bottom of this thing?

"There seems to be some question about witness statements. So you go interview them, compare what was written then to what is said now. You go through all the statements and see if they're similar or if there are discrepancies. Witnesses should take a polygraph.

"When you have witnesses coming forward saying there are discrepancies, those need to be evaluated, and the best thing would be an independent review."

Right now, that hot potato is burning the fingers of state police.

But for how long?

NEWS: (Suburban) Patrol nets 4 pounds of pot

--I happen to know a couple of the cops involved here, great job guys.--

STORY AT Pioneer Press 

March 29, 2011

Oak Park and River Forest tactical officers participating in gang suppression activities in Berwyn Friday afternoon nabbed a convicted drug dealer with four pounds of marijuana and nearly $3,000 in cash.

Oak Park detectives Episcopo and Cook, River Forest Detective Sgt. Marty Grill and Forest Park Detective Sgt. Mike Keating were riding together March 25 as part of a West Suburban Gang and Drug Enforcement (WEDGE) mission to calm heated gang tensions in Berwyn.

The officers allegedly spotted a car make an illegal turn onto Ogden Avenue at Ridgeland Avenue so they pulled it over.

A name check determined David Acosta, 41, of 7 Rock Road, Romeoville, had 14 prior arrests or convictions for illegal drugs. Police searched his car and reportedly turned up four pounds of marijuana and nearly $3,000 in cash.

Acosta was taken to the Berwyn police station, where he was charged with manufacture and delivery of 500-2,000 grams of marijuana and illegal possession of drugs, along with three traffic violations.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NEWS: (Cook County) Glenview bar caught in liquor sting selling beer to 12-year-old

--A 12 year old? Really? and four more bars in Leyden? Possum's Pub, Tequilaz, Ozzie's and the Convenient Store. You would think they would know by now.--

STORY AT Pioneer Press

March 29, 2011

Teenagers trying to buy alcohol illegally has been a problem for years, but in Maine Township it seems, kids much younger can get a beer.

Cook County Sheriff's investigators say that at one restaurant near Glenview, a waitress not only didn't ask a for an ID, but she also served beer to a 12-year-old.

Sheriff's police, using a team of junior high and high school students, conducted a sting last weekend in the north and west suburbs to crack down on businesses selling alcohol to minors.

The teams visited businesses in Leyden, Maine and Wheeling townships and found that of 18 businesses visited, five sold alcohol to minors, a release from the sheriff's office stated.

In Maine and Wheeling townships on Saturday, investigators took a 12-year-old, 14-year-old, 17- year-old and two 18-year-olds to eight businesses, including a chain drugstore, smaller convenience stores, liquor stores and bars. Undercover cops then watched as the minors entered and tried to buy or order alcohol.

Among those businesses was Premier Billiards & Cafe at at 2626 Golf Road in unincorporated Glenview. When the 12-year-old and the other teens ordered beer, a waitress there not only failed to ask for ID, but also proceeded to fill their orders, the release stated.

Also on Saturday, a pair of teens entered 10 Leyden Township businesses attempting to buy alcohol. They were asked for identification each time and produced IDs that showed they were underage, the release stated. Six businesses refused to sell them alcohol, but four others allowed the purchase.

Those businesses were Possum's Pub at 2324 N. Mannheim Road; Convenient Place at 101 E. Grand Ave.; Ozzie's Food Store at 1158 W. Grand Ave.; and Tequilaz Bar and Grill at 11220 W. Grand Ave.

Sheriff Tom Dart said the undercover stings will continue throughout the suburbs. The penalty for violating underage drinking laws starts at a $500 fine.

NEWS: (National) Kan. cop killer seeks parole — friends, family, and fellow-LEOs stand opposed

--I don't think I have to explain the importance of keeping these monsters locked up.
This guy, Nelms, is another example of what is broken in this country. 
Allowed out on parole once just to kill a cop and now he wants out again.
Please take the time to write a letter, make a phone call, anything to protect society from the release of this monster.--



Editor's Corner
with PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie

Even as parole is denied to Ill. cop killer Henry Michael Gargano, another murder, Jimmy K. Nelms seeks freedom despite having only served 33 years of his '45 years to life' sentence

Good news and bad news today folks — I’ll begin with the good news. In early December 2010, I wrote a column about the proposed hearing for ‘special reconsideration’ for Henry Michael Gargano, who during the commission of a 1967 bank robbery murdered Sergeant John Nagle and Officer Anthony Perri of the Northlake (Ill.) PD, and wounded two other officers. This morning I received word from my friend and colleague Chuck Remsberg that late last week, Gargano’s bid for parole was denied. A news report in the Chicago Tribune specifically mentioned that the possibility of his being paroled “generated outrage from law enforcement and the public.”

Meanwhile — yes, now for the bad news — today I spoke via telephone with the brother of Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Conroy O'Brien, a young law enforcer who was murdered by Jimmy Nelms during a vehicle stop in the small hours of May 24, 1978. Trooper O’Brien had served with that agency for four years, and was survived by his expectant wife.

“The man who murdered my brother is up for parole,” Kelvin O’Brien told me today. “Under the current sentencing guidelines, Jimmy K. Nelms would be executed for this crime. However, as a result of the sentencing guidelines in 1978, he first became eligible for parole in 1993 — just 15 years into his sentence — and every five years he comes up for parole. He has been in prison for 33 years and I feel the longer this goes on, the more likely he is to be paroled.”

O’Brien told me that his brother was near the end of his shift when he stopped a vehicle for speeding, and that among the three passengers was a parolee (Nelms), an escaped convict from Georgia named Walter Myrick, and a third individual who apparently did not participate in the killing.

“Myrick died in prison in 2009, and the one who turned states evidence was released from prison after seven years,” O’Brien explained to me. “The ring leader of the group was Nelms. Nelms is the one who pulled the trigger. Nelms walked Conroy into that ditch and pistol whipped him — leaving fractured skull from the whipping. Nelms tried to get my brother to beg for his life and then shot him twice in the head with a .357 magnum. Nelms spit on Conroy while he lay dying in that ditch at mile marker 94.5 on the Kansas Turnpike.”

Get ready for more outrage my friends. Nelms was on parole when he murdered Trooper O’Brien. What sane person could argue that granting parole to this cop killer will result in anything but needlessly jeopardizing the public?

Lovelle Mixon was on parole when he murdered Sgt. Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt. Daniel Sakai, and Sgt. Ervin Romans of the Oakland (Calif.) Police Department in March 2009. Maurice Clemmons, who had been paroled in 2004, murdered Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Ronald Owens, Officer Tina Griswold, and Officer Greg Richards of the Lakewood (Wash.) Police Department in November 2009. Neither Mixon nor Clemmons was a convicted cop killer, and yet each one went on to kill four American law enforcers (each!) after being granted parole. What do parole boards think will happen when they contemplate — and God forbid, grant — parole to men like Jimmy K. Nelms, who has already been convicted of killing a police officer?

“No doubt, if Nelms is released, every law enforcement officer will be put at risk if they cross this man’s path,” O’Brien told me.

I first received word of this potential travesty of justice from a law enforcer in the state of Kansas who reached out to me today via email. My Kansas contact said, in part, “I personally feel that this man — using the tern ‘man’ loosely — should never see the light of day as a free man and think that many of the members of PoliceOne will agree.”

You’ve got that right brother. During the course of the past year or so, PoliceOne members have helped in the successful prevention of a handful of parole requests made by cop killers across the nation. In the case of Gargano in December, we generated nearly 300 member comments — which I personally printed up and sent via FedEx to the parole board — and countless calls and emails directly to the parole board itself.

Back — briefly — to subject of Michael Gargano, who is now 79 years old and ailing in prison. U.S. Parole Commission Chairman Isaac Fulwood Jr. said in a prepared statement that Gargano’s prison record and his “lack of remorse for the crimes that led to his imprisonment” were evidence enough that “his release would be incompatible with public safety.”

I’m told that this cop killer can request parole consideration again in 2013 and that this could go on every two years. Regardless, Joseph Nagle — son of one of the slain officers — recently said, “If it comes up again, we’ll show up again and fight the same fight.”

Let’s not rest on our laurels with our victory in Illinois, for there is work to be done in Kansas. Nelms could be released as early as May 1, 2011.

You know what to do.

    Kansas Parole Board
    Office of Victim Services
    Attn: Kimberly Marotta
    Kansas Dept. of Corrections
    900 SW Jackson Suite 400
    Topeka, KS 66612

“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your assistance,” said Kelvin O’Brien. “Kimberly Marotta is with the victims services and she will take and hand deliver all letters personally to each of the three board members. Only one copy needs to be sent. She will make duplicates of each letter and make sure each board member gets individual copies.”

*NOTE* The email address for the Kansas Department of Corrections Parole Board is:

PENSION: (Illinois) Update on House Bill 3375

HOUSE BILL 3375 has been making its way through the house and committees with a couple of amendments being suggested.

State of Illinois
2011 and 2012

Introduced 2/24/2011, by Rep. Kevin A. McCarthy

                LRB097 10953 JDS 51551 b


        HB3375        LRB097 10953 JDS 51551 b

1            AN ACT concerning public employee benefits.

2            Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3        represented in the General Assembly:

4            Section 5. The Illinois Pension Code is amended by adding
5        Section 1-161 as follows:

6            (40 ILCS 5/1-161 new)
7            Sec. 1-161. Suspension of pension or annuity.
8        Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, if a member
9        or participant of a retirement system or pension fund subject
10        to this Code is receiving a retirement annuity or retirement
11        pension under that system or fund and becomes a member or
12        participant of any other system or fund created by this Code
13        and is employed on a full-time basis, then the person's
14        retirement annuity or retirement pension under that system or
15        fund shall be suspended during that employment. Upon
16        termination of that employment, the person's retirement
17        annuity or retirement pension payments shall resume and be
18        recalculated if recalculation is provided for under the
19        applicable Article of this Code.

20            Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect July 1,
21        2011.

Nothing of great consequence to the bill but just like the bill itself, they do nothing to help the pensioners.

The amendments are:

09700HB3375ham001        LRB097 10953 JDS 53431 a

2            AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 3375 by replacing
3        everything after the enacting clause with the following:

4            "Section 5. The Illinois Pension Code is amended by
5        changing Section 1-101 as follows:

6            (40 ILCS 5/1-101)  (from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 1-101)
7            Sec. 1-101. Short title.
8            This Code shall be known and may be cited as the the
9        Illinois Pension Code.
10        (Source: Laws 1963, p. 161.)".


09700HB3375ham002        LRB097 10953 JDS 53494 a

2            AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend House Bill 3375 by replacing
3        everything after the enacting clause with the following:

4            "Section 5. The Illinois Pension Code is amended by
5        changing Section 16-118 as follows:

6            (40 ILCS 5/16-118)  (from Ch. 108 1/2, par. 16-118)
7            Sec. 16-118. Retirement. "Retirement": Entry upon a
8        retirement annuity or receipt of a single-sum retirement
9        benefit granted under this Article after termination of active
10        service as a teacher.
11            (a) An annuitant receiving a retirement annuity other than
12        a disability retirement annuity may accept employment as a
13        teacher from a school board or other employer specified in
14        Section 16-106 without impairing retirement status, if that
15        employment: (1) is not within the school year during which
16        service was terminated; and (2) does not exceed 100 paid days

002    - 2 -    LRB097 10953 JDS 53494 a

1        or 500 paid hours in any school year (during the period
2        beginning July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2011, 120 paid days or
3        600 paid hours in each school year). Where such permitted
4        employment is partly on a daily and partly on an hourly basis,
5        a day shall be considered as 5 hours.
6            (b) Subsection (a) does not apply to an annuitant who
7        returns to teaching under the program established in Section
8        16-150.1, for the duration of his or her participation in that
9        program.
10            (c) Subsection (a) shall not be construed to authorize
11        multiple annuitants, without impairing their retirement
12        status, to accept employment with a school district or other
13        employer in order to fill, as a group, a teaching position that
14        would ordinarily be occupied by an active participant. Instead,
15        if a school board or other employer determines that there is a
16        subject or administrative position shortage that would require
17        that action, then it must apply for an exemption under Section
18        16-150.1.
19        (Source: P.A. 93-320, eff. 7-23-03; 94-914, eff. 6-23-06.)

20            Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
21        becoming law.".

NEWS: (Franklin Park) Franklin Park officials defend trustee, village president salaries

--I do not know the politics of these people nor do I care. What I do know is that Barrett Pedersen does whatever is good for him and no one else. The man has no cares except for himself.--

STORY AT Pioneer Press

March 28, 2011

The salaries of elected officials in Franklin Park have become an issue in this April's village trustee election.

Trustee Juan Acevedo, seeking reelection, has proposed trustees and the village president take a least a 10 percent pay cut. He'd like to see the money donated to Leyden Family Services or back to the village.

Likewise, candidates Bill Ruhl, Diego DiMarco and Kurt Kugelberg have said they will take a one-third pay cut if elected.

Franklin Park's other elected officials, however, say their salaries are well-earned and suggest proposed cuts are about getting elected.

All six trustees have day jobs. Rose Rodriguez is a document administrator at a bank, Juan Acevedo is self-employed, John Johnson owns a business, Paul Bellendir is an attorney, Cheryl McLean is a nurse practitioner and Tom Brimie is business manager for an auto group.

A look at salaries paid to elected officials in surrounding communities finds that Franklin Park's trustees are paid the most, at $15,000 a year. The full-time mayor's position is also highest, at $67,500 a year.

Johnson estimates he spends 25 to 30 hours a week on village business.

"The workload of trustees is a lot for towns that do not have a village manager," Johnson said.

Johnson chairs the village Finance Committee and the Police and Fire Committee and said he monitors those on a weekly basis. That's in addition to Village Board meetings and committee of the whole meetings.

"Juan (Acevedo) is doing this for political reasons," Johnson said

Brimie said he had to quit a part-time job and take a pay cut to become a village trustee. He estimates he spends 14 hours a month on village business, not including board meetings and committee of the whole meetings.

Brimie said he doesn't have a problem taking a pay cut, though he adds it wouldn't save the village's roughly $40 million budget.

"Everyone is doing it for grandstanding purposes," Brimie said.

"That's a cop out answer," Acevedo said when contacted by phone. "How do you feel about the pay cut? I'm sure people who are being cut or taking furlough days would like to know."

At a March 21 Village Board meeting, Village Attorney Joe Montana said trustees could only change salaries during a six-month window prior to four-year elections, the next being in 2013.

Trustees can voluntarily give up part of their salaries, he added.

Village President Barrett Pedersen said that he would not take a pay cut. He said he's doing the work of both a village manager and village president.

"The people in Franklin Park are getting two for the price of one half," he said, adding that he spends 60 hours per week on village business.

"Juan (Acevedo) has been an official all this time," Pedersen said. "He's never once suggested (a salary reduction) and now it comes up right before the election."

Acevedo says he brought up the idea two years ago and it was ignored.

"Pedersen doesn't want me to look good because I question and scrutinize him," Acevedo said. "He ignores my idea for community gardens, ignores my idea for cleaning vacant land. It's easy for him to criticize me. I call it doing my job as a trustee."

NEWS: (Chicago) New allegations surface against rogue Chicago police officers in SOS unit

--Six years ago? These guys have been investigated, tried if needed, convicted if needed or disciplined if needed. Does it not end? Isn't there a statute of limitations on civil suits? I am not defending what they did but does it never end?--

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

New lawsuit by teen targets members of the Special Operations Section, who have been convicted of illegal searches, stealing money and trumped-up charges
By Annie Sweeney, Tribune reporter
8:43 PM CDT, March 28, 2011

On a summer evening six years ago, Jose Fematt and his younger sister did what most kids do as the day fades — they changed into their pajamas and planted themselves on the front-room couch to watch television.

Outside the three large windows of the first-floor apartment, Jose, 13, who was baby-sitting his sister, heard a commotion and saw the glow of flashlights in the dark. Suddenly, the family's apartment door crashed open, and plainclothes Chicago police officers barged in with their guns drawn and yelling at the stunned children, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

The officers were part of the Special Operations Section, or SOS, an elite squad that investigated drugs and guns. They were also rogue cops who were later convicted of terrorizing numerous residents with home invasions, illegal searches and trumped-up charges in one of the department's most infamous scandals. The unit was disbanded in 2007.

On that August 2005 night on the Northwest Side, the SOS officers separated Jose from his sister and handcuffed him so tightly that his wrists swelled, according to a lawsuit filed this month in federal court.

Jose, still barefoot and in his pajamas, was driven around by one officer who threatened him as she asked about an upstairs neighbor and allegations of drugs, according to the lawsuit. Before leaving, the officer threatened to put Jose in jail for a long time if he told anyone about what had happened, the lawsuit alleged.

Their mother returned home from work to find the apartment ransacked — drawers and closets emptied and the television smashed — and a frightened son. Within an hour, she had packed up the son, daughter and family belongings. She deserted their home in the 2000 block of North Keeler Avenue — never to return again, according to the lawsuit.

Cook County prosecutors have alleged SOS officers pocketed thousands of dollars in nearly a dozen illegal searches, burglaries and kidnappings, often targeting narcotics dealers for their shakedowns. Seven officers have pleaded guilty to wrongdoing, while charges are pending against Keith Herrera and the alleged ringleader, Jerome Finnigan. Finnigan also faces federal charges in an alleged plot to kill a fellow officer who cooperated with authorities in their investigation of the misconduct.

Records from the state's attorney's office show that on the day that Jose Fematt alleges he was terrorized by the police, several SOS officers illegally entered the Keeler residence, seized cocaine, marijuana and $91,800 in cash from Eric Chagolla, who often stayed in an upstairs apartment. The drugs were inventoried, but $90,000 in cash was allegedly stolen by the crew. (Charges against Chagolla were eventually dismissed.) Three officers named in the Fematt lawsuit — Finnigan, Herrera and Margaret Hopkins — were charged in 2006 in Chagolla's arrest and home invasion, according to court records.

Attorneys for the city and the officers declined to comment on the specific allegations in Fematt's suit. Finnigan, who is representing himself, filed a handwritten motion to dismiss the suit, arguing in part that it was "vague and broad in nature."

The family didn't report the break-in at the time because they were so frightened, according to their lawyer, Torreya Hamilton, who declined for Fematt, now 19, to be interviewed because she hasn't even let city attorneys question him yet.

Fematt's account came to light only after Chagolla filed his own federal lawsuit. In January the city contacted Fematt after he was identified as a potential witness in court filings. Concerned about what the city wanted, the family contacted an attorney. What they learned was that Fematt could still file a lawsuit because he was a minor at the time of the break-in. The two-year time limit to file a civil suit had begun just a year earlier when Fematt turned 18.

But coming forward was not an easy decision, and Hamilton doesn't think the family ever would have if the city had not contacted them first.

"I don't think until … being subpoenaed that he had any idea he could do anything about it," Hamilton said. "He knew something wrong happened to him, and he remembers it remarkably well."

According to the lawsuit, officers began to ransack the home and then quizzed Fematt in the vestibule of the building about Chagolla. But he didn't know him, Hamilton said.

They then handcuffed Fematt and put him in a police car, allegedly driving away as he asked to see his sister. According to the suit, Hopkins drove around the neighborhood with Fematt as he laid down on the back seat because the handcuffs were so tight it hurt to lean back on his arms.

The questioning about Chagolla continued during the several-minute drive. Hopkins was "threatening (Fematt) and insisting that he give her information about his upstairs neighbor and about drugs in his apartment," the suit said.

Hopkins then sat Fematt in the vestibule again and allegedly threatened him. "If anyone came asking what he saw here tonight that he better not tell anyone," the suit said. "Or else … she and her fellow … officers would come after him and put him in jail for a long time."

Hamilton said that when Fematt was allowed in the apartment, his sister was asleep in a back bedroom. The home was in "total disarray" after the officers threw belongings about in a search of the apartment, according to the lawsuit.

When his mom returned from work, she found the contents of drawers and closets emptied onto the floor and her son's wrists swollen and red, according to the lawsuit.

They left the home — a brown brick house with tall trees in a long side yard — seeking refuge with a relative until they could find a new apartment.

And they went on with their lives, Hamilton said. Jose Fematt graduated from high school and now works full time at a restaurant.

He has never shared his story with anyone but his family and his lawyer, Hamilton said. His sister has no memory of what happened.

Hopkins, one of the officers who pleaded guilty to other SOS abuses, was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

NEWS: (Chicago) Cops: Off-duty officer fatally shoots house intruder

--Good to hear the officer is ok and unharmed--

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

Staff report
10:28 AM CDT, March 29, 2011

An off-duty Chicago police officer shot and killed an armed intruder in his home in the Fernwood neighborhood on the Far South Side, police said.

The officer was not injured, Chicago police said.

The suspect was a man in his 40s, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The incident happened at about 7:50 a.m. in the 10000 block of South Princeton Avenue. The intruder made his way into the officer's home and attacked the officer with a "cutting instrument," according to Chicago Police Officer John Mirabelli, citing preliminary information.

Fearing for his life, the officer fired his gun at the intruder, hitting him, police said.

Several officers and detectives stood in the front yard of the light brick ranch on the west side of the street this morning while others went inside.  A police forensic services van was parked in the alley behind the house.

The Independent Police Review Authority and Calumet Area detectives are investigating the incident.

BREAKING NEWS: (Chicago) 11 hurt in shooting, bus crash in Englewood

--This is just crazy. At 9:00 in the morning? What is this City coming to?--

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

By Ryan Haggerty and Andrew L. Wang
Tribune reporters
11:31 AM CDT, March 29, 2011

Eleven people were hurt -- two seriously -- when gunmen opened fire near 75th Street and Vincennes Avenue in Englewood this morning and a fleeing car smashed into a CTA bus, witnesses and officials said.

It did not appear that anyone was wounded by gunfire, but instead were injured in the accident or by flying glass, the officials and witnesses said.

At around 9:30 a.m. , two men jumped from a red truck and began walking down the block, firing as the truck followed them, a witness said. They appeared to be aiming at a black Intrepid sedan.

"These young guys stepped out with AK-47s or Uzis or something and shot up the whole block," said Al Perkins, head cook at Ryan Anthony's restaurant in the 7400 block of South Vincennes.

"They got out of this red truck and starting walking and shooting," Perkins said. "I think they were aiming at a black car down the block... Once they got done, they ran back to the truck."

As the black car fled down the street, it veered into a westbound No. 75 CTA bus, pushing the bus into a light pole and injuring the driver and four passengers, said CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis.  The injuries were not believed life-threatening, she said.

Perkins said he saw at least five people hurt: one in a car, three on the sidewalk and a woman who staggered into the restaurant with a wound to the arm.

"She was getting ready to park," Perkins said. "She said they just started shooting." She made it to the entrance of the restaurant. "She was laid out on the floor in the doorway."

An employee who works at a nearby currency exchange said he heard six to 10 gunshots fired just north of the store.

"I looked up and I saw this black car," said the man, who identified himself only as Marc. "I mean, it was really going fast."

Marc said the Intrepid sped south on Vincennes, ran a red light at 75th Street and smashed into the westbound bus, striking near the bus' front door.

"It hit that bus so hard, the guy didn't even apply the brakes," Marc said.

The bus veered left across the street, toppling a bench and a light pole before coming to a stop in a vacant lot.

Marc said he called 911 while watching several injured people, including a man leaning out of the Intrepid's passenger door and others lying on the street, all waiting for help.

Dozens of police cars and ambulances arrived within minutes, Marc said. "It seemed like the whole Police Department was here," he said.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesman said ambulances transported two people in serious-to-critical condition, one to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and another to Stroger Hospital. One person in fair condition and another two in good condition were taken to Saint Bernard Hospital, while two people in fair condition were taken to Jackson Park Hospital and another four people were taken in fair condition to Trinity Hospital.

Three people on the scene declined treatment from paramedics.

As of about 10:30 a.m., police officers and CTA workers were still on the scene. The Intrepid, its front end smashed and its doors open, sat at the intersection of Vincennes and 75th. The bus, its front windshield shattered, sat in a nearby parking lot.

Vincennes remained closed off between 74th and 76th Streets.

NEWS: (National) New Jersey Officer Dead After Standoff

--This is tragic no matter what the story or the reason is. A brother in blue felt he had no other way out except for this? Just sad.--


WPIX-TV, New York

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- The name of the Piscataway cop who barricaded himself inside his home in a 10-hour standoff with police has been released. Detective Sgt. David L. Powell died at the scene.

It is unclear if Powell killed himself or was killed by responding officers.

The standoff began at 3:15 p.m. Sunday when the Powell barricaded himself inside his Parkside Avenue home, according to Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler.

Four shots were fired at about 4p.m. as responding officers attempted persuade Powell to exit his home. It is unclear if the gunfire came from within the home or from officers at the scene, but reports say they came from inside the house.

"I heard gunshots, which I thought were firecrackers," one neighbor told PIX 11 News. "I opened my door [...] and I noticed there were cops all over the place with their rifles drawn and they were hiding behind a house."

Another neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told PIX 11 News this is not the first time the Piscataway officer has "flipped out" and is not surprised about Sunday's events.

The neighbor also described Powell as a 20-year veteran of the Piscatay police force who was coping with a divorce and other problems.

It is not known what initially sparked the standoff.

Surrounding streets in the residential neighborhood were closed to traffic and several neighbors were evacuated from their homes.

Officers from the Piscataway Police Department and Middlesex County SWAT Team responded to the scene.

The Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office is scheduled to release more information Monday about the circumstances of the standoff and shootings.

Monday morning officers were still guarding the Parkside Avenue home, and investigators were inside gathering evidence.

Monday, March 28, 2011

R.I.P.: Deputy Sheriff Robert Britton


Deputy Sheriff Robert Britton
Smith County Sheriff's Office
End of Watch: Monday, March 28, 2011

Biographical Info
Age: 54
Tour of Duty: 19 years
Badge Number: 54

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Animal related
Date of Incident: Thursday, March 24, 2011
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available

Deputy Sheriff Robert Britton succumbed to injuries sustained four days earlier when he was attacked by an injured cow while directing traffic around the animal.

He had responded to the scene after a vehicle struck and injured the cow on Farm Road 344. As he directed traffic around the animal it charged him and knocked him into the air. He landed on his head and suffered severe head injuries. The cow continued attacking him until other deputies were able to pull him to safety.

Deputy Britton was transported to East Texas Medical Center where he remained until succumbing to his injuries.

Deputy Britton had served with the Smith County Sheriff's Office for 19 years. He is survived by his two children.

Agency Contact Information

Smith County Sheriff's Office
106 East Elm Street
Tyler, TX 75702
Phone: (903) 590-2600

UNION: (Wisconsin) Wis. Walker’s Latest Stealth Move Shows He Thinks He’s Above the Law

--This don't surprise me. Just a prime example of the polidiots at work--


by Tula Connell, Mar 26, 2011

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has already proven he doesn’t care about the will of his constituents. Now, he thinks he’s above the law.

In a late Friday move–so as to get little media attention–Walker defied a court ruling and published the bill killing collective bargaining rights for the public employees. A judge had issued a restraining order on the law, passed by state Assembly and Senate in a set of dirty-trick moves. The restraining order barred its publication, but apparently the rule of law doesn’t apply to Walker.

The Wisconsin Law Journal reports that the Republican state senate leadership sees publication of the bill as enacting the law–in short, bypassing due process in the court system.

    Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who said he went to the Reference Bureau with the idea, wasted no time in saying that the law’s online publication meant it would take effect Saturday. His brother, Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, agreed, according to a spokesman.

    “It’s my opinion it’s published, it’s on the legislative website, it’s law,” Scott Fitzgerald said. “It was clear to me after our discussions this morning, if it in fact it is posted and it says published and there’s a specific date on it, it would be very hard to argue this was not law.”

Not so, says Dane County Circuit Judge Sarah O’Brien, who

    refused to take up a request for emergency action made late Friday by the Democratic district attorney, Ismael Ozanne, saying there was no “critical urgency” in her addressing the posting because the temporary restraining order preserves the status quo. She said she didn’t know what effect the online posting had, and that the issue could wait until a previously scheduled hearing Tuesday in one of the lawsuits challenging the law’s legitimacy.

With residents now calling their state ”FitzWalkerstan” because of the Fitzgeralds’ close ties to Walker, seems to show again how dictatorships often start with Troikas.

UNION: (Illinois) Union membership surges among Illinois workers


STORY AT Journal Standard

By John O'Connor
The Associated Press
Posted Mar 27, 2011 @ 02:52 PM


It's getting lonely at the top of Illinois state government.

In the past eight years, more than 10,000 state employees have joined unions, a four-fold increase over the previous eight years, according to records analyzed by The Associated Press.

If pending requests are approved by the Illinois Labor Relations Board, nearly 97 percent of state workers would be represented by unions — including many employees once considered management. Only 1,700 "bosses" would be left out of nearly 50,000 state employees.

While Republican governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states move to throttle the influence of state employee unions, the surge in Illinois' union membership worries even traditionally union-friendly Democrats, who fear it could harm the effective management of government.

It has put them in the awkward position of trying to smother union growth even as they criticize GOP curbs elsewhere.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office is pressing a key union to give up several thousand new members. If negotiations fail, Democratic lawmakers will likely resurrect proposed legislation to limit union-eligible jobs and rescind union coverage for thousands of people.

Quinn said earlier this month that Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker "should be ashamed of himself" for pushing through a new law that rolls back state workers' right to collective bargaining. But Quinn's effort to scale back union growth is "incongruous" with his and other Democrats' statements on Wisconsin, said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

A Quinn aide said there's no contradiction between the governor's two positions.

"We strongly support union representation and collective bargaining for many state workers, but the union system only works when there are workers and managers," spokeswoman Annie Thompson said. "Without this bill, we are looking at a situation where there is virtually no management at a variety of agencies and facilities."

Without managers, critics of the union growth maintain, who will stay late to get a project done? Will a boss take proper disciplinary steps against an underling if the two belong to the same union? If a union member is given confidential information, is his first loyalty to the governor or the union?

Pending requests to unionize have come from employees whose jobs traditionally fell into the category of "boss:" prison wardens and their assistants, state agencies' chief fiscal officers, deputy agency directors, chiefs of staff, senior personnel officers and liaisons to the Legislature at social service, employment and regulatory agencies, according to the AP analysis of Labor Relations Board records.

Since 2003, when Gov. Rod Blagojevich took office, about 10,100 state employees under Quinn's control have joined unions — 75 percent of them lining up with AFSCME, records show. That's more than four times the 2,300 who joined from 1995 to 2003.

The earlier period coincides with a widespread change in job titles, which slowed organizing while authorities sorted out who was eligible, Lindall said. But a bigger reason for the recent surge, he added, was the way Blagojevich dealt with state employees.

The former governor, who was impeached and faces a retrial on corruption charges next month, froze wages of non-union management employees for years, trying to hold down costs. While the Democrat signed a law making it easier to organize a union, he was vocal in criticizing state workers and bureaucracy.

Meanwhile, budget cuts caused a sharp reduction in the workforce. State records show there were about 67,000 employees reporting to the governor when Blagojevich took office, compared to 49,967 in February, according to the Department of Central Management Services.

"People were treated very shabbily by the Blagojevich administration," Lindall said. "They wanted to join the union for protections in the workplace but also to have a voice and win respect on the job."

The more union representation grows, the more it absorbs jobs that lawmakers traditionally considered management.

Currently, the Labor Relations Board is considering 31 applications seeking unionization for more than 1,100 employees. That would bump up the number of unionized state employees to 96.5 percent from 94.3 percent, according to an analysis of CMS numbers.

In Wisconsin, about 60 percent of the state's employees are unionized.

"I don't believe labor was ever intended to save the whole workforce," said House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat who sponsored the legislation to roll back the union membership. "Always, there was the idea that there is management, there is a place where the policy is set, where the buck stops."

Currie's legislation, which would redefine who's eligible for unionization, died in a lame-duck legislative session in January. But, pending the results of Quinn's negotiations with AFSCME, lawmakers are prepared to re-introduce a slimmed-down version of Currie's bill.

The new proposal would rule out unionization for top-level policymaking employees — those who offer "meaningful input into government decision-making." It also would rescind collective bargaining rights for those types of employees allowed to join unions since December 2008. The board has approved unionization for more than 4,300 workers since then.

Drawing the line between boss and union worker often depends on point of view, said Robert Bruno, director of the labor education program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"I don't think you can find anybody who can give you a non-ideological answer to that," Bruno said. "When they give you an answer, they're going to be making a statement of whether they think collective bargaining's a good thing or a bad thing."

But Currie argues that a manager who's in a union could have divided loyalties that might affect important policy decisions. She noted a number of potential problems if the pending applications are approved.

"In the Department on Aging, there would be one person besides the director who is not part of a collective bargaining unit," she said. "I don't know how you run a correctional facility if all the assistant wardens are part of the bargaining unit."

NEWS: (Suburban) Lake County drug sweep nets 127 arrests

--Great job guys.--

STORY AT Daily Herald

By Lee Filas

Police officials said 127 people linked to selling drugs have been arrested in Lake County following the completion of Operation Street Sweep.

Jeffrey Padilla, deputy director of the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, said the sweep was held March 21 to March 25, and resulted in the confiscation of 150 grams of crack cocaine, 100 grams of powder cocaine, 5,000 grams of cannabis, 56 cannabis plants and 15 unregistered firearms.

Padilla said the sweep was conducted by Lake County MEG, with assistance from the Illinois State Police, the Lake County Gang Crime Task Force, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“We really wanted to kick off the summer with a significant operation to show the drug dealers and gang members that we will be working in every neighborhood and every town in the county,” Padilla said Monday.

Numerous enforcement operations were conducted around the clock during the week, he said, adding that nine search warrants were issued, 50 parolee compliance checks were performed, and $45,000 in cash was seized.

Of the 127 arrests, 50 involved parole violations, officials said.

“The busiest night was Thursday when we picked up a significant amount of drugs in Waukegan and Highland Park, along with $14,000 in drug-related cash,” Padilla said. “This hopefully will show that MEG remains committed to the elimination of illegal drugs in our communities.”

NEWS: (Illinois) Tapes show ex-Gov. George Ryan ‘didn’t understand’ pardon

--We have education requirements for everything except being governor? Ryan sounds like a very under-educated (being PC) individual in his statements.--

STORY AT Chicago Sun-Times

Federal Courts Reporter /
Last Modified: Mar 28, 2011 11:12AM

Imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan is known around the world for clearing Illinois’ Death Row in 2003 and imposing a moratorium on the death penalty.

But the governor who pardoned more than 200 people admitted in a recently released court deposition that he “didn’t understand” the difference between two major types of pardons and that he was declaring a Chicago inmate innocent by the way he pardoned him.

That surprising admission came in a March 2010 deposition that Ryan, now 77, gave at the Terre Haute, Ind., prison where he’s serving a 6œ-year term on a federal corruption conviction.

As governor, Ryan had options when he decided to pardon inmates amid questions over whether innocent people had gone to prison as a result of confessions coerced by Chicago Police detectives.

One was to grant what’s called a general pardon. That forgives a crime — but it doesn’t forget it.

But an innocence pardon says that person is actually innocent of committing the crime.

An innocence pardon also allows a person who was wrongly convicted to file a lawsuit and try to seek damages.

That’s what happened in the case that led lawyers for the City of Chicago to Ryan and Terre Haute.

Former inmate Oscar Walden Jr. had sued the city for $15 million, claiming that now-dead police officers had physically abused him into confessing to a rape committed 60 years earlier.

In 1978, then-Gov. Jim Thompson granted Walden a general pardon. Other governors subsequently denied Walden’s petitions seeking an innocence pardon.

Then, in December 2002, Ryan granted it.

That gave Walden, a retired minister, the right to sue in federal court. He ended up losing the case — but not before Ryan was questioned, under oath, by Avi Kamionski, a lawyer for the city who tried unsuccessfully to be allowed to call Ryan to testify at Walden’s trial about why he’d granted an innocence pardon to Walden.

Kamionski asked the former governor if there were “separate kinds of pardons.”

Ryan’s answer: “I don’t know if there is or not. I learned, though, that Thompson gave a pardon based on whatever — just a general pardon. I didn’t realize that probably until just recently. Then, I gave a pardon based on innocence. Maybe at the time I didn’t understand that. I don’t know.”

Kamionski: “OK. And is that your understanding that both a general pardon and an innocence pardon, they both are given to people who are, in fact, innocent of the crimes that they committed?”

Ryan: “Yeah, I don’t know why else we’d give a pardon if you, as the pardoning agent, didn’t believe that that was the case. I don’t know why you’d give a pardon.”

Kamionski: “And when — and that the only thing that you were doing different with an innocence pardon was giving somebody almost like a right-to-sue letter?”

Ryan: “Well, I didn’t understand that at the time. I think — I thought — it maybe spelled it out more clearly that this was an innocent person that was wrongfully convicted and charged and imprisoned and to make it clear for the record that he was innocent.”

In an interview, Kamionski says, “It was kind of surprising the guy who was giving out the innocence pardons didn’t know what the definition was.”

In all, Ryan granted 212 pardons during his years as governor, and 28 of them were innocence pardons, including Walden’s in late 2002, according to data from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Eight of those innocence pardons came in the period Jan. 8-10, 2003 — just before he left office — including four he granted on Jan. 10, 2003, to inmates on Death Row.

The following day — Jan. 11, 2003 — Ryan made his famous declaration that he was commuting the sentences of all 167 inmates then on Death Row to life in prison in response to a “terribly broken” system of deciding who deserves the death penalty.

Ryan’s moves to place a moratorium on death sentences and later to clear Death Row would win him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since then.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NEWS: (Chicago) Police fatally shoot man on West Side

--All officers involved reported to be ok. Thankfully.--

STORY AT Chicago Sun-Times

Sun-Times media Wire
Last Modified: Mar 27, 2011 10:26PM

One of two men who opened fire on police officers on the West Side Sunday night was fatally wounded when the officers shot back at him.

At approximately 7:15 p.m. Sunday, Gang Enforcement Unit officers were making a traffic stop at Pulaski and Lexington, according to a preliminary statement by Chicago police.

They were alerted that there were two armed men in a nearby alley, to which the officers responded.

The two men opened fire on the officers, who shot back at them, fatally wounding one of the two men. The other man fled the scene.

Two weapons were recovered at the scene, according to police.

The shooting happened in the 4000 block of West Lexington Street, according to a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene.

No injuries were reported to the police officers.

The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), which looks into all police-involved shootings, is investigating.

NEWS: (Illinois) State Police investigating ex-chief of Gov. Quinn’s security detail

--Hmmmmmm, Quinn  does some very questionable firing and appointing.--

STORY AT Chicago Sun-Times

By Dave McKinney
Sun-Times Springfield Bureau chief
Last Modified: Mar 26, 2011 11:02PM

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois State Police has opened an investigation into a former chief of Gov. Quinn’s security detail who abruptly resigned this month after allegedly exhibiting erratic behavior.

Kenneth Snider, 49, stepped down from his post as supervisor of Quinn’s south security detail on March 18, the same day of an “altercation” he had with at least one college student in a downstate Carlinville bar, police sources said.

Earlier, in late January, Snider is alleged to have been “running and sliding on his belly on the snow” on a downtown Springfield sidewalk before jumping on the hood of a woman’s car and damaging her windshield, the Springfield State Journal-Register reported in its Saturday editions.

The governor’s office declined to discuss allegations against Snider and referred questions to the Illinois State Police, which refused to confirm a probe of Snider.

Snider is also chairman of the school board in Carlinville, a town of about 5,700 people 50 miles south of Springfield, and chair of the MaCoupin County Democratic organization.

“We have not disclosed the person under investigation or specifics regarding the investigation, other than the fact the Illinois State Police is conducting an investigation involving one of our off-duty officers,” State Police Master Sgt. Isaiah Vega said.

Carlinville’s police chief told the Sun-Times on Friday that Snider was involved in an apparent bar fight and his police department had turned over the matter to the State Police for investigation.

“My agency received a call for assistance from Mr. Ken Snider pretty much at 1 in the morning on the 18th due to an altercation at the Anchor Inn,” Police Chief David Haley said, referring to the bar where the fight occurred.

“My office responded, spoke to a bartender, Mr. Snider, a couple other people. Basically, we did a short preliminary investigation and [later that day] ... I contacted the Illinois State Police and referred it to them for investigation.”

The owner of the Carlinville bar, who did not want to be identified, said Snider and a student at the town’s Blackburn College were involved in the altercation.

Asked if there was a racial component to their dispute, the owner told the Sun-Times “you’re probably on the right track,” but declined to discuss the matter further.

No arrests were made nor did anyone require medical attention, said Haley. He would not identify the student.

Springfield police believe Snider may have been drinking before his Jan. 27 encounter with the motorist, whom he paid $300 for damaging her vehicle, the Journal-Register reported. No arrests occurred in that case, which the Springfield Police Department would not discuss Saturday when contacted by the Sun-Times.

Snider had been employed by the state since 1984 and was elevated last December as supervisor of Quinn’s south security detail, a job that put him in charge of overseeing executive protection officers, scheduling, routes and movements, Vega said in a prepared statement late Friday.

That assignment lasted until Jan. 19, when he began to use benefit time until his resignation on March 18, he said.

Immediately after the March 18th incident, Snider resigned his chairmanship of the Carlinville school board and the MaCoupin County Democratic organization.

A message for Snider left Saturday with a woman at his home was not returned.

NEWS: (Suburban) 30 years later, Orland Park chief recalls taking a bullet for Reagan

--I was in eighth grade when they made the announcement over the PA that Reagan had been shot.--

STORY AT Chicago Tribune

'I'm glad I got to do it. I'm glad I got to do what I was trained to do," ex-Secret Service agent says

By Andy Grimm, Tribune reporter
March 27, 2011

Thirty years ago this week, Tim McCarthy set out for work at the White House in a brand-new suit, the nicest one he'd ever owned.

McCarthy can't recall why he and his wife, both from the same working-class neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, decided he should splurge on a decent suit. He remembers it was a wool-cotton blend, sort of blue-gray.

Agents on the presidential detail in Washington, where McCarthy had been stationed for two of his 10 years with the Secret Service, typically ordered suits from a tailor in Florida; send your measurements and a few weeks later a box arrived with a polyester jacket and pants. Sometimes three guys on the same detail would be wearing identical lousy suits.

"No one noticed the Secret Service anyway," McCarthy said during a recent interview at the Orland Park police station, where he has worked as chief for 17 years.

But on March 30, 1981, McCarthy was walking beside Ronald Reagan as the president and his entourage left the Washington Hilton.

And on that day, McCarthy became the most famous Secret Service agent alive.

At 2:27 p.m., as Reagan walked to his limo outside the Hilton, John Hinckley Jr. stepped out from a crowd less than 20 feet from the president and raised a cheap .22-caliber pistol.

Press Secretary James Brady was felled by the first shot, Washington, D.C., police Officer Tom Delahanty by the second. Other police and bystanders fell away as McCarthy spun to face the gunman.

The third shot was on a line to hit Reagan, a vector on which McCarthy had immediately crouched in a linebacker stance. The bullet struck McCarthy in the chest, spinning him in a half-pirouette and knocking him to the ground.

The fourth bullet slammed into the limo door as Secret Service agent Jerry Parr lunged inside with the president. The fifth glanced off the frame of the limo, striking Reagan under the arm on the ricochet. The sixth glanced off the pavement.

Less than five seconds after the first shot, the limo squealed away to George Washington Hospital, where Reagan nearly died of the wound.

Secret Service agents in training still watch video from those few seconds, Parr said, as an example of a well-executed "cover and evacuate" scenario. Protocol changes and metal detectors have made it nearly impossible for someone to get near the president with a gun, so the real value of the footage is to give new agents a reminder of the dangers of their job. No agent has taken a bullet for a president since.

"If Tim's not there, I'm sure that either I or the president would have been hit (by the third shot) that day," said Parr, who retired from the Secret Service in 1985 and became a minister, confident that God had put him on Earth for a special purpose.

"The only thing between the president and this guy was (McCarthy's) big Irish body."

McCarthy is 61 now. His hair is thinner, his face more fleshy and ruddy than it was 30 years ago. He has recounted the assassination attempt probably thousands of times, and during interviews his answers come rapid-fire, not impatiently, but with the speed of a practiced response.

The most common question is, "Why did you do it?" In truth, he had done the same thing hundreds of times in training drills until stepping in front of a bullet became a reflex.

"No agent thinks it will happen to them. If you stopped to think about it, you probably wouldn't do it. It's not a rational act," he said.

McCarthy said he is a spiritual man — a product of St. Denis parish on the South Side — but he does not believe it was his divine mission to take a bullet meant for Reagan.

"Most of the agents that have been in that situation have done what they were supposed to do," McCarthy said.

The bullet that hit McCarthy struck his rib, punctured his lung and diaphragm and raked his liver. He never got back to running five to seven miles a day as he did before he was shot.

While he was recuperating, friends in Chicago suggested McCarthy retire immediately, return to the city of his birth a national hero and run for Congress.

"I was a young guy with a family. I said, 'What if I lose?' I'd have been out of a job," McCarthy said.

Instead, McCarthy took four transfers in the 10 years after the shooting, before he returned to the Chicago field office for good. He retired in 1993 as the agent in charge of the Chicago Division.

He and his wife, Carol, settled in Orland Park, where McCarthy was hired as chief of police in 1994.

In 1998, McCarthy made a failed bid for Illinois secretary of state, and his name has popped up as a possible candidate for other offices.

McCarthy acknowledges that his name recognition enhances his viability as a candidate, but he wanted to run on his other merits, too.

"I have a resume as an administrator, that I could hold almost any office," McCarthy said. "If (getting shot) is all you have going for you, that's not a lot."

When he was a boy, McCarthy remembers his father being shot in the hand as a Chicago police officer. Norm McCarthy was a decorated World War II veteran and was in dozens of shootouts as a member of the department's robbery squad.

Norm McCarthy cried on the plane ride to Washington the night his only son was shot. In the intensive care unit at George Washington Hospital, Tim McCarthy recalls his father said to him:

"I'm sorry this happened, but this is the world that we live in. I'll understand if you don't want to go back."

Tim McCarthy spent two weeks in the hospital and was back on duty at the White House that June. He was on Air Force One with Reagan when his father died in 1987.

A flip of a coin had put McCarthy in the line of fire on March 30, 1981.

That morning, there was an extra agent on McCarthy's shift, and he and agent Joe Trainor decided a coin toss would determine who would go with the Reagan detail that afternoon.

Win, and McCarthy could spend the afternoon catching up on paperwork. Lose, and he would have to expose his new suit to the drizzle on the way to and from the Hilton.

Asked if he ever wished the coin toss had gone the other way, McCarthy gives an uncharacteristic — but still brief — pause before answering.

"No," he said. "I'm glad I got to do it. I'm glad I got to do what I was trained to do. I wouldn't want it another way."