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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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

R.I.P.: Deputy Sheriff Sergio Aleman


Deputy Sheriff Sergio Aleman 
Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin
End of Watch: Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available
Tour: Not available
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 7/31/2012
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Deputy Sheriff Sergio Aleman was killed in an automobile accident on I-43, at Winnebago Street, at approximately 12:15 pm.

The sheriff's office motorist assistance truck struck the back of a flatbed tow truck that was stopped on the shoulder of the highway. Deputy Aleman was extricated from the vehicle and transported to Froedtert Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff David Clarke Jr.
Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office
821 West State Street
Room 107
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Phone: (414) 278-4766

GUN CONTROL: Quinn pushes for assault weapons ban

--By using his amendatory veto to try and pass this useless law all Quinn did was insure that the original piece of legislation dealing with ammunition would die in the House.
Outlawing semi-automatic rifles will not make us safer.
We can not prevent another James Holmes by outlawing guns for legal ownership. Just like we can not prevent drunk drivers by stopping car sales.
This state is so backwards in its thinking on every issue facing us it is no wonder we are one of the worst states in finance, corruption, and gun control.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Ray Long and Monique Garcia
Tribune reporters
12:26 PM CDT, July 31, 2012

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn is renewing a push in Illinois to ban assault weapons in the wake of the killings at a Colorado theater that left 12 dead and dozens more wounded.

The Democratic governor also revealed plans today to propose a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines in Illinois.

He said in a letter to all state lawmakers that he supports the U.S. Constitution's 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, but the "proliferation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines undermines public safety and the right of personal security of every citizen."

The proposal comes in the form of an amendatory veto of a bill that he is sending back to lawmakers to consider whether to support or reject. Even in the wake of the Colorado shootings, Quinn will find himself with a tough sell in a legislature that is so deeply divided over guns that no major pro-gun or anti-gun legislation has moved forward for years.

In recent years, Chicago Democrats have turned out in favor of gun control while Downstate Democrats and Republicans have fought off any proposal that they fear could lead to restrictions on hunting rights. Some Democratic leaders also have also viewed gun control as a wedge issue in suburban elections, where Republicans have split on the issue.

Still pending in the legislature is a bill to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, an issue that has gained traction in recent years as all other states have enacted some form of such a law. But Chicago forces, backed for years by Mayor Richard Daley and now by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have resisted efforts to loosen Illinois gun laws.

Quinn, in his letter to lawmakers, noted that anyone with a firearms identification card in Illinois is permitted to buy an assault weapon and that Illinois does not restrict the purchase or possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines.

He also noted that California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, all states with major cities and densely populated urban areas, have bans similar to what he is proposing.

"Banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines will make Illinois a safer place to live," Quinn wrote.

The Colorado shooting suspect, James Holmes, is charged with 140 counts of murder or attempted murder in the July 20 rampage at the opening of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.  One of the victims of the shootings was John Larimer of Crystal Lake. Larimer, 27, was a Navy intelligence technician who died while shielding his girlfriend from gunfire.

The sponsor of the measure Quinn re-wrote said he is "disappointed" by the governor's move because it puts the original legislation in jeopardy. Sen. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, said the measure was designed to allow Illinois residents to buy ammunition through the mail, something that is already allowed in other states. Luechtefeld said if Quinn wants to ban assault weapons, he should have introduced a separate bill to do so.

"This is something that was supported by Republicans and Democrats across the state, and this makes it a very controversial bill all of a sudden," Luechtefeld said. "This is politically motivated. It's on people's minds right now because of what happened in Colorado, and the governor wants a piece of the publicity."

PAROLE ALERT: Cop killer's release rekindles anguish in Ind.

--Just another example of how flawed our system is.--

Story at PoliceOne


The murder of a beloved officer brought fear, violence and upon killer's release, loss of faith in the criminal justice system

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

AVILLA, Ind. — Mention the killing to the bar patrons at Hey's Tap on Albion Street and the memories come flowing — still fresh, still vivid and still colorful, as if nearly three decades hadn't passed at all.

Memories of roadblocks stopping every car coming in and out of town, door-to-door searches and uniformed police officers with a few FBI agents crawling over every block.

Memories, too, of men being brought to the police station to be questioned, only to be let go once a woman who peaked outside the door shook her head "no" to officers.

And memories of William Miner Jr., a good man who was Avilla's town marshal, and his murderer, a man who brought fear and violence to the tiny community the likes nobody here saw before or has seen since.

"It scared the hell out of a lot of people," says a woman at the bar, nursing a Budweiser wrapped in a koozie, recalling the Memorial Day weekend in 1983 now etched into the town's consciousness.

William J. Spranger, the Fort Wayne man convicted of shooting Miner along a highway in the middle of the night 29 years ago, is scheduled to be released from prison today.

Except for some restrictions placed on him by the Fort Wayne parole district, he'll be a free man.

For many of the residents of Avilla — a good number who lived through that time — his release not only brings painful memories back to the surface, but many believe it's also an injustice not unlike a slap in the face.

"Write this down," says a regular at Hey's Tap, a man with a white beard and white hair there to play some pinball one afternoon last week. "Our criminal justice system let us down.

"There is no way that man should be getting out."

Daily reminders

Traces of Miner's death can be seen and heard all over Avilla, which now has a population of about 2,500.

There's a street named after him — the first turn off Albion Street as you enter the town is Miner Road. There's also a memorial to him outside the current police station, a stone that's all but impossible to miss while walking in or out the front door.

"It's a reminder every day of how police officers can be killed," said current Town Marshal Glen Wills of the stone, which had what looked to be new crosses placed in front of it this past week. There's also the talk.

People at taverns and restaurants will speak about Miner, Spranger and that weekend if you ask — just don't ask for their names. When Spranger's release date hit newsstands and television, everybody had a story to share.

The people who remember Miner say he was a nice man, a good marshal and one of their own. Some said he may have been a little cocky, but those who said that were teenagers back then, and isn't that how a lot of teenagers view police?

Still, even those people admitted that Miner, 29 at the time of his death, was overall a good guy.

Spranger was someone they saw only in newspapers or in courtrooms after the shooting, someone from out of town, a punk who they thought they were rid of when he was sentenced to death after the killing.

That night

The official story, according to police investigators, eyewitness testimony and court records goes like this:

An 18-year-old Spranger and his friend, 27-year-old Allen L. Snyder, drove from Fort Wayne to Avilla, then with a population of about 1,400, in the early morning on May 28, 1983.

They stopped just south of a viaduct on what is now Old State Road 3 outside of town to break into some cars parked along the road. They were stealing stereo equipment when a woman living nearby spotted them and called Miner.

Miner was asleep at his home when he took the call. As he got ready to leave, his wife asked whether she should call for some backup. He told her not to worry, he'd handle everything.

Miner caught the two men at the scene, ordered them to put their hands on the hood of a car and began to call for assistance. That's when Spranger pushed Snyder into Miner and a scuffle ensued.

While Snyder and Miner fought, Miner's gun fell out of his holster and onto the pavement. Spranger picked it up, aimed and fired at Miner's back. Two witnesses would eventually testify they heard the shot and saw Miner's body slide into the ditch.

They also saw two men leave the scene.

One of the witnesses wouldup at the police station, looking out a door as officers brought suspects to her, shaking her head when she saw the men weren't the ones she saw at the scene.

Later, police would find Miner's gun in nearby Summit Lake off Baseline Road and procure testimony from Spranger's brother Ronnie Spranger, who told investigators his drunk brother admitted to shooting Miner hours after the killing.

Snyder would eventually testify against Spranger, too, receiving a plea agreement, in return, capping his prison sentence at eight years.

Spranger, meanwhile, maintained his innocence up through his trial, which ended with a murder conviction and a death sentence. Later, the Indiana Supreme Court overturned the death sentence partly based on inadequate counsel given to Spranger.

In 1997, Spranger was given a new sentence of 60 years in prison — a sentence that could be cut in half by exhibiting good behavior and taking advantage of education opportunities.

When he's released today, he'll be ordered to wear a GPS monitoring system for the next year, be subject to drug testing and eventually have to prove that he's looking for a job.

He'll be 47.

Working the case

For both John Barrett and G. David Laur, the killing of William Miner was a life-changer.

Barrett currently works security at the Whitley County Courthouse, a 70-year-old retiree who loves a job that gets him out of the house. Laur is a Noble Circuit Court judge.

In 1983, though, Barrett was an investigator for the Indiana State Police and Laur was Noble County prosecutor.

Neither had worked a case involving the killing of an officer.

"As a police officer, it makes you realize how vulnerable you are, with something changing in a split second," Barrett said.

Acting on a tip, Barrett connected Spranger to the killing and, along with other officers, was there days after the slaying to roust the young man from his bed at his family's Fort Wayne home in the middle of the night.

"He was an 18-year-old with attitude," Barrett said of Spranger. "He was swearing at his family and mother quite a bit."

Hours later, Barrett was acting on adrenaline while he and his partner questioned Spranger inside the old Avilla police station, which then sat behind what is now a pizza restaurant along Albion Street.

He remembers dozens and dozens of police officers lining up outside for Miner's funeral procession during the questioning.

Spranger never fully confessed to the killing though he admitted to taking the marshal's gun and flashlight, both of which were later found dumped in Summit Lake.

Barrett didn't hear it for himself but was told later that the officers outside let out a cheer as news spread that the suspected killers were inside being interrogated by detectives.

"The community was just an outpouring of emotion at that time about their marshal being killed," Barrett said.

Today, Barrett still thinks the death penalty was appropriate for Spranger, but he'd be fine with life in prison without the possibility of parole, a sentencing option not available in Indiana at the time.

Laur's prosecution of the case earned a guilty conviction from a jury and death sentence for Spranger from an out-of-county judge. Laur was also the prosecutor in 1997, when Spranger's death sentence was overturned.

"I was disappointed, but I respect the Supreme Court's decision," Laur said.

When speaking of the case, Laur, who still lives just outside Avilla, also remembers the outpouring from the community.

Many residents cooperated with or assisted police, and food came to investigators and officers from everywhere, including the St. James Restaurant where Laur is still a regular.

"That's what small towns do," he said. "We take care of each other."

While many in Avilla were surprised to hear of Spranger's release — many had lost track of the court proceedings — Laur wasn't one of them. He knew this day was coming with certainty.

But what he remembers most is the loss of an officer, one who died while serving his town, and he still regularly drives by the ditch where Miner lost his life.

"I just went past there the other day," Laur said. "I pointed and said to my wife, `That's the ditch where William Miner died.' I still remember all of it like yesterday."

Memories remain

A man enjoying an afternoon cocktail at St. James Restaurant says he was a teenager back when Miner was killed, and that his brother, fresh out of the Army, was one of the men questioned because the suspects were reportedly wearing green coats.

Back then, the man said, you had the town marshal and maybe a deputy and that was all.

At one point after the killing, the police department had maybe three or four officers and went overboard on enforcing things, the man said.

It's still a little odd for him to see officers with flack jackets in Avilla.

"I think we lost a bit of our naivet when (Miner) was killed," the man said.

Some of the patrons of Hey's Tap said that while Avilla has certainly grown in the last 30 years, it's still a small town at the core.

After Miner's killing, after the heavy media attention paid to the town subsided, things pretty much went back to normal.

Outsiders who move here might have a little trouble being accepted by the lifers, some of the patrons said, but that has more to do with the distrust of change than with the Miner killing.

"Back then, we had nothing out here," one bar patron said. "We didn't have everything with meth or that stuff. The most serious thing would be vandalism or drinking."

But those who remember the killing are still baffled on how William J. Spranger is not only alive but able to become a free man and get the chance to rejoin society, a chance he robbed the town marshal of so many years ago.

News that he wasn't exactly a model citizen in prison — Department of Correction officials said he had some run-ins with guards and court records show he was convicted of a misdemeanor crime in 2010 — further angered some residents.

"You think he'd be stupid enough to show his face up here?" a woman at Hey's Tap asks.

Prison officials know where Spranger will live, but they aren't releasing that information. They have, though, notified area law enforcement agencies with the details of Spranger's release.

Sources say he'll be living with a family member in Fort Wayne, and it's unlikely he has any connection to Avilla anymore.

And while his name won't ever be memorialized like Miner's, while you'll never find it written anywhere besides old newspaper clippings, it will probably live on as long as there is an Avilla, Ind.

People's memories here are long — and still as vivid and still as colorful, even after 29 years.

PENSION: (Illinois) Quinn calls for special session on pensions; Senate balks at cost

--No wonder Quinn called for a special session. He was talking in front of all the big money campaign donors of the City Club of Chicago.
His special session will cost us tax payers an additional $40,000.00 per legislator. But, our broke state can afford it for our stellar law makers.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Monique Garcia and Rick Pearson
Chicago Tribune reporters
12:01 AM CDT, July 31, 2012

The already-dim prospects of a deal on public employee pension reform before the November election got tangled up Monday in a disagreement over whether a special session on the issue should even be held next month.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn issued a proclamation summoning the General Assembly back to Springfield on Aug. 17, a move viewed as largely symbolic because lawmakers are no closer to striking a comprehensive deal than when they left town at the end of May.

Given that, Democratic Senate President John Cullerton suggested that it's a waste of taxpayer money to pay lawmakers to come to the Capitol.

If lawmakers are in regular session, they don't get the perk of a daily allowance plus mileage. If the governor calls them into special session, however, 177 lawmakers get to collect $111 a day, plus 39 cents for every mile they drive. That tab could add up to $40,000 a day, according to the Senate Democrats.

Cullerton asked that Quinn rescind the special session order, but the governor refused.

Making the announcement before more than 300 people at the City Club of Chicago, Quinn said that after months of discussions and debates over how to restructure benefits awarded by the state's five public employee retirement systems, "it's time to vote."

"It's time to show the people where the legislators stand on the foremost fiscal challenge that faces Illinois today, tomorrow and forever," Quinn said. "The people of Illinois want action."

House lawmakers already will be in town Aug. 17 to vote on a recommendation to expel Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, who faces a federal bribery charge. But also under consideration for a possible vote that day was a Cullerton bill passed in the final hours of the spring session that would make changes only to retirement benefits for lawmakers and other state employees.

Quinn has called that proposal a "good start." But he said the measure would address only a portion of the state's $83 billion unfunded pension liability. The governor said senators also needed to return to the Capitol to "get the whole job done."

Although Quinn sought to frame his special session call based on hopes for a deal, Republicans said privately that they had not talked to the governor since he had convened the legislative leadership in his office about six weeks ago.

Republicans have adamantly opposed one comprehensive pension reform plan that would affect unionized teachers in every public school outside Chicago. Quinn and prominent Democrats, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, have pushed to have local school districts pick up the bulk of the pension tab now carried by the state. Republicans have argued that the cost shift to local districts could result in property tax increases for suburban and Downstate homeowners.

The governor has maintained that property taxes would not be affected if the cost shift is phased in over 12 years. He unveiled a new argument Monday, saying the real risk of a property tax increase is if the state is forced to pay an ever-increasing amount of money for pensions, shortchanging the general state aid that goes to local schools.

"If we don't do this, if we don't have this (cost) transfer ... then there'll be less money from Springfield to invest in the education of your district," Quinn said.

Quinn's latest talking points seemed to have little sway with Republican leaders. In response to Quinn, they issued a statement saying they were "encouraged" by the governor's call for a special session but privately questioned if he had the political clout to get a major reform package passed before the election.

NEWS: (Suburban) Hanover Park woman sues police claiming excessive force

Story at Daily Herald

Download the complaint

By Kimberly Pohl

A confrontation nearly two years ago between four Hanover Park police officers and the mother of a student they were attempting to arrest has led to a federal lawsuit.

Though the police department’s arrest report describes Annie Bainer as the aggressor, a complaint filed last week on her behalf against the officers and village claims excessive force, false arrest and malicious prosecution.

The scene unfolded the morning of Sept. 1, 2010, when officers Joel Duchak, Jason Harden, Hugo Villa and William Weil arrived at Bainer’s home on the 5500 block of Court H to arrest her son, Daniel, for an “incident” that took place at his school.

DuPage County court records show he later pleaded guilty to felony aggravated battery for punching and kicking a victim.

In her complaint, filed this month in U.S. District Court, Annie Bainer said after police arrived she locked her front door to go upstairs and get her sleeping son. When she came back, she opened the door halfway and straddled it.

The officers began yelling at him to come out, but her son refused to leave the stairs, the suit states. The complaint alleges the officers then pushed open the door, causing it to hit her and push her into the wall. She was pinned as they continued to lean on the door, causing the doorknob to push into her abdomen, she claims.

Bainer, who had a hernia, told the officers they didn’t have permission to enter without a search or arrest warrant and that they were hurting her, according to the suit.

Annie Bainer was arrested and charged in DuPage County with obstructing a police officer and battery. Those charges were dismissed in August 2011.

Bainer’s suit claims the officers’ actions caused physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages and property damage.

According to the police department’s arrest report, officer Hugo Villa wrote that when he grabbed Daniel Bainer’s wrist to handcuff him, Annie Bainer stepped in between the two, pushed back her son and said he wouldn’t be coming with the officers.

Though she was warned she’d be arrested and Daniel Bainer shouted at her to not make matters worse, Annie Bainer tried to close the door and pushed two officers in the chest in an attempt to push them out, the report states.

Annie Bainer’s complaint demands a jury trial and asks for an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.

NEWS: (Suburban) Retired Gurnee police chief faced complaints of sexual harassment, more

“My definition of sexual harassment is sex,” Kovarik said. “I think I would classify that as inappropriate comments in the workplace.”

She's termed the accusations as “just core employee handbook violations.”

--These are some the dumbest statements I have seen by a mayor.
What is she so intent on covering up, and why?
Police chiefs have gone to prison for misusing police officers for personal business. They are stealing from the tax payers.
It is clear that they tried to get away with not addressing the reported violations for the employees.--

Story at Daily Herald

By Bob Susnjara

Sexual harassment and using employees for personal errands on village time were among the internal complaints former Gurnee Police Chief Robert Jones was facing when he opted to retire with a $139,600 severance deal a year ago, the Daily Herald has learned.

Those details, not released to the public or village trustees during an internal probe of Jones, were contained in documents obtained through open records requests. The village dropped the probe when Jones retired.

Mayor Kristina Kovarik repeatedly has stressed Jones was not accused of any criminal wrongdoing and that the village followed its personnel policy for the release of personal information and details of the retirement/settlement package. She's termed the accusations as “just core employee handbook violations.”

However, Gurnee's personnel policy might be worth reviewing to determine if changes are needed because of the Jones case, one trustee suggests. Another trustee, who cited a lack of information in objecting to Jones' severance package last year, said the complaints support his position that transparency is needed in such instances.

Documents from Gurnee and the Illinois Attorney General's office allow a glimpse into the accusations against Jones, who initially went on paid administrative leave July 7, 2011, then resigned in September. Kovarik said Jones, who didn't return several messages seeking comment, never responded to the employee claims before his stepping down.

Many police department employees were interviewed and provided “sensitive disclosures” about Jones during the village's formal investigation into the complaints, according to a letter written in May by attorney Peter Michael Friedman. Gurnee's human resources department, a deputy police chief and a lawyer representing the village led the internal probe, Friedman wrote.

Friedman, who's handling a village response contesting a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to Jones, said the investigation stopped with the chief's resignation on Sept. 12, 2011. By a 4-2 vote the same day, the village board approved Jones' $139,600 severance deal.

Citing Freedom of Information Act exceptions, the village blacked out sections of the complaints and eliminated all names, details of many accusations and most references to employee gender. Friedman wrote the accusations included, but were not limited to, sexual harassment and abusive conduct.

An employee came forward with a compilation of complaints that included 19 interactions from Aug. 26, 2010 to June 7, 2011 between Jones and the unnamed individual or other police personnel.

Some of the complaints filed with the village administrator's office on June 10, 2011 include:

** Jones was near the police secretaries' desks when he summoned an employee to the area on May 23, 2011. After looking at his village-issued wireless telephone, Jones asked if someone had heard of Harlequin Romance novels before reading “some type of joke.”

“The chief continues to read,” the complaint states, “and as he is reading is doing so in a voice like he is being passionate. The joke ... is getting increasingly more sexual in nature.”

** Jones saw an employee wearing civilian clothes instead of a police uniform on Aug. 26, 2010. After asking why the worker wasn't in uniform, Jones said: “Well, I have suggestions on what you can wear: heels, nylons, garter belt and anything else is optional.”

Kovarik said while Jones' agreement restricts her and other officials from commenting on the case, in general she didn't consider the joke and clothing remarks to be sexual harassment.

“My definition of sexual harassment is sex,” Kovarik said. “I think I would classify that as inappropriate comments in the workplace.”

** On unspecified dates since 2010, Jones directed employees to “type up baseball lineups for him,” shop for his family's Christmas presents and use an official Gurnee vehicle to drive him to an airport for a personal trip — all while on the village clock.

Jones asked one police worker on village time to enter his Gurnee house, which he wasn't living in, and “videotape everything” while the occupant was gone.

** Jones wanted community service officers and village public works employees to hang a Warren Township High School flag at police headquarters on March 17, 2011 in support of the boys basketball team. He later forced a community service officer to visit a hardware store to buy lights to illuminate the flag.

“During this entire incident, he was rude and demanding of everyone,” the complaint says. “All of this took place during work hours. None of it had anything to do with work, yet he was ordering everyone to stop everything to get this flag hung up and lit.”

Trustee Greg Garner, who with Kirk Morris voted against the Jones agreement, said he read the complaints since they recently became available. He said he objects to not having specifics about the employee accusations when the village board was asked to approve the retirement/separation deal last September.

Garner said he wants to know if there are other internal accusations regarding Jones that remain “under the surface.” He added the village should be transparent and release sections of the complaints that are blacked out.

“Why are we hiding it? Who are we protecting? What are we hiding?” he asked.

Kovarik said public employees deserve protection from internal complaints becoming known, along with due process. She said Jones' severance package was proper and in accordance with village personnel policies.

Gurnee could have faced a large legal tab if it persisted with an investigation of Jones, she added.

“You weigh for the benefit for Joe Taxpayer,” Kovarik said. “Do you conduct an investigation or do you do something against your personnel policy? Our personnel policy does provide for a separation, a sum of money at the time of separation.”

Trustee Cheryl Ross said she didn't read the complaints, but voted for Jones' deal based upon assurances the police employees didn't accuse him of criminal behavior. She said Jones' case might be a reason to review the village's personnel policy.

“It might be a good idea to look at the policy manual again to see if it's time to update it,” Ross said.

Jones was Gurnee's top cop from 1994 to 2011. He joined Gurnee after a 26-year career at the Elmhurst Police Department.

Monday, July 30, 2012

VIDEO GAMBLING: Video gambling may be here by Labor Day

--Hear that? That is the sound of Outfit loan sharks banging their knives and forks on the dinner table impatiently waiting for the sheep to be sent in for the slaughter.--
Just kidding, really.
Hopefully this increases the inflow of money into the state economy.--

Story at Chicago Sun-Times

Last Modified: Jul 29, 2012 08:06PM

The state’s first legal video gambling machines at restaurants, bars, truck stops and fraternal and veterans organizations could be running and paying out winners in a month or so, an Illinois Gaming Board spokesman said Thursday.

“We don’t have a hard date set, but it looks like sometime around Labor Day,” spokesman Gene O’Shea said.

The next step is to select five locations as test sites for the machines, O’Shea said. The five sites will be spread throughout the state, and the test will be conducted for two weeks, he said.

“Once we have that going and it shakes out and we know everything is fine, we’ll flip a switch and anybody (with video gambling machines) will be up,” O’Shea said.

The gaming board already has approved licenses for about 90 establishments statewide, and hundreds of applications are pending, according to its website. Some venues already have their new gambling machines on site, ready to be installed.

“Some are still in the bubble wrap,” O’Shea said.

A central communications system vital to the video gambling operations has been tested and found viable, O’Shea said. The wireless central system will link and provide real-time communications and control between every licensed gambling terminal in the state and the Illinois Gaming Board.

Now that the board has established the system as functional, all current video gambling terminals in the state that are operated for amusement only, have a valid amusement tax sticker, and are able to award, record and remove credits must be removed from establishments or are subject to seizure as of Aug. 20, under the Illinois Gaming Act.

“Possession of those becomes a felony,” O’Shea said. “It would be smart to get rid of them.”

Among the establishments that will be giving up video machines is Pelican Harry’s Sports Bar in Homer Glen. It has video games that are used for amusement purposes only, said Jim Dobek, one of the owners. The Homer Glen Village Board voted to ban video gambling under an opt-out provision in the state law.

“People like playing those. It’s fun. But the village opted out of it,” Dobek said.

Illinois lawmakers approved video gambling to help fund capital projects such as road and bridge construction.

NEWS: (Illinois) Union: Guards at 7 Illinois prisons searched

--Retaliation at its best.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By John O'Connor
Associated Press
7:52 AM CDT, July 30, 2012

Illinois authorities took the unusual step of searching guards and other prison employees for contraband as they left at least seven facilities last week, sparking worker allegations that the checks may have been reprisals for complaints about overcrowding and understaffing and inside information leaked to the news media, workers and union officials told The Associated Press.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stacey Solano would not confirm that the searches had intensified, but she said they are a routine security measure to control banned materials from cellphones to weapons.

The dustup over the pat downs comes as Gov. Pat Quinn pushes a cost-cutting plan to shutter several state correctional facilities, including next month's scheduled closure of a "supermax" prison in Tamms. The move has been fiercely resisted by prison workers who fear increased violence if currently isolated gang members are moved elsewhere.

The searches began just days after prison workers complained publicly in Springfield about prison conditions and followed a newspaper report about where some displaced Tamms inmates would go. That report was based on an internal Corrections document.

The employees' union said such searches are rare and may constitute "retaliatory harassment," which the Corrections agency denied.

Employee searches started July 23 at prisons in Danville, East Moline, Pontiac and Taylorville; the Menard prison in Chester; the Shawnee lockup in Vienna; and Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, according to workers and their union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. At least some have occurred when workers punched out.

Illinois Department of Corrections policy allows searches of employees at any time — beginning, during or ending a shift — to ensure they are not carrying banned materials, from magazines and cigarettes to illegal drugs and weapons.

But Kim Larson, an accountant at the Danville prison for 12 years, said she never received a pat down before when she left her 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift.

"It was weird. Usually, they do it at the beginning of the shift, when we're coming in," she said. "I mean, what are we going to take out?"

She said no one told the employees the reason for the search, which for Larson involved going to a restroom with a female officer, emptying her pockets and undergoing a pat down of her body.

Larson said that type of search, even when arriving at work, is so unusual that she can't remember the last time she had to go through any security measure other than the daily inspection of bags and walk through a metal detector.

Solano would not say where pat downs occurred or the reason behind them.

"The department has full authority to search employees whenever it chooses … to ensure that employees are not participating in the movement or introduction of contraband inside the facilities," Solano said. "IDOC is vigilant in keeping contraband out of the facilities, and this is one such measure the department is taking to ensure safety and security inside the prisons."

It's conceivable that information leaked from a prison would be in paper form because correctional officers, for instance, don't have continuous access to email. But AFSCME is more concerned that the action may be aimed at gagging staffers.

"Coordinated shakedowns of staff are nearly without precedent in anyone's memory," AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said. "To do this at the same time union members are coming forward as whistleblowers to reveal the dangerous consequences of the administration's closure plans reeks of retaliatory harassment."

Solano denied that the department retaliates against staff but said, instead, the agency "encourages employees to use the proper process" for reporting problems to the Office of the Executive Inspector General.

Quinn's announcement of the prison closure plan has been followed by several reports of troubling incidents inside correctional facilities.

The AP reported earlier this month, after tipped by people knowledgeable about the prisons, on a string of violent incidents and an inmate drug overdose in the previous six weeks.

AFSCME members and correctional workers came to Springfield two weeks ago and publicly testified against closing prisons because of inmate overcrowding and understaffing. Illinois prisons currently hold about 48,000 inmates in a system designed for 33,000. The number of employees has fallen from more than 16,000 in 2002 to less than 12,000.

Days after AFSCME's public forum, the (Decatur) Herald & Review reported on an internal Corrections memo that designated nine Tamms inmates for transfer to prisons out of state. That prompted lawmaker complaints that Tamms should stay open because other Illinois prisons couldn't control some of the state's worst criminals.

The Tamms supermax isolates gang leaders and violent troublemakers from the rest of the incarcerated population, stifling problems at other prisons, advocates say. Quinn says it's underused and too expensive and wants it closed, along with a prison in Dwight.

The Decatur report prompted a letter to the newspaper from Corrections executive chief Jerry Buscher. It warned that publishing the information could jeopardize the safety of guards and inmates and would be viewed "as attempting to promote disorder within the prison system."

Buscher sent a similar letter to The Associated Press after a reporter asked Solano about information from internal documents the AP had obtained.

Lindall said corrections officials told AFSCME the pat downs are necessary because officials recently found inmates with cellphones during a search at Stateville prison in Joliet. Solano confirmed authorities found contraband earlier this month at Stateville but would not comment further because an investigation is ongoing.

Toby Oliver, a correctional lieutenant at Tamms who was stabbed by an inmate at Stateville in 1995 and has criticized Tamms' closure, called it "coincidental" that the pat downs began two days after the Decatur newspaper report.

He said he never remembers an end-of-shift pat down.

"What is coming out of the institution seems to be the priority," Oliver said. "You'd think it would be the other way around."

PENSION: (Illinois) Quinn calls special session on pension reform Aug. 17

--Mike Madigan, John Cullerton, and Tom Cross must have a plan to get at least some legislation passed on this day to screw over the state's employees, retirees, and tax payers. 
That can be the only reason Governor 'Bumblin' Stumblin'' Quinn would call for a special session.

I urge everyone to contact your legislator and tell them you are against any pension reforms that are not fair and that do not put in place measures to stop the legislature from stealing the pension money as they have done for the past 30 years.

Click HERE to send your send your legislators an email.

Your future and your families future is at stake with these so-called reforms that the state legislature is planning to pass.--


Story at Chicago Tribune

By Monique Garcia
Clout Street
2:58 PM CDT, July 30, 2012

Gov. Pat Quinn today called for a special session of the General Assembly on Aug. 17 to take up pension reform.

"It's time to vote," Quinn said of lawmakers. "See you in Springfield."

The Illinois House already was scheduled to be in that day to deal with the fate of indicted Democratic Rep. Derrick Smith of Chicago.

The Democratic governor's special session proclamation would bring the Senate back to Springfield as well.

Quinn's comments came as he addressed the City of Club of Chicago.

The two Republican legislative leaders issued a joint statement this afternoon.

“We are encouraged by the Governor’s call for a special session on pension reform on August 17.  As many people know, we have been and continue to be supportive of comprehensive pension reform that solves the major crisis facing us today.  The time to act has been upon us.  We are continuing to encourage Gov. Quinn to take a leadership role to get a comprehensive pension bill passed in the General Assembly," read the statement by Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont and House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

MELROSE PARK: Search for killer of retired cop and for answers continues

Story at

This is not an indictment against the police officers of the Melrose Park Police Department. Decisions that were made in the death investigation of retired Melrose Park police Sergeant Ron Susek were made at the shift supervisor level and up.

The fact that Sgt Susek was one of their own should have been enough to prompt the on scene supervisor and investigator(s) to go the extra mile to make sure of every detail and literally leave “no stone unturned” before leaving that backyard.

Some of the information in this story may be graphic in nature. Details will be given that are not usually released to the public in such cases.

All towns have unsolved murders. As much as police departments would love to have a 100% clearance rate it is just impossible. They say there is no such thing as a perfect crime and this is probably true but sometimes the stars just do not align for these crimes to be solved. However, there are crimes that are committed that could be solved if not for mis-steps by the investigating agency.

Finding answers in a community like Melrose Park is a difficult task. The closeness of the residents and the tight lipped attitudes of the village leaders make even the most mundane quest a near impossibility. Start asking about murders in a town that for years was a Chicago Outfit stronghold and the curtain of silence closes even further.

The information obtained for this article was gathered from several sources. Witnesses are unwilling to have their identities revealed because speaking out against the village or its department leaders can be answered with swift and severe retribution.

The Crime Scene
Ron Susek was discovered laying face down in a pool of blood in his backyard on the 1600 block of 14th Ave by a neighbor at around 6:20 in the morning on Thursday June 14, 2012. The Melrose Park police and fire departments responded to the scene. One of the first police officers on the scene was the midnight shift supervisor for the police department.

A small .22 caliber handgun was found on the ground next to Susek and an apparent bullet hole was discovered in his right leg. Melrose Park paramedics checked for signs of life and found none. It was obvious that Ron had been laying there for several hours. Ron was pronounced dead by a doctor from Gottlieb Memorial Hospital by telemetry (this simply means that paramedics hooked up the heart monitor to Ron and sent the signal to Gottlieb where it was viewed by a doctor). This is a very common occurrence and it is just mentioned for details. However, it has been reported by several sources that Ron was never transported to the hospital as press releases may have stated.

It is unclear if the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office was notified as the law requires. In all cases involving a violent death (including suicide) the police must call the M.E. to notify them of the death and the circumstances. The M.E. will either give permission to remove the body to a hospital or to their office or, the M.E. will come out to look over the body and the scene. Either way, the body does not get moved without permission.

Once permission is given to move the body, the normal protocol is to search the body for any further evidence. In a case like this several things should have been done to preserve evidence. Ron’s hands should have tested for gunshot residue (G.S.R.) and his hands should have been covered with paper bags to preserve any physical evidence that may have been present. If Ron had been checked properly by a trained investigator or crime scene technician chances are the bullet hole in his chest may have been discovered. Especially since it was caused by a .45 caliber bullet which would have caused a significant injury, this would have caused a whole different chain of events than what occurred.

Ron may have been drinking a can of beer at the time his attacker confronted him. This is believed because the can was either still in his hand or right next to his hand on the ground (this should have been photographed and collected as evidence).

At this point a detailed search of the scene should have been conducted. One can only imagine that if this had been done properly the several (at least four) .45 caliber casings that were laying in the yard would have been discovered. Also the bullet strike on the picnic table next to Ron would have been found leading to the discovery of the bullet hole in Ron’s garage. One can only wonder if the bullet holes in the garage and the house across the alley would have been discovered as well.

Ron was taken from his back yard and transported to the medical examiner’s office in Chicago.

No canvas was conducted of the neighborhood to see if there were any possible witnesses.

If the search or the canvas were done properly this could possibly be a very different article.

What Went Wrong

The police supervisor and investigator(s) on the scene may have made the decision that Ron Susek committed suicide. Was it decided on the scene that Ron’s death would be classified as an accident? Ron was one of them and this had to be taken care of for his family. They could not know that Ron killed himself, how tragic would that have been?

A story was allegedly developed on the scene to explain Susek’s death as an accident. He was walking and tripped and he accidentally discharged his gun and shot himself, twice. This went even further during the day when Ron’s wife, Pat, was notified by phone (she was in Kentucky with one of her sons) that Ron had died by accidentally shooting himself.

After the crime scene was released (no longer a crime scene) a family member was allowed to clean up the blood evidence in the backyard so Pat would not see it on her return home.

An autopsy was performed on Friday morning and it was discovered that Ron had suffered a large caliber bullet wound to his chest and his death was actually a homicide. There was also evidence that Ron was in a struggle at some point before his death.

The Melrose Park police were notified of these facts. At some point over 24 hours after the discovery of Ron Susek’s body the Cook County Sheriff’s Police evidence technicians were requested to process the crime scene. Evidence technicians were on the scene for around eight hours on Friday. They discovered the four .45 caliber casings in the yard and all of the damage done by bullets that obviously had missed their target. However, the crime scene had been seriously compromised prior to its being processed. Who knows how many people walked on the crime scene in that 24 to 28 hour period between the discovery of the body and the actual arrival of the E.T.’s?

A canvas of the neighborhood was finally done in the early evening hours on Friday, June 15. Several neighbors reported hearing what they thought were fireworks somewhere between 11:00 and 11:15 pm on Wednesday night. This would mean that Susek was actually murdered at about this time and laid in his backyard for about seven hours before being discovered. The fact that the canvas was conducted almost 48 hours after the incident leaves room for misinterpretations by witnesses of what they may have heard or saw.

The Melrose Park Police Department is a member of the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force (WESTAF). This task force is staffed by about 20 member departments and is used for investigating homicides or other violent crimes in the member towns. This means that Melrose Park had at its disposal around 30 seasoned investigators and 20 seasoned crime scene investigators. Yet, none of these resources were used because the idea may have been to keep this incident as quiet as possible. That is, until the truth was revealed.


After learning the actual circumstances of Susek’s death the police department had to go into overdrive to try and fix what was now a horribly botched homicide investigation. Susek’s family was asked to turn over any .22 caliber and .45 caliber guns that Ron had owned; a normal request.

The canvas produced a witness that stated he saw a black teenage male walking quickly from the area at about the time of the “fireworks”. He said the young man was wearing a white t-shirt and black chino pants and was shoving something into his waistband. A sketch was supposedly made from the description but it has not been released to the public for help or to any of the surrounding police departments for that matter.

As a matter of fact, none of the police departments in the immediate area even knew that this horrible crime occurred until being notified by outside sources.

A suspect was actually brought in and questioned off this description but was later released. Is this black male description Melrose Park’s version of the shooter on the grassy knoll?

The family of Ron Susek has not been given any details of this investigation and has been left feeling as if they are outsiders looking in. You would think the police department would be embracing the family of one their own who has been murdered, as is usually the case. Alienation and being made to feel like suspects is what they must endure as they try to cope with Ron’s murder while knowing the mis-steps that have occurred in the investigation.

The residents of Melrose Park now live in fear following this murder which came only four weeks after the home invasion/murder of Cleon Wilson and both remain unsolved.

There has been some talk that Ron may have known his killer. This is very possible if you consider that there may be witness statements that Ron was seen arguing with someone about 30 or 40 minutes prior to his being shot.

There was reportedly evidence on Susek’s hands that he was in an altercation prior to his death.

Did Ron Susek know his killer? Did he think he had nothing to worry about upon seeing this person enter his backyard? Maybe, while else did he still have his beer in hand when he stood up next his picnic table?

The effect that the death of a police officer has on other police officers cannot be explained. Even if you did not know the officer it is like losing a member of your family. Losing a police officer, even retired, to a homicide in his backyard in the town where he worked for 30 years is horrific. The mere mention of this on a police radio would have resulted in police officers from the surrounding area showing up to offer any assistance that they could give.

The police chief of Melrose Park made a short appearance Ron’s wake, the mayor did not. Neither attended the funeral of a murdered retired police officer from their town. One has to wonder the message that this sends not only to officers on the department but to the residents of the town. How are they supposed to support their police department when their leaders apparently do not?

NEWS: (National) Aurora Shooting Dispatch Recording Analysis

**This story and the recording in it contains graphic and violent content**

--For the unfamiliar, the one thing all police officers fear is a mass incident. The possibility of 100's of people running around screaming and/or injured while you are trying to figure out where to go, who to look for and just what the hell happened.
Law enforcement is about learning and evolving as incidents happen. We all learned many valuable lessons about active shooters and rapid deployment after Columbine, post office shootings, etc. We learn to try and respond better and save as many as possible.
The incident in Aurora, CO is in a class all by itself, for the time being. We can not imagine what the responding officers were feeling or going through. Middle of the night, active shooter on the loose, mass hysteria, deaths, injuries, people in costumes making it impossible for quick identification, OC gas in the theater, every imaginable nightmare rolled into one place.
No one can ever criticize the responding officers for their responses. This is an new nightmare that I fear we will face again. 
We can learn from it though. By reviewing and listening to the officers that were on the scene. What they saw, heard and probably most important, what they felt. We can learn from them as they and we analyze the incident and the response. Analyze not for mistakes but for areas that can be improved, for what worked and what didn't.
This way, hopefully, at the next incident we can maybe save a few more innocent lives.
The responding officers in Aurora did an outstanding job in a dire situation and they deserve every accolade for their movement forward in the face of an unknown danger.--

Story at

by Frank Borelli
Created: July 27, 2012

An examination of the dispatch recording for the July 20, 2012, Aurora, CO theater mass shooting event.

On the morning of Friday, July 20th, 2012, just after midnight in Aurora, Colorado, our country witnessed one of the worst mass shootings in our history. As with any such horrific event, there are a few things that we in public safety must strive to do.

We must recognize and support the grieving of the survivors as they mourn the loss of the victims.

We must recognize and honor any and all heroic acts that occurred during the incident and in response to it.

We must perform the proper After Action Reviews (AARs) to assess our own performance and find ways, if any, to improve it.

The following commentary is in no way a criticism of any of the responding units to the event from any discipline of public safety. It is the opinion of the editorial staff here at, and of our columnists who have contributed to this piece, that the men and women who responded to the incident did an admirable job.

This commentary is meant purely to share some information with our brothers and sisters in public safety that we might better our own future response should we find ourselves in similar situations.

BE ADVISED / CAUTION: This recording is over 24 minutes long. Parts of the recording linked below are quite graphic in nature to include the clear audio of some of the victims suffering and descriptions of their wounds.



The dispatcher deserves a medal. Throughout the incident she remains calm and doesn't get flustered as the officers on the scene have to change their plans, evolve their response, join and then separate communications channels, etc. A calm dispatcher means efficiency and helps to keep the officers (and others) responding calm as well.

Less than one minute from the original dispatch they recognize the need for lots of manpower. Lincoln-25 calls for "all available cars." The dispatcher had just reported at least one person shot but "hundreds of people running around." We need to consider this and think about our own manpower numbers. If your agency had to respond to a movie theater, quite often located in malls, does any given shift have the manpower to do so? If not, do you have the necessary mutual aid agreements in place to call on the support of bordering/nearby agencies?

At about the 1:30 there are five units that have called "on scene" and the dispatcher decides to patch the channels to keep communications clear. It should be noted that five units on scene in under a minute-and-a-half is impressive but probably unique to an urban area. What if the scene had been more rural?

At the 1:49 mark the dispatcher advises someone is still shooting inside "per an employee." Something we all need to be aware of is the unavoidable time delay in such reporting. The dispatcher cannot (typically) be on the phone taking emergency calls AND dispatching on the radio, so the operator on the phone has to take the info, clarify it, write it and then pass it to the dispatcher who then communicates it to the troops on the street. That 10 or 15 second delay can see a lot of change on the scene. If what you hear on the radio doesn't precisely match what you see in front of you, unless it presents an immediate officer survival or response concern, don't argue with the dispatcher about it. The dispatcher never intentionally gives us bad information, but the information may be "too late" by virtue of unavoidable delay.

Just past the two minute mark Lincoln-25 calls for officers at the back of the theater obviously thinking about a perimeter and containment. A different officer (514) makes the first call for an ambulance.

Just under the three minute mark Theater 9 is identified as the immediate scene of the shooting. All of the officers have responded quickly and efficiently but we cannot alter the laws of physics. We have to get their safely. Undoubtedly someone somewhere will complain about it having taken the officers "so long" to respond when realistically there was no way to respond any faster. Agency administrators/leadership should anticipate and be prepared to address those complaints.

Just past the three minute mark the dispatcher again reports that the calls are coming in for the perpetrator "still shooting." If that was the case, is it possible that the officers on scene could be within the theater complex and NOT be hearing the shots? Consider the noise of a panicked crowd and the physical structure of the theaters themselves. It IS possible to be close but not hear what's going on.

Just past the three minutes mark "216" calls out to get the dispatcher's attention and his voice obviously sounds excited/stressed. Before he can send his communications traffic another unit calls for an ambulance for another victim. Such confusion in communications is unavoidable and we should make sure our officers are aware of it. In such situations, pandemonium will rule the day, but WE must roll with it, improvise, adapt and overcome.

At the 3:45 mark you can hear the alarms from inside the complex in the background of the officer's communication and it's the first mention of "gas" being sprayed or deployed inside the theater (communicated by "316").

At about the 4:20 mark you can hear "316" calling for more officers inside theater 9 immediately followed by an officer detailing the perimeter coverage for the back and south sides. Think about that and recognize that your response to any given scene will be as fast, or faster than, the deployment of your perimeter. This is unavoidable. We cannot delay immediate response to the scene to set up the perimeter. We cannot ignore the need for perimeter to send everyone to the immediate scene. On scene commanders/responding officers have to balance the responding manpower as best they can under the given circumstances. This will always be critiqued after the fact but no one should criticize the decisions made under such conditions on the scene.

At the 4:30 mark an officer calls out with "people running out of the theater that are shot." As much as we train to make entry and neutralize an active shooter, how many training programs focus on the mass exodus of the injured. We should have protocols in place to delineate rally points, triage areas and procedures, and coordinated Emergency Medical Services placement. Additionally, given the amount of time we're going to spend on the scene after the immediate threat has been neutralized, it would be beneficial for more (if not all) officers to receive up-graded first-aid training. Basic trauma care should be the minimum; EMT-B if time and budgets permit.

At the 4:47 mark the first call goes out asking if their are gas masks available. One Chief of Police who heard this recording paid particular attention to this request. His agency does have gas masks and they are typically kept in the armory for distribution during civil unrest events. As was demonstrated in THIS event, if the gas masks are not immediately available to the officers, you might as well not have them at all. But, that means training and maintenance for those gas masks as well.

At about the 5:05 mark, sounding relatively calm, Lincoln-25 calls out the shooter's location as Theater 9, implying that Lincoln-25 isn't IN Theater 9 yet, and he identifies the smell as "OC" (pepper spray - a smell we should all be familiar with). Consider that implication: The OC "bomb" that was set off inside Theater 9 is affecting response and conditions outside Theater 9. The scene very obviously just got a whole lot bigger than the shootings occurring inside a single theater.

At about the 5:40 mark, Cruiser 26 asks about a staging area for Emergency Medical Services. He sounds calm, as if he asking a common every day question.

Just past the six minute mark Lincoln-25 delineates the West Parking Lot as the staging area for Rescue/EMS and requests "at least three or four ambulances." He still sounds relatively calm and is obviously assessing the situation as it develops. Consider how many ambulances your area has available and how fast they can get to any given area how fast. At Virginia Tech there were less than six ambulances available.

At the 6:20 mark a marked cruiser is requested to the back of the theater for a "suspect in a gas mask."

At the 6:50 mark, as units are calling out various locations of victims and their injuries, one officer calls to "hold the air" so that clarification can be made with the units to the rear of the theater with the suspect.

At the 7:15 mark the call is made for all cars coming in to set up a perimeter around the entire mall. Consider the reality of that for a moment. Do you have or can you get enough cars to set up a perimeter around a whole mall? If so, what is there purpose? Are they observing for more victims and/or shooters? Or do they think they're supposed to not let anyone leave the scene?

At the 7:30 mark Cruiser-26 calls for all victims to be brought to the north end of the theater. Earlier, Lincoln-25 had designated the West parking lot as the staging area for Rescue/EMS. Such confusion is unavoidable in such situations and rather than becoming frustrated, officers have to be flexible and adapt.

At the 8:15 mark a call is made for an ambulance at a street intersection where a victim is out "with the road crew." In such emergencies, as victims are streaming out of the area of the immediate threat, they will go to the closest place they can see that might even remotely represent help. A road crew with flashing yellow lights, radios, etc. might well find themselves approached and asked for assistance. This also indicates how far outside that mall perimeter victims can get and how quickly.

At the 8:50 mark Lincoln-25 calls for as many ambulances as they can get to stage in the Dillard's lot. This is probably better than asking for a staging area in the "west parking lot," or "south parking area." Responding units who know the area will immediately know where the Dillard's lot is even if they don't know what direction it is from the theater.

At the 9:05 mark Lincoln-25 further designates Dillard's Lot as the rally point for responding fire trucks, indicating that the police will start directing fire personnel in to triage victims.

At the 9:20 mark, "302" calls out transporting one victim to the hospital in his patrol vehicle. If your agency doesn't have any policy regarding this, consider at least covering such actions in training. Advisable? Not? Avoidable? Not? Be careful about making absolute policy that restricts officers from taking what might prove to be life-saving actions.

At the 9:27 mark an obviously excited/stressed (and understandably so) officer calls out with "seven down" in theater 9. The dispatcher replies with an acknowledgement of his traffic and reassures him that she will notify "Fire" (EMS). Again, her calm and professionalism need to be noted and commended.

At the 9:50 mark Lincoln-25 calls for Denver cars, voicing the need for more manpower.

At the 10:00 mark a unit calls out with information that "one of the shooters might be wearing a white and blue plaid shirt." Misinformation is inevitable from victims/witnesses and we need to keep that in mind as much as we can in the heat of the moment.

At the 10:40 mark Lincoln-25 calls for the separation of Channels 2 and 3, specifying that Channel 2 will be inside, Channel 3 will be outside. This represents another evolution in the response.

At the 11:00 mark Lincoln-41 calls for mutual aid assistance asking for Arapahoe County cars to help with perimeter around the scene.

At the 11:45 mark we hear that the suspect claims to have worked alone but witnesses are offering conflicting information. Officers on scene have to use their best judgment but always remember the "+1" rule: there is always one more bad guy than what you've secured until you prove otherwise.

At the 12:00 mark Cruiser-11 calls the scene secure and announces that they are transporting bodies out of the back of the theater, with "three to eleven hit."

Between the 12:15 and 13:00 marks Lincoln-25 is trying to find out where all the EMS personnel are. Further communication is given as to where they are supposed to be. This is the inevitable result of cross-communication that occurred earlier.

At the 13:05 mark Cruiser-10 calls out with "one victim eviscerated."

At the 13:25 mark a unit announces that they are going to evacuate all they can out of Theater 9 out the east side. Consider this and the pandemonium the units inside the theater itself and the theater complex are dealing with. Thirteen minutes after first report of the attack, citizens are still inside the Theater, some not wanting to leave downed victims, ALL of them likely suffering the effects of the OC gas that the attacker deployed.

At the 13:35 mark a unit calls for ambulances to the back of the theater in the "old Sports Authority lot." Recognize how much communication has occurred on where EMS personnel are supposed to be rallying and the frustration that can rise not only in those EMS folks who are being told to go different places but also in the on-scene personnel who have previously delineated rally points for them and a process for evacuating mobile victims. Again, this is unavoidable as officers on scene have to pay attention to what they are doing and will often miss what's coming across the radio.

At the 14:20 mark to Victor units report on scene and ask where they're needed. A unit inside Theater 9 is asking for the movie to be shut off. We might assume that theater personnel would already have done so but we can't take anything for granted.

At the 14:30 mark Lincoln-25 announces the discovery of a rifle magazine inside the theater and alerts all officers to the possibility of an "assault rifle" involved. Note that the officers on scene still don't know that they are dealing with a single shooter and such officer survival information is imperative to share.

At the 14:50 mark Metro-10 requests permission from Lincoln-25 to start transporting victims via patrol vehicles due to a lack of on scene ambulances / medical personnel. Lincoln-25, without any hesitation, gives him permission and a directive: "Yes, load 'em up in cars and get 'em out of here."

At the 15:10 mark a call for an ambulance crew to respond to the inside of Theater 9 is made for a victim who is deemed not movable. Consider that: have your public safety disciplines trained together? Are there protocols in place to escort EMS personnel into an area that has not be confirmed as clear yet?

At the 15:25 mark the dispatcher has asked to know what hospital a victim is being taken to so she can alert the hospital. Lincoln-25 responds directing her to simply alert all local hospitals to be ready. Given that there were 12 killed and 58 more wounded, this is an excellent move on his part. Every hospital emergency room I'm familiar with would be overwhelmed by such a casualty count.

Just prior to the 16 minute mark the radio traffic shows that the officers on scene are still trying to get a perimeter secured. Due to the simple vastness of the scene (the theater complex) this undoubtedly proved to be no easy task and took lots of manpower.

At the 16:10 mark a second call goes out for an EMS crew inside Theater 9 and a directive to get all mobile victims out to the EMS providers.

At the 16:45 mark a call goes out for two officers to be stationed at every exit of the theaters both to assist victims and to be alert for anyone who might be armed.

At the 17:25 mark an officer calls out information about the rifle used, specifying it as a 5.56mm weapon. His voice sounds so stressed that the dispatcher asks him if he needs rescue (EMS) as well. He responds, "No," but his voice does sound stressed and the dispatcher's concern makes sense.

At the 17:45 mark Cruiser-49 calls out that he's finding/contacting witnesses who saw the whole event and he encourages officers on scene to continue to ask exiting movie viewers what they saw. It is an unavoidable characteristic of performance that responding personnel will focus on what they have the most experience in. Investigators might focus on witnesses and holding them to get statements. Tactical officers might focus more on multiple perimeters, entry, clearance, etc. Officers with minimal experience may simply feel awash in an ocean of circumstance, finding themselves simply trying to do whatever comes to mind in compliance with whatever training they can recall.

At the 18:00 mark there is radio traffic delineating what exit from the theater complex is clear. In previous active shooter events we've seen circumstances unfold where responding police and EMS units so blocked roadways with their vehicles that they couldn't get away from the scene to get victims to a hospital. This radio traffic delineates a clear exit from the scene and out to get to a local hospital.

At the 18:20 mark a question is asked about whether or not any officers have been "upstairs" in the theater yet. The response comes back that officers are "working on it now." Keep that in mind: almost 20 minutes into this event and the officers on scene are still not sure that the scene is clear of further threat.

At the 18:50 mark Lincoln-25 reminds all officers on scenes that there are open spaces behind the theater screens that have to be checked. The obvious concern is that more shooters could be behind those screens ready to shoot into the theaters at responding officers or not-yet-evacuated civilians.

At the 19:20 mark a unit calls out transporting two victims to a hospital. More calls go out for either an ambulance OR a patrol car to the back of theater 9. The dispatcher reports that fire/EMS personnel are now on their way into Theater 9. (NOTE: That request was made at the 15:10 mark)

At the 19:45 mark Lincoln-41 calls for EMS personnel to respond to the back exit of the theater and he clearly states that they have officers there, indicating that the area is secure and safe. We cannot ask our fire/EMS personnel to come into areas that are not secure. Lincoln-41 understands that and fashions this communication accordingly.

At the 20:15 mark a unit calls out with "five possible employees" that are being searched. The employees might be offended and they are certainly scared. We must be professional and thorough. I personally was on the perimeter of a robbery scene where the perpetrators escaped dressed in employee uniforms. We cannot take anything for granted.

At the 20:20 mark Denver communications comes on the air to advise Aurora communications that the responding Denver cars will be switching over to the Aurora channel.

At the 20:57 mark the dispatcher tries to raise Metro-16 advising that she received his "emergency key." No response is heard from Metro-16 as the radio traffic is taken over about additional EMS services responding and a warning to officers on foot to watch out for patrol cars leaving the scene priority taking victims to the hospital. Further direction is given to switch which hospital officers take victims to.

At the 22:00 mark a host of Denver cars call out on the channel. They do so quickly. The dispatcher confirms all of them as if this is just another day in the life. She still sounds totally calm.

At the 22:45 mark Denver-310 requests to know the location of the Command Post. There has been no previous radio traffic about a command post. The dispatcher has either been advised previously by other means or she selects one herself, but she directs the responding Denver cars to a specific command post location and tells them where it is both in relation to the theater and to the interstate highway.

At the 23:20 mark it's reported that there are "still a lot of people shot on the east side" of the theater. More cars are reported "rolling in now."

At the 24:00 mark a call is made to contain everyone in the parking lots and hold them. Further information is provided that Aurora units are still clearing inside the theater to insure it's safe/clear.

The audio ends at 24:42 right after a Tac unit calls out a possible suspect description of a man seen running from the vicinity by construction workers. Undoubtedly this dispatch recording will be reviewed, dissected, analyzed and criticized ad nauseum. Let us remember that none of us should be "Monday morning quarterback." We weren't there. There are lessons to be learned by all of us from the hard experience lived by those responding men and women.

The perpetrator, now identified as James Holmes, planned and prepared even more carefully than Seung Hui Cho did at Virginia Tech. James Holmes shot more people although he killed less. His total casualty count was higher. He included the use of OC 'gas' and that alone is something we'll now need to be prepared for from every future mass shooter.

OFFICER DOWN NEWS: Motorcyclists, bike riders to honor fallen police officers

--Thank you to all participants.
Looks like you got a great day ti ride.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

Staff report
11:52 AM CDT, July 29, 2012

Motorcyclists and bicyclists are both participating in rides today to honor and remember Chicago police officers who died in the line of duty.

This morning, the Ride to Remember kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Harrison District Police Headquarters, 3151 W. Harrison St., and heads to the Gold Star Families Memorial across from Soldier Field. The ride was started as an annual event in 2005 by detectives from what was then Area 4, the Harrison Police Area, as a fundraiser for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, according to organizers.

This year, about 1,000 motorcycle riders were expected to participate.

This afternoon at 1:30 p.m., the Pedal for the Police ride, also benefiting the foundation, starts at from Chicago Police Headquarters, in conjunction with a long-distance bike ride sponsored by the Illinois Concerns of Police Survivors, the Cycle Across Illinois. The bike event also will end at the memorial.

NEWS: (Chicago) Police officer rescues baby on Skyway

--What an awesome story.
Great job by the hero cop and so happy to hear the baby is ok.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Rosemary R. Sobol
Tribune reporter
5:50 PM CDT, July 28, 2012

A Chicago Police officer who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a 21-month-old boy who had stopped breathing is being lauded for helping out on the Skyway this afternoon.

The officer, Edward Paukula, has about 17 years on the force, according to Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Chicago Police union.

The baby was in the backseat of a vehicle traveling on the Skyway near 89th Street at 12:24 p.m. when family members noticed that the child was not breathing, according to a police News Affairs statement.

They stopped the vehicle and found the baby unresponsive, but the child's father turned to see a Chicago Police vehicle driving in his direction and flagged down the officer, the statement said.

The police officer cautiously removed the baby from the vehicle, gently laying him on the pavement, and began to perform CPR, the statement said.

After the child’s color returned, he began breathing on his own and then started to cry, the statement said.

Chicago Fire Department paramedics took the child to Advocate Trinity Hospital in “stable” condition, the statement said.

Chicago Police officials would not make Pakula available for an interview Saturday.

But Pakula is no stranger to being a “hero cop.'' He was hailed for saving the lives of residents in a burning South Side apartment building in November of 1999, according to a 1999 Chicago Tribune story.

According to the story, Pakula and Officer Patrick Gallagher arrived at the burning building in the 4600 block of South Michigan Avenue in the early morning hours of Nov. 12, and found people on the third floor screaming for help, police said at the time.

Gallagher and Pakula entered the building and began evacuating residents, including several families who were unaware of the fire which began from faulty lighting, according to accounts. They also led a blind woman from the building, police said.

"Anytime you can save everyone without any injuries, that's heroic," according to a spokesman. "Sometimes when you go to fires, you try your best but things don't come out as well as you'd like them to. In this case everything turned out well."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

R.I.P.: Police Officer Josh Williams


Police Officer Josh Williams
Waxahachie Police Department, Texas
End of Watch: Saturday, July 28, 201

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 44
Tour: 17 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Vehicular assault
Incident Date: 7/28/2012
Weapon: Automobile; Alcohol involved
Suspect: Not available

Police Officer Josh Williams was killed when his patrol car was struck by a drunk driver at approximately 1:30 am.

He was responding to a disturbance at a fast food restaurant in the 600 block of Highway 77. He was turning into the parking lot when his patrol car was struck on the passenger side by an SUV that was driving without its headlights on. The driver of the SUV was taken into custody after being flown to a nearby hospital.

Officer Williams was transported to Baylor Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Officer Williams had served with the Waxahachie Police Department for 17 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief Chuck Edge
Waxahachie Police Department
216 N College Street
Waxahachie, TX 75165
Phone: (972) 937-9940

Thursday, July 26, 2012

PENSION: (Illinois) Vote on state pension cuts could come in August

--Our state legislators (especially Madigan, Cross, and Cullerton) refuse to take responsibility for the problems they created with the state's pension systems and the budget.
Approving any bills currently being proposed will do nothing but hurt middle class retirees and tax payers.
I do not think any pension business will be done until after the elections. This way votes can be bought by promising jobs to outgoing legislators just like they did with the tax increase we all got stuck with.--

Story at Daily Herald

By Mike Riopell

SPRINGFIELD — A coalition of labor leaders said Wednesday that House Speaker Michael Madigan is considering asking for a vote on pension cuts for lawmakers and state workers — but not teachers — when lawmakers return to Springfield for one day next month.

Legislation that has already been approved by the Illinois Senate would cut back annual pension benefit increases if workers wanted to keep state-subsidized health care.

Teachers weren’t included in the package because a deal couldn’t be reached over shifting future pension costs of teachers from the state to local schools — an idea Madigan has backed.

Lawmakers are planning to head to Springfield Aug. 17 to debate the possible expulsion of state Rep. Derrick Smith, a Chicago Democrat indicted on bribery charges. But they could do pension work, too, if they wanted to.

Many lawmakers believe the state must address its $83 billion pension debt in order to get the state’s finances on track.

“This bill would gut the provision allowing retirees on fixed incomes to keep up with rising costs,” reads a statement Wednesday from the We Are One Coalition of labor unions, which includes teachers’ groups. “It would burden retirees with the overwhelming share of the state’s pension debt, punishing middle-class public servants for the sins of politicians.”

Whether the legislation will actually be called for a vote next month remains in question, and whether it has enough support for approval is a bigger question.

“We have no certain knowledge of (Madigan’s) intent,” the union statement said. “We reiterated to him today our willingness to work with the legislative leaders to develop a fair pension solution.”

Gov. Pat Quinn’s office suggested Wednesday, though, that the governor wants a pension reform proposal that includes teachers.

“That bill is part of what needs to be done — but not all of it,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “The governor would like to see all the necessary steps taken to eliminate the unfunded pension liability and restore fiscal stability to Illinois,” she said.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, has called for the House to approve the plan, saying lawmakers should approve at least some pension changes and a deal can be reached on teachers later.

And state Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Park Ridge Democrat, has written letters to newspapers asking Madigan for the same thing.

“In Illinois, our chickens have come home to roost,” the letter reads. “Springfield can no longer postpone the tough decision that it has been avoiding for years. The time for pension funding reform is now.”

Madigan’s willingness to call the plan for a vote doesn’t guarantee success. At the end of lawmakers’ spring session in May, Madigan allowed House Republican Tom Cross’ pension proposal to be debated. But it didn’t win approval.

R.I.P.: Postal Inspector Preston Parnell


Postal Inspector Preston Parnell
United States Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Government
End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bio & Incident Details
Age: Not available
Tour: Not available
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Location: Alabama
Incident Date: 1/25/2007
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Postal Inspector Preston Parnell succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Highway 43, near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on January 25th, 2007.

He was conducting a joint operation with a special agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation when they were involved in the crash. Inspector Parnell suffered severe head trauma, a broken neck, and other injuries. He never fully recovered and passed away as a result of the injuries on July 26th, 2012.

Inspector Parnell is survived by his wife and two sons.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell
United States Postal Inspection Service
475 L'Enfant Plaza
Washington, DC 20260
Phone: (877) 876-2455

R.I.P.: Police Officer Jose Torres


Police Officer Jose Torres
Westfield Police Department, Massachusetts
End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available
Tour: 27 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Struck by vehicle
Incident Date: 7/26/2012
Weapon: Automobile; Commercial
Suspect: Not available

Police Officer Jose Torres was struck and killed by a dump truck while directing traffic at a construction site near the intersection of Pontoosic Road and Little River Road at approximately 7:30 am.

He was transported to Baystate Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries approximately two hours later.

Officer Torres had served with the Westfield Police Department for 27 years. He is survived by his wife and children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief John Camerota
Westfield Police Department
15 Washington Street
Westfield, MA 01085
Phone: (413) 562-5411

R.I.P.: Deputy Sheriff William Mast, Jr.

--Anyone wishing to make a donation for the Mast family, a fund has been created at Chip In.
You can make your donation <<HERE>>


Deputy Sheriff William Mast, Jr.
Watauga County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina
End of Watch: Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available
Tour: Not available
Badge # Not available
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 7/26/2012
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect: Shot and killed

Deputy Sheriff William Mast was shot and killed after he and another deputy responded to a call at a trailer home on Hardin Road in Deep Gap, North Carolina, shortly after 1:15 am.

A male subject at the scene opened fire on the deputies, killing Deputy Mast. The other deputy was able to return fire and killed the subject.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff Len Hagaman
Watauga County Sheriff's Office
184 Hodges Gap Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 265-7601

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

R.I.P.: Corrections Officer Edward "Teddy" Dillon, III


Corrections Officer Edward "Teddy" Dillon, III
Middlesex County Sheriff's Office, Massachusetts
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 27
Tour: 4 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Automobile accident
Incident Date: 7/25/2012
Weapon: Not available
Suspect: Not available

Corrections Officer Teddy Dillon was killed in an automobile accident while conducting an external perimeter check of the Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica.

His patrol car left the roadway and crashed into a wooded area along Treble Cove Road at approximately 4:10 am.

Officer Dillon had served with the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office for four years.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff Peter Koutoujian
Middlesex County Sheriff's Office
400 Mystic Avenue
Medford, MA 02155
Phone: (781) 960-2800

NEWS: (Franklin Park) Off-duty deputy: ‘Oh God, I hope I didn’t kill this guy’

Related Stories:

NEWS: (Franklin Park) Man killed by pickup truck in Franklin Park

NEWS: (Franklin Park) Sheriff's deputy charged with DUI in fatal Franklin Park accident

Story at Pioneer Press

Last Modified: Jul 25, 2012 01:14PM

MAYWOOD — The Cook County Sheriff’s deputy charged with felony DUI in a fatal crash Sunday in Franklin Park reportedly told arresting officers, “Oh God, I hope I didn’t kill this guy.”

Jamie T. O’Malley, 37, of the 2600 block of Scott Street, Franklin Park, is charged with aggravated DUI for allegedly striking and killing Marcial Marias-Quevedo on Mannheim Road in Franklin Park at 1:43 a.m. Sunday.

O’Malley, a sheriff’s deputy, stood before Judge Pamela Leeming during his bond hearing Wednesday in Maybrook Court, wearing a blue ”Fighting Irish” T-shirt and beltless khaki short. His hands shook increasingly as he held up his shorts from behind.

Marias-Quevedo, 41, of Franklin Park suffered “severe injuries to his left rib cage,” which caused severe internal bleeding, the prosecutor said. Marias-Quevedo was later pronounced dead at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood.

Police found O’Malley’s pickup truck “in the middle of the road” with front-end damage and hood damage.

The prosecutor said O’Malley commented to police, “Oh God, I hope I didn’t kill this guy.”

O’Malley smelled strongly of alcohol and told police he’d come from a party where he’d had “two beers,” according to the prosecutor.

The six-foot, 200 pound O’Malley reportedly failed a field sobriety tests, then refused a Breathalyzer test.

He later submitted to urine and blood tests. Those test, administered 90 minutes after the accident, yielded a blood alcohol level of .105, above the legal limit of .08.

The prosecutor noted that the Class 2 felony of aggravated DUI requires a mandatory prison sentence of three to 14 years upon conviction, and asked for a $1 million bond.

O’Malley’s attorney, Bill Stanton, told the judge the family had raised $7,500 cash and asked the judge to set bond at that amount. Stanton said O’Malley was married just last October, had family in the area and wasn’t a flight risk.

“I know him on a personal and professional level and respect him,” Stanton told the judge.

Leeming ordered O’Malley held in lieu of 10 percent of a $150,000 D bond, and also ordered him to abstain from drinking any alcohol.

It’s not clear if O’Malley will make the $15,000 cash bail. If O’Malley’s family and friends can raise another $7,500, he’ll be released from custody to await his next court date, on July 30.

In the hallway before O’Malley’s bond hearing, a dozen people stood outside — a few were crying, occasionally hugging.

After the bond was set, a man and woman, the only two people allowed in the courtroom, left nearly in tears.

Upstairs the man, now wiping away tears, waved off a request for comment with a simple “No” and headed for the exit.

O’Malley had several traffic tickets in the 1990s, but nothing in the past 16 years. His only three convictions were for improper turn, running a red light and operating an uninsured motor vehicle, all in 1996.