Monday, July 31, 2006
P.T.S.D. is not just a soldiers disease it can affect anyone who lives through a traumatic experience. There are cases of P.T.S.D. from those who experienced the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, those who survived the hurricanes that ravaged the east coast, and even victims of domestic violence. One time I had to let go an employee who had an alcohol problem. It was very hard to do because I often wonder whether on the job stress contributed to the employee's problem. We had offered counseling and support but there was a point where the employee had to be let go. Those are the hard decisions that even months or years after its done you still think about from time to time.
Not all homeless vets have P.T.S.D. some just have a hard time finding jobs that pay enough to support themselves and their families. The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says homeless veterans are mostly males (2 % are females). The vast majority are single, most come from poor, disadvantaged communities, 45% suffer from mental illness, and half have substance abuse problems. The VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year.
What can we do to affect this problem? In my humble opinion, as employers we need to hire our vets when they return. As a government we need to provide transition services and screening for P.T.S.D.. We need to help match employers with the skills the vets have learned while in the service. We offer large bonuses to the soldiers when they sign up, maybe we need to give some of that money at the end when they leave. We also need to work with the soldiers and get them to save money for after their tours are completed.
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
A Vietnam Trilogy: Veterans And Post Traumatic Stress : 1968, 1989, 2000 is a very informative book for those experiencing P.T.S.D. or their families.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Friday Funny- Top Ten Things Not To Say to Police Officers:
1. Are you Andy or Barney?
2. Do you know why you pulled me over? Okay, just so one of us does.
3. I thought you had to be in good physical condition to be a police officer.
4. Sorry, Officer, I didn't realize my radar detector wasn't plugged in.
5. I pay your salary!
6. Aren't you the guy from the Village People?
7. Hey, you must've been doing' about 125 mph to keep up with me. Good job!
8. You're not gonna check the trunk, are you?
9. Gee, Officer! That's terrific. The last officer only gave me a warning, too!
10. I was trying to keep up with traffic. I know there are no other cars around. That's how far ahead of me they are.
11. When the Officer says "Gee Son....Your eyes look red, have you been drinking?" You probably shouldn't respond with, "Gee Officer your eyes look glazed, have you been eating doughnuts?"
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Max Friedenberg the Director of High Mayhem Emerging Arts played Santa Fe's own Billy Crystal. He and the Santa Fe Reporter Staff put on a great music filled, witty and entertaining show. All this while they gave out awards for everything from the "best local politician not under investigation" to the "Best Soup when you want lunch that's liquid". I won't give away the winners, you will have to visit the Santa Fe Reporter Website or pick up the really nice 140 page issue that came out today. At the awards ceremony there was a great list of presenters and just like the Oscars the winner of the best band category played a set as well as the best female singer who gave a rousing performance as good as any I have ever seen at the Oscars. I did go home and have nightmares after seeing Reporter Nathan Dinsdale in a lime green dress and fishnet stockings as he accompanied Reporter Dan Frosch as presenters during the ceremony. My suggestion for next year, Let Dan wear the dress.
After the awards ceremony guests were invited to Swig and even provided some free drink tickets to gather and celebrate. Antoinette and I walked over to Swig where we joined many winners celebrating. One of the winners Governor Bill Richardson (ok I am giving away one of the winners names), who popped in and made quite a stir as people crowded around him for a photo or to just shake his hand.
So to the Staff at my favorite independent newspaper and its leader Julia Goldberg I congratulate you on a great night and an excellent issue. I look forward to next year, please don't forget my invite and we could have used more drink tickets. Of course I did not drink and drive!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
A quick check on the Cafe Press web site shows at least 50 items for the Re-election of Governor Richardson and promoting Governor Richardson for the Presidential nomination in 2008. The items range from a Richardson for President Clock, to a Coffee Mug, and yes even your infant can be sporting a Richardson for President Bib, and Sleeper. Don't forget your Richardson for President Greeting Cards, and Postcards.
Richardson has even been combined with Barack Obama as a Vice Presidential running mate in a bumper sticker. I could not find a way to see how many items have been sold however for someone not running for President you can certainly buy many Richardson for President items. One thing I did not see yet was a Richardson for President set of Boxer shorts so if your dying to sell on Cafe Press, maybe I just gave you an idea for the next big seller.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The Santa Fe Reporter's Nathan Dinsdale did a piece in this weeks issue which attempts to look at the Methamphetamine problem in New Mexico and separate some of the hype from the facts. He does a pretty good job at looking at the hype and truths in the Meth problem. The basis for the story is the July 1, 2006 start of two new laws in New Mexico. The first makes pseudoephedrine a controlled substance just like heroin and cocaine. The law requires consumers to provide a licensed pharmacist with government-issued identification, sign a sales log recording their purchase and limits their purchases to nine grams of pseudoephedrine within a 30-day period. The law expands on New Mexico's previous requirement that products containing pseudoephedrine be sold from behind the counter and is intended to cut down production of home grown Meth.
The second new law expands the definition of a drug-free school zone to include private and parochial institutions while enhancing the criminal penalties for trafficking, producing and possessing Methamphetamine with the intent to sell. The basic sentence for Meth trafficking and production will increase from three years to nine years and subsequent convictions will result in a first-degree felony.
Both are good laws although I have to admit when my allergies were really bothering me last month, I went into Walgreens to buy Tylenol Allergy and Sinus which seems to work well for me. I always buy night time and day time and since you take two pills at a time a 12 pack only lasts 6 days. I tried to buy two of each (night and day) and they would not let me. I bought one of each and then had two come back in a week for a new batch. Once again a law for bad guys which inconveniences the rest of us. It is a small price to pay for keeping our communities safe.
Most Meth in Santa Fe County comes from Mexico. Meth use is not prevalent in Santa Fe County and as the story points out Heroin is a much larger killer of Santa Fe County Residents. In the Southern part of Santa Fe County Meth labs are more prevalent. This is primarily due to the proximity to Albuquerque and the rural nature of the Edgewood area. This allowed for Meth labs to go unnoticed for longer periods of time and for easy transportation of the drugs to the Albuquerque area. Northern Santa Fe County and Rio Arriba have the largest number of heroin overdose deaths in the country per capita. That is why this area is designated by the United States as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. At this time there are twenty eight H.I.D.T.A. area's in the United States. Along with the designation comes extra federal funds to help combat the drug problem.
Methamphetamine is a particularly dangerous drug in many ways. Those who manufacture Meth put themselves, many times their children and other household members as well as the whole neighborhood at risk. The manufacture of meth is dangerous and highly explosive. For each pound of finished methamphetamine, seven pounds of waste is produced. This waste is toxic. Ingredients include substances which can cause chemical burns or can easily ignite.
Meth use can cause heart palpitations, nausea, damage to blood vessels in the brain, shortness of breath, mental confusion, malnutrition, anorexia, severe anxiety and depression. A more severe manifestation of chronic toxicity is a state of paranoia closely resembling paranoid schizophrenia. Psychotic symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and delusions of parasites and bugs in the skin. Continued use may lead to permanent damage to the brain or death.
"Before" and "after" photos of Theresa Baxter.
Copyright Multnomah County Sheriff
So, as we can all see Meth is a really bad thing, but does the threat live up to all the political hype? Yes and No, The awareness and measures taken to keep the ingredients out of criminals hands has helped to decrease the growth rate from what it probrably would have been had we not become alarmed and begun to take action. However, it is probrably not the greatest drug related threat to our nation. I believe the large media and political attention it has received has also made this a taboo drug much like heroin use. This means that it has not become mainstream and is more feared by the casual user of other drugs such as Marijuana and Cocaine. The before and after images like Theresa Baxter (photo above) and others on the "faces of meth" web site certainly have struck fear into casual or recreational users for even trying the deadly drug.
We must continue to battle drug addictions and illegal sales and we must use equal parts prevention, enforcement and the third part which is most lacking, treatment. While I don't believe funding for enforcement should be reduced I do whole heartedly believe funding for treatment and sobering centers should be greatly increased. One last note: While the Republicans and the current Republican Administration and Congress try to portray themselves as pro law enforcement and pro drug war the truth is that funding is at its lowest levels ever for C.O.P.S. Programs, H.I.D.T.A. initiatives and almost all other police and drug war initiatives. Maybe I wouldn't complain if the money was diverted to treatment programs but grants and funding for treatment programs has also been cut every year the Bush administration has been in office.
Santa Fe Reporter : The next bad thing
Faces of Meth, Multnomah County Sheriff
Frontline: The Meth Epidemic, How it Destroys the Body
Crystal Meth Recovery and Treatment Website
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Website
National Drug Threat Assessment 2005 Summary Report
Monday, July 17, 2006
I also ran across two more studies which shows that accidents increase at intersections with red light camera's due to motorists making abrupt stops in order to avoid the citation.
Maryland county's red light cameras net $2.85 million, increase accidents
Georgia: Accidents Increased with Red Light Cameras
Add these to the Washington study as well as others I mentioned on my last blog about Red Light Camera's coming to Santa Fe which show increases in rear end collisions which are equal or increased over the reduction which usually occurs in red light running crashes. Some studies show increases in injuries from the rear end collisions verses the red light running collisions.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
"I'm incompetent, but I'm not a crook.''.....Fran Gallegos
That has to be the quote of the year.
This was former Judge Fran Gallegos comment as charges against her were dismissed by Judge Michael Vigil. Judge Vigil remarked that she just didn't know any better and there was no criminal intent in her changing official court documents and claiming jail time and maximum sentences for those who were found not guilty or whose charges had been dismissed.
One thing I know we will see come out of this is the use of Fran as someone to point fingers at and say "see judges need to be lawyers". I truly feel that at the lowest levels the judges do not need to be lawyers. They need to have common sense and need to be professional. Across New Mexico there are just as many lawyer judges getting arrested or facing disciplinary actions by the Judicial Standards board as there are non lawyers.
In Santa Fe we have four Magistrate Judges, a Municipal Judge,and a Probate Judge who all do not require nor have they historically held Law Degrees. I have dealt with many of these Judges as well as the District Judges which must hold Law Degrees. I have seen good and bad judges with and without those degrees. I know that the New Mexican which has long advocated Law Degrees for lower court judges will come out with an editorial pointing at Fran Gallegos as proof that a Law Degree is needed as a requirement probably in the next few days.
The warning signs were there with Fran years ago, it is too bad the voters did not pay attention. I also feel there should have been some culpability in the criminal charges against Fran. I can not believe that she did not know better after all her years in office that you can not have a criminal sentence for someone who is found not guilty or who's case is dismissed.
Now the disclaimer: I have thought about running for Magistrate Judge in Santa Fe County in 2010. I have by no means made up my mind but I am term limited as Sheriff and while for the next four years I am going to just work hard and concentrate on the Sheriff's job, when that is over I will have to seriously look at what I do next. I am not nor will I probrably be a lawyer. I am working on completing a Criminal Justice Degree. I truly feel that "the Peoples court" really is that, " a true peoples court". It is very seldom and very foolish that someone go to District Court or higher without an attorney. You will get little help and little in the way of easy to fill out forms and pleadings to assist you in filing your case.
In Magistrate and Municipal Court on the other hand it is easy and ok, to handle your own case. Even when charged with a traffic crime or misdemeanors crime chances are very, very likely you will not even be up against an Assistant District Attorney, The officer or deputy will present his or her case and you will present yours and the Judge will make a determination.
Lawyers tend to complicate things and at this level and with the exception of DWI these matters can be handled in a more down to earth and Peoples court manner. The Magistrate and Municipal Court is not a "court of record". This allows the Judge to have a broader discretion when deciding cases. Cases are heard according to "common law". In Courts of Record, (District Court and Higher Courts), Cases are heard according to "Statutory Law" which is much more stringent and requires Judges much less discretion in how they handle the cases. This in itself is one of the primary basis for having a much more relaxed and informal atmosphere at lower level courts. The Judges and more importantly the courts have much more latitude in providing easy to use forms, in giving directions on how to file without giving legal advice. The Judges in theory at least are able to hear both sides cases on a more human level with out all the legal mumbo jumbo that costs defendants so much money for the attorneys.
I give DWI as an exception because the consequences have become so serious and the penalty's and stigma so harsh that attorneys almost always get involved in this day and age. I do feel that the state should provide more education and continuing education to Magistrates and other non-lawyer judges. I know for a fact that besides the mandatory hours the state does require, that many of our own Magistrates attend training, conferences and classes through organizations such as the National Judicial College that is far in excess of the minimum standards required by the state. So in concluding let me just say that I do not believe we should elevate this level of the court, (magistrates, municipal, probate and the like) to a level which will make it such that going to this court will require an attorney, both for the prosecution (the officers) and the defendants. This will turn a $60, traffic ticket into a thousand dollar expense. Also Magistrates currently make about Sixty Thousand a year, what kind of attorneys will we get for that price? If we raise the salaries to a level which will attract these attorneys then how will the State come up with the additional funds? Easy, raise the court fees and cost of the citations. This would probrably end up at least doubling these fees and fines.
Friday, July 14, 2006
1) He took public transportation to and from his bank robbery.
2) He is using his seeing eye dog as a look-out.
3) Instead of a cherry pie, she shoplifted yeast, flour, eggs, and a jar of cherries.
4) You caught him driving a stolen car with "The Club" still on.
5) He tries to convince you that he thought crack was a breakfast cereal.
6) He responds to your use of verbal force with a bunch of "Yo'momma" oneliners.
7) He makes himself laugh every time he says he's innocent.
8) He claims diplomatic immunity because he's a citizen of the Republic of Texas.
9) He asks the judge for a senior citizen discount on his 7-year sentence.
10) He left footprints and a bloody glove at the crime scene.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
A Bearcat Armored Vehicle similar to the City of Santa Fe Police New Vehicle.
There is a lot of comments in the Free New Mexican Web Site being made about the City Police Departments new Swat Armored Vehicle purchased with $250,000 of Homeland Security Money. Some are calling it a waste of money and others believe it is overkill. My guess is that the City was offered the opportunity to apply for this vehicle or maybe even offered the vehicle as part of the Homeland Security funding. If the City did not take up the offer it would have gone to someone else. These type of funds are earmarked for these purposes and once earmarked cannot be spent on other projects. I think the City Police would have been stupid to turn down this opportunity and with Gods help this may never be used but if its needed it would be there.
Some believe if we needed one in Santa Fe that we could just Borrow Albuquerque's. Borrowing one from Albuquerque would take hours as someone is not just sitting in it waiting to drive off where ever its needed. Just getting the approval and having a driver go pick it up and bring it down would take too much time. Lives would be lost waiting for it. I know that 5 years ago when a report was made saying that millions needed to be spent to rebuild the levys in New Orleans and every said it was too expensive and it was not needed. Now Billions are being spent to rebuild New Orleans because of the short sightedness.
This vehicle will also benefit all the surrounding area since we have Mutual Aid Agreements with the city and surrounding agency's. I could call on this vehicle if needed and the wait time might only be 45 minutes to get it verses hours for the City of Albuquerque to loan us theirs. This is also only available if they are not using theirs. It could be used at the penitentiary or jail if a major incident like the 1980's riot occurred. Some comments are that these type of incidents don't happen in Santa Fe. The truth is we have many, many, swat callouts between the City and the County as well as State Police. Because of the expertise of the swat teams almost all end without serious incidents or injures therefore the public does not hear about them. I for one would rather have a tool in my garage than trust that I could borrow the neighbors when I need it.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
We had a lot of fun and watched for hours as they painstakingly filmed the end of a fight scene over and over getting it from many different angles. It always amazes me that they will spend an entire day or half day filming what ends up being minutes in the final film. We got the usual autographs and photos with most of the cast. Ray Liotta stayed real busy and we never met him but it was fun watching him work. Marisa Tomei was the only one who refused to sign autographs or take pictures but maybe she just didn't feel like it on this afternoon. I am going to post some pics here of the actors and us on the set. They were filming fight scenes so they have various cuts and bruises applied on their faces.
John Travolta was really nice and polite, He told me how he puts in 16 hour days and then just drives to the home he is renting (reportedly for about $80,000 a month) on Santa Fe's North side, for nothing more than a good nights sleep. He is a pilot and has a plane at the Santa Fe Airport. He flies home every weekend and then returns for work on Monday morning. I had him sign my two Saturday Night Fever Albums ( I collect old Vinyl records and albums) and he politely did so. One of the other visitors to the set had him sign a Urban Cowboy CD and a DVD of the movie Face Off while another had the soundtrack from the movie Grease. He joked that he was seeing his whole life flashed before his eyes.
My Wife Antoinette, Daughter Sylvia, and myself with John Travolta.
Tim Allen told me about his new movie coming out on August 11 called Zoom. It is a movie about an ex superhero brought in to teach a new generation of kids to be superhero's and save the world. This is a Disney movie and so is Wild Hogs. Tim Allen was also really nice and joked with me about the picture I brought for him to sign which was one of a much younger Tim Allen.
The Family with Tim Allen (sorry came out too bright)
Martin Lawrence was a real character. The first time he arrived on the set after we arrived he was driven up in his Black Cadillac Golf Cart. This was definitely the most stylish ride on the set. He arrived and immediately began cheering and getting all the extras to join in. His bus was a huge two story Semi Rig which was a stylish black and reportedly has a circular staircase to the top level and is outfitted with plasma screens every where.
Martin Lawrence and Marisa Tomei review one of the scenes after it had been shot.
My Daughter Sylvia next to Martin Lawrence's Cadillac Golf Cart.
We also got to see, but not meet William H. Macy. Earlier in the week Peter Fonda made a cameo appearance on the set and my understanding is that he garnered a lot of attention during his one day stay. There were a lot of locals on the set both as cast and crew. Banners were set up proclaiming the Madrid Chili Festival, put on by the County of Madrid. Of course Madrid grows no chili nor is it part of a Madrid County. I got to meet the Sheriff of Madrid County and even though he is a recognizable actor for the life of me I cannot remember his name.
I also ran into Santa Fean Lenny Vullo who is Production Manager for the set and has also been Production Manager for Meet the Fockers, Meet the Parents and many other films. He gave us the royal treatment making sure we had a great lunch. At all these movie sets the food is always equal to that of many top restaurants and I had Chicken Marsala, two kinds of great pasta and a great salad bar. All day we were offered drinks, ice cream and all kinds of other goodies but we never made our way to the goodies trailer. A man even came by and offered us sun block as we watched the filming. Former Santa Fe Police Sergeant Dan Chappel as well as many local bikers were cast as a members of the Del Fuego biker gang. Originally the Gang was going to be called the Hell's Angels however the real Hell's Angels threatened a lawsuit and Disney changed the name.
These movies when they use our deputies, hire off duty deputies to work on an overtime basis. The costs to the movies is slightly higher than the deputies wages and this helps us to cover overtime for crimes and major events that happen in the county. The money is placed back into our overtime budget and this helps reduce some of the taxpayer money needed to cover major crime investigation and other overtime in the Sheriff's Office. We had a great afternoon at the set and I want to thank the cast and crew for bieng such great hosts. The governors programs aimed at bringing these types of films to New Mexico has been a great success. Tim Allen thought so also and said he really liked Governor Richardson when they met him a few weeks ago.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Reserve Deputy Sheriffs are utilized to supplement the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office's Sworn personnel. Like Full-time Deputies, Reserve Deputies are professionally trained and duly sworn law enforcement personnel. In most cases, Reserves are assigned to the same duties as Full-time Deputies. Since Reserve Deputies have the same powers of arrest as Full-time Deputies we require a lot of the same hiring, background,physical and psychological standards as Full-time Deputies.
Reserve Deputy Sheriffs enjoy the challenge and excitement offered by law enforcement, as well as the satisfaction of providing a worthwhile community service. Reserve Deputy Sheriffs first complete an extensive in house training program and then work assignments on evenings and/or weekends as their regular jobs permit. Most of the time spent on duty is done around your own schedule however there can be mandatory training which is usually scheduled on nights or weekends to accommodate your other full time jobs. The initial training is done over eight consecutive weekends and this portion is the most demanding and time intensive portion of the service. After this most field training is done around your schedule.
Reserve Deputy Sheriffs are issued a badge, an identification card, uniforms, a duty weapon, handcuffs, baton, and most other necessary equipment. Reserve Deputy Sheriffs have full peace officer powers when on duty or may act as a peace officer according to Sheriff's office Standard Operating Procedures when emergencies arise while off duty.
Reserve Deputy Sheriffs volunteer a minimum of 20 hours per month of their time with the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office. Reserve Deputy Sheriffs serve at the will of the Sheriff, must obey all Departmental regulations, but do not fall into the framework of the civil service system. Reserve Deputy Sheriffs supplement the regular operations of the Sheriff's Department by working in Uniform (Patrol),or in other capacities as matched by their skills and desires as well as the needs of the Sheriff's Office. So, This is the program in a nutshell if you are interested in becoming a part time deputy, full time hero, contact Corporal Vanessa Pacheco or Sergeant Ken Johnson at 505-986-2400.
TOP TEN REASONS TO BECOME A RESERVE DEPUTY!
10. Make your community safer.
9. Gain respect & admiration from your peers.
8. Earn respect & gratitude from your employer.
7. Meet new, interesting people and arrest them.
6. Show yourself and others you've got what it takes.
5. Give back to the community.
4. Its Fun.
3. Its Challenging.
2. Its Interesting.
1. Finally be able to knock their socks off when
someone asks "And what did YOU do this weekend?"
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
I wish you all a Happy Fourth of July from my family to yours! At this time of the year we all clean off the BBQ Grills, pull out the lawn chairs and celebrate the freedoms that come with independence day. On this day in 1776 America declared its independence from Great Britain. It was the begining of a free America. These freedoms did not come easy and many lives were given up to ensure these freedoms for our generation. Our generation will also give up many lives to ensure these same freedoms for our children and grandchildren. That is a hard pill to swallow. Many times these are easy words to say, much harder to live, when your loved one is one whose life was given in the pursuit of freedom. From our soldiers through out the world, to our law enforcement officers across the nation, from our firefighters, border patrols, and yes even our politicians and news crews throughout the world all have given lives in the daily struggle to keep our nation free and live up to the ideals drafted by our forefathers.
Today as I sit on my comfortable patio with my laptop and wireless connection, the BBQ grill hot and ready and the cool breeze of a perfect afternoon keeping the temperature down, I think about those who don't have it so easy today. The soldiers in war zones trying to picture themselves at grandmothers house with all the kids running around and the intoxicated uncle starting to get on their nerves, and wishing they were actually there.
I think about the officer patrolling the streets, hoping that their tour of duty takes them near home so they can stop in to say hi and grab a piece of watermelon, all while rushing from call to call to deal with a few of those intoxicated uncles. The border patrol agents are in my thoughts and prayers as they man their posts and patrol the border. Out in the middle of no where there is little chance for a Fourth of July Celebration, little chance that they can run by the house and grab a quick piece of watermelon. The firemen and women come to mind, grabbing a quick Fourth of July lunch before they head out and patrol the streets looking for illegal fireworks and just being a presence in the neighborhoods. Each of them hoping that the only fires they will see is the flash of sparklers but realistically praying that the inevitable fires will all be small and easily manageable.
You notice I mentioned politicians and media in my post. I am reminded of the assassinations of great politicians like Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, the attempted assassinations of presidents like Ronald Reagan . The deaths of news crews at war torn nations as they perform the noble service of keeping us informed and government in check comes to my mind as well.
All of these hero's and many others like the activists such as Martin Luther King and Ceasar Chavez, who make America what is through the ultimate sacrifice come to my mind today. So, as we each celebrate Fourth of July lets not forget those who's sacrifices make this day possible. Tomorrow as we go back to our jobs lets not forget that we may be called upon to make a sacrifice, maybe a small one, or maybe the ultimate sacrifice, and when that day comes we must step up, remembering that we must insure the Fourth of July's for the future generations.
Have a very Happy Fourth of July.