Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Would Sheriff Joe Arpaio last a day in Santa Fe?

Almost every Month since the day I won my first election in June 2002 someone from somewhere in America forwards me this email. They "if from New Mexico are usually recent transplants to our area" want me to be like Joe. Most of you have probably read this but if you have not, read ahead and afterwards we will discuss if Sheriff Joe Arpaio would last a day in Santa Fe.

Subject: Fw: Sheriff Joe - Re-elected

sheriff Joe - Re-elected



Sheriff Joe Arpaio (in Arizona) who created the "tent city jail":

He has jail meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He stopped smoking and porno magazines in the jails. Took away their weights. Cut off all but "G" movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects.

Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again only let in the Disney channel and the weather channel.

When asked why the weather channel he replied, so they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs.

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value.

When the inmates complained, he told them, "This isn't the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."

He bought Newt Gingrich' lecture series on videotape that he pipes into the jails.

When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series might explain why a lot of the inmates were in his jails in the first place.

More on the Arizona Sheriff:

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record), the Associated Press reports: About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts.

On Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138 degrees inside the week before.

Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their pink socks.

"It feels like we are in a furnace," said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the tents for 1 ½ years. "It's inhumane."

Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff who created the tent city and long ago started making his prisoners wear pink, and eat Bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic He said Wednesday that he told all of the inmates: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!"

Way to go, Sheriff! Maybe if all prisons were like this one there would be a lot less crime and/or repeat offenders. Criminals should be punished for their crimes - not live in luxury until it's time for their parole, only to go out and commit another crime so they can get back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things taxpayers can't afford to have for themselves.

If you agree, pass this on. If not, delete it.

So there you have it. As I stated earlier the email is sent to me often and usually with a suggestion that I implement these ideas here. Here, the land of Rothstein, Donatelli, Hughes, Dahlstrom, Schoenburg & Bienvenu LLP. In case you don't know of this law firm they are the local Santa Fe Attorneys who made millions of Taxpayer dollars in the Duran Consent Decree case which came out of the 1980 Prison Riot. In between then and now, millions more taxpayer dollars were made suing practically every city and county in the state as well as numerous other state and federal cases. They specialize in suing government and taking taxpayer dollars that if not given to them could actually be used to make jail, prison, and law enforcement better.

The firm recently made 2 million in the Santa Fe Strip Search Case in which allegations were made that the private company which ran the jail at the time took part in illegal strip searches. This case amazed me since the firm did about 6 months of work on the case which amounts to about 1,600 a day assuming someone worked 8 hours a day Monday through Friday for the approximately six months this case was worked on. So How much would Rothstein, Donatelli and company get if we operated a tent city and fed prisoners 40 cents a day worth of food?

Some have tried unsuccessfully to recall Sheriff Arpaio however his election numbers continue to be very high and with no term limits he will probably be Sheriff as long as he wants to be.

The big question I have is why has the Department of Justice has allowed Joe Arpaio to continue to these conditions while we work hard to provide a safe secure facility in Santa Fe? The truth is that we have people here who continue and probably always will complain while in Arizona Joe Arpaio is considered a hero. Don't get me wrong, this is not a case of Sheriff envy. I would never want to be known for the things Sheriff Arpaio is known for. In Santa Fe the worst thing I could do would be to subject prisoners to hours of watching Newt Gingrich, that would be cruel and unusual punishment if I ever saw it. In the land of the city different, living wage, immigrant free zones, and what is arguably among the most liberal counties in America, would Joe Arpaio ever even be elected? (he is a Republican which explains a lot) I usually respond to these emails, when I do respond, with a polite but firm statement. I would be hung on the plaza at high noon from the new bandstand if I even considered 10% of what Sheriff Arpaio does in Arizona, and rightfully so.

Would you elect Joe Arpaio Sheriff in Santa Fe County? Click comments below and talk about it. You can do so Anonymously.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My 2006 Memorial to the Victims of September 11, 2001

Today we honor those who died in the September 11, 2001 Attacks on America.

2948 Victims died on that day.

3251 Children lost a parent on that day. The youngest victim was 2 year old Christie Hanson, the oldest was 85 year old Robert Grant Norton.

333 Firefighters and 60 Law Enforcement Officers, and 125 members of our Armed Forces died that day.

How do we honor those heroes who gave the ultimate sacrifice on that day? We raise a new generation of heroes. Ready to take thier place. Years ago we had hundreds of applicants for Police and Firefighter jobs. Today accross New Mexico we have hundreds of vacancys for these positions. Parents, talk to your children about the honor and pride of serving your country and your commmunity. Lets raise a new generation of heroes.

Below is my tribue to the victims of 9-11.

Alfred Gilles Padre Joseph Marchand- The only New Mexican to die in the September 11, Attacks. He was a retired Alamogordo Police Officer who wanted to be a pilot someday. He was working as a flight attendant on United Flight 175 which was crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower.

Names of those Killed in the September 11 Attacks.

Death, destruction, charity, salvation, war, money, real estate, spouses, babies, and other September 11 statistics.

Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes.

Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

* Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

* Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

* Number of NYPD officers: 23

* Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

* Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

* Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

* Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

* Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658

* Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22

* Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

* Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1

* Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39

* Bodies found "intact": 289

* Body parts found: 19,858

* Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

* Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000

* Total units of donated blood actually used: 258

* Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609

* Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051

* Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

* FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274

* FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661

* Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300

* Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200

* Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98

* Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124

* Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

* Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100

* Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6

* Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81

* Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26

* Total number of hate crimes reported to the Council on
American-Islamic Relations nationwide since 9/11: 1,714

* Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion

* Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million

* Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million

* Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion

* Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion

* Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul
lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion

* Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to
overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion

* Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to
NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million

* Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25

* Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million

* Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9

* Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40

* Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50

* Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered "inappropriate" to play after 9/11: 150

* Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26

* Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000

* Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110

* Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans
from plane to train or car: 1.4 million

* Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress
disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Knife verses Gun, Police Shootings

In a recent police shooting in the City of Santa Fe involving a suicidal subject who had attacked his girlfriend the usual Monday Morning quarterback in the comments section of the Free New Mexican has begun. I know this will always happen and since the investigation is still pending and usually this things are presented to either a Grand Jury or a Judge in a Preliminary Hearing I am going to reserve judgment on the shooting pending the case receiving a fair investigation and hearing. I do however want to part from this weeks tribute to September 11 to attempt to educate the public on the facts about weapons such as tazers and firearms versus knifes. I was President of the City Police Union during the Pancho Ortega Shooting which raised questions about police handling and resulted in political, racial and other very divisive issues to come into Santa Fe.

As President one of the things we attempted to do was educate the public as to why you cannot shoot a knife out of someone's hand or shoot them in the leg to stop them. Many people who watch Kung Foo or their favorite Hollywood Action Flick want to know why police can not kick the knife out of their hands or disarm them with some kind super cop move. In the below video you can see a demonstration of a police training video in which it shows the reaction time for an officer to react to a knife attack from as little as 2 feet to as much as 12 feet.

What the instructor is trying to show is the amount of time it takes to react with your gun in your holster. Watch the video for a few other things also. Take a look at the suspect rushing the officer. Imagine that you are trying to aim a gun at a small moving object like an arm or leg while the split second you have from the time the suspect begins rushing at you from even as far away as 12 feet. Imagine you have to decide between some hokey karate move that may or may not work or using your sidearm in this split second or seconds. Keep in mind that even when a person is shot they do not just drop dead like in the movies. Many people can continue to rush and get a stab wound in place even if they have been shot.

Take a look at the now infamous FBI Miami Shootout involving two men by the names of William Matix and Michael Platt. William was shot 6 times and Platt 12, these were not all wound received at once. The Shootout lasted over 4 minutes and even after the suspects were shot several times they continued to shoot back and kill two agents and would an additional five. There have been many cases where a knife welding suspect has continued to attack after being shot. Getting back to aiming for arms, legs, or hands this is only done in the movies or in the best case scenario I have seen it done by a sniper on sitting subject who was holding a gun and the sniper had plenty of time to take aim and take the shot with the subject relatively still.

So that is why we cannot train or even suggest to officers that they can take out a knife welding subject with some kind of super cop or kung foo moves. We are fully responsible for the lives of officers and yes someone will always sue, even the officers family when we fail to use realistic training or fail to teach them proven techniques to keep themselves or others safe. If the officer allows him or herself to be overwhelmed or injured by the knife welding subject then the officers weapons are now available to be used against the next citizen or the family members who called for help. Back to the video, Please watch it carefully and try to imagine you are the officer trying to react in the short amount of time it takes for a subject to attack you with a knife. Finally please allow the investigations of which there will be many, to take place before you make judgment.

Note: Thanks to my brother for finding the video without the background music.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Effects of 9-11 on Local Law Enforcement

The effects of the September 11, 2001 attacks on local law enforcement in Santa Fe is much different than the effects in cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. When the Bush administration took over from the Clinton administration it was the beginning of massive changes to the relationship between the Federal Government and local law enforcement. The Clinton Community Oriented Policing Program nicknamed C.O.P.S. was a successful grassroots policing program. It had a goal of expanding the numbers of police on the street throughout America as well as training local police about the new age of community policing.

C.O.P.S. was a cornerstone of Clintons Political Agenda and as such the Bush administration began dismantling the program as soon as it took office. Then comes September 11, 2001, Rightly so, the Bush Administration began a new era of Homeland Security. America needed to change its attitude and preparedness for these types of attacks. What the Bush administration did wrong was to use September 11, as the excuse to drive the final nails into the coffin of the C.O.P.S. Program. No longer did local agency's have federal dollars to buy bullet resistant vests for police, No longer did local agency's have the training, and ability to hire additional police with Federal dollars. Some local agency's like Torrance County lost half their deputies to these cuts. They went from a Sheriff's Office of 14 deputies to 7 deputies overnight. Where Santa Fe County once got 15 to $20,000 per year to buy expensive bullet resistant vests we now get 3 to $5,000 per year. When I took office in 2003 there were 5 less deputies in the Santa Fe County Sheriffs Office than two years before. Three of these were directly attributed to the loss of the C.O.P.S. Funding.

The Homeland Security Dollars now are distributed by a complicated formula based on so much dollars per each state which are funneled through the state government and how they are used and disseminated is decided by the state, and another allocation goes to some states based on population. Local law enforcement and fire then must work together to apply for and spend the dollars which finally filter down to the local agencies.

What the Bush administration has always fail to realize is that by the time these dollars reach the local agencies they are greatly diminished and the restrictions and politics involved in spending these dollars are such that their effectiveness is greatly diminished.

Much discussion in the community surrounded the City Police Departments receiving an Armored Swat Vehicle recently. Many said those dollars could have been better used at the local level. The truth of the matter is that those dollars were set aside by someone way above the local city police and if they did not accept the vehicle it would have been just given to someone else. There was no discretion on what would be best to use that money for. The money could have been used to help buy much needed police cars or other equiptment but the city police did not have that option. It was either accept the armored vehicle or not.

These types of decisions are made for us with most of the Homeland Security Dollars. The local agencies are the first and sometimes the only agency's to respond at the time attacks like September 11, happen. Take a look at who responded to the World Trade Center attacks. Local Fire and Police. When lives needed to be saved and during that short window of opportunity before the buildings collapsed it was primarily local agencies coming to the rescue. By the time federal and other assistance arrived it was the next day. The same lesson is learned from the hurricanes that ravaged New Orleans and the coast. Your first responders must have adequate personnel and equiptment to deal with a major event until the secondary outside assistance can arrive.

There are less police on the streets today than five years ago. Let me repeat that, There are less police on the streets today than five years ago. Some of this is attributed to the fact that the 100,000 new cops program C.O.P.S. is dead. Some of this is attributed to the fact that vacancies in police agencies can not be filled. The Santa Fe City Police has approximately 19 vacancies, the State Police has approximately 70 vacancies, Albuquerque Police has over 100 vacancies, the list goes on and on across this nation.

Homeland Security is not the only place all the C.O.P.S. money has gone. The war in Iraq has taken more than its fair share of Federal Dollars. The Spend like there is no tomorrow Bush Administration and Republican Congress has foolishly misspent billions of dollars while allowing true homeland security issues such as local police and fire to languish. As I think of the 343 firefighters, 40 EMT's and Paramedics, 23 Police Officers, 37 Port Authority Officers, and 1 K-9 Officer who died just at the World Trade Center Attacks I realize that the tribute our Federal Government has paid to them and their peers is to reduce their numbers so when the next attack comes their will be less of them to respond.

Things don't look any better in the next budget. The Bush administration asked Congress for an 8 percent decrease in discretionary spending for the Justice Department for fiscal 2007, cutting grants to state and local law enforcement programs by $1.1 billion. I can only think to myself, As Santa Fe County's Federal dollars for police and fire continue to diminish will there be any left next year at all?

Below is my next tribute Video for the victims of 9-11. This video was made by an eighth grade student. Its a little long but very well done for his age. Along with the Numbers of Police and Fire I just named as killed on September 11 were a grand total of 2997 persons killed. We must never forget those who died in these vicious attacks and we must honor them by making America better prepared to both prevent and respond to these attacks should they occur.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Week of Memorial to the Victims of 9-11

Today marks one week to the five year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. During this week I want to honor the Police, Firefighters, and Americans who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks. To begin this week I want to show you a video tribute to the children of those who died. This originally was an animated video posted on the internet. Someone changed the scenes to photos however they kept the original soundtrack. It brought tears to my eyes and I bet it will to yours also.

The first thing that comes to my mind is where I was when the attacks first were announced on the news. It comes to my mind because I was driving my daughter to school. She was nine years old and I was driving down San Mateo Street near the intersection of St Francis Drive when I heard about the first plane striking the World Trade Center on 77 KKOB Radio station. I thought it was odd and a horrible accident. I dropped my daughter off at elementary school and headed home.

At the time my wife and I worked out of our home. I called my wife and told her to turn on the TV as I headed home. I got home and a short time later we watched horrified as the second plane struck the second tower. My wife cries at movies and I remember the look on her face as the tears fell from her eyes. My son was in high school at the time and she wanted me to go get both kids from school. I argued against it and we decided, (maybe I decided) to leave them at school.

After the attack on the pentagon I remember thinking this was the beginning of World War 3. It seemed a lot like the kamikaze pilots at Pearl Harbor. I really thought the missiles or other military strikes were coming next. I remember this day vividly and it must be like the day President Kennedy was shot, or Pearl Harbor to our generation. I always remember my mother talking about the day President Kennedy was shot and what she was doing. She was driving me home from the hospital one week after my birth. She heard of Kennedy's assassination on the radio just like I first heard of the September 11 attacks. Where were you when the planes struck? Use the comment section to talk about it. In my next post I will talk about the effect that September 11, 2001 had on local law enforcement.