Thursday, October 30, 2008
Son of a B****, I have been bitten. How could I be so stupid? I liked Vasquez too. He would of made a good cop. I grabbed my laptop with my trusty Alltel aircard and walked through the new rail yard park and locked myself in the freezer behind Tomasitas Restaurant. what a place to die. My mind is running a hundred miles an hour. I keep wondering about the chicken and the egg. Which came first? If I shoot myself in the head before I become a zombie, will I still become a zombie?
Suicide is against the catholic church teachings. They say you will go to hell. Jesus also says he will forgive you if you ask for forgiveness when you sin. I wonder, can you ask for forgiveness and get it before you commit the sin? I have always liked Evel Knievel. I remember he used to say he did not believe in god, that he only believed in himself. Then weeks before his death I saw him on Hour of Power with Rev. Robert H. Schuller, he was getting baptized and proclaiming his belief in god and Jesus Christ. Do we all look to god in our last minutes?
I only hope we have not failed in stopping this plague from taking over Santa Fe and who knows how far it could go. I hope my family is safe. Antoinette, Next year would have been 25 years married. I am sorry I didn't make it. I love you. Take care of our kids and our lovely grandchild. Aaron take care of mom and your sister, you need to be there for your mom and always make sure you are able to be there for them. Its cold, is it the freezer or is it the virus?
To my brother and sisters and the rest of our families, I will miss you and I love you all. I remember I once told Antoinette my wife that I had done everything I have always wanted to do. I really don't have a bucket list. OK, one thing, I never got to jump a couple trucks with a motorcycle. That reminds me of Undersheriff Robert Garcia and the rest of my staff and friends at work. Be safe all. One time I asked Robert If I could borrow his two pickup trucks. He laughed and said, just leave the tailgate down on the second one, your gonna hit it. He's going to make a damn good Sheriff.
I can hear scratching at the door, Damn zombies can't I die in peace? I open the freezer and start shooting. That takes care of another eight of them. The warm air from outside feels good. I need to lock myself back in though, can't afford to turn and be free.
I have been to quite a few suicides, I always wondered what was so bad that someone had to take that route. I guess turning into a zombie should qualify. My joints arrrrrrre stiffining, I donnt know how much lonnger I can type. I sometimes have this reoccurring dream. In the dream I confront the bad guy who is about to shoot me. I pull my gun and try to fire but no matter how hard I pull the trigger it wont move. My joints are reallly getting stiff, can I pull the trigger now?
I guess itss time. God forgive me for this sin. My Glock 357 is cold. It has frost on it. These things ar e suppossed to work in all cnditions. I hope its true. Every one has to die.....
One last thing......
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Now to the main topic, I was surprised to wake up this morning and do my usual quick look over the major papers online editions and see that the New Mexican had a story which reported I was getting a 56% raise. The story states that I currently receive $45,141 a year and will get $68, 308 with a raise set to go before the county commission today. I did call the reporter and let her know that I currently earn $68,308 and that the last sheriff to earn $45,141 was former Sheriff Benjie Montano who earned that in 1997. Current state law does not allow a politician such as myself to get a raise midterm. Therefor county officials who were in mid term two years ago when the last raise was put into place did not get the last raise. It is my belief that what the county commissioners were voting on today was a raise to bring reelected and newly elected officials up to par with the rest of the elected officials who got the raise two years ago when they are sworn in on January 1, 2008.
I spoke to the reporter and the incorrect wages she reported were supplied to her by the county public information officer so I can see how if she was provided the erroneous current pay and then she looked at the pay set in the county resolution to be voted on then she would assume huge raises for county officials. There is a constitutional amendment currently on the ballot, Amendment #2 which would allow for midterm salary increases for elected officials. The benefit to this amendment is that we would not have county commissioners or others who make less than their counterparts because a raise is enacted midterm. Currently newly elected officials get the raise while those already serving would not get the raise.
I am surprised the story did not get much attention, you would think that in today's economy %50 raises for elected officials would get a lot of attention. My office received no phone calls, emails, or complaints over the erroneous story. As for me, I am content with my current pay.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I visited Memphis Tennessee last week. It was the second time I visited the Birth Place of Rock and Roll. about 8 years ago my whole family made the trip to visit Graceland the home of Elvis Presley. I often joke with my co-workers that Elvis was my father. The joke continues on that I became estranged from the family after Lisa Marie and I split ways when she married Michael Jackson. All that aside I was in town with out the family this time. Our Computer Forensic Examiner and myself went on business.
We attended the National White Collar Crime Summit. The summit was actually really good and primarily focused on high tech crimes and the use of cell phones, computers, and pda's for crime and how to gather evidence from them. Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office is one of only five police agencies to have in house computer forensic labs and two of those five others are state agencies. One of my goals when I first became sheriff was to bring the future of law enforcement into our local sheriff's office. This included computers in the cars, digital photography for gathering evidence, computerized report system, a computer forensics lab, use of cell and pda's to enhance law enforcement and soon to come Global Positioning Systems in the Sheriff's Cars. Believe it or not only 6 years ago all reports at the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office were done with pen and paper.
The Key note speaker was former C.H.I.P.S. star Erik Estrada. Erik Estrada serves as a deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia and a reserve police officer for the Muncie, Indiana PD. I was able to meet him earlier in the day before his key note speech. He immediately began speaking to me in Spanish. Me habla muy poquito espanol ( I speak only a little Spanish), and Erik was extremely fluent. I made my way through the conversation, got a photo and autograph, (which he also signed in Spanish, calling me his primo and telling me to be safe.
An interesting part of the conference was a look into virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life. These virtual worlds have economy's of their own and people are coming into police departments and reporting thefts of their virtual money. Many are actually earning real money working in these virtual worlds. Companies are advertising in these virtual worlds and even identity theft is occurring. Viruses are being transmitted within these worlds and virtual people called avatars are actually being killed off by these viruses.
Although this may be years away from affecting local agencies it was still interesting and a good seminar to keep on top of emerging trends. Of course these worlds are being used by sexual predators as well as those just seeking interaction.
Other topics included presentations by Microsoft, working and gathering evidence from Windows Vista, and of course Internet based crimes including Identity Theft, Sexual Predators, and locating criminals using online databases such as facebook and others. Besides Microsoft, one of the big sponsors of the conference was Philip Morris. This was the first time I had seen this sponsor at a police conference however they were there with a booth in the exhibition hall asking for law enforcement help in catching those who distribute counterfeit name brand cigarettes. Apparently this is a growing crime with cigarettes being brought in from China, Europe, Asia and Latin America. According to Philip Morris “in China, 190 billion counterfeit cigarettes are produced each year, making it a major source country for European-destined fakes”.
Of course being a big 50's rock and roll fan while in Memphis I had to visit Graceland, Sun Records, Jerry Lee Lewis Ranch, and Beale Street. Over the next few days I will blog about those trips. I am by no way a singer but I enjoy singing Elvis Karaoke so I even cut a track at Sun Records. It was like a dream singing (although I wont be discovered any time soon) at the same studio where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and many others cut their most famous records.
Friday, October 03, 2008
I attended a Street Survival Seminar put on for officers and paid for by the family of fallen Deputy James McGraine last year. The class was presented by a national company known for its effective training of officers on tactics and survival skills. One of the presenters made the statement I listed above. Cops make million dollar decisions every day.....
Just what does that mean? In a split second cops have to make a decision which can and will be Monday morning quarterbacked for years. If that decision is wrong and sometimes even if it is right but a good lawyer can make a case that it should have been handled differently then it becomes a million dollar decision. Now there are many, many, many (emphasis on many) lawsuits filed that cost taxpayers and insurance companies nothing or less than a million dollars. In my career I have only seen one million dollar lawsuit affecting an agency I have worked with.
However what are the costs beyond the money? When someone dies before their time or of causes other than natural, people need someone or something to blame. Sometimes blame is necessary to prevent future occurrences. Sometimes its just convenient to point a finger. When the person to blame dies in the incident then the company they work for, or the person who sold them the beer, or the police who should have arrested him before he committed his crime, is to blame.
I was reminded of the whole "cops make million dollar decisions" quote by the story of Iman Morales and Lieutenant Michael W. Pigott whose death came on his 46th birthday.
On Sept. 24, 2008 Mr. Morales mother called police because her mentally ill son was naked and ranting on top of a ledge atop a storefront security gate. When police arrived after trying to coax him down and as he was swinging an eight-foot-long fluorescent light bulb at officers, Lt. Pigott authorized officer Nicholas Marchesona to use a Taser. After the Taser immobilized Mr Morales he fell from the ledge which was approximately 10 feet above the sidewalk. Mr Morales fell on his head and died. Officers had called for an inflatable cushion, but it did not arrive in time.
In a move not usually seen in these days of litigation and not accepting blame, Lt. Pigott accepted responsibility for the fatal decision. He apologized for the decision and expressed his condolences to the family. The department sent Lt. Pigott and Officer Marchesona to counseling and placed the Lt. in a desk job. Lt. Pigott was stripped of his gun and badge. On Thursday October 2, 2008 Lt. Pigott broke into a fellow officers locker, he left a note and pictures of his wife and kids and shot him self in the head. It is believed by fellow officers that he could not face disgracing his family with charges and disciplinary actions he believed would be pressed against him.
I believe that Lt. Pigott made a bad decision but criminal charges in our nation are based on intent. Does anyone believe that it was Lt. Pigott's intent to harm Mr. Morales? Was it reasonable to believe that Mr. Morales would survive a 10 foot fall? Should he have predicted that the fall would be on his head which could be and was fatal? Should officers have been placed to break his fall since the inflatable cushion had not arrived? These are all questions we can ask and debate. A judge or jury will never debate these questions since these matters are settled by attorneys in a room who only debate the money this is worth.
How many realize that when attorneys debate settlements lives are not in the equation? I have been in these discussions and what is debated is what would that person have earned? What is their life worth? Since someone is mentally ill and unable to earn much money are they worth less than someone who earns $90,000 a year for their family? It is stomach turning to see in person. The really sickening thing is that the attorneys make most of the money. The families get what is left.
One other quick note. Approximately 6 officers per year commit suicide in Lt. Pigott's department. According to a study by the National Association of Police Chiefs twice as many cops - about 300 annually - commit suicide as are killed in the line of duty in the United States of America .
Lt. Pigott died in the line of duty.....
No he did not get shot at the scene of a crime, He did not die in a car chase, and he did not take a bullet for a fellow officer. But he gave his life to the badge. Now that he is gone people will have to look elsewhere for someone to blame, and they will.
Here is the video of the Taser incident. Warning, watching this video could be unsettling to some people.