As a criminal justice instructor, it is important to identify trends that might prove problematic for future law enforcement officers. In 2009, the Spingola Files began spotlighting the issue of government surveillance. Due to the influence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and at various state houses throughout the country, domestic spying has grown persistently worse. In an effort to conceal the impact of America’s ever growing electronic iron curtain, at least one government official — James Clapper — has lied to congress.
President Obama has also told a whopper as well. During an August 2013 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the President declared, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”
Holed-up in the White House, one has to wonder if the President is simply out of touch or has lifted a page out of the NSA’s playbook by attempting to sweep the truth under the carpet. Just take a short drive along most major thoroughfares in southeastern Wisconsin. Then, spend a few minutes counting all the cameras mounted at large intersections, the square white box cameras posted along the interstate, and the automatic license plate readers attached to squad cars — all paid for, in large part, with federal government grant money.
Yesterday, however, something out of the ordinary occurred. The City of Madison appointed a new police chief. Sgt. Mike Koval has worked for the Madison PD — save a two-year stint with the FBI — since 1983 . A well-liked, gregarious police trainer with a law degree, Koval is uniquely qualified to have his finger on the pulse of liberty and security. After his appointment was announced yesterday afternoon, Koval promised “to change the talking points” now circulating within the nation’s law enforcement community.
“Koval said he wants to reform an image of officers so that they’re seen as guardians of the public rather than militarized warriors,” wrote the Wisconsin State Journal’s Nico Savidge.
“We have to strike that balance,” said Koval, “between individual rights, personal liberties (and) police limitations on those powers that have been granted to us.”
President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.” SF is pleasantly surprised that a usual “blind squirrel,” the Madison Police and Fire Commission, ‘got it right’ by selecting Koval. Hopefully, during one of the state’s junkets for police chiefs, Koval and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, who hasn’t seen a Big Brother surveillance system that he hasn’t liked, will have a heart-to-heart chat about America’s post-911 version of COINTELPRO, and the state’s two, 21st century versions of the old Special Assignment Squad, now dubbed intelligence fusion centers.
Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.
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© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014