Archive for June, 2012

Majority Report: is the Electronic Iron Curtain Call Upon Us?

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


When Advocates Want it Both Ways

Yesterday, members of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP and Operation Rainbow PUSH—the outfit operated by Jesse Jackson—continued to criticize the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) for its investigation of the shooting death of 13-year-old Darius Simmons on the city’s near south side.  

Seventy-five-year-old John H. Spooner is charged with the slaying.  Similar to the fed-up, out-of-control character portrayed by Michael Douglas in the movie Falling Down, prosecutors allege that Spooner shot-and-killed Simmons because the elderly man believed that the teenager had burglarized his home.

The critics of the MPD’s investigation, however, are not complaining about the thorough investigation that expeditiously resulted in serious criminal charges.  Instead, these armchair cops are taking the MPD to task for questioning Simmons’ mother, Patricia Larry, for nearly two hours inside of a detective’s squad car.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/groups-renew-criticism-of-police-in-teens-death-probe-lk5psi5-159264725.html

Unfortunately, police departments around the nation are often second guessed after investigators have painstakingly pieced together the pieces of the puzzle.  In hindsight, what looks relatively straight forward after the fact might appear rather convoluted in the minutes and hours immediately following a critical incident.

“I’ve been to parking troubles that turned-out to be shootings, and shootings that turned-out to be parking troubles,” a veteran officer told me during one of my first days on the street.  “The information given to you by the dispatcher is only as reliable as the caller. Keep an open mind and let the facts, not someone’s opinion, lead the way.”

And, more often than not, shooting scenes are somewhat chaotic, especially when the victim’s family is on the scene and emotions are, understandingly, running high.

Answering the who, what, why, when, where, and how, questions takes time, as information from witnesses, as well as the relationship between the suspect and victim, needs verification. 

Moreover, the grilling Ms. Larry received, I would argue, is fairly typical. 

When a Milwaukee police officer uses deadly force, the officer and his or her partner, as well as other law enforcement witnesses, are immediately separated.  Some of these officers are shuffled into the same interrogation rooms used to question suspects of gang related shootings, armed robberies, and homicides.  In the past, some officers where ‘dissuaded’ from calling their spouses to simply let them know that they were still in one piece.

Criminal Investigation 101 calls upon detectives to preserve the integrity of an investigation by separating and then interviewing witnesses, victims, and suspects, before those involved have a chance to compare notes.

In the aftermath of Jeffrey Dahmer, the community and various special interest groups demanded that the MPD conduct thorough criminal investigations.  Now, however, members of these same special interest groups are complaining that the MPD’s investigators are ‘too thorough.’  

For these armchair cops, you can’t have it both ways. 

The bottom line is the bottom line. A crime was committed, a suspected was located and arrested; the District Attorney’s office charged the alleged perpetrator—and all of these activities were conducted within the bounds of the law and the Constitution.  

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html  or www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


The War Against Domestic Drones vs. Big Money

SF’s last post, Drones and the Judge, made note of the political outrage—from neo-conservative Charles Krauthammer; to U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts); and libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano—surrounding unnamed aerial vehicles (UAVs)—a.k.a. drones being deployed over America.

Today, San Diego talk-show host Roger Hedgecock interviewed U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) about a bill that would reinsert the provisions of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights; thereby, vacating some of the anti-Bill of Rights language in the Patriot Act.

http://live.radioamerica.org/loudwater/player.pl?upload=19998&name=rhs

A rising star in the liberty movement, Rand Paul is a modern-day version of Davey Crockett—a politician willing to fight to defend the freedoms Americans rightly enjoy. 

Paul, however, sees little difference between helicopters and drones. I disagree.  If a young woman sunbathing inside her fenced in backyard hears a hovercraft overhead, she might choose to step inside her home or duck under a canopy.  Drones run virtually silent. Nano-drones—some disguised as hummingbirds and insects, surreptitiously spy on their targets and peer into areas that a helicopter could not.    

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is also keeping tabs on the use of domestis drones. 

http://epic.org/privacy/drones/

So, if prominent individuals from various political quarters are so passionately upset about the threat that drones pose to privacy in America, why is the program continuing? 

Follow the money and the Unmanned Systems Caucus in Washington, D.C.

http://unmannedsystemscaucus.mckeon.house.gov/

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Drones and the Judge

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

————————————————————————————————————-

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit: 

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Ads on Crime and the Recall

Over the course of the past week, a handful of people have inquired about the validity of some of the political ads bombarding the airwaves in the final days of Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election.

An ad run by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaign committee attempts to tar Gov. Scott Walker with the guilt by association brush linked to an ongoing Joe Doe probe in Milwaukee County.  Barrett’s ad claims that an aide to Walker will soon be “indicted”

In Wisconsin, persons accused of criminal misconduct are not “indicted,” they are charged in a criminal complaint. Moreover, John Doe investigations are secretive inquires conducted in a closed courtroom.  The participants are sworn to keep information provided to either the court or to investigators confidential.  So either Barrett’s campaign is working hand-in-hand with an operative that is violating a judge’s secrecy order or the ad is fabricating information. If the former is true, the ad  itself calls for an investigation.

Gov. Walker’s campaign is running a spot accusing Mayor Barrett of purposely misrepresenting Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) crime statistics.

But unlike other departments within City of Milwaukee government, the police department is a semi-autonomous organization.  In other words, at least on paper, the mayor does not directly oversee the activities of the chief-of-police. That is the job of the Fire and Police Commission (FPC)—a civilian oversight board appointed by the mayor. Since the FPC’s members are close enough to the mayor to receive appointments, when the mayor whispers in their ears, they are likely to support Barrett’s policies. Nonetheless, Mayor Barrett’s office likely had little if any involvement in the collection and reporting of MPD crime statistics. 

In the past, however, Mike Crivello, the President of the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA), appeared in front of the Fire and Police Commission and questioned the MPD’s crime stats. Having read through minutes of the FPC’s meetings, it appears the board did little, if anything, to independently verify or debunk Crivello’s complaint.  For example, the FPC might have requested an audit by the city comptroller.

SF’s advice to recall election voters: look for the candidate that runs on and stands by his record. After all, these campaign ads illustrate that politicians say an awful lot of things, but, at the end of the day, it is what they do that affects our daily lives.

Just Released: Cozen Protocol Shortcut Guide for Readers

In the fast-paced age we live-in, finding the needed time to delve into a 328-page novel is sometimes impossible. Now, there is some good news for time conscious readers.

Last Friday, R & G Readers released the shortcut version of The Cozen Protocol—the crime novel that uses the city of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department as its backdrop, while blending—what some MPD veterans believe—elements of real incidents with fiction.

For more information, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/kindle/dp/B00888DZYY/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail

The shortcut version provides a chapter-by-chapter summary of The Cozen Protocol, provides a list of characters, and explains the novel’s vernacular.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit: 

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012