Archive for August, 2013

A Factitious Fly on the Wall During the White House Summit on Crime

As the Spingola Files reported yesterday, Milwaukee’s 2013 per capita homicide rate has now surpassed that of gang invested Chicago.

Today, WTMJ radio reported that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn are “arriving back from Washington, DC. They traveled to the capitol to discuss violence” with President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/Mayor-Barrett-and–221460821.html

Here is how I imagine a factitious conservation between the meetings of these minds playing its way out:

Barrett: 

Mr. Attorney General, our per capita homicide rate has exceeded President Obama’s hometown, a city riddled with Gangster Disciples, Latin Maniacs, Vice Lords and Black P-Stone Rangers.

Holder: 

Mayor Barrett, I can assure you that my politically correct initiative, which I unveiled last week in a speech to the American Bar Association—quite fittingly in San Francisco—will buy some good will in the community by refusing to have drug dealers mandatorily sentenced for crimes, my office, alone, feels are non-violent, back into your already violence plagued community.

Flynn:  

Ah, Mr. Attorney General, ah, I don’t know all the nuances of your new policy , but, if I keep my mouth shut and refuse to criticize your decision to usurp the laws passed by congress, can my department get our hands on more borrowed or newly printed federal grant money. That way, when those you’ve refused to appropriately prosecute get out of prison early, my department’s Sharp Shooter gunshot detection system will be able to pinpoint the location of their crimes. Pretty please…more grant money and we’ll go away without making so much as a peep.

Obama:

Mayor Barrett, now that your city’s crime fighting strategy has taken a back seat to Chicago’s, may I suggest that you get in touch with Rahm Emanuel, who has invited gang leaders to a summit on violence and has asked gang members not to fire indiscriminatingly into crowds when targeting rivals.  You might want to look into these strategies, which seem to be working better than Chief Flynn’s data driven policing—otherwise known as documenting where the dead bodies are chalked out before heading to the morgue.

Holder:  

And what about the attacks of black men by whites in Milwaukee, Chief Flynn? What do you plan to do about this?

Flynn:

Ah, ah, that really isn’t an issue for us, as we’ve had only one such incident, unless you count a tavern owner who recently shot and killed a man robbing his south side tavern as an unprovoked attack.  That being said I promise I will make it as difficult as I can for the tavern owner to get his gun back.

Obama: 

Why that robber, probably a troubled youth, would still be alive today if congress had passed my gun control legislation.  So what are we going to do to address the epidemic of violence in your city, Mayor Barrett?  How about throwing more money into programs that focus on early release and diversion so these troubled members of society do not get corrupted while in jail or prison?

Barrett: 

Better yet, I could just slam Scott Walker for failing to fund $500,000 in police overtime, even though, at the same time, I am furloughing my own officers.

Obama:

Tom, you’re a genius. Your plan won’t cost us a single penny. Demagoguery is so cost effective. How about I offer you that ambassadorship to Syria. Since you’re from Milwaukee, you’re used to the gunfire, right?

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Milwaukee’s 2013 Per Capita Murder Rate Higher than Chicago’s

In an August 12 post, I lamented that the resurgence of shootings and homicides in Milwaukee this summer is due, in part, the city’s policing strategy.  And, quite frankly, since that post over two weeks ago, things have actually gotten worse—more shootings, a couple more homicides, and an officer getting accosted and sent to the hospital by an emboldened thug element.

A review of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Web site this morning reports the following: a 43-year-old member of the Milwaukee Police Department’s (MPD) Tactical Enforcement Unit is attacked by two men, ages 18 and 24, who sent the officer to the hospital after a foot pursuit.  At 6:30 PM, three juvenile boys were shot near S. 26 Street  and W. Lapham Ave. after a basketball game gone awry. Another article reports than homicides in Milwaukee are up 19 percent in 2013 during the same period from a year ago.

You know things in Milwaukee are going from bad to worse when the beer city’s per capita homicide rate surpasses Chicago’s, where a bloody summer has stained the office of its new mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Here are the numbers:

City                                 Population                           2013 Homicides               Per Capita Homicides

Chicago   2,707,000            270 One in 10,828 residents murdered.
Milwaukee     597,867              67 One in 8,923 residents murdered.

Sources:

http://data.jsonline.com/News/HomicideTracker/

http://homicides.redeyechicago.com/

The officers on the street, as well as the brazen criminal element, are taking notice that the MPD’s crime fighting strategy is similar to President Obama’s redline remarks about Syria: like Obama, Chief Flynn’s bark is much worse than his bite.

“A Tac squad cop gets the s**t kicked out of him on 28 and Auer,” after two suspects who ran from the officer, turned and attacked, notes an officer deprecating the lack of adequate on scene back-up.   “Flynn and his policies are going to get a cop killed.”

Holding another roll call on the street won’t solve the problem of inadequate, on-scene officer back-up and drug dealers feeling empowered by the lack of a long term, area specific policing strategy.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Retired Police Captain Reviews “Psychic Reprieve” — Mitchell Nevin’s Wisconsin-Based Crime Novel

psy cover

Mitchell Nevin’s new novel, Psychic Reprieve: Deception & Reality, weaves a story of three men who had the misfortune of being convicted of felony crimes, but the good fortune of ending up as cellmates in a federal minimum security prison camp, where they became close friends.  One was Raunold Choquet, aka: “R.C.,” who had lived with his grandparents in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, after his mother’s murder. R.C. had a promising future as the closer for the Milwaukee State college baseball team.  His other cellmates included a former Chicago police sergeant (Gannon Burke) and a small-time identity thief (Luigi Fabriano), who forged identification papers in St Paul.

A college baseball team hazing prank goes bad, which results with R.C. being charged with a federal offense and imprisoned because of the political nature of the crime.  After a beating by a group of other inmates, R.C. develops that ability to see into the future, which leads to the successful clearances of several major crimes, including the arrest of a serial killer.  The manner in which Mitchell Nevin injects these “visions” reminds me of the old television series from the late 50s/early 60s—The Twilight Zone and One Step Beyond.

Gannon Burke, having been convicted of a public corruption charges, and Luigi befriend R.C.  After their release from prison, the trio develops a scheme to profit from R.C.’s clairvoyant powers while working in at Drina’s Pasta Palace, an Italian restaurant in downtown Eau Claire.

As in his first book, The Cozen Protocol, Mitchell Nevin worked his knowledge of internal police operations; criminal investigations, high-tech government surveillance, and the politics of a prosecution into the story in a way that is informative as well as entertaining.  In Psychic Reprieve: Deception & Reality, Nevin again melds his familiarity of law enforcement procedures into a fictional story, which makes it easy for the reader to form a mental picture and enjoy the plot. The perspectives of each of the main characters, as well as the way in which the author sets-up their encounters with law enforcement and other antagonists, is interesting to say the least.

Psychic Reprieve has several scenes that occur in Milwaukee.  A few of the hazing pranks initiated by the players on the Milwaukee State baseball team are good for a few laughs.  Some of those who have served on the MPD in the past might recognize these events.  Other major portions of the novel occur in Eau Claire, including one scene where a mano-a-mano showdown takes place during a gentlemen’s bet between R.C. and the power hitting first basemen of the Eau Claire Rail Splitters.  The bet, set-up by the crew at the Pasta Palace,  is to determine if the stellar pitcher can get the college conference player out in one at bat.

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, I would give Psychic Reprieve and “8” for the following reasons:  perhaps the best fictional books I have ever read were those by the late Vince Flynn. Hence, his work product is the standard by which I compare other novels when rendering an opinion.  Psychic Reprieve—filled with witty one-liners—had a different type of plot and focus than I expected, and that gave the novel a twist that I found very interesting.

Checkout Psychic Reprieve at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/178-0556010-7603202?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=%22psychic%20reprieve%22

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Glenn D. Frankovis, a retired Milwaukee Police Department captain and district commander (1975-2004), is the author of a soon-to-be released book involving urban policing strategies.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Milwaukee’s Current Crime Fighting Strategy is a Part of the Problem

Over the course of the past month, I have had an opportunity to review retired Milwaukee Police Department’s Captain Glenn Frankovis’ work-in-progress manuscript regarding his vision of a successful urban crime fighting strategy.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Glenn, he is a pull no punches, no non-sense, when it comes to crime, type of guy.  His work ethic is very representative of Milwaukee, where hardworking people get up each day, roll-up their sleeves, and are willing to get their hands dirty.

When Frankovis was a street sergeant at District Two, he lobbied for a team of six officers to get a grip on an out-of-control gang of thugs that held a neighborhood hostage near S. 15th and W. Orchard Ave.  Ninety-days later, violent crime dropped over 60 percent.

As the commander of Districts Five and Three, he employed area saturation patrols to disrupt criminal activity in high-crime neighborhoods, such as Metcalfe Park. Under his leadership at District Five, overall major crimes decreased by 8.1% in 2002 and another 6.5% in 2003.  In 2002, District Five shootings declined by 42.8% and homicides by 48.6%.  In 2003, while in command of District Three, Frankovis oversaw a 15.5% reduction in violent crime, including a 21.7% reduction in robberies.

In early 2004, after gang members had threatened an officer under his command, Frankovis issued a memo to officers at District Three labeling these gangbangers “thugs.”  Calling a thug a thug was apparently too politically incorrect for the MPD’s police chief, Nan Hegerty, who buried the hard-charging captain in a job akin to counting paper clips.

“This is nothing I haven’t said before,” Frankovis told the Marquette Tribune, explaining that the memo was meant “…to send a clear and convincing signal to the thugs that the only thing they accomplished was to give (officers in District 3) cause to make their lives even more miserable than before.”

http://marquettetribune.org/2004/03/04/news/mpd-captain-files-claim/

After being forced, in a de facto sense, into retirement, Frankovis later applied to become Milwaukee’s Chief-of-Police, but, in my opinion, was dismissed from contention because of his matter-of-fact willingness to call things the way he sees them.  In other words, he was too politically incorrect to surgically remove the cancer still eating away at Milwaukee—criminal gangs and organized crime related drug activity.

No doubt, Frankovis’ strategy is much different than Chicago’s current police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, whose response to Chicago’s out-of-control gang problem is more gun control.  Recently, the Chicago PD, at the behest of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, held a listening session about that city’s escalating violence; whereby, a number of representatives of street gangs were invited to contribute to the dialog.

Make no mistake about it; Glenn Frankovis would never, ever invite the “thugs” to the table.  To do so would be an insult to the law abiding and others who struggle, each day, to do the right thing while battling poverty and ignorance.

And though the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission dismissed Frankovis from becoming police chief in short order, their selection, Ed Flynn, has used a “data driven” policing strategy with mixed results.  While overall crime has declined, as it has nationally since Flynn’s tenure, violence in Milwaukee is once again on the rise.  Witness the rash of shootings in the last month. Moreover, the problem with “data driven” policing is once the data is collected the victims are already shot and/or lying on a slab in the morgue. Too often, this type of strategy is a day late and a dollar short, especially if one is a victim.

Over the course of the past few years, Glenn and I have kicked around our ideas on how to improve crime fighting efforts in Milwaukee.  We both agree that, like Chief Flynn, besides the homicide and sensitive crime units, the detective bureau should be decentralized. Unlike Chief Flynn, however, Glenn and I would not treat the detective bureau like the MPD’s bastard child.  Detectives play a vital role in solving serious crimes, which means, when they’re successful, heinous offenders typically wind-up in prison for long periods of time and, therefore, are unable to prey on society. Why Chief Flynn continues to display a level of contempt for the MPD’s detective bureau remains a mystery.  Not long before Flynn arrived, investigators from around the nation, as well as other countries, visited to Milwaukee to learn from its police department’s detectives.

While the mainstream media in Milwaukee has taken the bait and focused primarily on decreases in crime, the press has reported little—hint, hint—about the clearance rates of burglaries, robberies, shootings, and homicides. A hunch says that a handful of prosecutors in the Milwaukee County DA’s office believe that cases are going unprosecuted due to a lack of investigative follow-up and/or adequate investigation.

In the interim, put me down as a person anxiously awaiting Frankovis’ new crime fighting manual.  I’ll make sure to send a copy to Rahm Emanuel et al in Chicago.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Dane County Sheriff Gives Police Professionalism a Black Eye

In recent weeks, a group of left-wing activists, who call themselves “The Solidarity Singers,” have again decided to thumb their noses at the law by refusing to obtain a permit to illustrate their irrelevance by protesting in Wisconsin’s beautiful capitol rotunda.  Liberal narcissists—believing that their myopic opinions are somehow more enlightened than the majority of Wisconsin’s voters—trampling on rights of others, such as those seeking to get married in the rotunda, is nothing new.

More repugnant than Americans picking and choosing which laws they choose to obey is a high ranking law enforcement official injecting himself into the debate and using the color of his authority to run interference against the Capitol Police by siding, for political purposes, with the Solidarity Singers.

Conducting himself in a manner inconsistent with the concept of law enforcement professionalism, as well as own county’s ethics ordinance, is Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.  Since 1979, when a bill approved by Democrats in the state legislature and signed by Republican Governor Lee Dreyfus became law, a FREE permit is required to hold rallies inside Wisconsin’s glorious state capitol.

But Sheriff Mahoney apparently is of the opinion that unlawful conduct is acceptable if the lawbreakers are on the left side of the fence politically.

In late July, Mahoney appeared in the Capitol Rotunda and proclaimed, “I’m here to join alongside the Solidarity Singers. This is an example of freedom of speech. It’s an example of people coming together in solidarity for what they believe in.”

http://laborradio.org/2013/07/hundreds-assemble-peacefully-at-wisconsin-solidarity-singalong-in-defiance-of-walker-crackdown/

Absolutely no one is preventing the Solidarity Singers from obtaining the permit needed to occupy and disrupt a facility where official government business is conducted, including weddings and tours for school children.

“The permit is free and the group could continue to say and sing the same things they are today,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis, who, according to WISN radio, noted that the Capitol Police have stated they would approve a permit if the Solidarity Singers applied for one.

http://www.newstalk1130.com/pages/common_sense_central.html?article=11519952

Then, on August 1, Sheriff Mahoney appeared on Mitch Henck’s WIBA-AM in an attempt to explain how he “isn’t on the side of the Solidarity Singers” and that he would “never encourage anyone to break the law.”

http://timmorrissey.blogspot.com/2013/08/madison-where-circus-is-always-in-town.html

Really?

A hunch says that Sheriff Mahoney began getting blow back from the Capitol Police and others who truly believe in the concept of professional law enforcement. Ironically, the Dane County Sheriff boasts on his department’s official Web site  that, “We continue to make strides toward becoming the most professional, efficient, and cost effective agency employing progressive solutions to the ever-changing challenges facing our communities.”

http://www.danesheriff.com/

In reality, by championing the cause of the Solidarity Singers and encouraging them to violate state law, one could make an argument that Sheriff Mahoney is in violation of Chapter Nine of Dane County ordinances that govern the ethical practices of elected officials.

Chapter 9.10 (1), STATEMENT OF POLICY, states, “The proper operation of democratic government requires that county officials and employees be independent, impartial and responsible to the people…”

http://danedocs.countyofdane.com/webdocs/pdf/ordinances/ord009.pdf

If Sheriff Mahoney chooses to violate the law and encourages others to do so, the Capitol Police should treat him like any other law breaker.   Wouldn’t it be more than just a little ironic if officers arrested Mahoney and then booked him into his own jail?

Moreover, Dane County residents upset with Sheriff Mahoney’s lack of professionalism might want to file a complaint with the Dane County Ethics Commission.

http://www.countyofdane.com/commissions/?id=29

Unfortunately, law enforcement officials violating policy and/or ethical standards by using the color of their office for political purposes is nothing new in Dane County. On March 13, 2011, the Spingola Files reported that Madison Police Department Sergeant Dave McClurg openly identified himself as a Madison police official while siding with protestors who had unlawfully occupied the state capitol. Even though the below video of McClurg that openly violates Madison PD policy is still posted online, the sergeant—apparently championing a cause his police chief and city officials sympathize with—was NEVER disciplined.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fCm6JcOMuM

Responding to criticism of his lack of professionalism, McClurg posted a March 20, 2011, reply at the Spingola Files pleading poverty by stating, in part, “I don’t know about any of you but I’m still struggling at times with three kids, one in college. I don’t feel like the one of the haves I work off duty to pay the bills.”

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2011/03/13/letter-from-state-police-union-executive-draws-fire/#comments

For struggling Americans, some of whom work from January through the middle of May each year simply to pay their tax obligations; McClurg’s comments illustrate the arrogance and the sense of entitlement of some public employees.  A database of City of Madison employees’ salaries shows that McClurg earned $94,274.22 in 2010 and $94,113.61 in 2012.  His wife is a public school teacher, which means the McClurgs’ employment earnings probably topped a $135,000—not to mention the generous health care and pension benefits often unavailable to the private sector employees who pay his family’s wages and benefits.

http://host.madison.com/data/city_salaries/?appSession=83859994846640

While the Mahoneys and McClurgs in the bizarro world of Madison (not to pick on Irish-Americans) have used the color of their office to influence political perceptions free of any official consequences, the taxpayers, many of whom earn only a third of what McClurg does, are taking notice.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013