Citizen Talk

Milwaukee’s Failed Rip Van Winkle Leadership

Sometimes, an answer to a difficult question that seems so elusive is in plain sight for all to see.

Such is the case with the recent outrage over the annual eruption of violence in Milwaukee as the weather warms.

Seemingly each year, the reporters and the editorial writers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel believe the shooting of a young child, the needless murder of a homeless man, or a large turnout at a candlelight vigil, is the so-called tipping-point on crime.  In this scenario, the residents of Milwaukee’s central city or the “hood,” as the area was recently dubbed by the Journal Sentinel, awake from their Rip Van Winkle-type slumber to forge a new reality — that the conduct of the criminal element will no longer be tolerated.

And, each year, it takes all of two weeks to debunk the Journal Sentinel’s theory, as bodies, sadly, begin filling the freezers of Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office.

Instead of looking to Chief Flynn and his overpriced east coast consultants for answers, the proponents of the futile Rip Van Winkle theory on Milwaukee’s inner-city violence could find solutions at Amazon.com for $10.67, a price substantially more affordable than Chief Flynn’s cabal of advisors.

In February, retired Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Captain Glenn Frankovis released a new book, Area Saturation Patrol: A Policing Strategy That Works, which spotlights the successful strategy used to suppress crime in MPD Districts Two, Three and Five.

http://www.amazon.com/Area-Saturation-Patrol-Policing-Strategy/dp/1495316130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401200383&sr=8-1&keywords=area+saturation+patrol

At the request of Glenn’s publisher, I penned the following:

“During the summer of 2001, Milwaukee’s Metcalfe Park neighborhood was a virtual war zone.  Fox News 6 reporter Mara MacDonald’s investigation dubbed this troubled area a killing field.  In an effort to prevent more bloodshed, Police Chief Arthur Jones called on Captain Glenn Frankovis.

“Glenn had previously served as the Commanding Officer at District Five, where he implemented an Area Saturation Patrol (ASP) strategy that worked wonders.  In 2002, overall major crime in District Five declined 8.1 percent, shootings plummeted 42.8 percent, and the number of homicides decreased 48.6 percent.  Within 18 months, the near north side policing sectors under Frankovis’ command had witnessed the largest one-year decline in per capita homicides in urban America.

“But could the man with the plan, and his hard-charging foot soldiers, put a lid on the on violence in Milwaukee’s killing field?  After all, Metcalfe Park was surrounded by other neighborhoods teetering on the brink.  Instead of making excuses, requesting a huge influx of new officers, or whining about budgets, Glenn Frankovis met the challenge head-on. In his first full-year at District Three, the commander’s ASP strategy and no-nonsense policing style resulted in 15.5 percent reduction in violent crime, including a 21.7 percent reduction in robberies.”

With such a track record of success, one would think the editorial writers at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the staffs of local television news outlets, and the political-class at city hall, might take notice of Frankovis’ crime fighting strategy.  But alas, the sound of crickets and excuse making are the only concepts being promulgated by the proponents of the Rip Van Winkle theory.

So, each year, as you read the articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel regarding the very tragic loss of human life, consider the source.  Then, take notice that the newspaper’s editorial board and city leaders seem more concerned with political correctness than fighting crime.  And, as time passes, the public can count on one thing: that editorial board and political pontificators will continue to put their collective heads in the sand while waiting—for eternity—for the elusive inner-city Rip Van Winkle to be jostled from his slumber.

After all, a real leader, like Glenn Frankovis, does not need a catalyst or expensive consultants to get the job done.

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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.

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, 2014


2014 Spingola Files’ Predictions

Get your scorecard ready.  After a gathering at Spingola Files’ HQ in Wales yesterday, SF is prepared to offer its 2014 predictions.

On Crime:

  • Milwaukee homicides will remain near 100 as morale at the MPD continues to ebb.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court will prohibit the NSA from broadly vacuuming the metadata from Americans’ cellular telephone accounts.  Instead, the high court will narrow the government’s collection of such information to those individuals who reasonably pose a threat.
  • The NYPD’s controversial stop and frisk program will continue, although politically correct verbiage will be inserted about such searches.
  • Terrorists will attempt an attack at the Winter Olympics in Russia.
  • The City of Madison will appoint an academic as its next chief of police.
  • In exchange for a guilty plea and further cooperation with the government, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be spared the death penalty and occupy a cell in Florence, Colorado.

On Sports:

  • The Green Bay Packers, after their defense allows over 400 yards in a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49’ers, will show Dom Capers the door.
  • The Seattle Seahawks will upset the Denver Broncos in a snowy NYC Super Bowl.
  • With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers will select Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson.
  • The Minnesota Vikings will name Darrell Bevel as their next head coach.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers will win 82 games, but will not make the playoffs.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks proposal to build a new arena will fall on deaf ears.

On Politics:

  • Scott Walker will win re-election as governor with 52 percent of the vote.
  • Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate by two seats.
  • To increase Paul Ryan’s and Gov. Walker’s Presidential chances at the GOP nomination, Wisconsin will move its Presidential Primary to February 16, 2016, with Reince Priebus leading the charge.
  • In the fall, 50 million Americans will lose their health care coverage and be dumped into the Obamacare exchanges by their employers.

On Finances:

  • The stock market will see a 25 percent correction; recover slightly, but then finish down 12 percent in 2014.
  • Gold prices will increase 15 percent in 2014.
  • The price of electricity will increase as much as 25 percent in some locales due to new Obama administration EPA mandates.
  • Food prices will increase 10 percent in 2014.
  • The unemployment rate will be virtually the same at the end of 2014.
  • The Chinese will tighten their money supply in an effort to combat inflation.

SF will revisit this post and compare our scorecard with the predictions of others at this year’s end.

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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 in audiobook format at Amazon.com.

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, 2014


Spingola Files, the Local News & Stocking Stuffers

Over the course of the past month, I have appeared on two Milwaukee news broadcasts to address a couple issues that I feel passionate about: homicide investigations and the vast overreach of government surveillance.

On November visit to to Milwaukee’s CBS 58 news, I spoke about the issue of biometrics.

http://www.cbs58.com/news/local-news/Real-ID-or-real-nightmare-231998111.html

On December 2, reporter Myra Sanchick, of Fox News 6 in Milwaukee, conducted an interview with me regarding the death of Walter Ellis, Milwaukee’s infamous north side strangler.

http://fox6now.com/2013/12/02/death-of-serial-killer-leaves-questions-unanswered/

In Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I & II, I discussed the complicated deaths associated with Ellis and other suspects in a four part series entitled “The Detectives in the Rye.”

Christmas/Hanukkah Stocking Stuffers

When shopping for the holidays, please consider giving the gift of books.  My latest, Best of the Spingola Files, Volume I & II, is now available in print and audiobook format.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1386709924&sr=8-2&keywords=spingola+files

Mitchell Nevin’s first novel, The Cozen Protocol, is also available in audiobook format.  For a limited time, the e-book version of the novel is available for just 99 cents.

Nevin’s latest novel, Psychic Reprieve, is currently in the process of being formatted into a screen play.  The e-book version of this outstanding book has been discounted to $3.99 for the holidays.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

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


Is Critical Thinking a Thing of the Past?

Within the range of two weeks, a missing person’s case, the disappearance of a high school student, and a bizarre occurrence at a local supermarket , illustrate why information still unknown is simply speculation.

Milwaukee police consider Kris Zocco an obvious person of interest in the disappearance of Kelly Dwyer, a metro Milwaukee woman who was last seen on October 11. Sources say investigators turned their attention to a large Menomonee Falls landfill after they learned that Zocco had his vehicle portered.  Yesterday, Milwaukee’s Fox News 6 reported that detectives have recovered possible evidence at the landfill.

http://fox6now.com/2013/11/09/potential-evidence-recovered-from-landfill-in-kelly-dwyer-case/

In the Dwyer matter it is fair to say that investigators fear the worst, as was the case earlier this week when 15-year-old Kathryn Stalbaum supposedly left for Kettle Moraine High School on a bicycle but never arrived.  A few days later, however, Stalbaum approached a police officer in Chicago and reported herself found. One can only speculate why the 15-year-old girl thought it a good reason to leave the state without notice, although, if passed experience bears any precedent, it might be due to someone she met online.

Of course, speculation is just that, speculation, which is why it is important to let investigators sort through the facts — one way or another — before jumping to conclusions.

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that a woman, shopping at an Aldi grocery store in Wauwautosa, discovered a Black Widow spider in a package of grapes. The story sparked an interesting debate on the first-page of the comments section of the fish wrapper (also known as the newspaper, for readers not familiar with Milwaukee PD vernacular).

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/milwaukee-aldi-stores-yank-grapes-after-black-widow-spider-discovered-b99138407z1-231285071.html?page=1#!page=1&pageSize=10&sort=newestfirst

One reader suggested that the woman’s story didn’t pass his “BS detector.”  He was immediately challenged by another commentator and Karen Herzog, of the newspaper’s staff. Suggesting that something might not be reality until more follow-up is conducted is, in this instance, prudent.  However, simply assuming that information is factual is naive.

These comments made about the Black Widow spider, I think, speak to a much broader issue: a large segment of the American populace lacks critical thinking skills.  They would rather be willing dupes, especially if the disinformation conforms to their world view, than dig below the surface and expose unpleasant realities.

Former Judge Andrew Napolitano frequently points out that it is a crime for a citizen to lie to a government agent but perfectly lawful for a government agent to lie to a citizen.  This is the ultimate ‘do as I say, not as I do’ hypocrisy.  Yet when the President of the United States lies to the American people, as long as he is lying in the name of their political philosophy, supporters try to explain away the deceptions.

President George H.W. Bush told us to read his lips and promised he would not offer new taxes, even though he later jacked them up.

President Clinton said, “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”  DNA on a blue dress proved him a liar.

President George W. Bush said the United State did not torture, even though water boarding, which he authorized, is torture.

President Obama lied to Jay Leno by denying that the United States does not have a surveillance program that targets its citizens.  His lies about health care are off the charts.

Quite frankly, the reason politicians and others speak mistruths is that they are fully aware that a large percentage of the population is willing to tolerate them, even if the lies are self evident. Other Americans are so simple minded that they would prefer to believe that everything the government says must be true.

Why the police chief, the President, or a judge would never lie, right?

Wrong.

God gave human beings a brain for a reason.  Before taking a statement at face value it is important to verify whether what was said is true. This is the primarily difference between a reporter and a detective.

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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


Spingola Files’ Shout Outs

Sometimes, there are people who—for whatever reason—just get it right. They’ve either found a way to communicate a message that clicks with the American public’s 24-hour news cycle attention span or have gone the extra mile to assist those no longer with a voice. To acknowledge their achievements, a new feature—SF Shout Outs—debuts today; whereby, the crew at Spingola Files’ HQ administers a pat on the back to those who’ve managed to see the forest through the trees.

Coming in at #1, WISN and WIBA radio talk-show host Vicki McKenna.

After the Boston bombings, the mainstream media cluttered the airwaves with excuses and over analysis. For years, others in the media have regurgitated the nanny-state, Michael Bloomberg line that, as a nation, Americans needed to let go of  their reasonable expectations of privacy in the name of security. The failure of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification biometric facial recognition software—part of a $1.2 billion initiative—to locate the bombers, both of whom where in the system’s database, as well as the federal government’s inability to link information about one of the bombers provided by Russian and Saudi authorities, is proof that the federal government bureaucracy is broken.

In the days after the blast, Vicki McKenna made the case that high-tech initiatives failed to protect Boston, while noting that our nation has spent $500 billion creating a surveillance state that monitors Americans, 99.999 percent of whom will never commit an act of terror, while ignoring the obvious: radical Islamic Jihadists.

Climbing the charts at #2, Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Rarely, in the course of our nation’s history, has a first-term senator impacted the overall psyche of the U.S. Senate in the manner Cruz has.  During a committee hearing, the freshman senator called out and make a fool of Sen. Diane Feinstein, who, absent a coherent reply, did what those without the law or the facts on their side do—she personally attacked her opponent.

This week, Cruz challenged Vice President Joe Biden to an hour long debate on crime control.  “If Vice President Biden really believes that the facts are on his side … then I would think he would welcome the opportunity to talk about the sources, the causes of violent crime, who is carrying it out, and how we can do everything humanly possible to stop it.”  Cruz correctly noted that one of Biden’s ideas on self-defense, discharging a shotgun into the air, “is very useful, if it so happens that you’re being attacked by a flock of geese.”

While advocating a senate filibuster on gun control, Cruz claimed some senior GOP senators communicated their disapproval by shouting at him.  Unfazed, the Texas senator referred to these been-drinking-the-beltway Kool-Aid-too- long politicos as “squishes.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/04/29/ted-cruz-mocks-squishes-in-republican-party/?tid=pm_politics_pop

UPDATE: “I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I’ve seen in the last 30 years,” Democrat Party strategist James Carville, appearing on ABC’s This Week, said about Sen. Ted Cruz.  “Well, there’s one thing this guy is not – he ain’t squishy, not in the least.”

At #3, former South Milwaukee native Kyle Olson.

Working behind the scenes in southern California’s entertainment industry—institutions dominated by celebrities that carry water for high-profile political causes—Kyle Olson is using his talents and abilities to speak for a person no longer with a voice—Milwaukee homicide victim Ashleigh Love, a 19-year-old woman gunned down inside her northwest side home in 2009. Olson has gotten together with the Love family to create “Letters to Ashleigh,” a documentary he hopes will foster a dialog about senseless acts of violence.

http://www.milwaukeemag.com/article/522013-ForYourConsiderationLetterstoAshleigh

Kyle Olson’s efforts are very important, as raising the profile of a criminal investigation can jog the memories of witnesses or, as one’s station in life changes, cause someone with additional details to come forward. Like any other venture, however, the making of this documentary requires financial capital.

In the past, I’ve communicated with the Love family. They are caring parents in search of justice and in need of the inner peace that comes with closure. If you find it in your heart, take that jar full of change to the bank and then make a contribution to this worthy cause by visiting the below link.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/letters-to-ashleigh

Moreover, in an effort to assist this worthwhile cause, I will donate my portion of the proceeds from any sales of Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, purchased from the link below, to Ashleigh’s documentary.

https://www.createspace.com/4189215

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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


“Dark Minds” and Gun Control

Tonight, at 9 PM (Central Time), I will make an appearance on the Investigation Discovery network’s television series Dark Minds.

Crime author M. William Phelps, criminal profiler John Kelly, and I, revisit the Colonial Parkway murders. Occurring near historic Williamsburg, Virginia, from 1986 – 1989, three couples were found murdered and another couple disappeared on or near the Colonial Parkway.

In 2010, at the request of the victims’ families, the Spingola Files visited Yorktown to profile these complex and troubling cold case homicides. The Colonial Parkway murders are also the subject of a chapter in my recently released book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, currently available at Amazon.com.

Police Officers and the Gun Control Debate

Courtesy of Steve Prestegard, SF was sent this link from policeone.com detailing the results of an extensive survey of 15,000 police officers’ beliefs on gun control matters.

http://www.policeone.com/Gun-Legislation-Law-Enforcement/articles/6183787-PoliceOnes-Gun-Control-Survey-11-key-findings-on-officers-thoughts/re

Yesterday, I was contacted by a student writer about the coming gun control debate in the U.S. Senate. The writer asked if any of the proposed changes might have prevented the Newtown tragedy.  Here’s my response:

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In the Newtown shooting, none of the gun control measures being proposed would have likely prevented the shooting. First, the rifle was not lawfully purchased by the shooter. He took it, by force, from his mother. As such, a background check, even an expanded background check for private sales or for mental health, would not have prevented the perpetrator from obtaining the firearm.

Moreover, the term “assault weapon,” as defined in law enforcement circles, is a fully automatic rifle (i.e. those that dispatch more than one round with each pull of the trigger). In most states and under federal law, only a handful of people can possess such weapons. The “assault weapons” politicians and some police chiefs seek to ban are semi-automatic rifles, which fire one round for every pull of the trigger. Most hunting rifles and many shotguns used for hunting are semi-automatic. The “assault weapons ban” applies to some semi-automatic rifles but not others. My guess is that some senators [those supporting gun control measures] seek to ban some guns because the look dastardly, but, in reality, they are no more dangerous than 30-06 or .308 hunting rifles. The AR-15 is simply a .22 long (a .223). It is popular because it has very little recoil. The AR-15′s operation is no different than a standard hunting rifle, with one exception: it looks mean. If looks could kill, well, then the AR-15 would merit banning and not a .308, which is a much deadlier round (used by many police snipers).

The magazine capacity matter is probably a moot issue, too. If the government limits a magazine to seven rounds, what would prevent a shooter from bringing 10 magazines? Moreover, since an active shooter is intent on killing many people and then taking his own life, why wouldn’t this type of individual choose to violate the law and procure and use magazines that are unlawful to possess?

The only way any of these gun laws have even a minute chance of working is outright confiscation. That being said the country has ten times as many firearms as it does undocumented immigrants. The same politicians who advocate gun confiscation (Gov. Cuomo in New York, for example) are the same pols who claim it is impossible to confiscate and deport undocumented immigrants. Guns, of course, are much easier to conceal than immigrants, especially since firearms do not work, rent housing, or attend school.  Under outright confiscation, it would take 50 years before many of the guns would disappear. Like the do-gooder intentions of prohibition, an outright ban would cause the price of firearms to increase to the point where gun runners would traffic them into the country in the same manner illegal drugs—which are banned—are now brought in.

Personally, I would like to see more done in the area of mental health. It’s tricky, though, because good people could argue about the criteria used for the background check.  For example, should the government ban any person who takes Zoloft from possessing firearms? Is so, about five to ten percent of police officers would probably be unable to carry. Even if a consensus could be reached on the criteria, what about a person’s medical privacy? Would people in need of mental health services seek assistance if they knew that their names would end-up in a government database? Each solution tends to create another problem, which is why I believe this area deserves more research before solutions are proposed by grandstanding politicians.

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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


DWD Strikes Again; an FBI Official’s Parchment Shredder; the Police and the Paranormal

Sadly and yet predictably, the body of 24-year-old Nick Wilcox—a Milwaukee resident last seen alive celebrating New Year’s at a pub on Old World Third Street—came to the surface of the Milwaukee River on Thursday.  Two Milwaukee police officers observed the young man’s body floating in the river adjacent to Pierre Marquette Park.

In my new book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, I spent a chapter, entitled “Leaving for College? Take Some Common Sense Along, too,” discussing the risks involved with binge drinking from the standpoint of personal protection. I understand that the last people a teenager or someone in their early 20s wants to listen to is their parents. As such, encourage your child to take the advice of a former homicide detective—one who has scraped human remains off of sidewalks and tavern floors.

In Oshkosh, La Crosse, and Milwaukee, highly intoxicated men, for whatever reason, are drawn to bodies of water like aluminum to magnets.  There are three easy steps young people can take to make sure that, after a rough night on the town, they wake-up in a safe environment.

Although DWD (drowning while drunk) tends of be a male phenomenon, women, if over served, sometimes become sexual victims.  Having had candid conversations with a handful of coppers who routinely patrol Milwaukee’s Water Street, sober men—too cheap to pay a cover or buy a drink—often stand outside nightclubs at bar time waiting to take advantage of the alcohol-fueled inhibitions of inebriated women.

When planning a night out, it is important to come-up with a plan to ensure the safety of those you care about. This is serious business, so take my advice, and read the tips I provide in Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & 2, available now at Amazon.com.

Is the FBI Being Wronged by the Bill of Rights?

In a free society, judicial oversight ensures that government agents have a legitimate basis to believe criminal activity is occurring before seizing personal papers, eavesdropping on private communications, or intruding in private domiciles. Probable cause—the quantum of evidence that would lead a reasonable peace officer to believe that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or might be committed—is a relatively low burden to meet.

This burden of proof, however, is apparently not low enough for the FBI.  At an American Bar Association luncheon, the FBI’s general counsel, Andrew Weissman, told those in attendance that the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) limits agents’ abilities to conduct surveillance of some Web-based communications, such as Google’s g-mail.

“We’re making the ability to intercept communications with a court order increasingly obsolete,” Weissman said, while lamenting that “criminals” make use of some Internet applications to communicate. He noted that a “top priority this year” for the FBI is congressional approval or an executive action that permits federal law enforcement to conduct surveillance of World-Wide Web password accessible accounts without a court order.

No doubt, Constitutional protections sometimes make gathering evidence more difficult, which is precisely why the founding father’s ratified the Fourth Amendment. If the FBI believes that the activities of those involved in criminal activity merit a significant threat to public safety, then its agents should conduct the necessary due diligence and seek judicial orders.

In 2008, congress approved several amendments to the 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“Specifically, the new legislation dramatically expands the government’s ability to wiretap without meaningful judicial oversight, by redefining “oversight” so that the feds can drag their feet on getting authorization almost indefinitely,” noted ARS Technica reporter Timothy Lee. “It also gives the feds unprecedented new latitude in selecting eavesdropping targets, latitude that could be used to collect information on non-terrorist-related activities like P2P copyright infringement and online gambling. In short, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 opens up loopholes so large that the feds could drive a truck loaded down with purloined civil liberties through it.”

And what would discourage federal law enforcement from continually asking congress and/or the President to incrementally chip away at the privacy protections of Americans, since lawmakers have winked-and-nodded at virtually every request to marginalize the Fourth Amendment since 2001?

‘Gimme, gimme, gimme,’ continues to be the mantra of law enforcement officials as they seek to curtail the civil liberties of Americans in the name of public safety.  It is time for an adult in the room to stand-up, draw a line in the sand, and tell these officials that, if they can’t get the job done the way others have managed to do so since 1791 (the year the Bill of Rights were ratified), then it is time to step aside.

Soon-to-be Released Novel Focuses on the Paranormal and the Police

Recently, I was asked to review a substantial portion of the manuscript for Mitchell Nevin’s soon-to-be released novel, which explores the intersection where law enforcement and the paranormal meet.  Most detectives are extremely skeptical of psychics, although a handful insist that those with ‘special abilities’ have proved helpful. Nevin’s new novel is based primarily in Milwaukee, Chicago, Eau Claire and the Twin Cities, although several other towns gain mention. The plot is concise, free-flowing, and well researched.

According to my publisher, the new novel is still a work in progress.  If readers have had any experiences with psychics—good, bad or indifferent—please visit www.mitchellnevin.com and feel free to comment, as the author is still interested in gathering input.

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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


Wisc. State Representative: No Need to Address Drones Right Now

Late last week, SF encouraged its readers to contact their state representatives in an effort to regulate the use of drones in Wisconsin.

One such reader recently received a reply from state Rep. Chris Kapenga, an assemblyman from the 99th District in Waukesha County’s lake country area, concerning drone deployment.

“I will continue to monitor this situation at a state level,” Kapenga replied, “but do not currently feel the need to address this issue in Wisconsin,” even though the reader forwarded this video of ARGIS—a new camera that provides totalitarian surviellance over a 15-mile radius—to Rep. Kapenga.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QGxNyaXfJsA

This is the kind of technology the KGB and the East German Stasi could only dream of.  Unfortunately, unless our state and federal lawmakers have the willingness to stand-up and say ‘No’ to the drone lobby’s special interest donations and/or to the overzealous, big brother-wing of law enforcement,  our freedoms, as we know them now, will soon vanish.

Please feel free to forward any correspondence received from elected officials concerning Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAVs, a.k.a. drones) to me.  SF will note the responses herein and maintain a tally sheet to determine which politicians support freedom or a Soviet-style surveillance state.

The Dorner Deal

Yesterday, I appeared on Today’s TMJ4 news to discuss the demise of Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer gone rogue.  To watch the video, please visit:

http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/191143631.html

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Just Say ‘No’ to High-Tech Drone Surveillance

This comes to us courtesy of a friend of SF, liberty activist Kaye Beach. Please take a few minutes to watch his video about ARGIS—a drone surveillance system that enables 24/7 surveillance of 15 square miles of any city with the data retained and stored for up to 10 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QGxNyaXfJsA

This technology is scary. If our state legislatures do not get onboard and prohibit drone surveillance absent a court order, freedom, as we know it in America, will die on the vine.

When speaking about the intrusive nature of high-technology, I have noticed that some of those present seem to shrug their heads as if to say, ‘It is here and there is nothing we can do about it.’

Americans should never concede their liberties to the world depicted in Orwell’s novel 1984.

In Olmsted et al vs. the United States (1928), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that wiretapping, absent a court order, was perfectly legal. Why? Because the court determined that telephone companies actually owned the lines, which meant that the renters of the lines—those who used the telephone—did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=5577544660194763070&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

Since conversations of a very personal nature occur over telephone lines, Americans demanded that Congress act to protect their privacy from unwarranted government intrusion. In response, the Communications Act of 1934—landmark legislation that prohibited wiretapping of any kind absent a court order—became the law of the land.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Act_of_1934

Now is the time to get on the horn and call your state and federal representatives to demand that legislation restricting the use of drones be propose and passed.

So far, only one American city, Charlottesville, Virginia, has prohibited the use of Unmanned Ariel Aircraft absent a court order or exigent circumstances.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/on_the_front_lines/relying_on_rutherford_institute_model_resolution_charlottesville_becomes_fi

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


The Military Draft, Big Brother, and Government Abuse

At a time when the U.S. is, according to President Obama, “winding down two wars,” why did Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suddenly feel the need to clear the way for women to serve in combat?

Reports suggest the change might open as many as 230,000 combat billets to women.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/women-in-combat_n_2535954.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D260883

Is the DOD’s move another step in the direction of gender equality or should a skeptical public read between the lines on the lookout for a hidden agenda?

Although Secretary Panetta’s move will undoubtedly be applauded by groups championing the rights of women, legal experts predict that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment will likely require women, when attaining the age of 18, to register for the selective service (that’s the military draft for those too young to recall such a thing).

Federal law currently requires all American male citizens to register for the selective service at age 18, even if they have prior military experience. If they fail to do so, they are ineligible for a host of benefits, including guaranteed student loans.

But, why now—at a time when American military contingents in Iraq and Afghanistan are noticeably shrinking—would the DOD feel the need to expand the ranks of those eligible for combat readiness?

In November 2012, the Jerusalem Post published a report premised on a scenario created by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) simulating the geopolitical response to a unilateral Israeli military strike against Iran.

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=290357

Many military analysts believe that an Israeli attack to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities would likely have a six day window before the allies of Islamic republic—primarily Russia and China—would threaten to send in forces and expand the conflict.  While the United States would use it’s military and diplomatic resources to defend Israel, if the conflict is not contained, it might engulf the entire Middle East and ignite another world war.

Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed American military reserve units to the brink of burnout, the U.S. military would likely need at least 500,000 bodies to fill-in its ranks during a protracted military conflict involving another world power.

Many of these military combat billets, such as those aboard naval ships and others in the Air Force, could quickly and easily be filled by women, freeing-up males for infantry duty in the Army and Marine Corps.

No matter what the political class claims in public, an war in the Middle East would likely trigger the implementation of the selective service draft for both men and women, which is probably why the Pentagon is lifting its ban on the role of women in combat. The pool of potential combat enlistees, as well as those now eligible for the draft, just instantly doubled.

More on the Big Brother Technological Front

Earlier this month, SF chastised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for their support of Orwellian policies that have slowly turned the Empire State and the Big Apple into a virtual electronic iron curtain.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2013/01/12/the-sorry-state-of-new-yorks-nannies/

Now the NYPD is testing a new device that allows its officers to detect concealed weapons on a person simply walking down the street. This instrument tests for “terahertz radiation,” which translates into heat being measured from the body. A reduction in the level of body heat when blocked by an item, such as a concealed handgun, will result in the object being outlined on the instrument’s monitor.

Having chided the NYPD in an earlier post for its random stop-and-frisk policy—one that a federal judge recently ruled violates the Fourth Amendment—this new device will likely prevent otherwise innocent parties—at least those suspected of carrying weapons—from being stopped and searched.  Yet the question remains: is it a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches when a government agent—absent a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing—randomly points an object in one’s direction in order to see through their clothing?

Why Trusting the Government to Protect Your Privacy is Bad Policy

In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are on a crusade to expand the use of DNA collection.  Wisconsin law currently permits law enforcement to collect DNA samples from those convicted of felonies. The governor and the attorney general now want the legislature to approve a measure that would require those arrested for a felony or convicted of any misdemeanor, no matter how minor, to submit a DNA sample.

“As attorney general, I am committed to protecting the privacy of offenders’ genetic information,” Van Hollen wrote in an Op-Ed published in various state newspapers. “My proposal does not change any restrictions that limit the release or use of the collected specimens or DNA profiles for any purpose other than legitimate criminal justice purposes. Further, this proposal also contains provisions that require the CLB to destroy DNA specimens and purge the related profile in the DNA data bank of those offenders whose DNA has been collected at arrest and who were not charged with the crime, or, if charged, were not convicted of a crime.”

In reality, however, the attorney general is being a little disingenuous, as his proposal, if enacted by the legislature, would immediately dispatch collected DNA samples to CODIS—the federal government’s national DNA databank. While the state may purge a particular profile from its DNA database, it will take an act of congress to purge the same DNA sample from CODIS.

Moreover, a recent report from Florida paints a troubling picture of abuse that the government promised it would prohibit. A report from the Orlando Sentinel spotlights the unlawful access of information obtained from the State of Florida’s Driving and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) by law enforcement officers.

One police officer in Florida unlawfully used DAVID to check on the information of a bank teller he had flirted with by conducting a search of her first name, place of employment, and race (the DAVID system is apparently very expansive). In another instance, over 20 searches for information pertaining to Casey Anthony occurred unrelated to a sanctioned investigation.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-law-enforcement-access-databases-20130119,0,7247843.story?page=2

In today’s politically charged environment, one can only imagine how government agents—those with tentacles to either political party—might misuse information contained in a DNA profile to blackball a citizen who dares challenge a member of the political class.

Such was the case with Joe the Plumber, who simply asked a question of candidate Obama during a 2008 campaign stop in Ohio.  Within hours, a Democrat Party hack, who was also the director of a governmental agency, accessed a State of Ohio database, unlawfully obtained Joe’s personal information, and leaked the details.

But instead of firing the operative who unlawfully violated Joe the Plumber’s privacy, Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gave the perpetrator, Helen Jones-Kelley, the Ohio Director of the Department of Job and Family Services, a slap-on-the-wrist suspension.

http://www.toledonewsnow.com/story/9406901/editorial-fire-her-for-leaking-joe-the-plumbers-records

Personal information in the hands of the government is only a few key strokes away from the eyes of the nearest political operative, which is why putting one’s faith in a politician’s promise to protect personal privacy is akin to trusting a thief with a credit card—the difference being that the thief might actually get prosecuted.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Would ‘Drone Control’ Prevent More Innocent Deaths than an American Rifle Ban?

Drone Deaths

 Young children allegedly killed in a U.S. drone attack

 

The day after President Obama held a press conference to announce 23 new executive orders pertaining to gun violence, some statistics reveal that ‘drone control’ might result in more innocent lives being saved than a U.S. ban on high-powered rifles of all types.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, a total of 358 Americans were killed by rifles in 2010.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls

In the same year, it is estimated, on the high end, that 1,028 individuals were killed by U.S. drone attacks. While U.S. government data on the use of both foreign and domestically deployed drones remains classified, the New American Foundation estimates that 61 of those killed were civilians or “unknowns,” while 960 of the deceased were “militants.” Other sources claim that the Obama administration classifies “militants” as any adult male eligible for military service and/or any non-government representative in possession of a firearm.

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones

Other organizations, such as The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, claim the Obama administration has used drone strikes to target those attending funerals and rescuers seeking to assist those injured in drone attacks.

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistan-include-targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/

A report from the left-wing magazine Mother Jones—typically an advocate for Obama administration policies—claims that only two percent of those targeted in drone attacks were hardened terrorists, which means, if just half of those who died in drone attacks in 2010 were soft targets or collateral deaths, then more civilians died as a result of U.S. drone attacks than were killed by rifles in the United States.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/01/military-drone-afghan-success-rate-uav

A hunch says Rachel Maddow will conveniently ignore these statistics when discussing the tragic deaths of young children.

SPEAKING OF DRONES…

Oklahoma is attempting to make the state a ‘drone free enterprise zone.’ A friend of SF, liberty activist Kaye Beach, appears in this television segment and makes a great point: before deploying drones domestically–equipped with infrared cameras than can see inside our homes–state legislatures should pass laws that criminalize the misuse of drones when used to violate our privacy absent exigent circumstances or a court order.

http://www.okcfox.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/kokh_vid_9235.shtml

The Rutherford Institute produced this video highlighting the threat non-regulated drones pose to individual liberty and personal privacy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KNlHLKCJB0

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


The Sorry State of New York’s Nannies

Since the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School, certain politicians, police chiefs, and talking heads have, like chameleons after an election, began to show their true colors on where they stand on the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

The debate over self-defense, government tyranny, and individual liberty, has spotlighted two of New York’s prominent big government, nanny-state politicians, namely Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, whose administration has transformed the Big Apple into a virtual police state, is clamoring for gun control (really gun confiscation), soda rationing, and, believe it or not, restrictions on pain medications for patients in “the city hospitals we control.”

A wealthy blowhard with armed security, Bloomberg obviously believes that the government—as opposed to those of us who get up every morning, go to work, pay our bills, and live our lives the way we sit fit—knows best.   

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that that Bloomberg’s police department’s policy of simply stopping and frisking minorities outside of private residential buildings was unconstitutional.

“While it may be difficult to say where, precisely, to draw the line between constitutional and unconstitutional police encounters, such a line exists,” wrote federal judge Shira A. Scheindlin, “and the N.Y.P.D. has systematically crossed it when making trespass stops outside TAP buildings in the Bronx.”

Ask any instructor of criminal law: the legal standard to conduct a stop-and-frisk is a reasonable and articulable suspicion that a person is armed. The last time I checked, New York City had not succeeded from the union, which means the Fourth Amendment is still applicable in Bloomberg’s fiefdom.

Bloomberg has also worked in partnership with the private sector to create a surveillance state that makes the dreadful tale of Orwell’s 1984 pale in comparison. In August, the mayor announced that the NYPD and Microsoft had partnered to create the “Domain Awareness System”—a network that will fuse data from facial recognition software, public and private surveillance cameras, automated license plate readers, radiation detectors, and chemical sensors, to create stored dossiers on individuals absent a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing.

“If a person has had radiation treatment for cancer and walks by a stationary censor or a copper with a detector,” one person in the know recently told me, “the NYPD will poke its nose into that person’s private life and their name will end up a database”—HIPAA be damned.

Not to be out done on the crackdown on individual liberty is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I don’t think a legitimate huntsman is going to say I need an assault weapon to go hunting,” Cuomo told Fred Dicker of radio 1300 AM in Albany.

And, if the governor were to aptly apply the actual definition of an “assault weapon,” he would be correct, as an “assault rifle” is one that fires more than one round with a single pull of the trigger—currently a felony under federal law unless the person in possession of such a weapon is licensed, a certified law enforcement officer, or engaged in authorized military exercises.

Moreover, Gov. Cuomo, who fancies himself as a 2016 contender for president, is advocating the seizure of firearms from law-abiding citizens.

“Confiscation could be an option,” Cuomo told Albany radio station WGDJ. “Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun, but permit it.”

In the America that is New York State, individuals will apparently soon need a permit to exercise their Constituional rights–a sad state of affairs in a state that is slowly morphing into an Orwellian abyss. 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I fear the possibility of a tyranny rising in the country in the next 50 to 100 years. Let me tell you something, Piers. The fact that my grandparents and great-grandparents in Europe didn’t fear that is why they’re now ashes in Europe. This kind of leftist revisionist history where there’s no fear of democracy going userpatious or tyrannical, is just that. It’s fictitious.”

BEN SHAPIRO—during a heated exchange with CNN’s Piers Morgan that the Second Amendment is a check on government tyranny.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


2013 and 1984–Liberty at a Crossroads

Strom Shirt

On his first day in office, President Barak Obama promised to “usher in a new era of open government.” Many advocates of federal government transparency, however, believe the Obama administration has went further than his predecessor, George W. Bush, to seal the doors of the federal bureaucracy from public scrutiny.

In 2008, candidate Obama promised to close Gitmo—the U.S. terrorist detention center in Cuba, and claimed, that if elected, his administration would give terrorist suspects trials in civilian courts. The Obama campaign further promised to “revisit” the USA Patriot Act “to ensure that there is real and robust oversight of tools like National Security Letters, sneak-and-peek searches, and the use of the material witness provision.”

As 2012 comes to a close, nearly three months after President Obama was reelected, his administration has not only failed fulfill any of the aforementioned 2008 campaign promises, it has, instead, responded like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on steroids.

In 2007, liberal newspaper columnists ripped the Bush administration for water boarding—a technique that simulates the drowning of a person under interrogation—by rightfully claiming this tactic violated the protocols of the Geneva Convention. The vast majority of these same columnists have since remained silent as the Obama administration has chosen to simply assassinate terror suspects, including American citizens, absent due process, as if assassination is somehow morally superior to so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’

A post by liberal blogger Taylor Tyler, entitled “A Liberal Argument Against Barak Obama,” spotlights the 180 degree reality of Obama’s campaign rhetoric and his policies.

“While Bush favored the capture and indefinite detention of suspects,” Tyler notes, “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (otherwise known as drones) are Obama’s go to weapon in the War on Terror. Drone use began under Bush and greatly increased under Obama, with drone related deaths sharply rising. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that since 2004, drone deaths in Pakistan total between 2,583 and 3,378, including between 475 and 885 civilian and 176 children. Since 2002, deaths in Yemen are reported to be between 365 and 1,055, with between 60 and 163 civilian deaths. Deaths in Somalia, since 2007, have been reported to be between 58 and 170, with between 11 and 57 civilians killed. Drone death numbers may vary because, as the New York Times reports, the Obama Administration has continued the Bush Administration’s policy of redefining civilians.”

And yesterday, President Obama, who took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, continued to trample on the document by signing an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The only thing “foreign” about this act is its willingness to ignore hundreds of years of judicial and legislative precedents concerning the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions of unreasonable searches. By extending FISA to 2017, the Orwellian National Security Agency (NSA) will now have access to over 1.7 billion daily text messages, emails, and telephone calls that take place on American soil.

Even left-wing producer Oliver Stone has joined the ‘whatever happened to the Bill of Rights’ chorus—a mix of Democrat Party civilian libertarians (Oregon Senator Ron Wyden) and Republican libertarians (Kentucky Senator Rand Paul).

“He [President Obama] has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them,” Stone told Russian Television, claiming that the U.S. is now an “Orwellian” surveillance state.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2012/12/29/Oliver-Stone-to-Russian-TV-US-has-become-an-Orwellian-State

And, to a certain extent, Stone is right. Since 9/11, the NSA has secretly recorded more than 20 trillion telephone calls. Under FISA, recording these calls is no longer considered eavesdropping unless an NSA operative chooses to listen to the actual conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVv-SqByboc

Meanwhile, most Americans, as long as they have access to their electronic gadgets, seem ambivalent that every Web page they visit, every purchase that they make online or with a credit or debit card, and many of their telephone conversations—if they say one of hundreds of key words—are being secretly recorded and stored in an NSA database.

“If you want a picture of the future,” George Orwell wrote in his book, “1984,” imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

Unfortunately, the American future is now the present. Whether it is biometric ID (Real ID for those of you in the mainstream media), Iris scans, surveillance cameras throughout the interstate and on light poles and busy intersections, Big Brother is watching, chronicling and storing what you say, where you travel, what you purchase and what you advocate.

And for those believing in the Starbuck’s mantra of “come together” bipartisanship, about the only thing the majority of Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama,  and even the judiciary seem to agree on nowadays, is that the society depicted in Orwell’s “1984” wasn’t so bad after all.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

 

 


Jingle–In the Form of Handcuffs Clasping–Needed All the Way In Milwaukee, Madison

BestofSF

Back in the late 1990s, when Arthur Jones was Milwaukee’s chief-of-police, he introduced his version of William Bratton’s broken windows theory of policing. Jones sought to address relatively minor issues, which broken windows theorists believe prevent more serious crimes from occurring. Jones’ experiment had mixed results, primarily because he abandoned the department’s prior strategy of aggressively targeting street gangs.

A recent incident caught on video on Milwaukee’s Upper East Side spotlights the MPD’s apparent 180 degree philosophical shift pertaining to crime and disorder.  WTMJ-TV’s Charles Benson reports that a fight between two women on N. Farwell Ave. escalated as a vehicle was driven onto the sidewalk in an apparent attempt to strike pedestrians. According to news accounts, police were called but no arrests were made.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/184639221.html

In August 2011, in a post entitled “Kabuki Policing,” SF joined the chorus of community concern over police response times.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2011/08/14/kabuki-policing/

Let us hope that the MPD addresses the hooliganism that occurred on N. Farwell Ave.  Over a decade-and-half ago, Milwaukee police investigated a similar incident that occurred outside a pool hall on 27th and Wisconsin. At least one person was killed and several others injured by a party who decided to escalate a fight by running over people on the sidewalk.

Madison Columnist Continues Gun Control Rant while Ignoring Unsolved Murders

In a prior post, I called out Wisconsin State Journal columnist Chris Rickert as one of those willing to use the murders of 26 people in Newtown, CT to support the Democrat Party’s not-so-longer hidden agenda of gun control and/or gun confiscation—the latter of which is now being advocated by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/guns/new-york-governor-andrew-cuomo-says-gun-confiscation-could-be-option

In a December 23 Madison.com blog post, Rickert, who initially chided the silence of Wisconsin “Republicans” on the Newtown shootings, is now critical of Gov. Walker’s proposal of GPS monitoring for those under the auspices of a domestic abuse restraining orders, as well as the governor’s idea of seeking mental health providers’ inputs on identifying potentially dangerous individuals.

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/chris_rickert/chris-rickert-scott-walker-s-response-to-shootings-off-target/article_c20fd2a2-4c74-11e2-a179-001a4bcf887a.html

The staff at SF has reviewed the governor’s ideas. Granted, while careful thought must be given to the criteria used to deem a person mentally unstable, Walker’s initial proposal seems thoughtful and reasonable.

In the interim, while Mr. Rickert champions gun control, the murders of several people in Madison, including the high-profile cases of Kelly Nolan and UW-Madison co-ed Brittany Zimmermann remain unsolved. This means, of course, that two murderers are likely roaming the streets of Madison or some other community ticking like a time bomb until they kill again.

While Mr. Rickert et al blabber about Gov. Walker’s response to a shooting in another state, these same columnists refuse to bring virtually any pressure to bear on the powers-that-be at the Madison Police Department over the unsolved murders of young woman and several others in their own city.

“Wink, wink,” a retired Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) homicide detective wrote in an e-mail this week, “liberal journalists providing cover for their city’s holistically liberal police chief.”

Retired MPD Captain Glenn Frankovis, a contributor to the conservative Badger Blogger (BB), was kind enough to provide several links to prior BB posts, which Mr. Rickert and his fellow Madison journalists might use to channel their energies locally and focus like a laser beam on the unsolved murders of these young women:

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=7088

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=7007

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6984

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6971

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6961

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6959

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6958

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6956

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6888

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6847

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6833

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6823

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=6802

Crime Book Feedback Always Appreciated

Recently, I received a note from an MPD detective who is in the process or reading Dave Kane’s book MPD Blue, Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based crime novel The Cozen Protocol, and Best of the Spingola Files Volumes I and II.  For better or worse, I really do enjoy getting feedback from those who take the time to read my stuff.

Yesterday, The Cozen Protocol and Best of the Spingola Files Volumes I and II surged into the top 20 on Amazon.com’s list of criminal procedure books. For those of you who have spent their precious resources—both time and money—on these books, as well as  the readers of this blog, have a Merry Christmas and/or a Happy Hanukah.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


SF’s Top 10 Television Crime Episodes of All-Time

Christmas and Hanukah are quickly approaching.  Like beauty, good gifts are in the eye of the beholder.  One of the best ways to throw a seasonal adjustment disorder a curve is watching a classic crime drama on a new flat screen.

For readers in their mid-twenties, episodes of television police dramas abound that put NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Law and Order to shame. 

In an effort to break through the winter doldrums—for red-blooded American man the down-time between the Super Bowl and college basketball’s March madness—the Spingola Files (SF) has put together a list of television’s top ten crime drama episodes.

So break out those Amazon.com gifts cards, fire-up Hulu, or sign-up for Netflix to view an episode on this not-so-exclusive list.

SF’s Top Ten Television Crime Drama Episodes

1.       Homicide: Life on the Street (Season Six: Finnegan’s Wake): An old-school homicide detective, Tommy Finnegan, returns to assist his contemporary counter parts clear the 1932 murder of 11-year-old Clara Slone.  While the attitudes of society and law enforcement have changed dramatically, this episode illustrates that the mind-set of big-city homicide detectives remain relatively constant.  Great dialog, which, unlike many of today’s television dramas, accurately portrays police work. 

2.       Barney Miller (Season Five: The Harris Incident):  In 1978, years before the mainstream media’s examination of racial profiling or DWB, this cutting-edge episode brought issues of race and justice to the forefront.  A well-dressed detective, Harris, who is African-American, is shot by a white officer while attempting to apprehend a white suspect.  Harris is irate that the white officer believed that Harris—because of his skin color—was the suspect.  

3.       Hill Street Blues (Season Four: Grace Under Pressure):  Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, whose line, ”Just remember, let’s be careful out there,” punctuated the start of each episode, goes out like a man;  Officer Lucy Bates gets a promotion to sergeant (remember, this was the early 1980s);  Captain Frillo’s ex-wife, Fay, gets arrested for prostitution.  More drama here than an entire year at the old District Five. 

4.       Homicide: Life on the Street (Season One: Night of the Dead Living): This episode takes place entirely in the homicide “squad room” on a summer evening in Baltimore where, amazingly, no one is actually murdered.  To many none law enforcement-types, the dialog amongst the show’ peers might seem too slow; however, as a former homicide detective, I see this as one of the best written crime (less) drama episodes ever produced.  

5.       NYPD Blue (Season One: Emission Accomplished): Detective Kelly tries to prevent a younger colleague from making the mistake of becoming an Internal Affairs pariah, while Martinez investigates an over-the-hill officer for an unsolved murder. The episode concludes with an IAD outcast playing the bagpipes in a cemetery at dusk.  Well written and well directed.  

6.       The Chicago Code: (Season One: O’Leary’s Cow):  This drama was cancelled by Fox after a year and, quite frankly, the detectives’ access to the police superintendent defied the chain-of-command. This particular episode, however, did highlight the minefield that is police undercover work.  One of the detectives manages to infiltrate the Irish mob.  In a UC capacity, he is party to the crime of arson. Later, investigators learn that a person was killed in the fire. Watch the politics on display.

7.        Barney Miller (Season Three: The Werewolf):  A man taken into custody during a full moon believes he is a werewolf and begins acting the part. Here the dialog between Captain Miller, Detectives Harris, Wojciehowicz, and Detective Sergeant Nick Yemana are hilarious. The following link provides a brief glimpse of the episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMYWRWWpd-A 

8.        Dragnet (Season One: The Big L.S.D.): Okay, it was 1967, but this show highlighted the emerging mind-altering drug that was scaring parents of America’s aspiring counterculture.  Kind of corny by today’s standards yet still poignant , as the death of Art Linkletter’s daughter, Diane, would prove just two years later (see the following link): http://www.snopes.com/horrors/drugs/linkletter.asp 

9.           Hill Street Blues: (Season Four: The Long Arm of the Law): IAD investigators, concerned about the upcoming mayoral election, begin scrutinizing the officers and detectives of the Hill Street precinct. A classic scene occurs inside the office of Capt. Frank Frillo, who, in a round-about-way, tells-off an IAD commander: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No0H2TpuGT4 

10.          X-Files (Season Three: Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose): A man who can see the various ways people die helps Mulder and Scully locate a killer that is targeting psychics.  Very well written and directed. Like the majority of the series, full of suspense.

Since SF’s picks are obviously generational and jaundiced, feel free to chime-in and give our readers your take on the best television crime drama episodes.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Privacy Advocate: Surveillance Initiatives a Response to Coming Debt Crisis

This week, the Spingola Files (SF) had an opportunity to interview privacy advocate Miles Kinard, whose e-magazine exposé, American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying, shines a light on many of the technologies federal, state and local law enforcement use to monitor and track the movements of Americans.  

http://www.amazon.com/American-Stasi-Centers-Domesitc-ebook/dp/B006YZQFL8/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354972345&sr=1-1&keywords=american+stasi

Polls in recent weeks have given President Obama his highest approval ratings in three years. Kinard, however, believes the government is in a rush to construct an Orwellian surveillance infrastructure prior to the coming U.S. sovereign debt crisis.

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SF: Now that the election is over, do you see cutbacks in the federal budget affecting the enormous federal grant outlays given to state and local law enforcement for the continued expansion of surveillance?  

MK: I don’t see the Obama administration cutting back on funds for government surveillance. I actually believe these grants will increase.  Do the math. If interest rates climb to eight percent, which they will when once investors realize the risk in U.S. Treasuries, and the national debt hits $20 trillion, the debt service—tax dollars used to pay the interest on the total owed—will consume 75 percent of all tax dollars collected by the federal government. The Obama administration will address the problem by asking the Federal Reserve to print more money—a QE4 or QE5 scenario.  Hyper-inflation will ensue, wiping-out the savings of elderly Americans.  The cost of simple commodities, like as food, will shoot-up 50 to 100 percent in a relatively short period of time.  This will cause government instability and large scale civil disturbances.

SF: What types of policies do you see being put in place in regards to surveillance to monitor and control the population?

MK: Drive down your local inter-state highway and look at what is mounted on those poles on the side of the road, on bridges, or on the roofs of squad cars. Those little white boxes, those are cameras operated, at least in Wisconsin, by the Department of Justice/State Patrol.  Some can be easily retro fitted for RFID readers, which can ascertain the VIN from a passing vehicle from a chip implanted in new tires (See the below link, inserted by SF).

http://www.rfid-ready.com/201202153398/goodyear-integrates-rfid-tags-in-truck-tires.html

Coupled with Automated License Plate Reader technology—generally cameras mounted on squad cars, although some are permanently placed at strategic locations—that capture, time stamp, and geo-tag the location of passing vehicles, and government agents will soon be able to place a license plate into a data base and easily determine the whereabouts of a vehicle.

So you see where this is going. Total surveillance, where everyone is a suspect and their individual data is stored, in some instances, up to ten years on government servers, for retrieval whenever they become a target for whatever reason—criminal or political.

SF: So you believe these enhanced technologies might be used to control constitutionally protected speech and assembly?

MK:  It is not difficult to imagine. Remember Joe the Plumber? He was the man who dared ask candidate Obama a question during the 2008 campaign in Ohio, where Obama admitted that his goal was wealth redistribution.  Within hours a Democratic Party operative in the Ohio state government unlawfully accessed a government data base in an effort to locate dirt on this man.  There they found Joe the Plumber had some type of relatively minor tax lien. This info was then leaked to other Democratic operatives and then the media in an effort to discredit a citizen who did little more than ask a simple question of a candidate for public office.

Now, let’s say a particular individual chooses to take to the streets in order to lawfully assemble, maybe to protest against the sovereign debt crisis or out-of-control government spending, i.e. the Tea Party.  No doubt this person’s image will be captured on some type of surveillance camera. These cameras might be private or public, but the 74 intelligence fusion centers throughout the country, including the two in Wisconsin, have access to the surveillance cameras of their ‘private sector partners,’ or they might be captured by drones. Real ID laws now require individuals in Wisconsin to submit to biometric photographing at the DOT.  Biometrics is a mathematical equation that is given to a facial or bodily image. A computer can then identify this image, using facial recognition software.  

Within minutes, a government agent can determine the protesting party’s identity.  

Then, an NCIC and DOT record check is run.  This will determine if the person is wanted, the status of their driver’s license and the contents of their criminal record.  Now a government an agent can do a work-up with Choice Point, a private company that collects data on all adult Americans and sells this information to the others, including the government.  Next, the agent can conduct an ‘Alpha check’ with the State Patrol do determine what vehicles the individual owns.  With the license plates in hand, data bases are then accessed to determine the travel of the vehicle’s owner.  With data procured from smart phones and computers, agents can determine what Web sites one has visited, what type of purchases were made with credit cards, financial transactions, as well as the particular movies and books a person enjoys.  The next stop is Facebook and Twitter where most Americans—like sheep being led to the slaughter—give their private information, political beliefs, and other details about them away for free. 

Hence, the government—one desperately seeking to quell discontent—can develop a dossier to smear virtually anyone who dares question the President or any other representative of the government.

SF: Why is the mainstream media turning a blind-eye to the creation of the surveillance state?

MK:  Well, let me preference the following comments by saying I am a Libertarian.  I did not support either of the big government candidates—Romney or Obama.  This is no longer just a ‘surveillance state.’  We are on the fast track to a police state.  Our judiciary is a joke. Most judges, so-called liberals or conservatives, are simply politicians more concerned about getting reelected to the bench and/or supporting their political party through their decisions than the intent of the Constitution.

Then there is the media, 90 percent of whom voted for Obama.  Never in my lifetime have I witnessed the mainstream press literally cover for a political candidate like they did Obama.  When Ronald Reagan was President, the press went crazy when the budget deficit hit $100 billion.  The press has never seriously questioned Obama on these huge annual deficits. Think about it, when Obama leaves office the national debt will likely be $20 trillion. That means Obama—the 44th U.S. President—will have racked-up more debt in eight years than all 43 prior presidents did in 232 years.

Yet even with all this debt and proof that a turn-key police state is being quickly constructed, the mainstream media simply refuses to ask Obama or any representatives of his administration any tough questions.  After all, Obama ran as the constitutional law professor who valued civil liberties.  Instead, Gitmo is still open, he has given the order to kill at least one American citizen absent due process, and has used drones in Pakistan—a sovereign nation we are not at war with—to kill terrorists and thousands of other civilians who just happened to be around the terrorists when they were killed. Remember the press grilling the Bush administration about water boarding terrorists?  Yet when the Obama administration simply kills them and the other civilians considered ‘collateral damage,’ well, there apparently is nothing for the mainstream press to skeptically see.

SF: What can Americans who value free enterprise, hard work, the true meaning of the Constitution, and limited government do to preserve the rights and freedoms of the republic?

MK: Cut federal, state, and local spending to the minimum needed to provide simple core services. A government willing to print money and borrow money at a record pace to buy votes and create an apparatus to spy on its own people is not a government that can be trusted. Whatever happened to the concept of ‘We the People’?  Support groups like EPIC (www.epic.org), the Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), and listen to straight-talkers like Peter Schiff (www.schiffradio.com).  And, of course, let me make a plug here, purchase American Stasi: Fusion Centers and Domestic Spying.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His lastest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

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

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Drones, Investments, and the Fiscal Cliff

With the re-election of President Obama and Republicans picking-up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, one thing is certain: the federal government will continue barrowing money at record levels to underwrite the ever growing American surveillance state.

Some sources claim the Obama administration spent nearly $80 billion in the last fiscal year building and maintaining a domestic spy apparatus.

One of most significant threats to privacy are nano-drones—small, insect like robots that can fly into homes, take DNA samples, and, with the use of small cameras, peer into the windows of dwellings.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-future-of-micro-drones-is-getting-pretty-scary-according-to-alan-lovejoy-2012-6

One would think that his type of surveillance should be illegal, but is it?

Our nation’s highest courts have consistently ruled that privacy as it relates to a homeowner’s curtilage is not applicable from the air.  In other words, since drones have the ability to fly above a property line, advocates believe the surveillance they conduct—no matter how intrusive—would be lawful absent a court order.

On the Economic Front

With the election over and the accomplice media satisfied with the result, pundits and reporters are now, finally, deciding to focus on America’s looming debt crisis.

As things currently stand, the country is quickly approaching the so-called “fiscal cliff”—a term referring to deep cuts in military spending and staggering tax increases.

Some argue that it is better to go off the cliff now than kick-the-can down the road further, forcing our children to deal with trillions of dollars more in new Obama debt.

One such person is libertarian investor Peter Schiff, who addresses some of the challenges facing the country and individual investors in this Schiff Report video blog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLXPmi6W9bc

A few years prior to the meltdown of housing prices, Schiff accurately predicted the bubble’s burst. Several economists, at the time, called his prediction ‘crazy.’

In this video, Schiff predicts that a severe economic crash is coming to American financial markets thanks to the big government, anti-free market economic policies emanating from Washington.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is 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, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Missing Persons Cases Show Need to Minimize Risky Behaviors

When a missing person investigation hits the news, it seems that the subliminal message is to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. 

When the missing person is a woman, the fear factor looms even larger.

The cases of women, who have disappeared, however, often end with a bizarre tale of risky behavior.

Consider the conduct of Heather M. Boyd, 28, a “dancer” at Cheater’s Adult Night Club in Coco Beach, Florida.  On August 28, Boyd did not return home—where she lives with her mother—after her shift at the club. Three weeks later, after her story appeared in the media, the dancer returned home, claiming that she had spent over 21 days with a “friend” in Vero Beach, but never bothered to telephone her mother to explain her absence.

Another missing person case that garnered national attention occurred in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  On September 13, a 59-year-old woman seemingly vanished from her apartment. After obtaining a key from the apartment manager, the woman’s family members searched the woman’s abode, even calling out her name, but she was nowhere to be found.

The day after the initial search, nearly five days since the woman’s initial disappearance, her son reentered the apartment and heard a voice calling, “Help me. Help me.”  The missing woman was then discovered inside of a freezer stored in the apartment closet.

“It [the freezer] was plugged in and functioning,” Tulsa police Cpl. Daisy Vallely told CBS News.  ”We’re not sure why she couldn’t get out. There was evidence she was trying. There’s evidence of that, but we don’t know how she got in there or anything else.”

Other news, although still peculiar, is not always as good.

On September 7, New York State Police confirmed that the headless torso of a woman found floating near the falls by an operator of a tourist boat was that of 30-year-old Loretta Gates. She was last seen alive on August 25 after telling her mother, whom she lived with, that she was going across the street to purchase a pack of cigarettes from a convenience store. Gates’ head and one severed hand were later discovered by a couple near a hiking path on Duck Island in Hype Park. Police appear to suspect that Gates might have left her mother’s home to meet someone that she probably knew.

The commonality with many of these missing persons reports are women secreting rendezvousing with another, which makes their cases much more difficult to investigate.

In the Gates homicide, for example, you can bet police are carefully combing through her computer and telephone records in search of those she might have contacted.  Since a forensic pathologist suggested that Gates might have been alive for up to a day since her initial disappearance, she likely spent time at a location familiar to her killer, who then used tools to dismember her body.  The sloppy method of disposal suggests that the perpetrator was in a relative hurry and somewhat disorganized.

Regardless of the circumstances, these missing persons cases each concluded differently, which is why it is important for investigators to keep an open mind. Moreover, it is imperative to minimize risk to avoid becoming a victim.  This can be done by alerting a third party to one’s particular whereabouts and providing a name of whom they will be seeing.

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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

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


Coming Soon: An Identification System that Would Make George Orwell Blush

When completed in 2014, the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) will be the world’s most advanced personal identification computer network—so vast that its capabilities will make the concepts depicted in George Orwell’s novel 1984 seem like the good old days.

Developed by defense contractor Lockheed Martin at a cost exceeding $1 billion, the system includes iris scan identifiers, biometric facial recognition software, voice recognition, palm print scans, fingerprints, keyboard stroke identifiers, and DNA analysis.

Sources say the FBI already has 13 million photographs on file to scan for biometric facial recognition. Most of these images are booking photos, although driver’s license images from states in compliance with the new Real ID law are also subject to facial recognition searches. 

Images in the public domain—those on Google, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few—might also be extracted for storage and analysis for NGI.

The Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead documents the intrusive nature of NGI in a commentary entitled, Smile, the Government is Watching: Next Generation Identification

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/smile_the_government_is_watching_next_generation_identification

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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

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner Supports Landmark Privacy Bill

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


Police Chief’s Association Lobbies Against Anti-Big Brother Legislation

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, 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

 


NYC’s Mayor and the Big Apple Police State

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, 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


Demands for Cell Phone Records Show Big Brother is Watching

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, 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


‘Flash Mob’ Offenders and Kid Gloves

Even a massive police presence was not enough to stop a group—estimated at over 100—from disrupting an otherwise peaceful event in Veterans Park on July 3. 

Some of those present in the park, just prior to the start of the city’s traditional fireworks display, claim a “flash mob,” consisting of scores of young people, entered Veterans Park and began vandalizing everything in their paths.

“There were so many of them,” one source said, “the police were helpless.” 

The park was full of families, many of them with young children, when the large-scale disturbance erupted.  

What’s more troubling is the mob seemed undeterred by a noticeable police presence. 

“There was literally a cop on every corner from North  Avenue all the way down to Summerfest,” reports another person.  “But even this didn’t stop the flash mob.”

A July 4, 2012, report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that two people were arrested for fighting at the lakefront and there was at least one report of “a crowd of possibly 100 youth screaming and running in the area.”

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/youths-arrested-cited-after-fights-at-lakefront-fireworks-lb611sc-161374865.html

The flash mob in Veterans Park is eerily reminiscent of prior disturbances during Juneteenth Day, outside State Fair, and along N. Water Street on St. Patrick’s Day.  

The thousands of dollars spent on security for these events might be worth it if city officials and representatives from the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office promised to hold every individual involved in such disturbances fully accountable. 

The lenient message sent by officials from the Milwaukee Police Department after the melee outside the Riverwest fireworks and raid on a nearby BP gas station a few years ago is that there are few if any consequences for anti-social behavior at pubic events. In the aftermath of the brazen BP gas station robbery–because that is what actually occurred–offenders were given ordiance violation citations.

During the “flash mob” incident at Veterans Park, the newspaper claims a police helicopter conducted surveillance of the crowd.  These hover craft are equipped with high-resolution video cameras. If the images of “flash mob” offenders were indeed captured by police, then Chief Flynn and his investigators need to spare no resources to identify and arrest those responsible.

Books for Summer Reading

With Summerfest 2012 soon-to-be an historical footnote, some of you might be on the lookout for a good book to read while traveling or spending some leisurely time at the beach.

If so, please checkout my new e-book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, available exclusively at Amazon.com, where I explore several cold case homicides, a handful of organized crimes figures, and an take a look at an ongoing war involving outlaw motorcycle gangs.

For readers with limited time, checkout The Cozen Protocol: a Shortcut Guide for Readers.  This 50-page book is akin to a Cliff Notes version of Mitchell Nevin’s classic crime novel that uses Milwaukee and its police department as its backdrop.

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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