Posts tagged “Glenn Frankovis

Answers for the JS Editorial Board on Gun Violence

After the Memorial Day violence carries over into to the summer months, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board, as well as the newspaper’s usual suspects, typically pontificates about gun violence while offering few, if any, solutions to the problem.

Yesterday, the newspaper, again, gave its opinion, but offered only questions not solutions. Since the newspaper does not have a clue, I will answer their questions for them.

What will it take to get the message through to some that guns aren’t the way to solve disputes?

Long, long prison terms, including jail time — not probation — for every weapons offense. The newspaper does a disservice to the community by talking out of both sides of its mouth.  On one hand, they ask the aforementioned question; then, on the other, the newspaper puts forth James Causey and Eugene Kane to whine about black incarceration rates.  Causey went so far as to question the lengthy prison terms given to two men involved in the shooting of a Milwaukee police officer.

Why are some so eager to reach for their guns?

Because some people are simply thugs, think like thugs, and their anti-social behavior trumps the quality-of-life of the others in their neighborhoods.  Milwaukee does not need gun control; Milwaukee does need THUG control.  There are thousands of guns within five-square miles of where I live, but, in the past five years, no one has been shot.  If someone in my neighborhood flashed a gun, the local police would be flooded with 911 calls.  Calling the police and cooperating with investigators equates to putting up a “Thug Free Zone” sign.  If the criminal element is aware that they cannot intimate the populous and get away with crimes, they will move to another area where individuals are willing to turn a blind-eye to anti-social conduct.

Looking to explain gun violence, Mr. Causey and Mr. Kane often note that poverty is the root cause of gun violence.  I disagree.  There are many poor areas in rural Wisconsin where a plethora of guns and drugs —methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana — are present.  In these areas, however, there is very little gun violence.

Gun violence is unique to some areas of Milwaukee because of the city’s vibrant, open-air drug trade.  Operating a drug racket in a high area of prostitution is akin to having a license to print money.  After prostitutes turn a trick, they scamper to the local drug house to get their next fix.  Prostitutes also attract plenty of customers who also willing to buy drugs anonymously in these open-air markets.  Whatever criminal organization controls the turf containing these drug markets stands to make thousands of dollars of profit each and every day.  The competition for this turf is intense. Some of these criminal organizations actually refer to themselves as “nations,” and, like sovereign countries, use weapons to defend their territory or to conquer rivals.

To understand the thug culture one must also understand basic economics, typically a tough subject for liberals, who tend to think emotionally instead of rationally.  If city leaders want to reduce gun violence, they have three choices:

First, increase the opportunity costs for criminal drug gangs. This means draconian prison sentences — fifteen-year minimums for any type of drug trafficking offense and 25-year minimums for any type of crime involving a firearm.  I doubt the JS Editorial Board has the stomach for this approach, even though it would make a substantial difference.

Second, Wisconsin lawmakers could reduce and/or element the need for customers to patronize the turf controlled by criminal drug gangs.  This would require drug legalization of some sort and would result in other societal costs.  This type of legalization would likely result in more persons experimenting with hard drugs once the social stigma is removed.

As things stand politically, I do not see the JS Editorial Board, Mr. Causey, and liberals supporting the first option. Moreover, I doubt that the state legislature will support the latter approach.

There is, however, a viable third option, although it would require community buy-in, a chief-of-police willing to advocate for more boots on the ground and less Big Brother surveillance, and a mayor interested in doing more than conducting photo ops with the police chief.  This avenue calls for a well-run, decentralized area saturation patrol strategy (ASP), coupled with a strong, well-funded detective bureau.  Retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis has written an easy to read book about this topic.  With shipping, the cost is about $15.

http://www.amazon.com/Area-Saturation-Patrol-Policing-Strategy/dp/1495316130/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406549961&sr=8-1&keywords=glenn+frankovis

Frankovis’ book should be mandatory reading for the JS Editorial Board and for Mr. Causey.  The brilliance of the ASP strategy is its laser-like approach based on intelligence gathered from the community.  ASP is also cost effective.  At Districts Five and Three, Captain Frankovis implemented this strategy absent the usual bureaucratic complaints of inadequate staffing.

Why is it so easy for the wrong people to end up with guns in their hands?

We live in a free society and, unless substantial penalties for transferring firearms to prohibited persons actually occur, guns will fall into the hands of bad people.  After all, drugs are illegal, and yet controlled substances manage to find their way to Milwaukee after being harvested, manufactured, and packaged in South America and parts of Asia.

Personally, I would pass and then strictly enforce statutes in Wisconsin that mimic federal laws on firearms.  This means a 15-year minimum for a second firearms offense and a 25-year to life minimum for a third firearms related offense.  Without this type of tough sentencing, the JS Editorial Board’s discussion of the matter amounts to little more than bloviating.  These types of sentences will significantly impact the black community, which will cause the usual suspects — those who complain about gun violence, but, in reality, besides midnight basketball, offer no solutions — carping about prison sentences handed out to the thug element.

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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

 


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


Has a Soon-to-be Released Milwaukee Crime Book Struck a Nerve at the MPD?

Granted, I will admit, I am reading between the lines and do not possess any inside information on what is bouncing around inside the mind of Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn; however, his remarks at a recent luncheon held by the Milwaukee Rotary Club and Milwaukee Press Club lead me to believe that he is taking a backhanded slap at retired Milwaukee PD Captain Glenn Frankovis.

Before the Christmas book buying rush, Frankovis is determined to release a book he has authored about urban crime fighting strategies.  When it comes to rolling-up one’s sleeves and getting the job done on the crime front, the former police captain—for all practical purposes forced out by Milwaukee’s former police chief—pulls no punches and minces few words.

Initially a supporter of Chief Flynn, Frankovis has taken issue with some of the police chief’s politically correct approaches, such as Flynn’s advocacy for gun control, the police chief’s de facto gutting of the MPD’s detective bureau, and Flynn’s so-called data-driven policing operation.   During the course of the past three years, several current and former MPD personnel believe Flynn—for whatever reason—has evolved into a mouthpiece for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

In his address to the Milwaukee Rotary Club, Chief Flynn, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Ashley Luthern, said “(broken windows policing) never meant arrest everybody for every little thing you see them do. The departments that do that generate huge amounts of arrests, and their payoff is community resentment because you’re locking up folks for little stuff.”

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/police-chief-flynn-favors-discretion-over-zero-tolerance-crime-policy-b9995305z1-223200701.html

If Chief Flynn, indeed, was taking a poke at Frankovis’ soon-to-be released book, the chief misrepresented the retired captain’s strategy.

Having spent nearly 30-years with the Milwaukee PD, I have, of course, spoken with a number of officers who have worked directly for Glenn Frankovis, especially members of his Area Specific Policing (ASP) teams at Districts Three and Five.  These were savvy coppers who didn’t write tickets to or arrest grandma Emma for violating city ordinances, and who didn’t need three day-old data to let them know where the bad guys had set-up shop.  Frankovis’s ASP officers focused their efforts on the narco-gang element and surgically disrupted these—for a lack of a better term—urban terrorist organizations.

The Spingola Files spotlighted some of Frankovis’ successes in an August 2013 post:

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2013/08/12/milwaukees-current-crime-fighting-strategy-is-a-part-of-the-problem/

Violence in Milwaukee this summer had caused the city’s per capita homicide rate to surpass Chicago’s, which might mean that SF’s post regarding the retired captain’s forthcoming book might have touched a nerve on the 7th Floor of Milwaukee’s Police Administration Building.

Personally, I say let the battle of ideas begin.  With bodies pilling-up in the county morgue, Milwaukee, at a minimum, needs a steady diet of crime fighting discourse.

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

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

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

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

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


Spingola Files Print Edition Only Book Now Available

THUMBNAIL_IMAGE

In the past, I have fielded emails from a number of people who prefer traditional books to Kindle or Nook e-readers. Many have asked when the “Best of the Spingola Files” book series would be made available in paper.

I now have an answer.

Yesterday, my Wisconsin-based publisher, Badger Wordsmith, released Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II—a combined, print edition only book—currently for sale at Create Space and, within a week, at Amazon.com.

https://www.createspace.com/4189215

“Rick Sandoval, a highly regarded, second generation Milwaukee police officer, penned the book’s Forward,” an excerpt from a news release at CBS News reports. “Retired Milwaukee PD captains Mike Massa and Glenn Frankovis, attorney Kelly McAndrews, and nationally known liberty activist Kaye Beach, provided endorsements of “Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & 2…”

On the pages of this book I discuss about 40 matters of criminal justice import, including:

· The strangulation slayings of several women on Milwaukee’s north side

· The suspicious deaths of almost a dozen men in the hard-drinking college town of Lacrosse

· A recent uptick in violent offenses in the city of Eau Claire

· A brief history of La Costra Nostra operatives in Milwaukee and Madison

· A critique of the police investigation into the murder of UW-Madison co-ed Brittany Zimmermann

· The intrusive technologies of America’s post-9/11 surveillance state.

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

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


Are Gangs Once Again America’s #1 Crime Problem?

The last two weeks of newspaper headlines from around the country strongly suggest that gangs are once again America’s number one violent crime problem.

Just 100 miles southeast of Spingola Files HQ, Chicago is in the midst of a summer bloodbath, as street gangs on that city’s south and west sides battle over drug turf. Things are so bad that the mayor of Los Angeles, of all places, has called Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, to offer suggestions.

http://www.dailynews.com/ci_21133364/rick-orlovs-tipoff-chicago-turns-los-angeles-help?source=most_viewed

With Chicago on its way to becoming our nation’s murder capital, smaller cities are also being bit by the gang bug.  In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sean Larkin, a sergeant on the Tulsa PD gang task force, notes that a “no-snitch” culture makes it difficult for investigators to piece together enough evidence to obtain convictions in gang related shootings.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/specialprojects/news/crimewatch/article.aspx?subjectid=450&articleid=20120722_11_A1_CUTLIN342214

When speaking to suburbanites about the lack of cooperation police receive in troubled neighborhoods, those in attendance often look perplexed.  How is it, they ask, that a witness might refuse to offer the police their assistance to rid their neighborhood gang violence? The answer, of course, is that many people lack the resources needed to relocate when those they are set to testify against threaten and intimidate them. To survive in their own neighborhoods, they do not want anyone identifying them as police informants—akin to a death wish in some parts of Milwaukee.

For much of the past decade, Milwaukee County did not have a witness protection program, which meant that potential citizen testifiers in gang infested neighborhoods, more-or-less, were left to fend for themselves.

Moreover, many of those living in high crime areas believe the police unfairly target young, African-American males suspected of participating in the drug trade.  In a certain sense, these individuals see the police as overzealous regulators of the  urban marketplace—similar to the way many legitmate businesses view the DNR or the Environmental Protection Agency.

For those interested in learning more about gang subcultures, pick-up a copy of  The Cozen Protocol—Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based novel that shows what occurs when gang violence and police corruption meet.  Many former officers believe this book, although a supposed work of fictional, depicts a series of actual crimes that paint an outstanding portrait of how and why street gangs flourish.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cozen-Protocol-First-ebook/dp/B002NGO456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343070633&sr=8-1&keywords=cozen+protocol

Most investigators agree that each gang war is unique and that the thug subculture is often times complex. Still, a comprehensive strategy to reduce gang violence through tough enforcement has proved successful in the past.

In Milwaukee, retired Captain Glenn Frankovis used officers deployed as part of directed patrol missions to curtail gang activity in districts Two, Five and Three.  My advice to the Godfather—the moniker for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel—is to disregard the touchy-feely approach used in Los Angeles and, instead, give Frankovis a call. Getting tough on gangs is not rocket science, but it does require that those participating check their politically correct opinions at the door.

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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


Cities Looking to Milwaukee for Answers Need to Check the Right Places

As far as criminology is concerned, we live in interesting times.  While cities like New York and Milwaukee are experiencing significant decreases in crime, political leaders in Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans are searching for answers.

In Chicago, the 2011 homicide clearance rate was just 30 percent.[1] In some police districts on the Windy City’s south and west sides, the crime rate has skyrocketed to the point where Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked for and is receiving assistance from federal law enforcement agencies.[2]

While the population of New Orleans is about half that of Milwaukee’s its homicide rate is more than double that of the brew city’s.[3] Yet New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu—a member of a family long associated with the Louisiana’s Democrat Party machine—is making a mistake by looking to Milwaukee’s Homicide Review Commission for answers. In about an hour, a solid Milwaukee street cop could reach the same conclusions as this commission and save taxpayers $500,000. Instead, Mayor Landrieu should take an in-depth look at the Milwaukee Police Department’s—past and present—policing strategies.

Historically, many of Milwaukee’s policing strategies are very similar to those of New York City’s, where both crime and incarceration rates have declined—the ultimate win-win for victims and taxpayers. In his book, The City that Became Safe, Franklin Zimring notes, “The 20-year adventure in New York City, was, to be sure, a demonstration project of effective policing, but it was much more than that. It was a demonstration that individual and aggregate crime rates can change substantially over time without removing or incarcerating a larger number of active offenders.”[4]

So what is driving crime rates down in New York City while incarceration rates are also decreasing? Zimring believes it is the NYPD’s aggressive stop and frisk policing model.

Regardless of what Milwaukee Magazine claims[5], the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) has had a long history of proactive policing programs.  In the early 1990s, District Two initiated a highly successful Directed Patrol Mission (DPM) to suppress gang activity. In the late 1990s, District Five used its neighborhood patrol staff to target drug and gang activity. In 1996, the old Gang Crimes Unit, which comprised just 3.3 percent of the MPD’s complement of sworn personnel, took over 3,100 guns off the street, while the Vice Control Division targeted drug dealers citywide. Around the turn of the century, District Three’s special units dramatically reduced violent crime in the Metcalfe Park area.

Retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis had an active hand in many of these district initiatives, long before university professors deemed aggressive proactive policing strategies hip-and-trendy.  Police can disrupt violent crime through policing strategies that hobble criminal organizations with a thousand cuts. Like any legitimate business, if key personnel of a criminal gang are unavailable an organization’s effectiveness decreases.

Yet long-term incarceration rates do have an overall affect on the violent crime rate. This is where criminologists, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officials need to have a serious discussion about what type of individuals occupy prison beds.  While the U.S. accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, America incarcerates 25 percent of the entire world’s inmates.[6] With the federal government running trillion dollar annual deficits and many state budgets in tatters, public safety officials need to ensure that prison beds be reserved for violent offenders, which should include those who traffic hard drugs.

A 1994 study of the prison population notes that “over half the offenders” sent to Wisconsin prisons each year committed property offenses.[7] Many of these offenders receive prison sentences for crimes committed in low-crime jurisdictions, which means other, more violent offenders get released to half-way houses or other non-traditional prison settings to make room for property offenders.

While officials in Detroit, Chicago, and New Orleans continue to scratch their heads, all Wisconsin needs is a little tweaking.

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

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


[1] “Only 30 Percent of Last Year’s Murders have been Solved.” CBSChicago.com, January 25, 2012. 10             Feb. 2012. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/25/only-30-percent-of-last-years-murders-have- been-solved/

[2] “Federal Agents to Assist Police in Fighting Crime on South, West Side.” CBSChicago.com, February 10,    2012. 10 Feb. 2012.  http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/02/10/federal-agents-to-assist-police-in- fighting-crime-on-south-west-side/

[3] “Mayor Landrieu Unveils Plan to Reduce Murder Rate.” wwltv.com. November 22, 2011. 10 Feb. 2012. http://www.wwltv.com/news/crime/Mayor-Landrieu-Unveils-Plan-to-Reduce-Murder-Rate-134362043.html

[4] Zimring, Franklin E. The City that Became Safe, New York, NY. Oxford Press, 2012.

[5] Bamberger, Tom.  “Street Smarts.” InsideMilwaukee.com. January 23, 2012.  10 Feb. 2012.                 http://www.insidemilwaukee.com/Article/1232012-StreetSmarts

[6] Talvi, Silja J.A. (2007). Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S Prison System. Los    Angles. California: Seal Press. pp. xv.

[7] DiIjlio, John & Mitchell, George. “Who Really Goes to Prison in Wisconsin.” The Wisconsin Policy Institute Inc. Milwaukee, WI, April 1996.


Kabuki Policing

Earlier this month, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Ben Poston struck a nerve with city officials by highlighting a notable decrease in police response times.

“Compared with 2007 figures,” Poston notes, “police response lagged in 13 of 15 major call categories – only responses to shooting and theft from a vehicle were faster.”

www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/127077973.html

 The Journal Sentinel article further examines a June 16 traffic fatality of an 82-year-old man. The Milwaukee Fire Department arrived in five minutes; however, it took Milwaukee police two hours to respond.  Known, back in the day, as a 20-pointer, a fatal motor vehicle accident should, without question, prompt a timely response.

In another instance, 45 minuets lapsed before officers arrived at a fatal stabbing, where the suspect contacted 9-1-1 and all but confessed to the crime. 

While a tardy law enforcement response to crimes in progress might compromise an ensuing investigation, arriving at calls for service hours after the fact leaves the public with the impression that the police no longer care.

“….a Dispatch policy which discourages people from calling by providing a slow response or no response at all will ultimately discourage people from calling and to lose trust and confidence in the Police Department,” retired Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Captain Glenn Frankovis noted at the Badger Blogger. “Further, when people stop calling to report crimes, those crimes do not get reflected in crime stats. It’s like the old saying, ‘If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, did it make a noise?’ In this case, ‘If a crime occurs, but no one reports it, did it happen? Could that be why ‘Crime is down’?”

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=20367

Unfortunately, this dispatch policy exists due to a significant decrease in staffing levels. Depending on which police department insider one speaks with, the MPD is 200 to 400 sworn personnel below its authorized complement. According to one source, a staffing shortage on the day shift recently limited District Five to three, two officer squads, which means just six officers covered a gritty area of over 100,000 residents.  

These day shift staffing levels are woefully inadequate, as the public, as well as the criminal element, needs to know that the police will respond to serious incidents in a timely manner.

So why is it that the City of Milwaukee chooses to under staff its police department?

The consensus is that city leaders have other priorities.  Whether it is the outrageously expensive $76 million—seemingly never-ending—city hall renovation project, spending millions in operating costs to run an electric trolley 2.5 miles through downtown, or providing funding to community organizations, political leaders seem to believe that the MPD can succeed while cutting corners.  After all, crime stats are down. 

Of course, if it takes two or three hours to respond to calls for service, by the time the police arrive, victims might not stick around.  Hence, an officer need not generate a report and, at least on paper, no crime occurred.

Call it Kabuki policing, where the best kind of crime stat is the one that, predictably, never finds its way onto paper.

The good news is Journal Sentinel reporter Ben Poston highlighted the problem. Unless the public complains, however, city leaders will continue to divert resources and deplete police staffing levels. Think about it: the City of Milwaukee, without blinking an eye, is willing to layout $2.5 million in annual operating costs for a trolley very few will ever ride instead of hiring 25 police officers.

And on another note, whatever happened to reporters checking and verifying the clearance rates of various felonies? If suspects remain at large to reoffend, victims will find little solace hopping on the trolley.

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

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

 © Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


The Mitchell Nevin Enigma

To view this article, please checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, available now at Amazon.com

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Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your organization is in need of an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TF2kAvSSyU&feature=related

© Steve Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Rants of a Sane Man

Concealed Carry: Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee Makes the Right Call

The Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved recommendations to make Wisconsin the 49th state to approve the concealed carry of firearms.  The law would require those lawfully seeking to carry firearms concealed to receive training and to obtain permits.  Individuals over the age of 21—not prohibited from possessing firearms by either state or federal law—are eligible for permits. The law is a solid compromise.  Retired or long-serving law enforcement officers and those honorably discharged from the military may obtain waviers from the training portion of the bill.

State Senator Lena Taylor continues to demagogue the issue.  Taylor told Channel 4 News that persons who have domestic violence on their records would have access to permits.  Since she is an attorney, one has to assume that Senator Taylor knows the difference between a rap sheet and a record.  A rap sheet is list of arrests.  A record is a notation of criminal convictions.  An arrest, as far as the criminal justice system is concerned, means relatively little.  Annually, about 50 percent of those arrested in Wisconsin are not convicted of crimes.  There is a big difference between probable cause to affect an arrest and the proof beyond a reasonable doubt required to obtain a criminal conviction.  Moreover, persons convicted of acts of domestic violence are prohibited by the federal law from possessing firearms. As such, they are not eligible for concealed carry permits in Wisconsin. 

Shorewood Police Catch Undue Flack for Textbook High-Risk Traffic Stop

Tonight, Channel 4 News also featured a segment pertaining to the traffic stop of Shorewood High School track coach Dominic Newman.

Shorewood officers stopped Newman early Sunday morning after receiving a call of a possible stolen auto. As law enforcement training throughout the state dictates, the officers conducted a high-risk traffic stop. 

I viewed the dash cam video displayed on the newscast.  The Shorewood police officers did a textbook job of executing the stop. 

After Newman was placed in handcuffs and secured in the rear of a squad car, Shorewood officers investigated further and realized they had the wrong party.

“You have not my, but Shorewood Police Department’s sincerest apology,” said an officer on the dash cam’s video. “We don’t mean to embarrass you, but we have to check things out.”

The Shorewood police deserve a pat on the back, not flack from the media, for their display of true professionalism. 

After all, if the car had been stolen, did Mr. Newman actually expect the police to simply walk-up to the driver’s side window and ask for his license?

Watch Channel Four’s story regarding the stop of Mr. Newman by visiting:

http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/123584224.html

Could Weiner Get Whacked?  

Some residents of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s district believe lewd and crude online antics are a personal matter that should not preclude him from holding public office.  An alleged phone-sex conversation Weiner had with a woman, however, could result in his political demise.

After the alleged conversation ended, the woman called Weiner back at the number left on her caller ID.  The woman received a voice mail message indicating that the telephone number was for outgoing calls from members of the United States Congress. 

It is this alleged call, no doubt, that will cause congressional ethics committee members to look long-and-hard at Weiner’s use of government owned property for personal gratification.

Milwaukee-Based Crime Novel Surges at Amazon.com

Mitchell Nevin’s Milwaukee-based crime mystery, The Cozen Protocol, surged to #2 this week on Amazon.com’s list of criminal procedure books, reports a news release from the book’s publisher.

In mid-February, retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis posted his book review of The Cozen Protocol here at the Spingola Files (see the below link): 

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2011/02/09/retired-mpd-captain-reviews-milwaukee-based-crime-novel/

I have tipped-off more than a few media outlets about the this well researched novel.  With a few exceptions, it appears local news departments are content covering stories of dirty restaurants and bad, seasonable weather to explore a work some law enforcement veterans see as outstanding.  

Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide Ad Now Posted @ YouTube

Over the course of the past several months, I have traveled to various locales to present the Psychology of Homicide, a Spingola Files’ feature highlighting a few high profile investigations.

A new ad for this interesting event is now up-and-running at YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TF2kAvSSyU

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

If your organization is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files presentation The Psychology of Homicide.  For more information, visit http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Letter from State Police Union Executive Draws Fire

The consensus amongst several of SF’s readers is that James Palmer, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPA), is a man whose tactics have disgraced that organization’s rank-and-file members.

Palmer, and other so-called law enforcement professionals, drew the ire of some for sending a letter to Mr. Tom Ellis, the President of the Marshall and Ilsely (M&I) Corporation. 

 http://www.620wtmj.com/shows/charliesykes/117764004.html?blog=y&page=2

“As you also know,” Palmer writes in the letter to Ellis, “Scott Walker did not campaign on this issue [limiting collective bargaining for public employees] when he ran for office. If he had, we are confident that you would not be listed among his largest contributors.”

Then comes the quid pro quo shake down.

“The undersigned groups would like your company to publicly oppose Governor Walker’s efforts to virtually eliminate collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin.  While we appreciate that you may need some time to consider this request, we ask for your response by March 17. In the event that you do not respond to this request by that date, we will assume that you stand with Governor Walker and against the teachers, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, and other dedicated public employees who serve our communities.

“In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining, please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the goods and services provided by your company. However, if you join us, we will do everything in our power to publicly celebrate your partnership in the fight to preserve the right of public employees to be heard at the bargaining table.”

Palmer’s letter caused a collective gasp from many law enforcement veterans.

In fact, Glenn Frankovis, a retired Milwaukee Police Department captain, mentioned that several of his law enforcement contacts view Palmer’s threats as extortion. 

For the record, James Palmer is not and has never been a law enforcement officer.  Those familiar with the inner-workings of the WPPA describe Palmer as a dyed-in-the-wool Madison liberal and an ally of former Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

On February 5, 2009, Doyle appointed Palmer to the Higher Educational Aids Board.  Palmer also provided political cover by standing at Doyle’s side when the then governor announced an early release program for felons from Wisconsin prisons.   Since Milwaukee bore the brunt of the burden, Police Chief Ed Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett took issue with the state’s catch-and-release initiative.

http://www.beloitdailynews.com/articles/2010/05/05/news/wisconsin_news/wis503.txt

Now Palmer’s letter to the M&I executive has law enforcement veterans questioning his ethics and his regard for the WPPA’s overall membership.

One current officer provided this behind-the-scenes view.  During a February 19, 2011, rally in Madison, the WPPA established a reception area at the Concourse Hotel on Dayton Street so that officers on break from capitol security could stop-in for food and water.  While at the reception area, Palmer was beaming after meeting the Rev. Jesse Jackson.  “He [Palmer],” according to the officer, “was clearly star-struck.”  

Another law enforcement veteran took issue with the content of Palmer’s letter to Ellis.

“Palmer et al were untruthful in their letter to Mr. Ellis. Police officers and fire fighters received an exception in the budget repair bill [from Gov. Walker].  Palmer appears more intent on turning the dues collected from WPPA members into a funding mechanism for the Democrat Party than in doing what is in the best interest of his members.”

Others noted the tactics used by Palmer and his fellow co-signers.  

“State and local union leaders blew it,” wrote another. “E-mails released by Walker show that he was willing to remove the cap on wages to get the missing 14 Democrat state senators back to the capitol to vote. Increases in wages would have off-set some of the required contributions to pensions and health care — a win for those in the state pension system, since retirement benefits are determined by averaging the highest three years of earnings.  Over time, continued wage hikes might increase pension payments several thousand dollars a year.  Instead, Mr. Palmer and the 14 Democrat senators listened to their masters from Organizing America.  This ploy resulted in the union workers being used as pawns while walking away from the table empty handed.”

“Palmer and the leaders of the local firefighter and police union in Madison,” another notes, “belong to a group of ingrates more interested in hocking the wares of the Democrats than protecting their members.”

And two weeks ago, John Balcerzak, the former president of the Milwaukee Police Association—the collective bargaining unit representing rank-and-file Milwaukee police officers and detectives—e-mailed WTMJ radio to distance sworn law enforcement officers from the WPPA executive director.  “Jim Palmer is not a police officer,” Balcerzak noted.  “He is a lawyer.”

As SF noted in an earlier post, during heated political discourse, labor unrest, or civil strife, law enforcement officers become the uniformed arbitrators of fairness.

One section of The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics reads, “I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions,” which is why some law enforcement veterans find a Youtube video of one Madison officer’s rants particularly troubling. 

Police Sergeant Dave McClurg pays homage to the protestors by identifying himself as an officer with the Madison Police Department.  Most law enforcement agencies have rules prohibiting their members from using their position to advance causes and/or political positions.  But McClurg, who portrays himself as a former Republican, conveniently fails to mention that he is the Vice President of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association—a group that openly opposes Walker’s budget repair bill. 

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

Certainly, the political rift amongst law enforcement officers concerning the governor’s budget repair bill runs deep.  But politics aside, those who use questionable and unethical tactics should heed the words of our nation’s 16th president.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” 

WPPA Executive Director James Palmer and those who co-signed the letter to Tom Ellis have failed Honest Abe’s test miserably .

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Steve Spingola is an author and former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective

© Steve Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Retired MPD Captain Reviews Milwaukee-Based Crime Novel

As promised, the Spingola Files (SF) is proud to present retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis’ review of The Cozen Protocol, a 2010 Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award nominee.  

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THE COZEN PROTOCOL

Author:    Mitchell Nevin

Setting:    Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Genre:      Crime & Corruption

The Cozen Protocol is a fictional book that tells how corruption and poor leadership within a police organization touches the lives of a number of people who are, or have been, associated with that organization.  Mitchell Nevin uses the city of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department as his backdrop and blends elements of real incidents with fiction.  The characters range from the Department’s police chief to members of the police department’s Professional Performance Division (previously known as the Internal Affairs Division) to biker and Spanish gang members.  Each chapter is another piece of a very interesting puzzle that, when complete, will neatly tie up any loose ends for the reader.

 Without going into too much detail, the danger of undercover work (think Donnie Brasco, the movie about FBI Special Agent Joe Pistone as portrayed by Johnny Depp, who became “like them” to his wife and even to himself); the emphasis on getting guns off the street to reduce violent crime and the methods employed, which have officers walking a very fine line; and an overzealous attempt on the part of some members of the department to insure “integrity,” are brought to light in this book and the results are damaging to overall morale as one might expect.  This will all be familiar to those who lived through these experiences and, in some cases, had their careers altered permanently.  I’m talking about very good officers who were acting with the best of intentions in an almost “Mission Impossible” environment.    

 Those who were members of the Milwaukee Police Department over the past 25 to 35 years will especially enjoy the challenge of trying to link the traits of the characters in the book to people they encountered throughout their own careers and will also remember many of the real life incidents that are blended into the story.  Mitchell Nevin did an absolutely fantastic job of research in his preparation for writing this book, as he captures the frustrations of the rank-and-file members of the Department, who are working under internal conditions that not only present many obstacles but are dangerous to their professional and personal lives.

 Another part of the story line that the reader will find fascinating is the interaction between several of the law enforcement officer characters and a member of the media and defense attorney.  Some may find themselves saying that part of the book is definitely fiction, but others may have their own experiences, which affirm the validity of that part of the story.  Either way, it is one more piece of the puzzle that makes this book hard to put down.

The Cozen Protocol  also clearly identifies how inept leadership can influence the day-to-day environment of the working copper and detective; how important trust is in a law enforcement organization; and how difficult the job can be without trust.  Personal ambition and big egos are usually recipes for disaster, as Mitchell Nevin illustrates.

One main character stood out for me as I was reading the book.  Detective Gavin Fitzgerald was a street smart, steady, level headed investigator who had a combination of real street experience, wisdom and a dedication to duty.  He was well respected by his peers and his immediate supervisor and knew how to work around the obstacles presented by management.   Gavin Fitzgerald struck me as a law enforcement officer who wasn’t consumed with himself or where he could get on the job.  He also struck me as one who didn’t make excuses and who saw the job as a calling.  The last page of the last chapter of the book sealed that for me.

 There are lessons to be learned even from a fictional book such as this.  Police chiefs need to understand that quality of supervision matters.  Supervisors need to understand that with authority comes responsibility – and that includes making decisions.  Good coppers and detectives need to understand their obligations to take promotional exams with an eye toward becoming the kind of supervisors and leaders they themselves want to see in the organization.   Day-to-day operations need to be critiqued with an eye toward improvement.  For example, when a special unit is deployed to fight street gang activity it needs to work collectively as a team of uniformed and plainclothes officers – not individually – and the teams must be led by capable supervisors who have a demonstrated work history and who work with them.   The teams are best deployed on a district-by-district basis rather than from some central “downtown” location.  This allows for greater control; much better cooperation and intelligence from the good people of the neighborhoods, which builds “trust and confidence” and leads to a more surgical operation and less collateral damage; and better accountability and response to problems.  To be sure, a “central” intelligence gathering unit is necessary to coordinate certain investigations and link criminal operations that transcend district boundaries, however the street level operations are much more effective and efficient if performed by selected uniformed officers and detectives who work as a team and patrol as “a pack” out of the district stations.   

The wise officer/detective/supervisor and even a police chief will take something from this book and apply it to his/her operational/administrative style and hopefully make the work environment a little bit better for those people who are out there fighting crime.

 As for The Cozen Protocol, I highly recommend this book and am sure the reader will enjoy it as much as I did.  It wouldn’t surprise me if someone makes it into a television movie on the order of Joseph Wambaugh’s The Choir Boys or The New Centurions.

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Glenn D. Frankovis served with the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) from 1975 to 2004.  During his career, he served on the MPD’s Tactical Enforcement Unit and later commanded Districts Five and Three on Milwaukee’s north side.

Editor’s note: Since SF has received serveral inquries, The Cozen Protocol is an e-book available exclusively at Amazon.com.  Readers can download the novel to a PC, Kindle, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.  The software to download Kindle books to a PC is free.  To obtain the software, visit the “Free e-books to PC software” link on the right side of this Web page.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Retired Milwaukee PD Captain and Crime-Fighter Extraordinaire to Review Book Exclusively for SF

An Amazon.com 2010 Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award nominee, Mitchell Nevin’s book, The Cozen Protocol, is a story that features a fictional gang war and the Milwaukee Police Department’s response. 

Frequent SF readers are aware that I have touted the book.  The dialogue between characters is solid, which enables the public to walk-a-mile in the shoes of those wearing a badge. 

Today, I am pleased to announce that retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis has agreed to review The Cozen Protocol .  For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, Glenn was a no nonsense commander that minced few words when it came to fighting crime in Milwaukee.  His leadership resulted in significant declines in violent crime rates while leading Districts Five and Three.  He also possesses a unique understanding of the structure of the Milwaukee Police Department and that bureaucracy’s response to unfolding events. 

Glenn Frankovis’ leadership in the area of proactive policing is the uniform equivalent to author and retired Detective Lieutenant Dave Kane’s knowledge of the homicide unit—both men know what makes police officers and detectives tick.

My hope is to have Glenn’s review of The Cozen Protocol posted within the next week.  I am sure that his take on the novel will be worth the wait.

For more information, please visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

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Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.

If your organization is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files presentation The Psychology of Homicide.  For more information, visit http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html


Common Sense Policing and Newark

In many of our nation’s cities, homicides rates are falling.  Some attribute the decrease in the murder rate to policing strategies; others cite demographic changes and/or improved trauma care.

In an amazing turn of events, Newark, New Jersey, recently experienced a homicide free month — the city’s first since 1966.  For decades, Newark’s reputation as playground for the criminal element undermined any serious efforts at re-gentrification. 

Visitors to Newark note that hotels and other amenities are contained within the security of airport’s fence.  “For the most part,” one traveler recently explained, “people don’t leave the airport at Newark unless they visit the city [New York].”

But Newark isn’t alone.  In 2009, Washington, D.C., once known as the District of Death, saw a 25 percent decrease in homicides.  Milwaukee recorded 72 homicides in 2009, down over 57 percent from 1991. 

Glenn Frankovis is a retired Milwaukee Police Department captain with a history of implementing policing strategies that reduce violent crime rates.  At the end of 2002, his first full year as the commander at District Three, homicides decreased over 48 percent.  “Violent crime is committed primarily by thugs,” Frankovis notes. “You see, it’s kind of hard for thugs to do their dirty work if they are in jail.”

Frankovis notes that political leaders in Newark turned things around when they brought in Police Director Garry McCarthy, a “transplant” from New York City. Newark now employs a “Broken Windows Theory/Quality of Life Policy,” similar to the strategy Frankovis used to drive down crime in Milwaukee’s troubled Metcalfe Park neighborhood. 

As is the case in Newark, Frankovis is a believer in decentralized policing; whereby, district commanders are afforded the resources to form a “strike force” of officers “capable of using neighborhood intelligence” to “arrest the drug dealers/users and others intimidating the good people” in various hotspots.  Given the latitude and the resources required to get the job done, the chief-of-police then holds these commanders’ feet-to-the-fire.

Demographic trends also play a large role in crime reduction.  Criminologists often claim that men between the ages of 16 to 24 are the core group of violent criminal offenders.  The number of individuals in this demographic is declining.  On April 6, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reported that, in 2008, the U.S. birthrate declined two percent.  Moreover, the birth rate among teenaged mothers — whose offspring make-up a disproportionate number of offenders — also decreased two percent.

The good news on the crime front is that efficient and effective policing strategies, coupled with a decrease in teen birth rates, will probably make our nation’s streets safer for years to come.

After all, if Newark — a city once considered beyond hope — can reduce its homicide rate, other cities can, too.

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Steven Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010