Posts tagged “The Cozen Protocol

JS Editorial a Finger in the Eye of Rank-and-File Coppers

Last Thursday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board stuck a finger in the eye of Milwaukee’s rank-and-file police officers by endorsing Police Chief Ed Flynn’s termination of Officer Christopher Manney.  The one-sided editorial did little but regurgitate the company line offered by Flynn.

The arrogance of the JS Editorial Board is evident for all to see. Why is it that those who penned the editorial did not reach out to critics of Flynn’s decision and obtain their input? The likely answer is that the cop haters on the editorial board, so willing to carry water for Flynn and the political hacks at City Hall, were well aware that the response to the police chief’s decision would be universal condemnation.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have yet to speak to a seasoned law enforcement veteran who, after reading the reports of Officer Manney’s contact with Dondre Hamilton, viewed Manney’s actions as inappropriate. Sure, there are a handful of bootlickers on the seventh floor of the Police Administration Building that will jump when Chief Flynn snaps his fingers, but real cops — those who work the streets and put their lives on the line — know that Chief Flynn and the JS Editorial Board are more interested in politics than making Milwaukee a safer place to live and work.

What is clear is that the newspaper’s editorial cabal have absolutely no police experience. If they had, they would care more about the safety of Milwaukee’s police officers than placating interest groups.  And, quite frankly, it is easy for white collar journalists to sit in their ivory tower on West State Street and pontificate about how cops should do their jobs, even though these same editorial writers probably lack the intestinal fortitude to police the streets of Milwaukee.

From this point forward, I would encourage Milwaukee police officers to set aside the October 16, 2014, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial supporting the termination of an officer for simply doing his job.  The rank-and-file needs to understand that they are under attack.  To paraphrase Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu: know your enemies, know yourself; one-hundred battles, one-hundred victories.

The firing of Officer Manney is so bizarre that it rivals the fictional plot to undermined rank-and-file Milwaukee police officers in The Cozen Protocol. Unfortunately, in the hallways of the seventh floor, fiction is now becoming a sad reality.

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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


With Government Scandals in the Headlines, New Book Takes a Swipe at Big Brother

Traditionally, June is a good month for new books.  Publishers typically offer some of their best titles in summer, when millions of overworked Americans search for good reads to knock down during vacations. With government scandals on the front pages of many news organizations’ Web sites (formerly the front pages of newspapers), authors of books dealing with issues of bureaucratic excess will likely get an unexpected boost in sales.

One such book, A Government of Wolves: the Emerging American Police State, by John Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute, was set for release on June 25.

http://www.amazon.com/Government-Wolves-Emerging-American-Police/dp/1590799755/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370058590&sr=8-1&keywords=a+government+of+wolves+the+emerging+american+police+state

With timing being the essence, the book’s publisher, SelectBooks, made Whitehead’s critique of post-9/11 America available on Memorial Day.  Inside, the author takes aim at the 77 federally subsidized Intelligence Fusion Centers, which have cost federal taxpayers at least $1.4 billion.  States and local government spent millions, if not billions, each year staffing these centers that use cellular telephone technology to follow and track citizens absent judicial oversight.

Whitehead further provides a scathing critique of the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center—a mammoth $2 billion facility that records and stores telephone calls, electronic communications, and text messages, once a user types or utters one of 500 select words, many of which are rather benign.

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

To get an idea of just how widespread the reach of government surveillance has become, visit the below link:

https://www.rutherford.org/multimedia/on_target/pressure_points_the_electronic_concentration_camp/

MILWAUKEE-BASED CRIME NOVEL NOW AVAILABLE IN TRADITIONAL PRINT VERSION

Readers of the Spingola Files range in age from criminal justice students to veteran law enforcement retirees.  If you’re a member of the latter category, not that technologically savvy, or simply find reading from the screen of a computer or tablet annoying, here’s some good news: author Mitchell Nevin’s crime novel, The Cozen Protocol, an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel of the Year Award nominee, is now available in print.

Lemon Press—a publisher based in suburban Atlanta—has agreed to produce a second edition of this Milwaukee-based crime novel in print.

Some of you, especially those who have served as members of the Milwaukee Police Department from about 1970 to 2005, might recognize a few of the scenes from Nevin’s novel.  Although described as a work of fiction, I did locate at least three major incidents within The Cozen Protocol’s pages that are eerily similar to actual events.  In fact, the book’s new cover features a picture of a man killed by an arrow, an incident the appears premised on the slaying of Karl Lotharius—the former owner of Von Trier’s tavern on N. Farewell and E. North Avenues, killed when a 30 inch, wood-shaft arrow ripped through his abdomen on December 20, 1981.

The print version of The Cozen Protocol is available at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. Visit the link below for more details.

http://www.bookwire.com/The-Cozen-Protocol-9781936617180.html

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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.


The Cop Against the Machine

Heimsness

Madison PD Officer Stephen Heimsness

The term “cozen”—meaning deception to win gain by shrewd trickery—is typically the antithesis of the word “noble,” although this rule of the English language might no longer apply in some quarters of our state’s capitol, where some seasoned law enforcement veterans believe Police Officer Stephen Heimsness is in the process of getting railroaded.

This leads one to wonder: is the Madison Police Department’s version of The Cozen Protocol being hatched inside the offices of its chief-of-police, Noble Wray, with his internal investigators playing the perfunctory roles of Bullpen Detectives John Spinelli and Bob Hillmeyer?

At 2:45 AM on November 9 of last year, Heimsness responded to a report of a possible entry in progress at a home on Madison’s isthmus. As he approached the residence, the officer observed the homeowner struggling with a man, later identified a Paul Heenan.  The intoxicated man then moved towards the officer and, according to Heimsness, Heenan reached for his gun.  The two men then began to grapple. Believing that the only reason an attacker would seek to disarm a police officer is to turn the gun against him, Heimsness fired three shots, killing Heenan.

Of course the residents of Madison are acting like the far-left residents that they are—a town that the late Wisconsin Gov. Lee Dreyfus once described as “Thirty-square miles surrounded by a sea of reality.” From the comfort of their coffee houses on Williamson and State Streets many Madisonians are now expert armchair cops, second-guessing Heimsness at every turn, even though they know that about one-in-ten police officers murdered each year are killed with their own firearms.

http://www.policeone.com/close-quarters-combat/articles/100228-Cases-of-Officers-Killed-by-Their-Own-Guns-Likely-Will-Not-Change-R-I-Policies/

Other former Madison officers active in liberal causes have also stalked the flames burning under Heimsness’ feet.  Cheri Maples, a former police captain who now serves as a Buddhist teacher, told the Wisconsin State Journal that while she was “…not in a position to question Officer Heimsness’ statement that he feared for his life, I sincerely believe few officers would have made the same choice in the same set of circumstances.”

After reading Maples’ quote, many current and former law enforcement officers are probably wondering if the former captain was ever in the same position as Heimsness—in a struggle with an intoxicated person reaching for her firearm? My guess is that she was not, which is why Maples used the third person when referencing what officers would do in the same circumstance.

My suggestion to both Maples and Wisconsin State Journal reporter Sandy Cullen is this: why not interview police officers who actually walked-a-mile in Heimsness’ shoes? In some instances, I recognize that this might be difficult to do, since many of them are now deceased.

Meanwhile, I believe, Madison’s police chief, Noble Wray, appears to want it both ways.  While he has steadfastly defended Heimsness’ actions in regards to the shooting, Wray, it seems, is beginning to buckle under the pressure brought to bear by the city’s left-wing political establishment.

On February 3, Wray announced that the Madison Police Department had opened three “new” investigations of Heimsness’ conduct unrelated to the shooting or to the use of force.

“Although these investigations are not complete,” Wray told the Wisconsin State Journal, “I find the preliminary information to be troubling.”

Whatever happened to the Madison Police Department’s policy of not commenting about ongoing internal investigations?

Moreover, negatively commenting on an internal investigation prior to its conclusion seems to run counter to civil service law.  Wisconsin State Statute 62.13(5)(em)3, states, that a police chief must “…before filing the charge against the subordinate, made a reasonable effort to discover whether the subordinate did in fact violate a rule or order.” How can the chief-of-police claim that he made a “reasonable effort” to substantiate a charge against an officer after he publicly claimed that “preliminary” information, absent all the facts, is “troubling”?

In preparation for this post, SF reached out to those who understand the internal politics of the Madison Police Department, as well as those that know Officer Heimsness. To a person, they had good things to say about Heimsness, although they also believed he is soon to fall victim to Madison’s version of The Cozen Protocol.  

When asked if the Madison PD was collecting dirt so they can threaten Officer Heimsness with the loss of his job and force him to resign, one officer replied, “You are right on. Things are not good.”

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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


Time to Take the Gloves Off: JS’s Anti-MPD Bias Requires Addressing

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

 

 

 


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


Newspaper’s ‘Hatchet Job’ a Disservice to those in Blue

Over the course of the past week, like Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, the Spingola Files (SF) staff has taken a deep breath while digesting the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s (JS) attempt to tar a  group of, by-in-large, dedicated Milwaukee police officers with a mile-long brush of misconduct—one that spans nearly 30 years. 

Having worked for the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) for parts of four decades, and having served as a supervisor in the Criminal Investigation Bureau, I can say, without any hesitation, that the MPD’s command staff does not take police misconduct lightly.

There are, however, profound degrees of misconduct. 

Providing a driver’s license to a friend over two-decades ago, so that the friend could enter a tavern, is hardly newsworthy in 2011.  Do the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Watchdogs actually believe that a young officer—guilty of such a minor infraction —should be run-off  the police force? 

If those at the JS expect perfection, good luck.  A state-wide search by Ms. Barton et al would probably uncover only a handful of today’s college graduates with Pope Benedict XVI-like backgrounds.  Like those who have passed before them, today’s police recruits are microcosms of America’s twenty-something demographic, which, in 2011, is the reality TV generation.    

SF certainly is not alone in concluding that the newspaper’s attempt to discredit one of the nation’s best big-city police department’s is simply a hit piece—where the prior journalistic reporting of the author seems to suggest that the research conducted was done with the intent to validate an hypothesis’ aforethought.

Appearing on Mark Belling’s WISN afternoon talk show, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn minced no-words, equating the JS investigation to killing a flea with a sledgehammer. The police chief referred to the newspaper’s three part series as “a hatchet job.”

Writing at the Badger Blogger, retired Milwaukee Police Department Captain Glenn Frankovis also takes aim at the JS series.  As was the case with his scores at the academy’s shooting range, Frankovis’ comments hit the mark.

“Then there’s the grievous case of another Police Aide, Paul Zientek,” Frankovis notes, “who got into an altercation back in 1988 with a guy whose record you just have to check on CCAP. With that knowledge, and after reading the IAD investigation, ask yourself how you would have responded?”

http://badgerblogger.com/?p=21067

But instead of touching-base with her contacts at the MPD (if any officers actually exist that might trust this particular reporter), the JS staff had no problems publishing Zientek’s photograph on the front page of the newspaper.

Based on my experiences, as well as the observations of other officers, detectives, and supervisors, Paul Zientek is a decent, caring human being—a solid cop who comes to work with a positive attitude to protect and serve the residents of Milwaukee. Failing to conduct a high-degree of due diligence before taking a pot shot at a stand-up person, like Zientek, is, in my opinion, akin to character assassination.

Chief Flynn’s very blunt comments chastising the JS series on the Mark Belling Late Afternoon Show paint a portrait of a high-level police administrator who understands the concept of trust-based policing. Through his decades-long travels through multiple law enforcement agencies, Flynn has walked-a-mile in the shoes of the officers on the street.  While some police administrators and others in the media are sometimes too willing to throw the rank-and-file under the bus to advance their careers, Milwaukee’s current police chief delicately balances matters of officer discipline with the department’s accountability to the community. The chief’s remarks supporting his officers—those who toil in some of the most impoverished parts of the country and see things that would make most people’s heads spin—are gratifying to those who wear or have worn a badge, over the years, for the MPD.

Moreover, for the sake of improving their perception amongst rank-and-file law enforcement, the staff at the JS might want to pick-up a copy of The Cozen Protocol. The  vernacular used to describe the local newspaper, as well as the book’s overall description of the media in general, while fictional, contains some biting truths that the Fourth Estate might want to address.

To hear Chief Flynn’s interview in its entirety, visit: http://www.belling.com/pages/featured_audio.html?feed=442395&article=9322947

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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


Investigators Watch as Supreme Court Takes-Up GPS Case

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.

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


Shooting at the OK(auchee) Corral Still Under Review

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. 

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


Hoosier for a Day

On Monday, the Spingola Files (SF) takes a road trip to Bloomington, Indiana, where I will address a group of Hoosier state forensic investigators from the Indiana Division of the International Association of Identification (IDIAI).  The topic is the Psychology of Homicide, a presentation SF provides throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Since each group SF addresses is, in its own way, unique, I tweak the Psychology of Homicide presentation before traveling to different venues. 

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

 I’ve already been warned to purchase gas in any place but Illinois, where the long-arm of that state’s tax collectors digs deep into the wallets of consumers. Should Illinois’ highway tolls continue to increase at their current pace, it might become more cost effective to fly over Chicago.

Milwaukee Crime Novel Surges at Amazon.com

The Milwaukee-based crime novel, The Cozen Protocol, surged to #1 this week on Amazon.com’s list of criminal procedure books. 

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cozen-Protocol-First-ebook/dp/B002NGO456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1315142593&sr=8-1

A good source relates the sale of the book’s rights to a West Coast Company is now “up in the air,” as screenwriters want to change The Cozen Protocol’s venue from Milwaukee to Los Angeles or San Francisco.

First, it was Dirty Harry—a movie some locals see as based on the career of Milwaukee’s late police chief, Harold Brier, and, now, left coast-types want to hijack The Cozen Protocol’s plot.  

The rumor mill has it that, although fictional, some high-rankers at Milwaukee Police Department are not particularly fond of the novel’s overall theme.

But long-time Milwaukee law enforcement veterans think otherwise.

The Cozen Protocol was a great read, as the author spun a great mystery with similarities to real incidents,” writes retired MPD Detective Larry Powalisz. “It brought back some fond memories of stuff that was going on throughout my career.”

To find out more, listen to my interview with WUWM’s Stephanie Lecci.

http://www.wuwm.com/programs/lake_effect/le_sgmt.php?segmentid=7966

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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


Reason, Not Demagoguery, Needed on Police Pay Issue

The issue for many outside of law enforcement, including journalists, is difficult to understand; however, when it comes to “pay” for “fired” Milwaukee police officers, the facts are rarely explained well by members of the media, including those in talk-radio. 

http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/124217314.html

Officers are fired for a variety of reasons.  In most instances, when a termination proceeding is initiated, an officer is convicted of a crime.  I find this somewhat ironic since a handful of police departments in Wisconsin actually hire applicants with minor criminal convictions (disorderly conduct or first offense OWI, which in most states is a misdemeanor).

Being Wisconsin’s only Class A city—defined by state law as a municipality with a population of over 500,000—many state laws applicable to Milwaukee do not affect other cities, villages or towns.  This is why political leaders out-state often refer to Wisconsin’s only Class A city as ‘the State of Milwaukee.’

The administration of police departments, as well as the disciplinary process involving police officers, is tied to Milwaukee’s Class A designation.  Unfortunately, some in the media—those with a rather noticeable bias against Milwaukee officers—have contorted and twisted the issue to the point that requires a reasoned explanation.  

For whatever reason—one that has never been fully explained—the Milwaukee Police Department’s chief of police is the only leader of a municipal law enforcement agency in Wisconsin that can subjectively and arbitrarily fire a police officer.  In all other municipal jurisdictions, a police chief can simply recommend to their respective police and fire commissions that an officer be terminated.  These commissions then conduct a just cause hearing to affirm the police chief’s recommendation or collectively confer to make their own disciplinary recommendations.  However, police officers from every other municipal jurisdiction receive their pay throughout the hearing process. 

The way the law now stands, police officers in Milwaukee are the ONLY officers in the state that immediately forfeit salary based on the arbitrary and subjective findings of their police chief.

Some left-wing police haters, fiscal conservatives, and country club types, you know the crowd—those that sit on their confortable suburban patios sipping cocktails, while lacking the intestinal fortitude required to patrol Milwaukee’s inner city—could care less.  They argue two points:  that officers are rarely fired without cause and that fired officers can receive back pay if they are reinstated by the Fire and Police Commission. 

Now, imagine you are an officer fired arbitrary and wrongfully by the police chief.  You depend on your salary to pay the mortgage and need a health insurance plan to cover your family, but, because you either did something politically incorrect or work for a particular unit within the department on the outs with the chief of police, you find yourself fired without so much as a just cause hearing.  State leaders, as well as the editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, apparently believe that law enforcement salaries are so lavish that individual officers should simply set aside $25,000 to $50,000 in case they become political hot potatoes.

And for those who argue that few are rarely disciplined unjustifiably, cases abound of officers being targeted by agents of the police chief.  In Milwaukee, for example, Police Chief Arthur Jones’  Internal Affairs investigators planted a gun in a dumpster on Mitchell Street, instructed a gang member on probation to call officers in the gang unit to tell them the gun was in the dumpster, and then, when the officers recovered the gun with their supervisor’s approval, had tactical enforcement officers whisk the two officers away.  Calls where then made to the Milwaukee County DA’s office in an attempt to have the officers investigated for extortion.  After a deputy DA scoffed, the officers where investigated and later charged with rule violations.  In the interim, they were both transferred for basically doing their jobs.

Once upon a time, another Milwaukee police chief fired a male and a female officer for adulterous conduct that occurred in the privacy of the female officers’ residence.  Read the below link to see the scathing rebuke of the police chief by the Wisconsin Supreme Court:  http://www.aele.org/law/2008FPAPR/oddsen.html

Now, once a police and fire commission terminates a police officer in any jurisdiction in Wisconsin, pay to the employee immediately ceases.  Since members of these commissions are political appointees of the mayor, officers may appeal their terminations through the courts, but do not receive pay while doing so.  And, over the course of the past three decades, the courts—recognizing that the Fire and Police Commission is sometimes little more than a political dog-and-pony show—have reinstated police officers.

One recent case is that of Detective Phil Sliwinski, fired by Police Chief Arthur Jones.  The City of Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission upheld Jones’ firing, even as they denied Sliwinski the right to call a witness.  A Wisconsin appeals court ordered Sliwinski reinstated and Circuit Court Judge Timothy Dugan ordered the city to fork over $328,321 in back pay, as Sliwinski went unpaid for almost five years during the ensuing court fight.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/46769167.html

Unfortunately, what transpires on the seventh floor offices of the Police Administration Building sometimes provides the  fodder for novels like The Cozen Protocol.

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

For those concerned with due process and rightful discipline—not selling papers or scoring political points—a better state-wide policy is a level the playing field for ALL Wisconsin police officers.  If police chiefs throughout Wisconsin are prohibited from arbitrary and subjectively firing police officers without a just cause hearing, then why can’t Milwaukee’s police chief play by the same rules?

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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


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


A Punishing Story of Rumor and Innuendo

To read this article, purchase the Best of the Spingola Files, coming to Amazon.com’s Kindle store in January 2012.

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 Steve Spingola’s presentation The Psychology of Homicide.  For more information, visit: http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011


Book Marking a Good Stocking Stuffer

With Christmas and the holidays right around the corner, many of SF’s readers will soon find themselves beating the winter blues by curling up on the sofa with a warm blanket and a good book.  

Over the past few months, I’ve paged through some interesting reads.  Here’s a short list:

The Murder Room, by Michael Capuzzo

In the 1990s, three renowned investigators—a former FBI agent, a U.S. Customs agent, and a forensic pathologist —gathered together informally in a Philadelphia meeting room and formed the Vidocq Society.   Named after a famed French sleuth, the group explores cold case murders.  The catch: a detective from the investigating agency must formally present the case. 

http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Room-Sherlock-Holmes-Perplexing/dp/1592401422/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288405755&sr=1-1

Worst Case, by James Patterson

When the son of a wealthy New York family is abducted, Detective Michael Bennett catches the case.  But the kidnapper isn’t demanding the typical ransom.  The well connected family uses its connections to involve a slew of politicians and the FBI.

http://www.amazon.com/Worst-Case-James-Patterson/dp/0446565725/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1288405831&sr=1-1

The Cozen Protocol, by Mitchell Nevin

As two cutthroat gangs battle over drug turf, Milwaukee’s sitting police chief, under fire for his department’s lackluster performance, decides to retire.  His decision sets off an internal power struggle.  A dedicated detective, a savvy defense attorney, a talk-radio host , and a television news reporter diligently piece together a complicated puzzle.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cozen-Protocol-First-ebook/dp/B002NGO456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=books&qid=1288406545&sr=1-1

Killing Pablo: the Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw, by Mark Bowden

In the 1980s, Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar brazenly exploited the South American cocaine trade.  With a fleet of yachts and a portfolio of expensive real estate, Escobar was one of the world’s largest drug kingpins.  When the U.S. government began providing resources to their Columbian colleagues, agency infighting was the only thing standing in the way of killing Pablo.  Very applicable to the current situation in Mexico.

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Pablo-Worlds-Greatest-ebook/dp/B0031M9XUM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=merchant-items&qid=1288406978&sr=1-1

So many good books but only so much time to read them. 

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Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler and Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


“Secret Meeting” with Gang Members Runs Amuck in Chi-town

About 100 miles to the southeast of the laid-back, small town of Wales, Wisconsin–home to the Spingola Files HQ, the bustling city of Chicago seems worlds away. Yet the controversy surrounding Chicago’s Police Superintendent, Jody Weis, is reminiscent of a southeastern Wisconsin brouhaha that occurred nearly two-decades ago.

Through forwarded e-mails from those in law enforcement, as well as reports in the media, it appears that—at least amongst rank-and-file Chicago cops—Weis is as popular as a contagious virus. 

Mayor Richard M. Daley’s political machinery hired Weis, a 23-year veteran of the FBI, two-and-and-half-years ago.  Prior to becoming Chicago’s 54th Superintendent of Police, Weis was the FBI’s Assistant Deputy Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility—fancy terminology for being the second in command of  the FBI’s internal affairs unit.  In other words, he had no local law enforcement expreience. 

Members of Daley’s inner circle believed Weis would reform the Chicago PD, which, like many other big-city police departments had—rightly or wrongly—come under fire for a variety of issues.

The Daley machine’s experiment has apparently gone awry.

In late August, Chicago Police Lieutenant John Andrews disclosed that he is under investigation by the superintendent’s internal affairs unit for posting, to say the least, his not-so-complementary opinions of Weis on a personal blog. 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-police-officer-blog-20100825,0,1041713.story

In most police departments, internal affairs is the only unit that reports directly to the agency’s chief-of-police or superintendent, which means the investigation of Andrews is being overseen by Weis.  As such, there is little doubt regarding the investigation’s outcome, even though Andrews’ take appears to represent the majority of the Chicago PD’s rank-and-file.

It is, however, a meeting Weis recently arranged with Chicago street thugs that has become the lightning rod for critics, not just inside Chicago political circles, but throughout law enforcement in the Midwest.    

According to the Chicago Tribune, Weis, federal authorities, and others “secretly met with a group of West Side gang leaders at the Garfield Park Conservatory [in August], informing them over snacks and beverages that they would be held directly accountable for shootings and other violent crimes committed by their gangs.”

To many rank-and-file cops, especially those old enough to recall the 1980s police drama Hill Street Blues, Weis’ sit down with street toughs appeared eerily reminiscent of Frank Firillo, the captain of the Hill Street precinct, who, on occasion, would bring local gang bangers into his office for discussions.  

A similar event almost occurred in Milwaukee in the early 1990s, when the administration of Phil Arreola, a police chief also hired from the outside, hinted at an outreach with members of the Conservative Vice Lords.  Popular conservative talk-show host Mark Belling had a field day with the notion, which kind-of just went away.  Others would say the idea was a trial balloon turned burning Zeppelin before it was officially ever floated.

Mitchell Nevin’s fictional book, The Cozen Protocol, portrays a comparable incident that appears ripped from the pages of the Arreola era (a suggestion to Mayor Daley: down load a copy to your i-Phone. The end result is not a positive one).

To be fair, Weis, on the other hand, portrayed the meeting with gang bangers as an opportunity to lay-down the law.  While appearing on WBBM radio’s At Issue program, (which airs tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.), the superintendent said he was “shocked and amazed” at the negative reaction.

http://wbbm.cbslocal.com/2010/09/03/top-cop-shocked-and-amazed-by-reaction-to-gang-meet/

 Mayor Daley, echoing the mantra often used to justify touchy-feely policies, told the Chicago Tribune the meeting was ‘worth pursuing if it could save a life.’

Critics, including myself, charge that arranging a “secret meeting” with gang members provides these groups with instant street creditability. Moreover, why was this meeting, if it was indeed such a solid concept, conducted under the shroud of secrecy?  My guess is that Chicago’s version of Mark Belling, if one does exist, might have created the spark needed to engulf Weis’ wobbly Zeppelin.

After all, wouldn’t a meeting with the good kids—those striving to do the right things in some of Chicago’s troubled neighborhoods—have been more productive and deserving of these public officials’ time, as well as the snacks and beverages given, for free, to the thug element?  

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Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of “The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler” and “Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders.”

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010