Archive for January, 2015

Pittsburgh, PA Region Relies Heavily on Part-Time Police Officers

January 5, 2015

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review by Kari Andren, January 4, 2015

Brice Joll said his body got used to running on as little as four hours of sleep as he pieced together grueling double and triple shifts as a part-time officer with three police departments.

Joll, 26, graduated from the municipal police academy at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and worked for two years as a part-time officer in North Belle Vernon and Smithton in Westmoreland County and Liberty in Allegheny County.

He made $10 to $11.50 an hour, received no benefits or paid time off and had to spend more than $1,200 of his own money for equipment, including a handgun and ammunition, a gun belt, a bulletproof vest and other items. Orchestrating his schedule was tricky, but he rarely turned down a shift.

“I would pick up shifts left and right because I loved my job,” Joll said.

Because so many departments in the region depend so heavily on part-time officers, there were few opportunities for Joll to land a full-time job. So he moved to Jacksonville, N.C., where he’s attending the local police academy in hopes of finding a permanent post.

Western Pennsylvania municipalities rely on part-time police officers more than their counterparts across the state and the nation, statistics show. About 29 percent of officers in the nine-county region around Pittsburgh work part time, compared with about 20 percent statewide, according to the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

The region’s rate is more than five times the national rate, where about 5.4 percent of officers worked part time in 2008, the most recent year figures were available from the Department of Justice.

The use of part-time officers is among the more controversial issues in the profession, said Bill Kelly, president of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association and chief of the Abington Police Department in Montgomery County.

Tiny municipalities and those with tight budgets favor the less expensive way of plugging holes in department staffing, while police unions, including the Fraternal Order of Police, typically have opposed using part-timers in favor of more full-time positions.

“Most people would tell you, in a perfect world, there would be all full-time officers who are fully engaged in doing the work in their community. That’s the ideal,” Kelly said. “For economic reasons, especially in the smaller municipalities, they find they can save a lot of money by filling in with part-timers rather than having to hire another officer with benefits” and other costs, Kelly said.

Pennsylvania has more local police departments than any other state, according to the Department of Justice. In 2013, there were 1,295 municipal police departments, while 1,266 municipalities relied solely on the state police for coverage.

Municipalities statewide spent more than $2 billion on their police departments in 2012, state data showed.

State Sen. Jim Brewster, a Democrat and former mayor of McKeesport, said he was stunned at part-time wages — usually $9 to $11 an hour — paid by many departments in the region for a job as stressful and dangerous as being a police officer.

Just last month, part-time Perryopolis police officer Richard Champion, 35, of Ligonier was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Route 51 in Perry.

In December 2011, part-time East Washington officer John David Dryer, 46, of Claysville was fatally shot during a traffic stop on Interstate 70.

In April 2011, part-time Clairton officer James Kuzak Jr., 42, was shot five times while responding to a home invasion, paralyzing him from the waist down.

James Kuzak Jr., 42, was shot five times in April 2011 while working as a part-time officer for Clairton.

Patching together part-time jobs in multiple departments is usually a necessity for officers to earn a living. The low hourly pay can be a sticking point for officers and law enforcement advocates.

Brewster said he understands that relying on part-time officers is often a community’s only way of keeping a police force. Costs for wages, pensions and equipment continue to rise while older communities often face a shrinking tax base.

So Brewster wrote legislation to add a $10 fee to tickets for moving violations that would establish a pool of money municipalities could tap to help bring part-time officers’ pay up to $15 an hour. The proposal stalled in the Senate last session, but Brewster said he’s planning to reintroduce it this year.

“People work for a living and maybe instead of having to work in three communities, they can work in one or two … get known in the community, hopefully live there,” Brewster said. “There’s a lot of stability that would come out of the bill.”

Managing a police department dependent on part-time officers isn’t easy, said Delmont Chief T.J. Klobucar. Part-time officers in Delmont routinely leave, not because they’re unhappy, but because they found full-time employment elsewhere, he said.

“It’s a big problem for me,” said Klobucar.

Four part-time officers left the department recently for full-time jobs elsewhere. There are now two full-time officers, including the chief, and eight part-timers, he said.

“I’m happy to see them go, move on with their careers and go full time,” Klobucar said. “It’s tough on the community, and it’s tough on the department.”

Pennsylvania Police by the numbers*

Pennsylvania Statewide: 22,649 Officers

• 18,174 full time

• 4,475 part time

Allegheny County: 2,598 officers

• 2,095 full time

• 503 part time

Westmoreland County: 395 officers

• 253 full time

• 142 part time

Beaver County: 389 officers

• 188 full time

• 201 part time

Washington County: 289 officers

• 173 full time

• 116 part time

Butler County: 176 officers

• 115 full time

• 61 part time

Lawrence County: 131 officers

• 71 full time

• 60 part time

Armstrong County: 90 officers

• 21 full time

• 69 part time

Fayette County: 87 officers

• 56 full time

• 31 part time

Indiana County: 47 officers

• 28 full time

• 19 part time

* as of Jan. 31, 2014

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

 

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Pittsburgh, PA Police Chief Aids Anti-Police Protesters and Is Not Worthy of Support from Officers Serving Under HIm

January 5, 2015
Facebook photo shows new Pittsburgh police Chief McLay aiding protest

From The Pittsburgh Tribune Review by Michael Hasch, January 3, 2015

Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay was simply doing his job, the mayor’s chief of staff said Friday, when he was photographed at Wednesday’s First Night celebration Downtown holding a protest group’s sign saying he supports challenging racism in the workplace.

Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McClay holding the sign at First Night Pittsburgh.

“The mayor unequivocally supports Chief McLay’s efforts to be out there in the community and discuss very difficult subjects and bulk up morale in the police department,” Kevin Acklin said.

The photo, which was posted on the Facebook page of the Fight Back Pittsburgh protest group, shows McLay holding the sign, which reads: “I resolve to challenge racism@work #end white silence.”

The chief was not making a “statement about any individual in the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” Acklin said.

Acklin said the photo, which has upset some city police officers, was taken while McLay was on duty and in uniform monitoring the First Night protest.

“I did not seek out these young activists,” McLay wrote in an email released by Public Safety Department spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

“I was stopping for coffee at First Night. I was, however, very happy to visit with them to talk about … how we all perceive one another. Their message is not ‘anti-‘ anybody. It is simply a call for awareness. I hear from my own officers concerns about race problems, so (I) know there is work yet to be done. … The photo was a great, spontaneous moment in time. Please join the dialogue for community healing,” the chief said.

Obamas’ Dine Like Royalty at Restaurant with $500K Membership

January 5, 2015
Eatery has $1 billion worth of art on walls, wine stored in ancient Greek jars

From http://www.wnd.com by Chelsea Shilling, January 2, 2015
Obama_eating

A record 47 million Americans are now on food stamps, but that didn’t stop President Obama and Michelle Obama, who are known to have extravagant taste, from dining at an exclusive restaurant Thursday where memberships cost as much as $500,000.

Vintage Cave, a swanky Honolulu restaurant with 32 seats, is said to have $1 billion worth of art on its walls and stores its wine in an ancient Greek jar known as an amphorae.

The restaurant’s website invites guests to dine in a “cave-like environment” and to “relax, ‘hit reset’ and escape the ordinary.” Guests must purchase a membership: $50,000 to be a “special member” and $500,000 to be a “charter member.”

According to Honolulu Magazine, the total bill for two, with wine, typically approaches $1,000. The Obamas enjoyed a three-hour, multi-course meal.

A 2013 tasting menu included dishes such as vanilla bean macaroon caviar, porridge with king crab and black truffle, and foie gras with banana and macadamia nut.

As WND has reported, this type of indulgence isn’t unusual for the Obamas, who spent nearly $2.2 million in taxpayer funds on lodging security and “entertainment” during their 2013 trip to Africa.

“The Obamas clearly either do not understand the value of a dollar – or understand it all too well when someone else is picking up the tab,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“Keep in mind that this outrageously lavish excursion came at the very same time that the president was shutting down White House tours and blaming it on the sequester. As one congressional critic noted at the time, the White House could have 1,350 weeks of tours for the cost of the Obama family’s trip to Africa.”

Documents previously obtained by Judicial Watch showed the flight expenses for the family’s African outing totaled more than $8.1 million.

Judicial Watch said Secret Service hotel bills totaled $953,788.18, and even though the Obama family “Tanzania safari” ended up being canceled, Secret Service preparations for the excursion still totaled $11,525.75.

Judicial Watch noted: “According to numerous press accounts, the total cost of the Obama family trip was estimated to have cost between $60 million and $100 million.”

In May 2014, the Washington Examiner reported two golf outings for Obama – to Key Largo, Florida, and to Palm Springs, California – cost a total of $2.9 million.

There also was a report that the White House incurred taxpayer expenses of $7.9 million to fly the Obamas to Northern Ireland for a summit that included an extra $251,000 for Michelle Obama and their two daughters to go sightseeing in Dublin.

The entourage required the use of the “spacious Princess Grace Suite at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.” Among the miscellaneous costs was $114,000 for a “fleet” of vehicles for the sightseeing as well as $3,370 for a using a copier.

WND has reported many such expenses over the years.

There were reports the Obamas spent more than $7 million for just three trips in late 2012 and early 2013, including more than $4 million for a Hawaii vacation at Christmas, more than $2.1 million for a trip to California for Obama to dine with high-dollar fundraiser Jeffrey Katzenberg and appear on the “Tonight” show with Jay Leno and nearly another $1.2 million for an Obama family August vacation to Martha’s Vineyard.

When Michelle Obama and her girls went to China in 2014, along with Michelle Obama’s mother, they stayed in a suite costing $8,350 per night, where a “well-placed hotel staffer” told the London Daily Mail that the staff was “fed up.”

“We can’t wait for this to be over, to tell you the truth,” the member of the concierge staff told the newspaper. “The first lady is gracious, and the girls are lovely.”

But he said Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama’s mother, had been “barking at the staff.”

Exact totals for the Obamas’ travel expenses are impossible to obtain because the government and others decline to release the figures. The White House, for example, notes that security costs for the first family are not going to be released. The Secret Service says its figures are secret.
Read more at http://mobile.wnd.com/2015/01/obamas-dine-like-royalty-at-restaurant-with-500k-membership/#075yCc9QoE0QmdTl.99

 

 

NYPD Officer: Not Worth It to Make Arrests ‘if I Have a Chance of Getting My Head Blown Off’

January 5, 2015

From http://www.breitbart.com by Dan Riehl, January 2, 2015

AP Photo/John Minchillo

With reports that the NYPD is looking into as many as 63 threats against police officers, or the mayor this week alone, news also comes of a lack of motivation among the rank and file, undoubtedly contributing to a significant drop in arrest numbers across the city.

“[There’s] just not motivation,” one police officer told [Vice]. “I’m not writing people summonses if I have a chance of getting my head blown off.” When asked if this was his own choice or a precinct-wide initiative, the officer added, “Seems like the entire department is on the same page.”

As the New York Daily News reported, “citywide summons issued this past week numbered just 2,128, compared to 26,512 a week earlier. In that period, exactly one summons was issued in the 84th Precinct, where Liu and Ramos were stationed—just one.”

According to the Daily Beast, the police presence seems to have changed there significantly. “They just walk around, they ride in their patrol cars, and they just pass by,” according to a resident.

The changes have resulted in even more consternation, including among groups who were actually advocating for a move away from so called “broken windows” policing, first made popular during the Rudy Giuliani era. Evidently the reasoning behind any change is just as important to any potential change for some.

“We speculate, though we have no hard evidence, that some officers are pleased to engage in this ostensibly anti–de Blasio protest because they have never been comfortable with having to enforce ‘broken windows’ law enforcement,” Gangi added. “It engenders anger and distrust in the community and puts their physical well-being at risk.”

However, unlike Gangi, other reform groups were not as welcoming to the work stoppage. Joo-Hyun Kang, director of Communities United for Police Reform, one of the main organizing groups behind the recent protests, sees the move as an attack rather than an alternative universe for New York City. And the culprit? Lynch’s police union.

This Is Not the Purpose of Law Enforcement in a Free Society: NY State Police Confiscate Guns From Vet Diagnosed With Insomnia

January 5, 2015

From Infowars.com by Kit Daniels, January 5, 2015

The New York State Police confiscated a Navy veteran’s guns after he received treatment for insomnia at a hospital, according to a new lawsuit.

The police used a mental health database enacted by N.Y.’s latest gun control law, the SAFE Act, to declare veteran Donald Montgomery, who is also a former detective, “mentally unfit” to own firearms based on Montgomery’s treatment for sleep deprivation, the lawsuit Montgomery v. Cuomo stated, which names state officials and the hospital as defendants.

“The Plaintiff [Montgomery] is a retired law enforcement officer with a distinguished career of more than 30 years, who retired with the rank of Detective Sergeant,” the lawsuit said. “The Plaintiff had a spotless record and was awarded the department’s Bravery Medal; [He] had been a Commanding Officer for 15 years.”

“At the time of his presentation at the Emergency Department of Eastern Long Island Hospital, the Plaintiff suffered from sleep deprivation, occasioned by his move from one location in the state to another, with his wife of many years, to live closer to their adult child and young grandchild.”

Last May, Montgomery checked himself into the hospital twice for insomnia and was given a prescription for 50mg of Trazodone, which is used to treat sleep disorders and depression.

“This is a well-developed, well-kempt male, dressed casually and in no acute distress,” the results of Montgomery’s mental examination said. “He is calm, pleasant, cooperative.”

A nurse’s report reached a similar conclusion, stating that Montgomery did not pose a threat to himself or others.

Yet despite Montgomery passing all psychiatric examinations and the fact he checked himself into the ER, the hospital labeled him an “involuntary admission.”

“On or about May 30, 2014, the Plaintiff received a telephone call from an officer at the Suffolk Co. Sheriff’s Dept. informing him [they were] going to have to come overhand pick up his handguns because they were under repeated pressure from the N.Y. State Police to immediately do so,” the lawsuit stated. “The sheriff’s department arrived at the Plaintiff’s then-residence and took physical possession of the Plaintiff’s four firearms and provided him with an ‘inventory.’”

Additionally, the State Police cancelled his pistol permit without a hearing and the hospital refused to correct its mistake in Montgomery’s record.

Montgomery’s lawsuit alleges “the creation, implementation, marketing and use of a reporting system for medical professionals to transmit personal health information to the State… as part of the ‘N.Y. Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act’ violates the civil liberties… under the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.”

“Neither the treatment providers, nor the State have provided notice to patients of the sharing of their personal health information,” the lawsuit said. “In the absence of relief from this court, virtually no one whose personal health information has been freely shared by medical providers, state and local actors will learn or be able to find out whether the integrity of their personal health information has been compromised, including that it has been transmitted to law enforcement personnel.”

Just as we predicted numerous times, government officials are now revoking gun rights without due process by declaring gun owners “mentally unfit,” which is easy to do because the official diagnostic system for mental disorders in the U.S., the DSM-5, is so broad that almost every form of human behavior can be “diagnosed” as some type of mental illness.

For example, in 2012 the Department of Veteran Affairs sent out letters to veterans stating that based on “evidence,” their “competency” was under review and if the bureaucrats decided to rate the veterans “incompetent,” they would be prohibited from “purchasing, possessing, receiving or transporting a firearm or ammunition.”

“The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA,” Constitutional attorney Michael Connelly, J.D. wrote on the subject.