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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

DEALING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 12, 2018

BRYCE ON COPS

– Should you be adversarial or respectful?

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently found myself embroiled in a passionate argument about law enforcement. Someone had posted a video on social media showing a man in his car eluding police allegedly after a road rage incident. He refused to stop until he pulled into his driveway at home. The fact he failed to acknowledge police commands and argued loudly when he was caught agitated the police who forced him to the ground and put him in handcuffs. A few of the viewers commented how outrageous the police acted and they would have done likewise in resisting arrest. In contrast, I made the remark the suspect only had himself to blame; had he done as he was instructed, I doubt it would have turned into an ugly episode.

This resulted in a firestorm of comments against me for taking the side of the police. Frankly, I was surprised by the push back. In my defense, I described how I was taught to drive years ago by my father, who said if the police pulled me over, to keep my hands on the steering wheel, do not argue, and treat the officer with respect saying, “Yes Sir” and “No sir.” As the police see a lot of people during the day, they know nothing about me and will naturally approach cautiously. As such, it wouldn’t pay for me to pose a threat to them by being a smart ass.

I found this advice to be invaluable over the years. By acting this way, I was able to talk my way out of a ticket on more than one occasion. Each time, as the officer saw I wasn’t a threat and was heeding his instructions respectfully, I was let go with a simple warning.

After explaining this on the posting, I was accused of being a wimp and should have stood my ground and taken the officers to task. One gentleman claimed it is necessary to resist the police, simply because they are looking for an excuse to impound your vehicle. I have never heard of this before, so I have no way of knowing if this is true or not.

The way I see it, law enforcement has a difficult job, and they meet a lot of strange people in their daily routine, some not exactly playing with a full deck of cards. My philosophy in dealing with the law is to demonstrate that I am not some kook who poses a threat to them. When this is established, I find it is relatively easy to have a rational conversation with them where I can explain my side of the story. Regardless of how I tried to rationalize it, others in the group thought I had behaved cowardly. The only thing I know, I probably get fewer tickets than they do.

In a way, I am reminded of the classic comedy routine by Chris Rock titled, “How To Not Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police.”

What bothered me about this little incident was the total disregard for law enforcement, portraying them as disreputable ogres who are to be fought with, not respected. I recognize not all law enforcement officers are perfect, but to have people openly provoke a confrontation doesn’t make sense to me. Frankly, this adversarial relationship is disturbing as I believe law enforcement serves a vital function for the community and should be appreciated for their efforts. Then again, maybe this is just another sign of our changing times. I grew up in an era when we were taught the police were our friends, but I have a feeling this is a lesson no longer taught. It disturbs me when I hear 29 officers were killed in the line of duty thus far this year (compared to 44 for all of 2017). Frankly, I’m surprised how patient and professional most officers conduct themselves in light of the animosity against them.

Next time you are stopped by law enforcement, keep your cool and act respectful, they are only trying to do their job and not get killed in the process.

P.S. – Perhaps the most imaginative way I’ve heard of someone talking their way out of a traffic ticket was the father of a friend of mine in Chicago years ago. The father, named Al, was a baker and typically worked the late shift. One night, as he was driving home in the wee hours of the morning, he was tired and anxious to get to bed. Consequently, he was driving a bit too fast.

As he passed a billboard, he spied a patrol car hidden behind it, undoubtedly running radar. Seeing the car pull out from behind the billboard, he knew he was going to be ticketed. Thinking fast, he pulled his car over to the side of the road, popped his hood open, jumped out and began jiggling his carburetor (Yes, this was before electronic ignitions). As expected, the patrol car pulled up behind Al’s car and the officer stepped out. Al looked up at him and said, “Oh, thank God you’re here. Something’s wrong with the carburetor and the car was running away on me. Boy, did it scare the heck out of me.”

The officer looked at Al, then the carburetor, and gave him a warning to get the car fixed before he got into an accident. Yes, he let him go. Brilliant, just brilliant, and a great story he told for many years thereafter.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Crime, Law Enforcement, Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

GANG MARKINGS

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 15, 2014

BRYCE ON SOCIETY

– Gangs exist because parents fail.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I recently attended a couple of meetings on gang activity here in Pinellas County. They were conducted by the county’s special prosecutors. Although we do not have as massive a problem as places like Los Angeles or Miami, make no mistake, there is gang activity in beautiful Pinellas County (more in the south as opposed to north county).

In Florida, gangs are defined as three or more people with similar markings and plot to conduct illicit criminal activities. No, the Masons are not on the watch list. Not everyone who wears uniform clothing is a gang member, but this is what law enforcement is trained to observe. They are also trained to look for certain tattoos and body piercings.

Tattoos are not just for decoration any more. It is not uncommon to see criminal bodies totally covered much like Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man.” Gang tattoos are more designed for meaning as opposed to artwork. They denote membership in a specific gang, describe personal history (what crimes they have committed), the skills they possess (e.g., burglary, drugs, murder, etc.), and the gang’s history which evidently is very important to the gang members. By depicting gang history, the tattoos represent a celebration of the gang’s past and cherished members, much like depicting a family member.

Click HERE for a sampling of gang related tattoos.

The only problem with tattoos, they are a convenient means for the public to identify lawbreakers, and for law enforcement to check criminal backgrounds. Because of this, a recent AP report indicates the use of tattoos are starting to decline as gang members want to avoid being identified.

What is puzzling is why anyone would want to join a gang in the first place. Gangs simply represent a surrogate family. While the family unit has slowly deteriorated in America, especially among the poor, young people gravitate to gang leaders who assume parental responsibility and give the person a sense of purpose. The military does likewise, but gang members start at a very young age, much too young to serve in the military.

Within the gang, the younger members learn their moral values from their leaders, something they never learned from their parents. The more they identify with the other members of the gang, the more loyal they become and act more like a family. Nevertheless, the rise of gang activity in this country can be directly attributed to the decline of parenting.

Consider this, music is very important to gang members, particularly Rap music. This helps to build spirituality amongst its members. Again, this is something lost in the family unit but enforced within the gangs.

If the moral values of gangs weren’t so evil in intent, gangs would be a great way to raise kids from broken homes. Perhaps a younger version of military service would be more beneficial. Something that would teach structure, purpose, and morality. I believe we used to call them “Boy Scouts.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WORKING FOR GOONS – Making the work environment unbearable.

LAST TIME:  HONEST DEBATE (OR THE LACK THEREOF)   – Our lack of tolerance has a lot to do with it.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Crime, Society | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

WHAT “COPS” TEACHES US

Posted by Tim Bryce on August 15, 2014

BRYCE ON LAW ENFORCEMENT

– “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do when they come for you…”

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The “COPS” television program recently began its 27th season. Originally on FOX television, it has since moved over to SPIKE TV. Over the years I sampled some of the episodes, but it wasn’t until SPIKE started playing its “COPS” marathons that I really got hooked on it. I have probably seen hundreds of episodes and I never seem to tire of them.

I’m not sure why it fascinates me, other than the suspects captured represent the dregs of society. I am also surprised how professionally the police officers handle themselves in the face of these bone heads. If it were me, I would probably taser them first and ask questions later; “Zip,” “Zap,” “Zip,” “Zap,”… Even when the criminals are tasered, they somehow continue to resist by chanting, “What I do? What I do?”

The suspects have an excuse for everything and accept no responsibility. Even when they are captured red handed, especially with drugs, they adamantly contend, “That ain’t mine.”

“But I found it on you,” the officer argues back.

“Nope, that ain’t mine.”

Most of the suspects do not carry any form of identification. The cars they drive (or stole) are somehow “borrowed” from a friend or relative who doesn’t exist. You have to wonder how the police officers keep a straight face when they hear the excuses. It’s hilarious. I particularly like it when the police officer says, “What do you think, I’m stupid? I wasn’t born yesterday.” Nope, “That ain’t mine.”

I find it amusing even after the police have read the suspects their Miranda rights that they continue to talk and volunteer information to the police. The officers play this well. For example, after reading the suspects their rights and asking if they understand them, the officer’s next question is, “Okay, what were you doing in there?” And the suspects begin to babble away freely.

The drugs of choice on the show are primarily methamphetamine, crack, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and marijuana is everywhere. I suppose they are all unrelated, one doesn’t lead to another, right?

Having watched the show so many times, I contend the people in possession of drugs is anyone with tattoos and piercings, no shirts, pants hanging half-way down their butt, with a baseball cap on backwards or are driving a POS. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. No wonder the police pull over so many people for “suspicious behavior.” The suspects might as well slap a sign on their car stating, “Drugs on board. Come and get me.” They should be tasered just for how they look. None seem to have a job, and they’re all out on parole. Instead of cleaning up their act though, they would rather carry a gun or deal drugs. No wonder we have so many career criminals.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that my wife and I are the last ones not to have tattoos, take drugs, are under the influence, or who haven’t stolen a car. God I feel old. It’s scary when you consider there are more of “them” as opposed to “us.”

Critics contend the “COPS” program trivializes police work and focuses on the poor. Hardly, it simply shows what they have to deal with on a routine basis (which is not good). Yes, there are moments when the officers have to get physical with some suspects, but my hat is off to them in terms of maintaining their composure and remaining civil and objective even when faced with these knuckleheads. If it were me, all you would hear is “Zip,” “Zap,” “Zip,” “Zap,”…

After reading this, some might accuse me of lacking compassion. Not true, but I no longer have patience for these products of immoral parenting.

Next time you need a good laugh at some dunderheads, or want to watch people performing their job professionally, tune in “COPS” or their sister show, “JAIL” where they show how suspects are booked and incarcerated. Both shows portray law enforcement personnel in a positive light.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR LAME DUCK PRESIDENT – The sad thing is, he doesn’t realize he has already become one.

LAST TIME:  BECOMING AN EDUCATED VOTER  – How to become conversant in politics and government.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Crime, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

PROBLEMS WITH THE PRETRIAL SYSTEM

Posted by Tim Bryce on December 4, 2013

BRYCE ON CRIME

– Career criminals are slipping through the cracks.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and I suspect I’m not alone. We need to believe we are safe in our homes, that law enforcement personnel are patrolling our streets, and the bad guys are being locked up behind bars. Unfortunately, this is not always true as career criminals with long rap sheets are being released rather than incarcerated. Let me explain.

Even though crime rates are declining, there has been a significant increase in jail populations over the years. Not surprising, the cost to imprison suspects in county lockups have skyrocketed, including here in Pinellas County. Reports place it at $126 per prisoner per day. If all arrests resulted in a stay in the county jail, even if it was for just one night, the sheriff would quickly exceed his budget. Consequently, there is an effort to pre-release suspects with lighter offenses. US Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced the start of a new program allowing people arrested for minor drug offenses to be released as opposed to being locked up in jail. This means more and more people are being released under their own recognizance, referred to as “ROR” in the justice system.

The supposition is there is no need to incarcerate people arrested on low-level, nonviolent offenses who are not considered flight risks. Aside from the most serious crimes, such as first-degree murder, bail is set in most cases and intended more as a guarantee the accused will show up for court. However, many poor people arrested for minor crimes cannot afford bail. In addition, the pre-release program is considered a more humane way of treating people, particularly indigents who may have family members depending on them.

This may reduce jail costs and help balance budgets, but there are side effects. The system is certainly not perfect. To illustrate, ROR suspects may decide not to return for trial, thereby costing taxpayers money to reschedule court appearances. They may also flee the county completely, again costing taxpayers to pay for their return. More troubling though is if they are released and cause more mayhem in the community, and herein is where I have trouble sleeping. According to a report by the Florida Legislature OPPAGA (Dec 2012, No. 12-13) on the Pretrial Release Program in 2011, 144 warrants were issued for ROR people failing to appear in court (5.9% of the study), and 160 ROR people were arrested for committing another offense while released (6.6%), for a total of 304 misfits.

Those people who have bonded out of jail, instead of ROR, are more likely to make their court appearances and behave for two reasons; first, the financial incentive to do so, and; second, bail bondsmen are good judges of character. They will not issue a bond to someone they feel are a risk and will not live up to their commitment. The bail bondsmen also keep an eye on their people, something the police do not have time or resources to do.

What concerns me is the criteria by which people are released on their own recognizance, especially if they have a history of prior offenses. I have recently been reviewing Subject Charge Reports from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office which details the history of individual arrests. Such reports are available through the sheriff’s web site, “pcsoweb.com“. For example, one suspect from Treasure Island was arrested for violation of the pretrial release (failure to appear, a misdemeanor). His prior arrests included domestic battery (multiple), DUI, and other minor offenses. Even though he was released under his own recognizance, he was arrested three days later for violation of pretrial release (again).

In another report, a Largo man was picked up for resisting arrest without violence and was ROR by a judge. The suspect’s rap sheet included grand theft auto, reckless driving, possession of just about every illegal narcotic you can imagine, loitering and prowling, driving while license under suspension, and several moving offenses. Yet another report involves a St. Petersburg man picked up for possession of cocaine. His priors include multiple counts of burglary, theft, criminal mischief, and other drug offenses. This is just a handful of examples. I saw dozens more.

I might understand seeing a person released with one or two misdemeanors, but those mentioned here are career criminals with a litany of felonies as well as misdemeanors. By releasing them early, we may be saving a few bucks but, more likely, we are putting the public safety at risk. Case in point, the Melissa Danielle Dohme incident in 2012 where her ex-boyfriend from High School was arrested for battery, only to be ROR where he attacked and stabbed her multiple times. Although the attack was brutal, Melissa somehow miraculously survived. The story highlights the flaws in the pretrial release system.

In 2010, the “Florida Pretrial Misconduct Risk Assessment Instrument” was published which reported on the effect of the pretrial release programs of six Florida counties, including Pinellas. The report concluded by stating the average success rate for the six counties was 87%, meaning the defendants returned for their court appearances and didn’t cause any additional problems. Statistically, 87% sounds somewhat successful, but when you consider Pinellas had 3,361 defendants released as part of the program in 2010, this means 436 failed the program. 436 potential time-bombs in our community.

So the question becomes, are these career criminals statistical anomalies or can we do a better job of preventing them from causing more problems. I would like to believe we can do better, beginning with a standard and consistent approach for evaluating prisoners based on industry standards. I would also like to see our judges, who issue the RORs, operate in a consistent and predictable manner. I also believe bail bondsmen can play a more active role, particularly in the screening process of career criminals.

Tightening up the system with some simple, common sense methods, would do a world of good for the system. It would take a harder look at career criminals, reduce the number of problems slipping through the cracks, thereby allowing us to sleep a little sounder at night.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE INVASION OF THE MAINTENANCE WORKERS – Does your neighborhood turn into a factory during the day? Mine does.

LAST TIME:  MANAGING COMPLEXITY – Are we juggling too many balls?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Crime, Government, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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