Welcome to the Feds
For the first time in FBI history, the agency has knocked on the door of a local police chief to assume a leadership position within the bureau. Ithaca, N.Y. Police Chief Harlin McEwen, 58, was appointed Jan. 29 to be deputy assistant director in the charge of the agency’s huge Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
FBI Director Louis Freeh said McEwen “is exceptionally well-qualified in an area that is fundamental to effective law enforcement and public safety across the country. His long and respected experience at the state and local level will bring a critically needed perspective to national criminal justice information programs that are undergoing unprecedented technological change.”
In his new role, McEwen, who has led the 74-officer Ithaca force since 1988, will oversee several modernization projects, including NCIC 2000, the integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System and the National Incident-Based Reporting System. He will serve as a troubleshooter as the division undergoes changes that include moving some of its functions to a new facility in Clarksburg, W.Va.
[The Clarksburg facility was the apparent target of a plot by a local paramilitary group, seven members of which were arrested in October by Federal agents. Among those arrested was the leader of the West Virginia Mountaineer Militia, Floyd R. Locke, who was charged with conspiracy and transporting explosives across state lines.]
McEwen was joined by two other new faces in the Federal law enforcement line-up: Barry R. McCaffrey, a four-star Army general who was appointed Jan. 23 as director of the White House’s Office of Drug Control Policy, and former New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who became undersecretary of the Treasury for enforcement.
McCaffrey, 53, has served as commanding officer of the Southern Command in Panama, the regional headquarters for the U.S. military in Latin America. His appointment by President Clinton makes him the first military official ever appointed as “drug czar.” His appointment also sends a message to those who have been critical of Clinton’s anti-drug commitment.
In a speech to the Heritage Foundation two weeks after his appointment, McCaffrey, a veteran of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars, said the drug problem is not “a tough problem like AIDS or racism or poverty.” We know, he said, how the drugs are moved, where they’re grown, and how money is laundered. “This is a 10-year struggle to protect our children.”
For the 54-year-old Kelly, who was nominated in March, this is the second time that public service has come calling since his 1994 retirement from the NYPD. Kelly took a temporary leave of absence from the New York office of the Investigative Group Inc., where he served as president since retiring, to take Clinton up on his offer to oversee the rebuilding of Haiti’s fledgling police force and lead an international team of police monitors.
As undersecretary, Kelly oversees the Customs Service, the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Santa Fe’d out
Santa Fe, N.M. Police Chief Don Grady turned in his resignation in February, just months after vowing he would not be intimidated into leaving his position.
The 42-year-old Wisconsin native and Santa Fe’s first black chief, Grady made more than his share of enemies when he forbade the wearing of popular bolo ties while on duty, and ended the practice of accepting free cups of coffee. He also instituted longer shifts and outlawed smoking in patrol cars.
The 117-member Santa Fe Police Officers Union spearheaded the move to oust Grady, painting him as an outsider and railing against his policies. The campaign to get rid of him culminated in a citywide petition and a 103-5 vote of no confidence.
But Grady maintained that the criticism against him was due at least in part to his race. He also had continued support from Mayor Debbie Jaramillo and City Manager Ike Pino.
Jaramillo replaced Grady with her brother-in-law, Carlos Jaramillo, who was ousted by Gov. Bruce King in 1979 as director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Department, a post he had held for eight years. Jaramillo was criticized for issuing a liquor license to a business partner who allegedly gave him $12,000 in loans and gifts.
He can still be chief, but the Los Angeles Police Department’s Willie Williams is unable to join his force in front-line action without certification from the state’s Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training something that he, along with a handful of other California law enforcement executives, has failed to complete.
The California Police Chiefs’ Association, which requires its members to be POST-certified, conferred conditional membership on Williams as long as he passed tests leading to certification within two years. When that grace period ran out a year ago, Williams asked for an extension, saying that the demands of his post leave him too little time to complete the hundreds of hours of course work involved in the certification process. The association’s board of directors voted against it.
But it’s not an uncommon situation, said Los Angeles police spokesman, Cmdr. Tim McBride. At least six other chiefs have come to California from out of state without POST certification.
Those chiefs that do not exercise enforcement powers will have no complications, said POST official Frederick Williams, who oversees administrative services for the commission and who is no relation to Williams. “Usually in larger agencies, police chiefs are not required to exercise peace officer powers,” he said. “It’s in the smaller agencies, were chiefs are required in some cases to perform a regular shift, where we would have problems.”
David Eliasson, a former Greenville, Tex. police officer and Vietnam veteran, had hoped that what he had heard about the war in Bosnia had been exaggerated by the media. What he found when he got there as part of a 200-member American delegation of law enforcement officers was that the media hadn’t shown enough.
“The acts of genocide, the ethnic hatreds and the atrocities that have been committed here have been shocking,” he said.
The officers went to Bosnia as part of a 1,700-member International Police Task Force, whose goal was to teach local police forces how to enforce the peace accords drawn up last year.
Among the officers were Leslie Porter, a 23-year veteran of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department. A self-described “ghetto black,” Porter, 45, was assigned as the task force’s chief investigator in the Muslim enclave of Gorazde. His partner, James Tillman, is a white sheriff’s deputy from rural Missouri. The two men met last year while participating in a Justice Department-sponsored training program for Haitian police officers at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
The two hope that their pairing might impress the warring Serbs, Bosnians, and Croats. “Somewhere these people took a wrong turn,” Porter told The Washington Post. “I guess its our job to help them get back on track.”
Task force members, equipped with inadequate equipment, maps that lead nowhere, and bulletproof vests that Porter said “wouldn’t stop a spitball,” have to carry out their duties under restrictive guidelines that include having no contact with anyone in Serbian-controlled sectors.
When a Serbian woman from a Serb-held town committed suicide by throwing herself in the Drina River, her body was swept into a Muslim-controlled Gorazde sector, where police retrieved and buried it. When the woman’s family asked the body be returned, it entailed a series of delicate negotiations made all the more difficult because Porter could only deal with Serb officials through an intermediary.
The task force members are unarmed, and all they can do is observe, said Eliasson, whose duties included bringing warring factions together by teaching each side proper police procedures and opening lines of communication between the various sides. “We have no power to act at all,” he told The Houston Chronicle.
History was made in January for the the San Francisco Police Department, with the appointment of the agency’s first Asian-American chief, 25-year veteran Fred Lau.
Lau, a deputy chief at the time of his appointment by Mayor Willie Brown on Jan. 18, had been considered a top candidate for the post in the past, but he declined those offers, saying he thought himself too young and inexperienced.
The 46-year-old Lau succeeds Anthony Ribera, who was appointed in 1992 by then-Mayor Frank Jordan. A San Francisco native, Lau was one of only five Chinese Americans ever to have joined the department when began as a rookie in 1971.
In his departmental biography, Lau wrote that he feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to succeed in his new post not only to his actual family, but to his “law enforcement family” and his “community family.” Their expectations are high, he wrote, “but not nearly as high as my own. My families are my foundations. I will never forget them. I will make them proud.”
As for Ribera, he leaves behind allegations of sexual harassment lodged by his spokeswoman, Joanne Welsh, 34. “I can start planning my retirement with a sense of relief that this is behind me,” he said.
A jury cleared Ribera of charges that he had harassed Welsh with forced kisses, suggestive remarks and an expensive gift. She claimed the harassment began when Ribera, then a lieutenant, was her supervisor. It resumed when he became chief.
Although Ribera was cleared, the city was found guilty of discriminating against Welsh by informally replacing her as spokeswoman and failing to pay her two weeks of salary. She was awarded $56,835, although she sought more than $1 million in damages.
Los Angeles officials are considering tearing down Parker Center, the Police Department’s headquarters, and replacing it as part of a 20-year, $1-billion plan to overhaul the agency’s outmoded facilities and crumbling infrastructure.
A report prepared at the behest of City Councilwoman Laura Chick found the 40-year-old Parker Center’s facilities to be “overcrowded, obsolete and in disrepair.” The conditions “impede efficient operations and community access and negatively affect workforce morale,” it continued.
The study also calls for the establishment of 30 Community Satellite Patrol Stations throughout the city over the next five years. These stations would be the minimum number needed to deliver patrol service and facilitate community policing, said the report.
Parker Center, named for former Chief William Parker, is not worth repairing because it would cost more than building a new headquarters, the study concluded. The building suffered damage during the recent Southern California earthquake and would need a major overhaul to bring it up to code.
In addition, the report called for the replacement of the Hollenbeck, Rampart and West Valley substations. Poor conditions at the substations include corroded fire sprinkler heads, hazardous asbestos, electrical system problems, and poorly maintained heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems. Other problems included witness interview rooms that were in plain sight of suspect interview rooms.
The report was praised by Chief Willie Williams, who said it outlined a path to take the department into the 21st century.
The wheel thing
It took 110 pints of blood to keep former Oakland, Calif. police officer Larry Frederick alive after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver on a Bay Area freeway 14 years ago. Earlier this year, he decided to give something back to those anonymous donors who saved his life.
Frederick, 46, and his 13-year-old son Aaron, made a triumphant arrival in Washington, D.C. on July 30 following his “Life Across America” trek a two-month, 4,266-mile coast-to-coast journey on bicycle to raise awareness of the need for blood donors. The Fredericks met with President Clinton on Aug. 3.
During his lengthy rehabilitation, Frederick said, he and Aaron, his youngest son, learned to walk, talk, crawl, cry, and ride bikes together. “During rehab, one of my dreams was to ride across America with my son and watch him shake hands with the President and it looks like its going to happen,” he told Law Enforcement News shortly after the cross-country trek ended.
Without “the gift of life,” Frederick said, he would not have survived the injuries he incurred on Aug. 21, 1982. He was hit by a car going 65 miles per hour as he conducted a traffic stop. “The impact of that car put me up over the car I was standing next to, head first into the back window of my police car and then 40 feet down the freeway,” he recalled. “Simultaneously, I had suffered head injuries, had both shoulders dislocated, my back was broken in three spots, three ribs were broken, my pelvis was shattered, both knees were completely bent and twisted out of shape, my right femur was crushed and the upper femoral artery had been severed.”
He had already bled out, and during the first night doctors put 54 pints of blood into him. After nine major surgeries, Frederick used 110 pints of blood one from each of 110 donors.
Frederick said he is most touched by the support he’s received from police officers nationwide. “It made me proud to be a part of law enforcement,” he said.
An announcement by the Fox Television Network in May that it was canceling the show “America’s Most Wanted” after eight years on the air provoked an instant outcry from the public and law enforcement agencies and organizations across the country. And the outcry got the desired results Fox reneged and put the show back in its prime-time lineup in November.
The hour-long show that graphically re-enacts crimes and then shows photographs of the suspect has been a boon to law enforcement, helping to capture more than 430 fugitives, many of them for violent crimes including murder.
Among the show’s high-profile “captures”: John List, who murdered his family in New Jersey and disappeared for 18 years until his arrest in 1989; and Virgilio Paz Romero, the alleged mastermind behind a car bomb that killed a Chilean ambassador, who was captured after 15 years on the run.
In a statement released May 30, the FBI lauded the show, saying that it showed the dangers that police face carrying out their jobs. “The show’s contribution to law enforcement’s efforts to bring violent fugitives to justice has been enormous,” said the statement. “It successfully empowered millions of Americans to safely and constructively combat crime.”
Sgt. James Rhinebarger of the Indiana State Police, chairman of the 45,000-member National Troopers Coalition, wrote a letter to Fox chief Rupert Murdoch, imploring him to keep AMW on the air. The loss of the show, he wrote, would be devastating. “It is an invaluable tool in our fight against crime and the criminal.”
The show, renamed “The New America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back,” was revived on Nov. 9 with John Walsh continuing as the host. The format may have changed, but its impact hasn’t. Within a half-hour after the new show’s return, a call from a viewer led to the capture of a triple-murder suspect.
Said Walsh: “We’re going to be a lot tougher this time around. Fox has said, ‘Take the gloves off,’ and that’s what we’re going to do.”
When all was said and done, the Kansas City, Mo., Board of Police Commissioners decided that it was better to stay at home. After nearly six months, the national search for a new police chief tapped Floyd Bartch, the city’s assistant chief of police, to succeed Steven Bishop, who retired in December.
The 55-year-old Bartch, a 28-year veteran of the department, had been serving as acting police chief since Bishop left to head the National Law Enforcement Technical Center in Charleston, S.C.
Under Bishop, a nationally recognized proponent of community policing, the Kansas City P.D. played a key role in landmark research such as the preventive patrol experiment and the testing of gun-suppression strategies.
Bartch, whose selection was announced March 20, said there is no reason why that activity would not continue. “Kansas City, from [former Police Chief] Clarence Kelley on, has been known for its ability to undertake research projects and try new approaches,” he said.
Of more immediate concern, however, is the flood of 911 calls and private alarms that keep officers running from call to call, said Bartch. “We’ve suffered for some time from the pressure of 911 calls,” he said. Officers don’t have the time to do anything at all, Bartch said, but answer calls for service. While one of his goals is to integrate community policing throughout the department, the 911 calls leave little time for this, said the new Chief.
A task force has been created by the city’s Chamber of Commerce to study the problem and offer solutions. One possibility, said Bartch, would be to link alarms to a 900 number that would automatically charge owners for false emergency calls.
Tacoma, Wash., swore in its new police chief on Oct. 1, and one could hardly blame new top cop Philip Arreola if he showed any sense of relief at leaving behind his former post in Milwaukee, where his seven-year tenure as chief was marked by the gory crimes of one of America’s most notorious serial killers, a Federal investigation that led to charges of racial discrimination, and generally strained relations within the department that fueled speculation that his contract would not be renewed.
Arreola, 56, succeeded Ray Fjetland who retired in January after 25 years to head the Tacoma-Pierce County YMCA. Assistant Chief Ken Monner, who has served as Tacoma’s interim chief, said he will stay to help Arreola with the transition.
A 36-year law enforcement veteran, Arreola began his career as a cadet with the Detroit Police Department. In 1987, he left Detroit to become police chief in Port Huron, Mich.
Arreola had only been at the Milwaukee post two years when the gruesome crimes of Jeffrey Dahmer were discovered. Two Milwaukee police officers, who encountered a naked and bleeding 14-year-old boy who had escaped from the serial killer’s apartment, returned the youth to Dahmer’s custody. His remains were later found strewn around Dahmer’s home.
Police determined that in between that incident and Dahmer’s arrest two months later, the killer had added five more victims to his total of 16 local men and boys. Arreola fired the two officers, prompting a vote of no-confidence from the police union. The officers were later reinstated following a lengthy court battle.
The Tacoma position, for which Arreola beat out eight other finalists, will pay him $8,000 less a year. Speculation has abounded that he took the job because Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist was unlikely to renew Arreola’s contract when his seven-year term came to an end in 1996.
And, just as Arreola was preparing to head west, one final indignity was heaped on his tenure in Milwaukee. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in a report based on a three-year investigation, charged in October that the Milwaukee P.D. discriminated against black officers and applicants with respect to hiring, discipline and working conditions. Arreola called the report misleading, and in some instances, just wrong.
Alfonso J. Graham, a senior assistant chief, was named by Norquist as Arreola’s acting successor the first time a black man has ever led the Milwaukee force.
Cleaning up crime
With the murder rates in both Baltimore and Washington, D.C., outpacing last year’s totals, business has never been better for a man who makes his living cleaning up the blood and gore left behind at the scenes of homicides and suicides.
Ray Barnes, a former investigator for the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office, and his wife, who ran a maid service, own Crime Scene Cleanup. The Barneses and their six employees don gas masks and high-tech protective gear to shield them from HIV and other blood-borne pathogens while they clean up the visible signs of crime.
“You could have someone who would shoot themselves in the head with a .38,” said Barnes. “That, in some cases, would not be very messy. But some people prefer to shoot themselves with a shotgun, in which case you have the whole room saturated.”
Barnes has been able to expand his business from his home-base of Fallston, Md., to satellite offices in Washington, Philadelphia and other parts of Maryland and New Jersey.
It is usually police officers who recommend the service to families. The company’s rates begin at $275 depending on the job. The most costly job Barnes ever had was $6,500.
There are also several clean-up companies in the Chicago area, including Bio-Response in Orland Park, Ill. The company’s owner, Jim Abraham, is considered a pioneer in the fledgling field.
After a tragedy, said Mathew Klujian, of Mathew Klujian and Sons Cleaning, the family wants everything clean, not just the area where the incident took place. “People have a really eerie feeling about anything and everything,” he said.
Chiefs’ chief, Part 1
Keeping the Police Executive Research Forum at the forefront of community policing and seeing the organization develop strategies for defusing racial tensions in police agencies are two of the goals that Buffalo, N.Y., Police Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske has set for himself as the new president of PERF.
Kerlikowske took the reins from William Bratton, who had been PERF’s president since 1993 but stepped down in April when he resigned as New York City police commissioner. “Falling in behind Commissioner Bratton will present its own hard work,” Kerlikowske told Law Enforcement News. “He changed a lot of people’s perceptions about crime-fighting during his time in New York. But I’m very pleased to have been chosen to succeed him.”
A past recipient of the Gary P. Hayes Award for innovation in policing, Kerlikowske served as PERF’s secretary for three years, and said the organization will remain on the cutting edge of leadership and research. The 25-year law enforcement veteran was chosen by the PERF membership about 800 police executives from medium- and large-sized U.S. and Canadian cities to head the group in June.
Kerlikowske, who has been Buffalo’s police commissioner since 1994, said he saw that affirmative action programs have had the undesirable effect of fomenting racial animosity in some departments an issue he believes warrants PERF’s attention.
“We have to make sure that we’re giving managers ways to address the conflicts and concerns within a department,” he said. “We’re supposed to provide public safety services in a professional way to the public, and we’re supposed to be understanding and sensitive to the diverse communities that we police.” That cannot be accomplished, he noted, unless it is happening within law enforcement as well.
Chiefs’ chief, Part 2
The International Association of Chiefs of Police swore in Frankfort, Ill. Police Chief Darrell L. Sanders as its new president at its annual conference in Phoenix in October.
A former president of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of police, Sanders holds a master’s degree in political science from Baptist College in Charleston, S.C., the town where he began his law enforcement career in 1969. During his 10 years with that city’s police department, Sanders was promoted to sergeant and then to detective.
He became chief of the 20-officer Frankfort Police Department in 1979, founding the Frankfort Police Cadets Explorer Post 104, and other programs aimed at youth.
Following the death of his son, Brent, in 1986, Sanders got involved in the Special Olympics and has since raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization. He was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1992.
After a 22-year career with the Springfield, Mass., Police Department that has included being the first female officer to have a college degree, the first to make sergeant, and then lieutenant, Paula Meara is finally the first: the police chief. The city’s Police Commissioner chose on her Feb. 2 to lead the 500-officer department.
Meara, 50, said one of her goals will be to increase the number of female officers on the force, which now totals only about “two dozen,” she said. “The last four or five mayors have had affirmative action plans on file at City Hall, with a goal of 47 percent female officers in the Police Department,” said Meara. “Very little was done in terms of recruitment, so we are going to be much more active in recruitment” at local schools and colleges.
She also wants to institute more community- and problem-oriented policing strategies, she said, and a 911 call-diversion plan that will eliminate the need for officers to answer non-emergency calls. “I think it will lead to a far more fulfilling job for the rank-and-file officer than to just go out there and kind of put out fires, arrive after the crime has been committed, take a report and try to catch the bad guys.”
After spending 10 years as a detective investigating rape and child-abuse cases, Meara is known statewide for her pioneering work in those areas. She has also been deeply involved in domestic violence issues, and said it will continue to be a primary concern during her administration.
Playing it Safir
In the often contentious relationship between New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner William Bratton, something had to give and that something turned out to be Bratton, who tendered his resignation to Giuliani in March, effective April 15.
Trouble had been brewing for some time between the two high-powered public figures, with City Hall announcing weeks before Bratton’s departure that its lawyers would be scrutinizing the Commissioner’s $300,000 book deal and whether 21 out-of-town trips Bratton took during his tenure violated ethics guidelines.
Yet in spite of the discord, which was fueled by the city’s voracious tabloids, Giuliani gave high marks to Bratton, a former chief of the city’s Transit Police Department. “He is a commissioner that I see as a model for management in the area of public policy,” said the Mayor. “I use him as an example to other commissioners and send other commissioners to him for advice on how to restructure their agencies.”
Giuliani wasted no time in naming a successor, tapping Fire Commissioner Howard Safir to pick up the reins. A longtime Giuliani loyalist, Safir is a former U.S. Marshals’ Service official who becomes the city’s first Jewish police commissioner.
The 54-year-old Safir, a Bronx native, began his career in 1965 as an undercover agent in what was then the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He is credited with creating the concept of reverse stings to catch drug dealers, and eventually became assistant director of the agency, which has since evolved into the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Safir joined the Marshals’ Service in 1979, where he oversaw the capture of rogue CIA agent Edwin Wilson and was in charge of protecting John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Observers say there is no risk of Giuliani being upstaged in the spotlight by the low-key Safir the way he often was by the media-savvy Bratton.
The Mayor was reportedly incensed when Bratton received the kudos over the city’s unprecedented 27-percent dip in crime that he believed should have gone to him including a Time magazine cover story. Bratton insisted that any rivalry between the two was largely a media invention. Nonetheless, he conceded that it had exaggerated the “perceived tensions” between the two officials, to the point where it was interfering with Bratton’s ability to lead the department.
In end, however, few doubt that Bratton’s take-charge management style will be remembered as crucial to the city’s drop in crime. During Bratton’s 26 months in office, the department cracked down on many low-level offenses such as public drinking and urination. That tactic paid off when many such offenders were found to be carrying weapons or wanted for more serious crimes.
Moreover, he was able to fashion effective crime-fighting strategies from the department’s massive resources, and regularly called top commanders on the carpet to explain how they intended to meet crime-reduction goals.
Critics of the department, however, point to a 37-percent increase in the number of police abuse complaints during his tenure.
A Stillwater, Okla., police sergeant who was demoted for slapping a teen-age boy he caught having sex with his daughter was given his old job back in September in the department’s criminal investigation division.
Sgt. John Jerkins had lost $705 per month in pay and $350 in pension benefits since he was disciplined in April. He had found his 17-year-old daughter and her boyfriend, also 17, on the living room couch in January. “The young man pulled up his pants and came at me,” said Jerkins. “I slapped him.”
A 19-year veteran, Jerkins was said to be known for his slow-to-anger demeanor.
While Jerkins insisted that state law gives him authority to discipline juveniles in his own home, it only gives him the right to discipline his own teen-age children. Prosecutors did file assault charges against Jerkins, but did not pursue it. The parents of the unidentified boy did not press charges.
Some came out in favor of the Sergeant’s action, including Gov. Frank Keating, who said he would have slapped the boy a lot harder.
Jerkins wants to be exonerated for the incident, and have all mention of it removed from his file.
Special Agent Richard Gallo, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General, was elected president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association on Sept. 27.
The 38-year-old Gallo, who holds a master’s degree in criminal justice and public administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, succeeded Victor G. Oboyski of the U.S. Marshal Service, who headed the organization for six years.
It was Gallo’s investigation of a food-stamp fraud during the early 1990s that led to the arrest of a New York City police officer dealing drugs in the city’s 30th Precinct. A man being questioned for selling food stamps to buy cocaine told investigators that he got his drugs from a police officer. That information gave them the break they needed to uncover a widespread corruption scandal, as a result of which several officers have been sent to prison.
The FLEOA, formed in 1978, provides round-the-clock legal advice and representation to its members. That’s the reason, Gallo said, that 99 percent of the agents join us. “We’re just pro-agent,” he said.
Other Federal criminal investigators who were elected during the organization’s 11th national conference include: Special Agent Walter W. Wallmark, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, executive vice president; Special Agent Judith M. DeSantis, Drug Enforcement Administration, first vice president; Special Agent Gail Papure, U.S. Customs Service, second vice president; Special Agent Thomas X. Casey, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, treasurer; and Special Agent Andrew R. Rakowsky, U.S. Customs Service, secretary.
Into the sunset
Idaho’s killer-tracking, crawling-out-of-a-burning-car, landing-his-plane-on-highways-to-make-arrests Sheriff, Tim Nettleton of Owyhee County, is calling it a career after 26 years behind the badge.
Bringing a bit of the Old West to his post, Nettleton is known for having rewritten the county prison manual to describe handling inmates as “no different than working with spoiled mustangs” and for his running battles with the Federal Bureau of Land Management. He is the state’s longest-serving active sheriff, and at 56, he says he is not sure what he is going to do next. “I’ve seen it, I’ve done it...I will miss helping people out, though. That’s what law enforcement is.”
Nettleton grew up on a ranch and became sheriff in 1970 because he was broke and looking for something else to do. “Being sheriff looked easy,” he said.
While his style, which includes refusing to wear a uniform and rejecting intrusion from outside agencies, may not appeal to everyone, he has had considerable success maintaining law and order in the 7,666-square-mile county with just eight deputies.
“If you’ve been over there, you know the makeup of the people is a kind of pioneer mentality. Tim has to work with some pretty independent, rough people,” said Sheriff Vaughn Killeen of neighboring Ada County. “It’s not for the shy or timid.”
Nettleton has had eight straight victories in sheriff’s elections most of them running as a Democrat in a Republican County. His closest wins were his first election, which he won by two votes, and the last, with 59 percent. Other than those, he has never failed to chalk up a 2-1 margin over an opponent.
David Posely, a detective with the Mountain Home Police Department and a candidate to succeed Nettleton, is one of those who disdains his style. “I don’t believe a guy stepping out of a pickup looking like a cowboy shows much officer presence,” he said. “I think a police officer should look like a police officer.”
But whether he looks like one or not, Nettleton has received national attention as a law enforcement officer - specifically during a 1981 manhunt for Claude Dallas, a back-country trapper who killed two Idaho Fish and Game officers in Owyhee County.
“He faces down tough hombres and improvises the way sheriffs did 150 years ago,” said Killeen “He connects the old with the new.”
The Washington, D.C., Metro Transit system may be a safe environment, but its new police chief, Barry McDevitt, said his agency is keeping a close eye on global events and hoping that military technology now being adapted for law enforcement uses will provide a means of thwarting terrorist attacks.
The 44-year-old McDevitt, who joined the 286-member department in 1975, assumed the top spot on April 8. He succeeded Burton E. Morrow, who retired in 1995 after 21 years with the agency, five of them chief.
“With the world situation the way it is and terrorism,” said McDevitt, “we’re very interested in maintaining and keeping this system the safest in the world.”
His biggest current crime headaches, he said, are vandalism, break-ins, and thefts at the transit authority’s park-and-ride lots in suburban Virginia and Maryland. To counter this, the agency has redoubled its patrol efforts in parking lots, using experienced plainclothes officers, K-9 units, and a bike patrol.
On second thought
A public outpouring of support after Walsenburg, Colo., Police Chief Joel Shults resigned in October made him change his mind and remain at the helm of the 13-officer force.
Shults gave verbal notice of his resignation in August after the City Council agreed to reinstate Officer Robert Pacheco, whom Shults had suspended with pay for being drunk while on duty as the agency’s DUI enforcement officer.
“The violation was serious enough that I thought termination was the appropriate action,” said Shults. “It was a situation where he was in uniform, on duty and on patrol with a blood-alcohol level that was presumptive for DUI in our state.”
In Walsenburg, however, only the City Council has the authority to hire and fire officers.
Shults, 39, has been chief of the 3,800-resident town since May 1995. Pacheco’s arrest, he said, embarrassed the department, which had begun a high-profile DUI enforcement effort. The department went from about 18 DUI arrests a year to 10 a month.
“That’s one of the reasons this has been so ironic and difficult,” Shults told Law Enforcement News. “That made the whole situation of an intoxicated police officer returning to work just a lot more bitter.”
But when word of Shults’ resignation got around, the ensuing public reaction made him change his mind. “There was a just a tremendous amount of public support for my staying in office, so I’ve been persuaded by the public to remain,” he said.
As for Pacheco, a seven-year veteran, Shults said he did not as yet know what he would do about him. “He’s a fine officer. I don’t see any problem other than that event.”
He can’t kick
New York City police Sgt. Mike Volino may have blown a shot at $1 million, but he did get a free six-day trip to Hawaii and a $5,000 consolation prize after failing to kick a field goal 35-yards during the half-time festivities at the National Football League’s Pro Bowl in Honolulu on Feb. 4.
The candy wrapper that entered the 35-year-old Volino in the Hershey’s Million Dollar Kick Sweepstakes was sent in by his wife, Rosina, a corrections officer. In fact, Volino, who is assigned to the NYPD’s 103rd Precinct in Queens, is not even much of a football fan.
At the big moment, the Sergeant squibbed the ball just to the three-yard line. He readily admits to having hurt his leg by repeated practice kicks under the tutelage of Ken Rose, the special-teams coach for the New York Jets, and to the lingering effects of a car accident in June.
“Since I hadn’t gotten to practice that much,” he said, “I guess I was hoping for a miracle.” It wasn’t too bad, Volino said, until he got out there and heard the roar of the crowd. The crowd withdrew its support after Volino’s kick, giving him a resounding Bronx cheer instead.
“It didn’t bother me,” he said, “I’m from New York. Ya gotta expect that.”
Back in the saddle
Ousted in April from his post as Cleveland’s police chief after less than a year, John J. Collins resurfaced in July as second-in-command of the Medina County, Ohio Sheriff’s Department.
Collins was told to pack his bags by Mayor Michael R. White after he refused to supply the Mayor with three candidates for the deputy chief’s post. According to the city charter, the appointment of deputy chief is up to the mayor. After refusing to rescind a departmental memo in which Collins named Cmdr. Martin Flask to succeed Deputy Chief of Field Operations Gary Payne, a 25-year veteran, the Chief told White that he would give him more names, but that none were qualified.
As second-in-command of the Medina County sheriff’s office, Collins, 46, is responsible for the agency’s overall operations, as well as overseeing preparations for the opening of a $15-million, 265-bed county prison. Collins said he would also like to bring to the department some of the community policing initiatives he successfully instituted in Cleveland.
While the pace may be somewhat slower in Medina County, 40 miles south of Cleveland, Collins said there is little down time. The county is the state’s fastest-growing, and while there is little violent crime now, Collins said one of his goals is to prepare the agency’s 200 deputies for the type of crime that often accompanies rapid growth.
As for his dismissal from the Cleveland Police Department, Collins called it “politically motivated” and said that many residents were “outraged” at his firing. “We were getting crime down,” he said. “We had a community policing program up and running....We had really made tremendous headway in a year.”
Command of the Helena, Mont., Police Department was passed in August from Chief Bill Ware, who was at the helm for 15 years, to native son Troy McGee, a 21-year veteran of the force.
Ware, who began his career in 1965 as a beat cop in Washington, D.C., had stepped down in April to head the Laramie, Wyo., Police Department.
“It’s a great department,” he said of the Helena agency. “Wonderful men and women work for me here. I’m going to miss them and miss the city, which has been very, very good to me as a police chief,” said Ware. “I’ve had a lot of support and backing in about everything that I do.”
The 45-member agency, he said, is organizationally very different from when he became chief in 1981. He put a strong emphasis, he said, on leadership and staff development. A Crime Stoppers program was implemented, as was an enhanced traffic enforcement program. A high-visibility uniformed patrol was instituted in parts of the city that needed it, said Ware. “But it’s been a team approach,” he said. “That’s my style.”
On June 3, Ware was sworn in as the successor to Mark Bridgmon, who retired from the Laramie department after four years as chief. A native of West Union, W. Va., Ware settled in Montana after married a Montanan in 1966. As a member of the state Highway Patrol, Ware was tapped in 1974 to be part of then-Attorney General Robert Woodahl’s security detail. Woodahl had received death threats because of an investigation into workers’ compensation fraud. Ware became chief investigator of the Montana Criminal Investigation Bureau, and then was made chief in Helena in 1981.
While a national search was launched to find a new chief, in the end, the city went with a home-grown talent in the person of McGee.
The 43-year-old McGee began his career as a sheriff’s deputy in Lewis and Clark County. Helena’s biggest problems, he said, are property-related offenses. Violent crimes are few and far between, and he means to keep it that way. McGee said he has a special interest in keeping his hometown the “safe city that it is.”
McGee said he will continue the transition to community policing that was begun by Ware. “We’re still adjusting to getting the department under a community policing program,” he told Law Enforcement News. “We have a leadership council of community leaders who are helping with the adjustment, and we also got a grant last year to use one officer for nothing but community policing.”
Down but not out
At odds with two proposed provisions in his new contract as chief of the Reno, Nev., Police Department, Jim Weston stepped down in October, reverting back to his former rank as deputy chief.
Weston, a 23-year veteran of the force, decided not to pursue another contract with the city after the Sept. 30 expiration date because of provisions that would give the city the right to terminate the chief at will, without cause, and would prevent a chief from reverting to his former Civil Service position.
City Manager Charles McNeeley refused to budge on those issues, said Weston, adding that, at 44, he is too young to retire and does not have another department’s pension to fall back on, as many other chiefs around the country do.
During his tenure, Weston noted, there has been a major reduction in gang-related crimes, including drive-by shootings, murders and assaults. Gang crimes now represent just 1.3 percent of total felony crimes.
But the department still faces fiscal problems that have prevented the addition of new officers, pay raises, and repairs to department facilities, he said.
After 29 years with the Massachusetts State Police, six of them as superintendent, Col. Charles Henderson called it quits in March, citing the toll taken by a no-confidence vote by the troopers’ union and a damning report by the Federal Aviation Administration on a helicopter crash that killed four people.
He was replaced in June by Col. Reed Hillman, the 47-year-old former treasurer of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM) and creator of the troop-based “warrant apprehension team” to pursue fugitives, among other innovations.
Henderson dismissed speculation that his resignation, which took effect May 1, was due to a management study report that would have recommended his removal. Had that been the case, he said, he would have left “a long time ago.”
The no-confidence vote by the union was in retaliation, he claimed, for decisions made during the merger of the State Police with the Metropolitan, Registry, and Capitol Police forces.
Henderson expected criticism, he said, from union leaders who blamed his failure to approve additional pilot training for a crash that killed two troopers and two AT&T employees. State Police pilots told the media that had Henderson not rejected their requests for training, the crash could have been prevented.
Hillman, Henderson’s successor, holds a law degree from Suffolk University Law School. Having joined the agency in 1974 and worked his way up through the ranks, Hillman said he empathizes with the “road trooper” and will encourage them to offer solutions for problems within the agency.
“Troopers know where the problems are,” he said. “We have a very talented workforce [and] I want to be able to tap into that expertise. I don’t mind having the problems brought to me but bring the solutions with you, too, if you can.”
Entrances & exits
The year past saw a number of police chiefs and sheriffs change jobs, lose jobs, or just pass on after years of service.
¶ In April, Ross County, Ohio Sheriff William B. Knott died of cancer at the age of 58. Knott had served with the state Highway Patrol for nearly 30 years, retiring as a sergeant in 1991. He won election as sheriff the following year.
¶ New Hampshire’s longest-serving police chief, Howard Sanborn, died Aug. 24 at the age of 81. Sanborn had been chief of the Bethlehem Police Department and fire chief since 1949. He was on active duty just two weeks before his death, which was caused by pneumonia.
¶ West Orange, N.J. got a new police director in October. Lieut. James Drylie, 38, a 16-year veteran, was selected out of a half-dozen candidates to replace William Webb, who resigned amid controversy over a racist comment made to a black officer. In August, the beleaguered department’s police chief, Robert Spina, left after being convicted of tipping off a drug suspect about an impending raid. His predecessor, Edward Palardy, resigned two years ago after pleading guilty while under indictment for tax evasion.
¶ Former McMechen, W. Va., Police Chief Robert Green is now a patrol officer with the eight-member department following a Sept. 30 run-in with officers under his command. Green was suspended with pay, then fired, after being charged with domestic battery. Green’s wife showed officers bruises and marks on her body. When Green tried to leave, he was placed under arrest. A scuffle broke out while officers and sheriff’s deputies tried to handcuff him, resulting in one officer’s thumb being broken. Lieut. Ralph Paylor was appointed by Mayor William Kern to succeed Green.
¶ In Bismarck, N.D., Richard Thomas was named as the city’s new police chief. A former Beloit, Wisc. deputy chief, Thomas’s appointment was announced Oct. 9.
¶ Robert J. Morris, a former DeKalb County, Ga., commissioner, was elected sheriff March 26, beating retired Atlanta police officer Sidney Dorsey in a special, non-partisan runoff. Morris replaces long-time sheriff Pat Jarvis, who resigned to head the state Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
¶ Also in Georgia, a heated primary election ended in defeat Aug. 6 for incumbent Gwinnett County Sheriff Jim Carsten, who was beaten by Lawrenceville Police Chief R.L. “Butch” Conway. Carsten had served just one term as sheriff.
¶ Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster named a day for retiring St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Lloyd B. Johnson at a party held in his honor on June 29. Johnson had served 20 years as sheriff before handing the reins to Wayne Jones on July 1.
¶ After five in office, Carter County, Okla., Sheriff Bill Noland announced his resignation in November. Deputy Don Waters was named to succeed. him.
¶ Suffolk County, N.Y., Police Commissioner Peter F. Cosgrove, reportedly angered by county legislators’ attempts to cut his pay and pension benefits, announced Dec. 3 that he would retire at the end of the year. Cosgrove, 56, is a 31-year veteran of the county police agency. He said his decision to retire was also based on professional concerns, namely a proposal before the County Legislature to take the power to appoint a police commissioner away from the county executive and transfer it to the Legislature. John C. Gallagher, a deputy county executive, was named acting police commissioner.
¶ Tyler Brewer, a former major with the Wichita, Kan., Police Department, took over as Jefferson City, Mo., police chief on Feb. 26.
¶ Napoleon, N.D. Police Chief John Lippert and Kindred, N.D. Police Chief Larry Kuypers announced their retirements in May. Neither town has any other police officers.
¶ The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas tapped Larry E. Coutorie as its police chief on March 7. Coutorie began his law enforcement career at the University of Texas in Austin in 1977.
¶ Former Fort Thomas, Ky. police chief Fred Rogers was named the new top cop in Niles, Mich., in April. Rogers has 27 years of police experience, including 23 years with the Louisville Police Department. He replaced Myron Galchutt, who left in January to become chief in Calexico, Calif.
¶ Donald A. Adams was replaced in October as Fairlawn, Ohio, police chief by Kenneth J. Walsh, a former Cleveland police officer. Walsh, 48, retired in September after 26 years with the Cleveland force.
North Attleborough, Mass., Police Chief John D. Coyle is doing everything he can to serve a full 50 years in law enforcement. Standing in his way is a state mandatory retirement law that calls for his removal this year at age 65.
Coyle, who has served as the town’s chief of police since 1970, filed suit in Fall River Superior Court, arguing that the state law conflicts with the Federal Age Discrimination Employment Act. His job, the suit contends, is mainly administrative and does not entail the rigors of active duty.
In late August, Judge John Xifavis issued an injunction allowing Coyle to keep his post until he is physically or mentally unable to perform his duties, or a court rules otherwise.
If ultimately successful, Coyle’s suit could affect local police throughout the state. But until it is decided, state officials will still advise towns to force police officers to retire at 65, said Dan Seferian, associate counsel of the Massachusetts Public Employee Retirement Administration.
Love at first sight
Maj. Jon Wilson, a 30-year veteran of the Iowa State Patrol, was tapped in July to succeed Earl Usher as head of the 451-trooper agency. Usher had stepped down after 3½ years at the helm.
Wilson, 52, a former commercial artist who joined the agency in 1966, had been serving as the agency’s field operations commander. Under his command, troopers’ efforts have resulted in record number of DUI arrests, as well as stops to aid motorists. There were 2,058 drug arrests last year; 2,684 drunken driving arrests; and 34,335 stranded motorists assisted. The agency also set another record driving 14 million miles.
“If there is one think I can say about the State Patrol, it’s that I’ve loved this job since I’ve gotten it and I’ve always felt that way,” Wilson told The Des Moines Register.
Having been shot at twice during his career and having also escaped serious injury while pursuing a holdup suspect who was killed during the pursuit, Wilson said trooper safety is among his primary concerns.
“One of the biggest problems we have is the safety of our officers,” Wilson told The Register. “That concerns me and the organization. That’s a dangerous place to work and most of our people are alone and they’re out there at all hours of the day.”
Although the agency only has 14 women among its ranks, Wilson said he is more concerned with attracting “the best people, male or female, that we can.” The women in the agency, he said, “do an excellent job.”
Newark, N.J., has a new Police Director the first Hispanic to hold the post with the appointment in June of Deputy Chief Joseph Santiago, a 27-year veteran who promptly vowed that rebuilding the agency’s morale would be his first order of business.
With a reputation as a tough but fair commander, Santiago may have his hands full. He took office following the June 26 dismissal of William R. Celester, who was named in a 37-count Federal indictment accusing him of fraud and other charges.
Santiago, who also promised to take “decisive action” within 30 days to improve the delivery of police service, was most recently in charge of the department’s internal affairs unit. During the early 1990s, he left for a short time to serve as Essex County’s public safety director.
He was convicted in 1995 of using abusive language to a lieutenant who failed to follow orders. The case is currently under appeal in Superior Court. Santiago was also convicted of assaulting a jail officer involved in a dispute with his fiancée.
Celester, a former high-ranking Boston police official, was charged with several counts of malfeasance, including mail and wire fraud, tax fraud, accepting illegal gratuities, making false statements and forging documents. Over a 44-month period, according to the indictment, Celester took about $30,000 from a fund meant to pay confidential drug informers and diverted the money for his personal use.
The 53-year-old Celester, who accepted a plea bargain in the case, said he began dipping into the fund soon after taking office in 1991. He said he was just following department tradition by skimming the fund, saying there were never any guidelines on that account.
On Dec. 2, Celester was sentenced to two years in Federal prison and ordered to repay $8,000 of the embezzled funds. Judge Garrett B. Brown rejected a petition for leniency, calling Celester’s misdeeds “a textbook case” of “systematic and pervasive corruption.”
Going, going, gone
After 16 members of an elite Indianapolis police unit were accused of using racial slurs, drunken brawling, and harassing women, Police Chief Donald Christ resigned on Sept. 16.
“I believe it is in the best interest of the department as well as the city of Indianapolis for me to resign as chief, effective immediately,” said Christ, a 24-year veteran of the department.
Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, who tapped Christ for the post in September 1995, reluctantly accepted the resignation, saying he did not know whether the chief had done the right thing. “He thinks it’s the right thing to do,” said Goldsmith.
The events that led to Christ’s resignation began on Aug. 27, after the Chief and several off-duy officers from the department’s Mobile Field Force attended a minor-league baseball game. The officers, with Christ no longer among them, then went downtown for a post-game celebration.
After the officers emerged from a bar, witnesses reported seeing them grab their crotches and yell at passing women while asking them to take their skirts off. A black motorist, Jeffrey Gordon, 27, was taunted with racial slurs before being arrested by the all-white cadre of officers. A white friend of Gordon’s, Richard Craig, was beaten and arrested for trying to help him.
Gordon had stopped his car to greet Craig, who was riding a motorcycle. Several officers ordered him out of the car, and when he did, he was pushed back by one of the men, who told him to leave the area. It was not until a brawl had started between Gordon and the officers, who had begun beating Craig, as well, that Gordon realized the men were police.
On Oct. 18, a grand jury indicted four of the officers on a variety of charges, including battery, perjury, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. The grand jury also indicted Gordon on charges of battery and disorderly conduct for continuing to fight with the officers after they had ordered him to leave the scene.
In the wake of the scandal that came to be known locally as the “policemen’s brawl,” Goldsmith invited Charleston, S.C., Police Chief Reuben Greenberg to come to Indianapolis to assess the Police Department’s internal disciplinary process. In addition, Goldsmith said, the Police Executive Research Forum would conduct an in-depth analysis of IPD regulations.
Reversal of fortune
In the face of overwhelming grief and despair, people channel their emotions in different ways. Retired Omaha homicide detective James Wilson Sr., whose son, a rookie officer, was brutally murdered by a gang member in 1995, has since turned his loss into the state’s gain, through an effort to raise awareness and funds for protecting police officers.
The James B. Wilson Jr. Foundation has raised nearly $800,000 and has begun using that money to purchase a variety of safety gear for police. Twenty in-car video systems have been bought for the Omaha Police Department so far, and money has been disbursed to other agencies in the state to buy equipment.
A third-generation Omaha police officer, James Wilson Jr. joined the department in 1994. He was on patrol on Aug. 20, 1995, when he stopped a van with improperly displayed plates. One of the passengers, an 18-year-old, got out of the van and riddled Wilson with bullets from an assault rifle. The officer was found still strapped in his car, microphone in his hand.
“When a young person reaches a level of violence that he will get out of a car and take an AK-47 to an officer sitting fully dressed in a uniform in a marked car with the red lights going and just sprays him with bullets what do you think your life is worth out there?” said Wilson. “That’s something that makes people think.”
James G. Jackson, who in 1990 became the first black police chief of Columbus, Ohio, spent much of 1996 on the ropes, and ends the year suspended with pay for allegedly using his position to hire family members and friends and mishandling matters related to the investigation of a prostitution ring.
Jackson’s suspension was announced Nov. 29 by Mayor Greg Lashutka, after Safety Director Thomas Rice brought five administrative charges against the chief. Rice said an investigation by the Mayor’s office had concluded that Jackson “disregarded facts, testimony and evidence” when he overruled a deputy and cleared Cmdr. Walter Burns of seven departmental charges for allegedly mishandling the prostitution investigation in 1992 and 1993.
In addition, Rice asserted, Jackson ordered the destruction of records in the prostitution probe.
The Columbus Dispatch reported Nov. 3 that the mayoral investigation also focused on whether officers illegally accessed police computers and passed along confidential information to operators of a gambling operation and a prostitution ring. Among the information believed to have been leaked to outsiders is the identities of undercover officers and the findings of background checks conducted on customers and employees of the illegal operations.
The Police Division’s internal affairs bureau confirmed last year that the agency’s link to the statewide Law Enforcement Automated Data System had been accessed illegally. Jackson was one of at least six supervisors who were informed of the breach, but did not report it to the state Highway Patrol, which oversees LEADS.
Sources told The Dispatch that Jackson is not suspected of improperly using the computers, but a Highway Patrol sergeant said that the failure to notify the patrol of computer security problems, while not a crime, violated a signed administrative agreement between the two agencies.
The investigation of Jackson, which began Oct. 10, was an expansion of an internal inquiry ordered last June by Rice. Jackson has filed suit against Rice and the city, in which he contends he was illegally suspended and is entitled to a hearing before the Civil Service Commission.
Jackson was reassigned to his house when the investigation was first announced. He later was allowed to report to duty at Fire Service headquarters but refused and began calling in sick and taking vacation days.