Police Work, Politics and World Affairs, Football and the ongoing search for great Scotch Whiskey!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Deam That Many Will Not Understand

Been black the last few weeks, the wife and I were on a 10th Anniversary cruise to Alaska. Sailed out of Seattle and returned a little over a week ago, If you have not done so, take a trip to America's Last Frontier. It is beautiful.

As I've been trying to catch up, I found this great piece on what a motorcycle means to a rider. Says it better than I have ever been able to say. I can relate, a four day trip to New York, stopping to visit friends and family all over the country. Hoping to make so many miles in a day, but stepped by weather, traffic, or the desire to just stop and watch. 

I have 60 staring me down the face, so I know some day I will have to transition to a three wheeler, or give it up. But I will continue to ride until my body says "Enough fat old dude." Everyone has one of these things you don't do to live, but live to do. Whatever it is, enjoy it till you can't. 

Reprinted with permission,  enjoy.

I bought a BIKE for a personal dream.

One day when I am very old and when I can not walk anymore, it will be in my garage as a trophy of my memories.

I met people who taught me something and have the same spirit and I met others that I'm glad I forgot.

I got wet,

I felt cold,

And I felt warm,

I was affraid,

I fell,

And I stand up,

I even hurt myself,
But also, I laughed out loud inside the helmet.
I spoke a thousand times with myself.
I sang and shouted with joy like a madman,
And yes ... sometimes I cried.
I have seen wonderful places and lived unforgettable experiences.
I often made curves that even Marc Marquez would be proud of;  other times I made curves full of terror.
I stopped a thousand times to see a landscape.
I spoke with perfect strangers, and I forgot people I see every day.
I went out with my demons inside and returned home with an absolute peace in my heart.
I always thought how dangerous it is, knowing that the meaning of courage is to advance even feeling fear.
Every time I go up to my machine I think about how wonderful it is.
I stopped talking to those who do not understand, (they just do not understand) and I learned through gestures to communicate with other riders.
I spent money that I did not have, giving up many things, but all these things are not worth even a moment about my BIKE
It is not a means of transport or a piece of iron with wheels, it is the lost part of my soul and my spirit.
And when someone says to me: "You have to sell the BIKE and you have to be a more serious person", ... 

I do not answer.  I just swing my head and smile,
Walking on, BIKE..... only the person who loves them understands it.
May God bless my friends and their toy of great people!
And the adventure continues.  

Gus Pappas


Monday, May 29, 2023

Remembering Those Who Have Passed Before Us...

You know something... When I was studying law, and Mr. Keefer here was writing his stories, and you, Willie, were tearing up the playing fields of dear old Princeton, who was standing guard over this fat, dumb, happy country of ours, eh? Not us. Oh, no, we knew you couldn't make any money in the service. So who did the dirty work for us? Queeg did! And a lot of other guys. Tough, sharp guys who didn't crack up like Queeg.

LT Barney Greenwald (Played by Jose Ferrier), The Caine Mutiny, 1954

For some reason I'm drawn to this quote every Memorial Day. It's not an exact fit, but it works. 

This country has always needed men (and an increasing number women) to stand guard over it, and as the years have past, fewer and fewer have come up to serve. If memory serves, within my life time (born 1965) over half the Congress was veterans at one point. Now it's down to 17% (it has increased since 9/11). But even as Iraq and Afghanistan become history, we will have men and women come forth and serve. And we will have men and women die in the service of our country. And that is the meaning of Memorial Day. 

It's a misnomer to say "Happy Memorial Day." It's not a day to celebrate, but to commemorate and thank the men and women who have gone before us. We must, in Lincoln's greatest words, "...to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” 

Friend, mentor, retired Army officer and Manny Gonzales penned a poem for his fellow members of the Thin Blue Line. It's appropriate for this day as we say thanks to countless men and women, most known, some known but to God, for their ultimate sacrifice. 

Warriors Poem

We were warriors made and formed, In a fortress of grey stone. All are souls that I admire, with a bond forged strong by fire. 

True friends for all my life, wearing proudly life's deep scars. Sharing lots of joy and grief, as we gaze upon the stars.

We received the call to arms. And as warriors trained we marched. And we journeyed in the rain. In a broken land of pain.

With a life that was well lived. We marched off to hold the line. To protect our way of life, and the ones we left behind

Now we lay upon the field, we gave everything we had. As I looked upon the sky, I knew my fate was sealed.

But in my dreams a Nordic Queen, with hair of golden light, and a skin as white as ice, 
came to me within my dreams.

The Valkyrie angel fair, made me Champion of her realm. To protect her heart and soul, in a land of frost and elm

She’s a goddess in true form

With wings of stately white

Whose eyes and lips entice

My heart to paradise

She embraced me in her arms

And she lifted me on high.

To my final resting place

At Valhalla in the sky. 

You were warriors and builders, and artists, true friends. I remember you my brothers. You left us too soon. However I will see you all in Valhalla.

RIP ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

A Disgrace To The Badge

Year ago I arrested a twenty something woman who did something very stupid. She moved into an apartment and three days later she received a credit card for the previous occupant. Then she waited five days and let temptation get the best of her. She called in to get the card approved, then went shopping. Small stuff first, a coffee, lunch, some cloths, etc. Well, the card holder was living in another state. The card company called and asked if she was in Houston using her card, and she said no. Then the twenty something was stopped by security and we got her. 

This woman was completely clean, never had a traffic ticket, and was not used to being handled as a suspect. She cried as soon as the cuffs went on. She was completely clueless that any charge on another person's credit card was a felony. Through tears, she asked me, "What should I do?" and I told her, "Get a lawyer and get a plea bargain for a misdemeanor." I can only assume she did, I was never called for trial. 

The ignorance of the law does not apply to this now ex-cop. Good riddance to bad garbage.  

FL Officer Arrested, Fired for Stealing Dead Man’s Credit Card Information

Former officer Dianne Ferreira was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft of credit card information with using a dead man's credit card.

A St. Cloud, FL, police officer has been arrested and terminated for stealing and using credit card information she obtained from a deceased person at the scene of a medical emergency.

St. Cloud Police Chief Doug Goerke and Osceola Sheriff Marcos Lopez jointly announced that Officer Dianne Ferreira, 25, was arrested Tuesday and charged with theft of credit card information with intent to use, fraudulent use of a credit card over $200 (both felonies) and use of personal ID of a deceased person. She was held on a $4,000 bond that Osceola County Jail records show was posted by Wednesday morning for her release.

"She was an officer, but she doesn't deserve that title now," Chief Goerke said Wednesday.

Goerke said he made sure that Ferreira was arrested in her own handcuffs, the Osceola News-Gazette reports.

For non law enforcement types, it is common for two types of criminal to be arrested with specific cuffs. When a cop killer is arrested, he is cuffed with the deceased officer's cuffs. And when a cop has disgraced the badge, he goes to jail with his cuffs on him. Both turds deserve it. 

The arrest came after about a month-long investigation, from which these facts came out: on April 3, Ferreira was part of the response with medical responders to a deceased male at a St. Cloud home. She took photos of the man's credit card information while paramedics were working, and loaded the information into a mobile application in order to use them remotely, which she began doing on April 4 outside St. Cloud around Osceola County for expenses like gas, fast food, a hotel room and eyelash extensions, all made on her days off.

"The badge she wore has been tarnished and will never be worn again; in fact, it will be destroyed," Goerke said.

Thank you sir for insuring that badge is never seen again. You took the difficult needed action. An ex-cop like this deserves to be treated as a traitor to the badge that she is.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

No-Knock Warrants...

As a rule I do not favor "No-Knock" warrants, where you kick the door and try to take control of the scene. Calling them dangerous is being generous. Not just for the cops, but the people in the building you're breaking into. 

A point to stress, you have a warrant for a reason, to obtain something. People, drugs, other evidence, etc. If a person is the target, wait him out. He's likely will leave his house sometime. Or if he's inside of a building, cut off his life support (water, electric, etc). cut off all hope, and motivate him to come out. Time is on your side.

Classic example how NOT to do something, Waco TX 1993. The ATF had legitimate reasons to arrest David Koresh. Multiple weapons charges, and the state had multiple felonies to charge him with, not the least was Aggravated Sexual Assault of minors. Now, how to get the subject into custody? Seeing the man went running on the road three times a week, drove into town regularly (shopping, etc.), and traveled out of town regularly with his band, the easiest way would be to wait till he's away from his compound and scoop him up. 

To call the opening of the incident a disaster is being far too generous to the ATF and the people who planned it. Raiding a location where you know there are multiple firearms, oven an open area, in broad daylight. If you had anyone with some intelligence planning this they should have screamed it's a recipe for a disaster. Don't know if no one did that, or if they were ignored. But the raid ended up with 80 people dead, including 25 children. 

Remember, PPPPPP (Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance). 

Fast forward to 2019 in Houston TX. A now former Houston cop lied on an affidavit for a search warrant, leading to a raid for black tar heroin (none there). The couple inside the house were shot, as well as 4 of the five officers who executed the warrant. Further investigation showed then Office Goines lied about having an informant. This officer is currently on trial for murder, and another one of the officers was convicted of Falsifying a Government Document (the other three did now know of the falsifications).

Now coming down from Austin, Texas is severely restricting "No Knock" warrants. 

Conservatives who support the bill recognize the conflict between unannounced home invasions and the Second Amendment.

The Texas House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly approved a bill that would sharply restrict the use of no-knock search warrants, which the state Senate is now considering. Both chambers are controlled by Republicans, and the bipartisan support for the bill suggests that many conservatives recognize the potentially lethal hazards of routinely allowing police to enter people's homes without warning. That practice pits law enforcement priorities against the right to armed self-defense in the home, which the Supreme Court has recognized as the "core" of the Second Amendment.

H.B. 504, which state Rep. Gene Wu (D–Houston) introduced last November, passed the House by a vote of 104–33. It would require that all applications for no-knock warrants be approved by the police chief or a supervisor he designates. Municipal court judges who are not state-licensed attorneys generally would not be allowed to approve no-knock warrants. The officers serving the warrant would have to be in uniform or "otherwise clearly identifiable" as police. If the bill passes the state Senate and is signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas will join Florida, Virginia, and Oregon in restricting this type of warrant.

"No-knock warrants are really dangerous," Wu told Houston Public Media. "They're just a bad policy. There's no reason that you can't announce that it's the police coming into your door in the middle of the night." He said Texas conservatives "understand that you don't really have a right to defend your home if you don't know who is coming in."

That point was vividly illustrated by the 2019 raid that killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, a middle-aged Houston couple falsely implicated in heroin dealing. The warrant to search their house on Harding Street was based on a fraudulent affidavit, which led to state and federal charges against Gerald Goines, the veteran narcotics officer who submitted it. But beyond the problems with the warrant, the cops who served it did so in a reckless manner that invited confusion and violence.

Members of the Houston Police Department's Narcotics Division broke into the house without warning in the early evening, when Tuttle and Nicholas reportedly were napping, and immediately used a shotgun to kill the couple's dog. Tuttle responded by grabbing a revolver and firing at the intruders, which prompted a hail of bullets that killed him and his wife. "Once the homeowners thought that their doors were being kicked down by home invaders, they started firing, and the police responded in kind," Wu noted. "We simply can't have that."

That deadly raid prompted Art Acevedo, then Houston's police chief, to start requiring approval for no-knock warrant applications from a high-level supervisor, which is similar to the main element of Wu's bill. But lax supervision was just one of the problems revealed by this appalling incident....

...According to Goines' affidavit, there was probable cause to believe that "knocking and announcing would be dangerous, futile, or would inhibit the effective investigation of the offense" in light of two facts. First, "heroin was purchased from the location and additional substance was observed at the above residence in question by the confidential informant." Second, the informant had seen "a semi-auto hand gun of a 9mm caliber" at the home.

All of those assertions were lies. There was no confidential informant, no heroin, and no 9mm handgun. And it turned out that Goines had a long history of fabricating evidence against drug suspects, including fictional transactions and firearms that supposedly were observed but were not recovered during searches. Again, Marcum did not know that Goines was making the whole thing up. But he accepted Goines' contention that the combination of contraband, which is characteristic of all drug cases, and gun ownership, which is common in Texas, was enough to justify a no-knock warrant...

As much as I strongly disagree with the Democrats in the legislature, Rep Vu is right here. We need to limit these raids to very urgent events, such as a hostage situation when all other options are not available. 

It gets back to one thing all cops must know: Remember the mission. What are you trying to do? In the case of Waco, the goal should have been to take Koresh into custody, something that could be achieved easily. The fact the ATF was trying to polish its reputation after the disaster of Ruby Ridge with this raid was a large part of the disaster that followed. Ruby Ridge, again, if they wanted to get Randy Weaver, they could wait him out. 

A needed correction to an improper police procedure, and hopefully this passes the legislature. Thank you Mr. Vu for taking lead on it. 

Friday, May 5, 2023

Roll Me Away

I started riding a motorcycle in my mid-30s. Why then, I"m not sure, just never got to it until then. Well, after learning a few lessons on a Kawasaki, I purchased my 2007 Harley-Davidson Road King and never looked back. 

Ronald Reagan often said one of the things he liked about being on a horse is it clears your mind being on top of an animal like that. Mr. President, I (and many others) get the same from being on top of horsepower. It's you, your bike, nature and the road. I've taken my Harley on ridges of over 4,000 miles often, and a bike is a large part of my retirement plans. 

I joined the Blue Knights, a law enforcement motorcycle club in 2010, and this past weekend I spend 4 days at our regional conference in South Padre Island. Cops and motorcycles, just something right about it. 

One of my favorite groups is Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. While there is no "official" video for this classic, this is a good one. The song just explains how sometimes you just need to get away from everything. Some people it's a horse or boat. For me, it's a two-wheel animal. 

From 1982's "The Distance," Roll Me Away

Have a great weekend!