Cook County Sheriff Dart: What’s the Big Secret Regarding Shooting Suspect Information at Birch Manor?

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Mount Prospect and northwest suburban residents pay attention. You probably already know this, but Mount Prospect has gang-infested areas on its south side; in unincorporated areas between Mount Prospect and Des Plaines; along Algonquin Road, just east of Arlington Heights, and in areas just east of Randhurst Village. Actually if any citizens in the northwest suburbs believe crime awareness is important, please read on … and share this article with your family, neighbors and co-workers.

Thursday night May 30, 2013 just before 9:00 p.m., two men were shot at the Birch Manor Condominiums near West Dempster Street and Linneman Road — an unincorporated area near Mount Prospect. A large police response involved Cook County Sheriff’s deputies and Mount Prospect police, who assisted Cook County Sheriff’s Deputies. Police set up a large perimeter, locating themselves at Algonquin Road and Linneman Road, Dempster Street and Route 83, Busse Road and Dempster Street, and areas north and northeast of the crime scene. Police raced from one part of the neighborhood to the other during searches and investigations. Police locked down the condominium apartment complex. Residents could walk in to their complex, but they had to park their vehicles at a remote location. When they walked into the complex, their identification was checked. Residents were also not allowed to drive out of their complex. They could walk out, but they could not drive out. Visitors to the complex were not allowed to drive in or walk in. If visitors tried to walk in, they were sternly told to go home. During the entire operation, Cook County Sheriff’s police used their encrypted “SECRET” POLICE radios to communicate with each other. No awareness of the incident was possible by the media or by the general public because scanners and smartphone apps cannot re-broadcast Cook County Sheriff’s police radios. Some information was relayed on the open channel of the Mount Prospect Police Department.

Almost 20 hours after the shootings and plenty of time for trails to go cold and witness memories to fade, Cook County Sheriff’s Police released information about the shootings to the media. Prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday, the Chicago Tribune did not yet publish any information on the shootings. Also, the Daily Herald did not yet publish any information about the shootings. Also, the Sheriff’s press release had no information about the descriptions of the suspects, so the only people that could possibly assist the police are the victims, the people that know the shooters already, or people that might have seen the offenders flee the area just before 9:00 p.m. Thursday near the immediate crime scene where gunshots were heard.

In the press release, the Cook County Sheriff gave no information about any contact the offenders may have had with citizens near the perimeter of the crime scene. The Sheriff gave no information about where they may have headed, and gave no descriptions of the suspects. So how can any citizens in the outer perimeter offer any assistance to the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department? And would their memories be as clear and accurate 20 hours later? The Sheriff’s Office kept citizens in the dark.

Now for the real appalling fact: Where is the balance of public safety for the residents that live just outside the perimeter of the fresh crime scene. The offenders are potentially gang members, perhaps drug-crazed, and perhaps desperate. What if one or more of the offenders is on parole, and has just one more conviction that could put him away for life? That offender might not have any inhibitions about killing an innocent person to hijack his or her car or to hide in their house for the night until police activity calms down — and kidnap them or kill them before he leaves. It is believed that the offenders DID make contact with innocent citizens just outside the crime scene perimeter — and they asked for help with their escape with a cash offer. How much would it take for the cash offer to escalate to a violent takeover?

While walking their dogs, coming home from work or going to work, or just enjoying the night; residents north of the complex near Robert Frost School were potentially at risk of a home invasion or carjacking by any of these offenders. But if the details of police activity had been relayed in real time by the media or citizens listening to scanners or smartphone apps, innocent citizens would have had a better chance at safety and security. There is also a better chance that their heightened awareness would have increased the chance that they would recognize something suspicious — leading to offender capture. Hopefully there are still more “good guys” out their than “bad guys” but secret police radios seem to be deployed because of lack of faith that an informed public would be helpful to the police anymore. If the police think they can keep peace on their own while maintaining an “us vs.them” mentality, they are sadly mistaken. Our society won’t work that way. Even with a bloodhound, the Cook County Sheriff’s deputies were not able to mobilize fast enough to stay hot on the offenders’ trail. But what if thousands of eyes and ears were helping police keeping a lookout?

It’s only a matter of time before dangerous, violent criminals learn to take advantage of SECRET POLICE RADIOS and the resulting UNINFORMED public, to murder an innocent person or innocent family that lives near the primary scene of a violent crime while attempting to escape the police.

So you have to ask yourself, why don’t the police understand that it is more important they are responsible for the safety of innocent people, than it is important for them to have an irrational obsession with hiding information from the public to manage their investigations. Police have remarkable abilities in forensics and investigation, that can overcome the pluses and minuses of using open communications for public safety dispatch.

VIDEO: Crime scene at Birch Manor Condominiums after a shooting and manhunt for three to five offenders that fled the scene after a shooting of two men Thursday night. People at the check point could hear “secret” radio transmissions on encrypted police radios loud and clear while their identification was checked at checkpoints.

Any person waiting at the checkpoint during the lockdown could have picked up on details of the manhunt, as they could hear the Cook County Sheriff’s deputy’s radio while police checked their identification. This information could potentially spread among gang insiders while the police think they have a secret held from the public using their so-called secure radios. Keep in mind that it’s also possible that any offender can also hear police radio communications while they are being handcuffed or while they are waiting in the back seat of a police car, or even while they are being processed in jail. Police need to learn that this information has a way of getting out, even when their radios are encrypted. They might as well be more open, and base their investigative strategies on open and transparent communications for the good of their own safety and for the public safety of innocent citizens. Secure, tactical communications can still be used to benefit smaller tactical groups that would surround and apprehend offenders, or be involved in other investigative operations. It is a complex challenge, but is a challenge that police must face.

The myth of the secure encrypted police radio endangers police officers, as well. What if a gang member connected to the shooters is standing at the checkpoint, and hears that police have discovered the likely hideout of the offenders? The gang member turns away and calls his associates and forwards information that police think is secured. Police cannot depend on a multi-point radio for security — even if it is encrypted.

The Chicago Tribune reports on shooting crimes in the City of Chicago almost in real time because the Chicago police use open communication for main dispatch. The Chicago Fire Department also reports on a Twitter account when multiple ambulances respond to scenes of multiple shootings. But for some reason the Cook County Sheriff stays quiet for a period — in this Mount Prospect case for 20 hours. Also their radio frequencies have been encrypted across almost all their radio channels for several years. There’s no chance the media or citizens, or even neighboring police agencies or off-duty police officers, can remain aware of crime in real-time in their neighborhoods when the Cook County Sheriff’ police are involved.

You can see the encrypted police radios really aren’t as secure as you think they might be. In fact, they are potentially dangerous. And Mount Prospect residents … listen up … Your police department is about to use encrypted police radios, too. Mount Prospect has spent $388 extra per police radio to prevent its citizens from being aware in real-time regarding the dangers that exist in neighborhoods.

The same encrypted police radios are about to be deployed in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, and Streamwood. Inverness residents pay particular attention. Your police already broadcast “vacation watches” on open channels (unencrypted). Your $2 million homes might as well have an open invitation to crooks wanting your goods while you’re on vacation. Police really need to learn what to communicate and what NOT to communicate on multi-point police radios — and it doesn’t matter if the radios are encrypted or not.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Just last year Arlington Heights Police Chief Gerald Mourning on March 12, 2012, announced that the crime rate in Arlington Heights dropped by more than 5 percent in 2011, and he reported that the crime rate in Arlington Heights is far below the National average and the Illinois crime rate average. He credited much of the reason for the lower crime rate to citizen awareness, and he credited the Citizen Observer program, which, by the way, skips a lot of crime, and often reports after a delay of one to three days. The real citizen awareness has resulted from the media, such as The Cardinal —, which often reports near real-time before trails go cold, and before people’s memories have a chance to fail or become corrupt. As Michelle Rosen, daughter of a cyanide-contaminated Tylenol murder victim Mary “Lynn” Reiner, knows all too well, and has said: “Local and live is the only truth in media during a catastrophe.” Three murder victims in Arlington Heights were connected to the incident that killed Rosen’s mother. Two off-duty firefighters listening to police scanners helped crack the source of the cyanide by recognizing that Tylenol was a common factor of deaths in Elk Grove Village and Arlington Heights — citizen awareness. Authorities then focused on Tylenol, discovered cyanide and immediately pulled Tylenol off of shelves — possibly saving hundreds of lives.

Citizens of these communities in the northwest suburbs are strongly urged to express protest of these SECRET POLICE RADIO measures to your police chiefs, mayors, village presidents and village managers. Ask government leaders why they decided to spend an extra $388 per radio using your tax money to hinder your citizen awareness regarding public safety. Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has done a lot of good while in office, but you might want to ask Sheriff Dart that question about Secret Police Encrypted Radios, too.

See also …
VAH.COM Arlington Heights Crime Rate Down 5 Percent

The Cardinal — Sheriff Seeks Public’s Assistance In Apprehending Shooters At Birch Manor Condominiums On Dempster St Near Mt Prospect

The Cardinal — Police Activity at Birch Manor Condos, Dempster St and Linneman Rd For A Shooting, Unincorporated Mount Prospect

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