5 Day Old News? Ask Them Why? Why Days and Weeks and Not Minutes and Hours?


Residential burglaries and loss of valued property can range from a minor annoyance to a major loss. People have lost cameras with irreplaceable photos, laptops, big screen television, jewelry and other personal items. You might assert yourself that protecting your property is an important right, and you might believe that one of the methods of protecting your property might involve being informed in a timely manner of criminal activity that happens in your neighborhood. And by timely that means real time. Since mid-2013, residents and business owners in the northwest suburbs don’t have access to real time criminal activity information as they had for decades prior to June 5, 2013. Police chiefs decided to encrypt police radio communications. None of the police departments in the northwest suburbs and Northwest Central Dispatch System have filled that void with an effective real-time release of police dispatch and criminal activity as have some police departments in the United States. The emphasis in the northwest suburbs has been on secrecy.

Information about two recent burglaries in Arlington Heights on June 20, 2014 was not released to the public until five days after the crimes occurred — not an acceptable time frame. Could the two burglaries have been committed by the same crew? Are criminals enabled to be more efficient and strike Arlington Heights twice in one day because they know there is no neighborhood of residents sharing criminal activity information in real time? The residents of Arlington Heights are being robbed of their assets by criminals, they’re being robbed of real time information by their police department, and they’re being robbed of tax money by a costly radio system that hides information that is important for neighbors to know.

The past few years Police Chief Gerald Mourning, has reported to the citizens of Arlington Heights that the crime rate is at an all time low — a record that he says goes all the way back to the 1970s (the statistical interpretation is debatable because of how crime is reported). Police Chief Mourning credited ONLY the police department for the lowered crime rate. He did not credit the media — not the Daily Herald, not the Chicago Tribune or Trib Local, and not The Cardinal. He has credited public involvement in the citizen’s police academy and crime stoppers program, but he has not gone on record crediting the common every day activity of regular citizens working toward keeping their neighborhoods safe without involvement in police-endorsed programs. That could show a tendency toward self-aggrandizement and behavior that doesn’t highlight the value of the public in well-balanced community policing. Combine the lack of public credit and lack of media credit with the secrecy of a military-grade encrypted police radio system and a deficient public information program from the police department, and you have a wake-up call that shows the outlook doesn’t look promising for the future of community policing.

If you see public officials out and about this summer, you might ask northwest suburban police chiefs, mayors, and trustees these questions …

Why did you allow yourself to be part of the consensus of northwest suburban police chiefs to encrypt your police public safety dispatch at a cost of about $300 to $400 per police radio, and at an additional unknown cost of yearly licensing, maintenance and labor costs to manage the extra complexity of an encrypted radio system? Why did you favor spending this money in a suffering economy while crime rates were already at an all time low — in at least one police chief’s own words?

Why is it acceptable as a sophisticated police department in a highly rated community to perform below the top standards of public information programs nationwide that are available where police departments DO provide real-time public safety information via Internet sites or social media, such as Twitter or Facebook;

Why do the northwest suburbs keep their communications secret while other police departments deliberately decide to keep their police radio systems open to the public? Why have police officials failed to develop a sophisticated radio system that encrypts specific tactical channels for more effective security, and then keep the public safety police dispatch open and unencrypted?

Why is it acceptable to fail to have adequate staffing to release information 24/7, and why is it acceptable to fail to have dedicated staffing to respond 24/7 to media inquiries?

Why is it that no police departments have provided a success story that describes specifically how the extra expensive police radio encryption system has resulted in a successful outcome?

Why are the police radio secrecy methods not inter-operational with Cook County Sheriff? Why doesn’t Cook County trust Arlington Heights police and Northwest Central Dispatch to have access to their encrypted radio key, even though the police officers and sheriff’s deputies in the far northwest corner of Arlington Heights and unincorporated Arlington Heights work close together? Arlington Heights and Palatine police are frequently called to offer assistance to Cook County Sheriff’s deputies when sheriff’s deputies aren’t expected to have a timely response or when they need back up in unincorporated Arlington Heights. However, interoperability communications with the sheriff’s deputies is hampered by encryption. The public safety radios mandated by the federal government after the 9-11 Terrorist Attacks to increase interoperability are actually hampered by the police radio encryption. The federal government doesn’t mandate the encryption.

Why are police chiefs and community leaders not concerned that their secrecy could cause major harm in cases such as child abductions where public alerts about the crime, offender descriptions and vehicle descriptions would be delayed?

Why do police officials not operate to exceed the deficiency of the AMBER ALERT system, which is not effective in the early seconds and minutes that are important when responding to a child abduction? In many of the abductions that involve homicide, the killings occur within three hours.

Why have police officials not recognized the priority of open police communications so the public can truly be a part of community policing?

Police chiefs in the northwest suburbs underestimate or fail to admit the full power of the eyes and ears of the public in the partnership of community policing. Instead the trend has been toward secrecy, filtering, and lack of full cooperation with the public.

The response to the Boston Marathon bombing — specifically the manhunt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — provides an interesting example of the importance of the public in community policing, and the possible lack of interoperability of multiple police agencies in a major law enforcement operation.

Regarding the manhunt and capture of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev …
Even though police from multiple municipal agencies, the Massachusetts State Police, the FBI, and other federal agencies closed down the city of Watertown, searched people’s homes without search warrants, and pulled innocent people out of their homes; it was an alert citizen that recognized a suspicious circumstance and was truly endangered by the suspect hiding in his backyard. With millions of dollars of armored police assets on the ground and helicopters flying overhead in a massive manhunt, it was the eyes and ears and instincts of one alert citizen that responded properly and supplied the critical information that resolved the manhunt.

Watertown officers initially exchanged gunfire with the Tsarnaev brothers on Laurel Street just after midnight on April 19, 2013. Officers from mutual aid police departments rushed in to help. Some police officers were off-duty and came on their own. In the shoot out that resulted, the police fired as many as 300 rounds. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was reported to be fatally wounded and taken into custody as he was transported to a hospital. A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) police officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. was hit by a bullet from another officer’s gun, and several officers came to his aid while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fled in an SUV. Early on April 19, 2013 Watertown residents received reverse 911 calls asking them to stay indoors. Officials called it “shelter in place.”

[David Henneberry] grabbed a stepladder and put it beside the boat, which he called Slip Away II. Then he lifted a piece of shrink-wrap that covered a Plexiglas door, allowing him to look inside. He immediately noticed blood splattered on the deck. When he looked near the console, he spotted a body curled in a fetal position, wearing a hoodie and dark shoes.

— Boston Globe

A 20-block area of Watertown was cordoned off. A full-strength police contingent of about 1,000 personnel were involved in the manhunt of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but they didn’t find Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — even though they were involved in door-to-door searches. On the evening of April 19, 2013 an innocent Watertown resident minding his own business investigated suspicious circumstances around his boat in the backyard. Earlier in the day while the “shelter in place” was in effect, he noticed that padding on his boat had fallen to the ground. When the “shelter in place” was lifted at 6:10 p.m., David Henneberry went outside to fix the padding. While climbing up a step ladder and investigating the boat cover, he saw a blood-spattered deck and a body lying in the boat. Henneberry called police with the suspicious circumstances and suspicious person report. Police surrounded the boat, and when the suspicious person (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) started poking at the tarp of the boat, police initiated heavy gunfire at the boat, stopping only after the Superintendent of Police on the scene called for a cease fire. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured alive.

Video in neighborhood of house-to-house searches in Watertown, Massachusetts on April 19, 2013.

Now the Boston Globe is asking questions about the conduct of the police operations related to the manhunt and the shootouts, and reports that state and local governments still aren’t showing much interest about the conduct, “apparently preferring to take bows for the successful capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rather than address the issues of coordination among dozens of police departments.” The Boston Glove believes this is “a logistical problem that’s sure to hamper any future emergency responses.” The US Justice Department is also launching its own review of the public safety response.

At full strength the police contingent probably numbered 1,000. They didn’t find Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Why not?

— Boston Globe

In Arlington Heights, Illinois most police officers are highly respectful of citizen’s liberties and often act out of compassion and courage, but the political situation nationwide is drawing some police departments into an environment that shows signs of a developing police state mentality. Some common symptoms of the increasing police state society include increased police enforcement of non-criminal laws, increased stress or demands on police by actions of unsupportive or uncaring politicians, stressed out cops acting with excessive force or callousness, militarization of police departments, a mutual distrust of police toward citizens and citizens toward police, less police officers on the beat interacting positively in neighborhoods or business districts, and police being involved in acquisition of assets. Locally, the secrecy of the military grade encrypted police radio of our public safety police dispatch is the most significant trend toward a police state mentality.

Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis: Welcome to the Police-Industrial complex.

Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis warns of an increase in a police-industrial complex — an analogous comparison to the federal government’s military-industrial complex. He says that corporate America is interested in the potential profits of the police-industrial complex that is an upcoming major money market. Lewis explains that the developing police-industrial complex involves selling overpowered (for civilian application) high-velocity military weapons, and other high tech equipment and maintenance contracts to local governments where the taxpayers are left paying for the expenses. Lewis worries that going too high-tech on surveillance and overdoing it on firepower will alienate communities, which will ultimately cause more problems for police and society.

Once Henneberry raised the alarm, police responded quickly and let loose a 12-second barrage even though Tsarnaev did not make any threatening moves. Boston Police Superintendent William Evans yelled, “Cease fire!” — evidence that here a superior officer was in control. Yet why were the police shooting in the first place, in a densely populated neighborhood, when it was daylight and they knew they faced a single suspect in an enclosed space? … The investigation should determine whether the police need better training to minimize excessive gunfire; how the police can best provide reinforcements when officers are under threat; and whether command arrangements could be improved when officers from disparate agencies are rushed into a complex operation.

— Boston Globe

Retired Philadelphia Police captain Ray Lewis added in an interview with RTAmerica that basically there are three types of people that join the police department:
1. One personality joins to earn a living for a comfortable lifestyle.
2. A second personality joins because they want to protect and serve the public.
3. A third personality joins because they love the power and control.

Captain Ray Lewis says the third type of police personality that reaches the top rung in the police department gains more power and control by acquiring more hardware, such as military hardware, semi-tanks, MRAPs, and spy drones.

Lewis also says that too many people think that crime is solved with high tech forensic labs and exemplary investigative work. Not true, he says. Lewis says input from community members is one of the most important ways that crimes are solved. Lewis believes that high tech expenditures of the police-industrial complex only alienate the community.

In the northwest suburbs, military-grade encrypted police radios are a major step in the alienation of the community policing model and the development of a police state in the northwest suburbs. It is time that residents ask why.

Boston Globe Boat owner seeks to clarify record on Tsarnaev capture

Boston Glove Did Tsarnaev manhunt unnecessarily endanger the public’s safety?

Washington State Office of the Attorney General 2006 Child Abduction Murder Study

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