Daily Archives: January 28, 2011

Bernie Giusto on the Taser Controversy: Don’t Be Shocked When They Let the Bad Guy Go

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese recently said he’ll ask the community when police should use Tasers. This comes after criticism of law enforcement and a recent 9th Circuit Court decision holding officers personally liable if they ‘Taser’ someone when the suspect poses no immediate threat. 
Community Input May Back Fire
In the past law enforcement discounted the need to gain community acceptance of law enforcement operational tactics.  When it came to patrol technique, criminal investigation, arresting folks and choosing police weapons, no input from ‘the community’ was sought or needed. The police knew best and community concerns were not much of a factor. There are legitimate reasons for police to rely on their internal expertise when creating policies and choosing weapons. This effort to get community input might create a path for community interference.

Interference will raise the ire of some. A better phrase might be create confusion.  That is exactly what will be created with the Portland Police Command decision to take their Taser policy to the public arena. I can guarantee you that before this process is done there will be less–not more–understanding and acceptance in the community of the Taser.  The crowd that never trusts police to do anything in the public interest will use this process as forum to misrepresent use of the Taser. Our citizens will be wondering why they are being asked in the first place.

Worse, it will likely freeze the street cops from using the Taser appropriately. The Taser is a revolutionary tool that has saved lives and prevented injuries. It reduces physical contact with suspects. And changing the policy means we’re likely to see use-of-force complaints increase dramatically.


Fantasy Land Versus the Street
The potential effectiveness of this tool will be voided by the confusion created in bureau policy and the cops’ need to be safe.  Yet they will now need to worry that somehow the use of the Taser will get them in trouble. In trouble when it is deployed outside of an artificially created community expectation and that perceived expectation bangs up against the realities of the street.

Backstory on Tasers
But let’s examine why Tasers originally came on the scene in this country. The purpose of the Taser was first to minimize injuries to those who wouldn’t ‘come quietly.’ An equally valuable benefit was that it was a tool to keep officers from getting hurt. The Taser helped prevent police officers from tangling with suspects hand-to-hand or using their baton.


Like any new tool the police the potential for improper or even abusive use is always a possibility. Effective training and policy development, review and assessment and discipline as necessary is the most effective for controlling such behavior.  What is not effective is to provide the tool and the training then confuse and freeze the cops from properly using it.

Here is an example.  A couple of year ago a Portland Police Officer Tased a homeless person who was taking video of the officer. The officer ordered the man to stop taking video. To make a long story short, the City of Portland paid a $50,000.00 settlement.  This is not a failure of the Taser it is a failure in judgment of the individual officer.

Not a good story.  But I can confidently assert that neither the policy or the training changed at the time and has not been addressed until now. Why now? It is fairly obvious; it’s because of the incidents where the Taser deployment reportedly failed and police officers resorted to deadly physical force.

Don’t Tase Me, Bro
Sure, policy and training adjustments after individual incident review and assessment are a must, but asking the public when they would  like to be “Tased” accomplishes nothing. In fact it can leave things worse bygiving the impression there can be a strictly defined list of when a Taser will be used by their police officers. There can be no such list.

There are only three options, 

  • Live the list, 
  • Ignore the input 
  • Take the Tasers away from the cops.  
And then what about the cops? Again there are only three options: 
  • Follow the policy
  • Don’t follow the policy and risk discipline
  • Don’t use the Taser as a matter of practice except when you’re sure in the moment that the situation is on the list. 
And remember the only tool left on the use of force continuum is the officer’s firearm.

I can tell you from personal experience at the end of a Taser prong that it’s a once-in-a lifetime-experience and one you’ll want to miss.  Every muscle in your body gets involved and ones closest to the prongs bring an instant understanding of its purpose and respect for its use.

But I can recount several instances in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office on the street, in the jails and in the courthouse where the presence of the Taser not only prevented the use of a firearm, or injuries from a fight, in some cases it prevented the fight all together. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with engaging our citizens in an education process about why we use the tactics and tools that we do. In fact that is good stuff. But along the way if we allow principled policy to be replaced by unworkable policy then law enforcement fails everyone.

If the message to the cops is that the Bureau needs to redefine Taser policy including examples of when and how much to use it: no problem.  If the message is ‘you’re in trouble if you wander off'”the list:” big problem.  And at that point just take the Tasers off the street. If the message to the community is “the list” has got it covered: big lie.

We are a great risk of putting our police officers in not only no-win situations, but lose-lose situations. Time after time, event after event they are faced with bureaucratic inferences that somehow they are failing to meet our expectations. The Police Bureau can’t set the expectation that every poor decision a cop makes can be solved with another public flogging. 

Leading With Confidence
Connecting with our citizens is different than pandering to them. We have the good fortune in this country that our citizens still believe the police are professionals with integrity that they trust to make decisions that protect and serve them.  When they want our attention that should have it. When they want us to lead by making solid public safety decisions we should lead with confidence.

So lets get the Taser policy right. Let’s not take the a life saving and injury preventing tool and its appropriate discretionary use away from its proper place on the street.

And lets not have citizens create a list they can’t live with and police officers can’t live by.  Because I just realized there is another option the cops have in their arsenal of tools and discretion. They can just let the bad guy go. It would probably be less trouble, don’t you think?

Bernie Giusto is the former Multnomah County Sheriff, Gresham Police Chief and Trooper for Oregon State Police  
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

North Carolina Mayor Apologizes for “Misinformation and Confusion”

Viet Nam Veterans have been livid since hearing about Fayetteville, North Carolina mayor Tony Chavonne inviting anti-war types to the cities upcoming “Heroes Homecoming,” discussed HERE. Several forums have expressed our outrage and I am confident the mayor received more than a few email messages expressing such outrage.

Mayor Chavonne has issued a video statement “apologizing for any misinformation and confusion.”

Transcript:

“Hello I am Mayor Tony Chavonne – the son of a soldier and the proud mayor of a military town. I want to apologize for any misinformation and confusion arising from our Heroes Homecoming event planned for later this year.”

“I can assure you that 100% of our focus is on extending a welcome home to each and every one of our Vietnam Veterans and to thank and honor them for their service to our country. Let me be clear that we will not have any sanctioned events that include movies with Jane Fonda.”

“In Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg – the nation’s largest Army installation – we pride ourselves on supporting the military. We are proud to say that in Fayetteville ‘We watch over those who watch over us’.”

“In November, we will welcome our Vietnam Veterans home. Their stories will touch your heart and it is our hope that our thanks will reflect a grateful America who welcomes them home.”

“I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit our web site at www.heroeshomecoming.com where you can see the full list of events we have planned to honor our Vietnam Veterans.”

“I extend an offer for you to visit us in Fayetteville this November for Veterans Day to help say thank you to these true American Heroes.”

Curiously enough, a reply to a comment I left at BigPeace.com, by someone I believe to be associated with the event, says the earlier claims were “fabricated” by a reporter.

Patriotmeroski: Sir, please check out HeroesHomecoming.com. This will give you a true picture of what is taking place then judge for yourself.

Lewwaters: Perhaps it would be better to have Mayor Chavonne consider the outrage his decision to rub our noses into the anti-war ilk again has caused.

While I believe the original intent was to honor Veterans, your mayor may have tainted that beyond repair.

That is who should be told to “find the true picture,” not me.

Patriotmeroski: Sir, I guess I chose the wrong words. The event never had anything to do with Fonda or events tied to it. A local reporter fabricated a story! From there it spread and we are just encouraging folks to look at this site to see that there are not any events like that in this Homecoming.

The Fayetteville Observer article on the anti-war group being invited, Organizers of Vietnam veterans’ tribute to include complete picture of era was published a week ago.

A cursory check of the Fayetteville Observer’s web page shows no retraction from or notice of termination of the reporter over fabricating such a story, leading me to believe it was not fabricated, but that the mayor came to his senses and realized, or was told in no uncertain terms, to disinvite the protesters to save the event.

I still believe the 10-day event was initially created with the best of intentions. Time will tell if the mayor’s damage control is enough.

In the mean time I am left to ponder, what in the world was he thinking?

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Bernie Giusto on the Taser Controversy: Don’t Be Shocked When They Let the Bad Guy Go

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese recently said he’ll ask the community when police should use Tasers. This comes after criticism of law enforcement and a recent 9th Circuit Court decision holding officers personally liable if they ‘Taser’ someone when the suspect poses no immediate threat. 
Community Input May Back Fire
In the past law enforcement discounted the need to gain community acceptance of law enforcement operational tactics.  When it came to patrol technique, criminal investigation, arresting folks and choosing police weapons, no input from ‘the community’ was sought or needed. The police knew best and community concerns were not much of a factor. There are legitimate reasons for police to rely on their internal expertise when creating policies and choosing weapons. This effort to get community input might create a path for community interference.

Interference will raise the ire of some. A better phrase might be create confusion.  That is exactly what will be created with the Portland Police Command decision to take their Taser policy to the public arena. I can guarantee you that before this process is done there will be less–not more–understanding and acceptance in the community of the Taser.  The crowd that never trusts police to do anything in the public interest will use this process as forum to misrepresent use of the Taser. Our citizens will be wondering why they are being asked in the first place.

Worse, it will likely freeze the street cops from using the Taser appropriately. The Taser is a revolutionary tool that has saved lives and prevented injuries. It reduces physical contact with suspects. And changing the policy means we’re likely to see use-of-force complaints increase dramatically.


Fantasy Land Versus the Street
The potential effectiveness of this tool will be voided by the confusion created in bureau policy and the cops’ need to be safe.  Yet they will now need to worry that somehow the use of the Taser will get them in trouble. In trouble when it is deployed outside of an artificially created community expectation and that perceived expectation bangs up against the realities of the street.

Backstory on Tasers
But let’s examine why Tasers originally came on the scene in this country. The purpose of the Taser was first to minimize injuries to those who wouldn’t ‘come quietly.’ An equally valuable benefit was that it was a tool to keep officers from getting hurt. The Taser helped prevent police officers from tangling with suspects hand-to-hand or using their baton.


Like any new tool the police the potential for improper or even abusive use is always a possibility. Effective training and policy development, review and assessment and discipline as necessary is the most effective for controlling such behavior.  What is not effective is to provide the tool and the training then confuse and freeze the cops from properly using it.

Here is an example.  A couple of year ago a Portland Police Officer Tased a homeless person who was taking video of the officer. The officer ordered the man to stop taking video. To make a long story short, the City of Portland paid a $50,000.00 settlement.  This is not a failure of the Taser it is a failure in judgment of the individual officer.

Not a good story.  But I can confidently assert that neither the policy or the training changed at the time and has not been addressed until now. Why now? It is fairly obvious; it’s because of the incidents where the Taser deployment reportedly failed and police officers resorted to deadly physical force.

Don’t Tase Me, Bro
Sure, policy and training adjustments after individual incident review and assessment are a must, but asking the public when they would  like to be “Tased” accomplishes nothing. In fact it can leave things worse bygiving the impression there can be a strictly defined list of when a Taser will be used by their police officers. There can be no such list.

There are only three options, 

  • Live the list, 
  • Ignore the input 
  • Take the Tasers away from the cops.  
And then what about the cops? Again there are only three options: 
  • Follow the policy
  • Don’t follow the policy and risk discipline
  • Don’t use the Taser as a matter of practice except when you’re sure in the moment that the situation is on the list. 
And remember the only tool left on the use of force continuum is the officer’s firearm.

I can tell you from personal experience at the end of a Taser prong that it’s a once-in-a lifetime-experience and one you’ll want to miss.  Every muscle in your body gets involved and ones closest to the prongs bring an instant understanding of its purpose and respect for its use.

But I can recount several instances in the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office on the street, in the jails and in the courthouse where the presence of the Taser not only prevented the use of a firearm, or injuries from a fight, in some cases it prevented the fight all together. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with engaging our citizens in an education process about why we use the tactics and tools that we do. In fact that is good stuff. But along the way if we allow principled policy to be replaced by unworkable policy then law enforcement fails everyone.

If the message to the cops is that the Bureau needs to redefine Taser policy including examples of when and how much to use it: no problem.  If the message is ‘you’re in trouble if you wander off'”the list:” big problem.  And at that point just take the Tasers off the street. If the message to the community is “the list” has got it covered: big lie.

We are a great risk of putting our police officers in not only no-win situations, but lose-lose situations. Time after time, event after event they are faced with bureaucratic inferences that somehow they are failing to meet our expectations. The Police Bureau can’t set the expectation that every poor decision a cop makes can be solved with another public flogging. 

Leading With Confidence
Connecting with our citizens is different than pandering to them. We have the good fortune in this country that our citizens still believe the police are professionals with integrity that they trust to make decisions that protect and serve them.  When they want our attention that should have it. When they want us to lead by making solid public safety decisions we should lead with confidence.

So lets get the Taser policy right. Let’s not take the a life saving and injury preventing tool and its appropriate discretionary use away from its proper place on the street.

And lets not have citizens create a list they can’t live with and police officers can’t live by.  Because I just realized there is another option the cops have in their arsenal of tools and discretion. They can just let the bad guy go. It would probably be less trouble, don’t you think?

Bernie Giusto is the former Multnomah County Sheriff, Gresham Police Chief and Trooper for Oregon State Police  
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Using Reagan to Rehabilitate Obama?

Those of us old enough to recall the Reagan years and after he left office, will readily recall how the media disliked our 40th president, Ronald Reagan. After nearly every speech, we were treated to Sam Donaldson coming on to let us know what he “really said.”

The media was only too quick to run with son Ron Jr.’s claim that Ronald Reagan had Alzheimer’s while in office just a few weeks ago, giving little credence to son Michaels’ counter claims that he did not.

In spite of that, Time magazine’s upcoming issue features a photoshopped cover of Reagan embracing Obama and an article The Role Model: What Obama Sees in Reagan

While they still try to draw distinct differences in the article, they try to build an aura of Obama, the New Reagan.

Historian Douglas Brinkley says, “There are policies, and there is persona, and a lot can be told by persona. Obama is approaching the job in a Reaganesque fashion.”

Time makes the comparison Between Obama & Reagan in SOTU speeches, “Let us, in these next two years — men and women of both parties, every political shade — concentrate on the long-range, bipartisan responsibilities of government.” Reagan said in his 1983 State of the Union, “not the short-range or short-term temptations of partisan politics.”

One major difference they miss out on is, Reagan stood for something. He spoke from the heart, meaning what he said. He inspired confidence and expressed leadership. He said what he meant and meant what he said.

Obama does none of that. He only tries to build an image of himself, supported in the article when he and Michelle once were sharing lunch with Nancy Reagan at the White House and she remarked on him being a “lefty.”

Obama’s reply? “I am a lefty. A lefty who wants to be remembered just like Ronnie.”

Sorry Barack, I imagine you’ll be remembered more as a Carter.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Libs Claim: M 66 & 67 HELPED Business! It’s All So Clear to Me Now…

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2011/01/27/our-oregon-66-and-67-helped-business.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search

Our Oregon: 66 and 67 helped business

Portland Business Journal – by Andy Giegerich , Business Journal staff writer

Date: Thursday, January 27, 2011, 12:04pm PST

<a href=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/click%3Bh%3Dv8/3a9d/3/0/%2a/o%3B232605658%3B0-0%3B1%3B17653992%3B4307-300/250%3B39339393/39357180/1%3B%3B%7Eaopt%3D2/0/cc/0%3B%7Esscs%3D%3fhttp://clk.atdmt.com/MRT/go/245874600/direct;wi.300;hi.250/01/6692911″ target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”http://view.atdmt.com/MRT/view/245874600/direct;wi.300;hi.250/01/6692911″ /></a> <a href=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/bzj.portland/article_page;at=daily;pageid=4443011;pos=c1;template=article_page;tile=1;kw=portland;page=4443011;sz=300×250;ord=1296190756.6582.4.26300?” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/ad/bzj.portland/article_page;at=daily;pageid=4443011;pos=c1;template=article_page;tile=1;kw=portland;page=4443011;sz=300×250;ord=1296190756.6582.4.26300?” width=”300″ height=”250″ border=”0″ /></a>

The group that backed Oregon’s passage of two tax measures last year has unveiled a website touting the state’s business gains since voters approved the measures.
Our Oregon’s website recaps several news stories and announcements of companies expanding their Oregon facilities or relocating to the state since Measures 66 and 67 passed last year. The measures collectively raised the corporate minimum tax and personal income taxes for wealthy residents. Among the highlights:
• SolarWorld added 350 jobs last May
• Hi-Tec USA moved its boot-making headquarters to Portland last fall.
• John’s Incredible Pizza announced it would open restaurants that provide 185 jobs in the Portland region.
In announcing the site, Our Oregon noted that lobbyists had claimed the tax measures would make it more difficult to do business in the state.
“So, what actually happened? Scores of businesses have announced that they are moving to or growing in Oregon,” said Scott Moore, an Our Oregon spokesman, in a statement. “Venture capital has skyrocketed, clocking in with the second-best year since the dot-com boom. Oregon’s 10 largest public corporations are sitting on $6.4 billion in cash and short term investments. . .(corporate lobbyists) were wrong a year ago. Businesses didn’t flee — they flocked here.”
Measures 66 and 67 passed by a margin …

The group that backed Oregon’s passage of two tax measures last year has unveiled a website touting the state’s business gains since voters approved the measures.
Our Oregon’s website recaps several news stories and announcements of companies expanding their Oregon facilities or relocating to the state since Measures 66 and 67 passed last year. The measures collectively raised the corporate minimum tax and personal income taxes for wealthy residents. Among the highlights:
• SolarWorld added 350 jobs last May
• Hi-Tec USA moved its boot-making headquarters to Portland last fall.
• John’s Incredible Pizza announced it would open restaurants that provide 185 jobs in the Portland region.
In announcing the site, Our Oregon noted that lobbyists had claimed the tax measures would make it more difficult to do business in the state.
“So, what actually happened? Scores of businesses have announced that they are moving to or growing in Oregon,” said Scott Moore, an Our Oregon spokesman, in a statement. “Venture capital has skyrocketed, clocking in with the second-best year since the dot-com boom. Oregon’s 10 largest public corporations are sitting on $6.4 billion in cash and short term investments. . .(corporate lobbyists) were wrong a year ago. Businesses didn’t flee — they flocked here.”
Measures 66 and 67 passed by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent, and 53 percent to 47 percent respectively.

Read more: Our Oregon: 66 and 67 helped business | Portland Business Journal

North Carolina Mayor Apologizes for “Misinformation and Confusion”

Viet Nam Veterans have been livid since hearing about Fayetteville, North Carolina mayor Tony Chavonne inviting anti-war types to the cities upcoming “Heroes Homecoming,” discussed HERE. Several forums have expressed our outrage and I am confident the mayor received more than a few email messages expressing such outrage.

Mayor Chavonne has issued a video statement “apologizing for any misinformation and confusion.”

Transcript:

“Hello I am Mayor Tony Chavonne – the son of a soldier and the proud mayor of a military town. I want to apologize for any misinformation and confusion arising from our Heroes Homecoming event planned for later this year.”

“I can assure you that 100% of our focus is on extending a welcome home to each and every one of our Vietnam Veterans and to thank and honor them for their service to our country. Let me be clear that we will not have any sanctioned events that include movies with Jane Fonda.”

“In Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg – the nation’s largest Army installation – we pride ourselves on supporting the military. We are proud to say that in Fayetteville ‘We watch over those who watch over us’.”

“In November, we will welcome our Vietnam Veterans home. Their stories will touch your heart and it is our hope that our thanks will reflect a grateful America who welcomes them home.”

“I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit our web site at www.heroeshomecoming.com where you can see the full list of events we have planned to honor our Vietnam Veterans.”

“I extend an offer for you to visit us in Fayetteville this November for Veterans Day to help say thank you to these true American Heroes.”

Curiously enough, a reply to a comment I left at BigPeace.com, by someone I believe to be associated with the event, says the earlier claims were “fabricated” by a reporter.

Patriotmeroski: Sir, please check out HeroesHomecoming.com. This will give you a true picture of what is taking place then judge for yourself.

Lewwaters: Perhaps it would be better to have Mayor Chavonne consider the outrage his decision to rub our noses into the anti-war ilk again has caused.

While I believe the original intent was to honor Veterans, your mayor may have tainted that beyond repair.

That is who should be told to “find the true picture,” not me.

Patriotmeroski: Sir, I guess I chose the wrong words. The event never had anything to do with Fonda or events tied to it. A local reporter fabricated a story! From there it spread and we are just encouraging folks to look at this site to see that there are not any events like that in this Homecoming.

The Fayetteville Observer article on the anti-war group being invited, Organizers of Vietnam veterans’ tribute to include complete picture of era was published a week ago.

A cursory check of the Fayetteville Observer’s web page shows no retraction from or notice of termination of the reporter over fabricating such a story, leading me to believe it was not fabricated, but that the mayor came to his senses and realized, or was told in no uncertain terms, to disinvite the protesters to save the event.

I still believe the 10-day event was initially created with the best of intentions. Time will tell if the mayor’s damage control is enough.

In the mean time I am left to ponder, what in the world was he thinking?

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com