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For the same reason that a family of four does not need four washing machines or four swimming pools, each police officer in the nation does not need a body camera, an assault weapon, a motorcycle, and a police car. The White House believes otherwise. This week, President Obama proposed new initiatives, potentially costing taxpayers’ $263,000,000—including the purchase of 50,000 body cameras for police officers. The Anaheim City Council recently approved spending $1,150,000 on body cameras for its officers, despite lacking any substantive evidence of their effectiveness to achieve the Council’s stated purpose: increasing trust and transparency (White, 2014).

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The given reason for needing 50,000 body cameras? To improve community relations between citizens and law enforcement. These initiatives, however, as anyone knows who has watched television or read a newspaper on any day during the past few weeks, are principally the residue of protests and riots that ignited in Ferguson, Missouri. Squandering taxpayers’ dollars on 50,000 body cameras hoping to stop such events, however, ignores the genesis of the mayhem: long-term, complex socioeconomic and cultural factors and the nation’s racial divide.

This week, David Brooks (2014) addressed class prejudice and race in a New York Times editorial: “There has been a migration away from prejudice based on genetics to prejudice based on class. . . . We once again have a sharp social divide between people who live in the ‘respectable’ meritocracy and those who live beyond it. In one world almost everybody you meet has at least been to college, and people have very little contact with features that are sometimes a part of the other world: prison, meth, payday loans, a flowering of nonmarriage family forms.” Brooks contends that Americans “need to improve our capacity for sympathetic understanding, our capacity to imaginatively place ourselves in the minds of other people with experiences different from our own.” He cites the need for a common project, suggesting a national collaboration “to improve social mobility for the poor of all races,” which he concludes will decrease classism, social distance, and racial prejudice. This recommendation will never see the light of day in Washington because our leaders believe that spending money is always the best problem solver.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent since 1960 hoping to improve student achievement in U.S. public schools? Despite the staggering amounts, as I pointed in a previous post, student test scores in reading and mathematics have remained flat for decades (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013). But just as the Anaheim City Council approved the purchase of police body cameras, not yet a validated technology, Congress will undoubtedly approve spending millions of dollars to buy 50,000 body cameras.

In the meantime, the substantive problems will remain unaddressed—including the disproportionate number of Black inmates in U.S. federal and state prisons (Bureau of Prisons, 2014). Among the 1,517,000 adult inmates during 2013, 549,100 (38%) were Black, although they constituted only 13% of the nation’s population. Body cameras and money, although visible, will remain worthless tools for preventing future disorders and addressing class prejudice, socioeconomic and cultural factors, the racial divide, and the nation’s prison population.

References

Brooks, D. (2014, December 1). Class prejudice resurgent. New York Times. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/11LEbZW

Bureau of Prisons. (2014). Inmate race. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/pgmqqg7

National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). The nation’s report card: Trends in academic progress. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/oczx9p2

White, M. (2014). Police officer body-worn cameras: Assessing the evidence. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/3p2jfv8

—Hugh Glenn

My morning cup of Newman’s Special Blend (extra bold) suddenly tasted bitter after reading the editorial on the front page of the Opinion section of Sunday’s Orange County Register (OCR). The meaning of biased and sometimes unwarranted criticism was clear: kudos to Tom Tait, Anaheim’s mayor; boos to Curt Pringle, the city’s former mayor. picket

The editorial began, “Election season often brings out the ugliest in people [and in editorials]. Negative attack ads and misrepresentations have become commonplace. . . . Local politics are often the nastiest of all. . . . Some of the most deceptive campaign efforts, misinformation and negativity this election cycle are coming from two of the county’s largest and most prominent cities: Anaheim and Irvine.“ To these distinguished sources of misinformation and negativity, I nominate the addition of the Orange County Register.

The OCR’s editorial board accuses Pringle of “running a shameful smear campaign against Mayor Tom Tait,” who is applauded for opposing the “alarmingly lucrative deals lobbied for by Pringle” [and his allies]. He is criticized for supporting a tax incentive to build a new hotel in Anaheim near Disneyland and the convention center.

In fact, more hotels are needed in Anaheim to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors and conventioneers. To fulfill the needs of larger organizations and associations, the convention center must grow to ensure that Anaheim is selected as the convention city instead of groups choosing cities with larger convention centers and enough hotel rooms to house participants. Building hotels and adding space to a convention center is part of economic growth. If Anaheim wants tax revenues and sales taxes from future conventions, it must add convention center space and build hotels.

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Meza killers allegedly

From the Orange County Register:

Two admitted gang members accused of gunning down a 9-year-old Anaheim girl were charged Tuesday with murder, street terrorism and illegal possession of firearms.

Ricardo Cruz, 19, of Buena Park and Alfredo Miguel Aquino, 20, of Anaheim, both were on probation at the time of the slaying.

Probation officers for the two men documented a series of run-ins with authorities and had recommended in September that the pair return to custody, court records show.

Cruz and Aquino are charged with killing Ximena Meza, who was fatally wounded Oct. 22 as she played with her sisters outside the family’s Anaheim apartment.

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ximena meza

9-year old Ximena Meza, murdered in a gang shoot-out crossfire on Thursday evening.

 

Welcome news. The Anaheim Police Department issued this press release today:

Anaheim Police Arrest Two Suspects in Murder of Ximena Meza – Press Conference Scheduled to Discuss the Investigation Incident Overview

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014 around 7:15 P.M. Anaheim Police Officers were called to the 2300 block of W. Greenacre Ave. to investigate the shooting of 9 year-old Anaheim resident Ximena Meza. Meza had been to the front of her apartment complex playing with her sisters when gunshots rang out. Meza was struck once in her chest by an assailant’s bullet. She was rushed to a local hospital and succumbed to her injuries around 8:00 P.M.

Investigation
In the short time since the shooting, Anaheim Police Department Homicide Detectives have been tirelessly working to find the person(s) responsible for the murder of Meza. The investigation included a community meeting at Brookhurst Park, the interview of numerous witnesses, and the processing / collection of evidence. Preliminarily the investigation suggests two or more suspects drove down Greenacre Ave. from Crescent Ave. in a white vehicle. Near where Meza and her sisters played, a male suspect exited the white car and opened fire with a handgun. His intended targets were a group of men who were congregated just west of where Meza played. Meza and her sisters were caught in the line of fire. The group of men fled the scene on foot while the white car, containing the suspect, sped away. It is believed the shooting was gang motivated. To date, no additional victims have been located.

On October 24, 2014 shortly after 11:00 P.M. two suspects were arrested at the Anaheim Police Department for the shooting death of Ximena Meza. Ricardo Cruz, 19, of Buena Park and Alfredo Miguel Aquino, 20, of Anaheim were arrested and booked for Murder.  They are currently being held, on 1 million dollars bail, at the Anaheim Police Department Temporary Detention Facility. At the time of this writing, booking photographs of the suspects are not available. However, they will be available at the press conference.

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Anaheim_Police_Department_badgeThe Anaheim Police Association aren’t the biggest fans of Mayor Tom Tait, and earlier this week the APA issued a letter calling on his campaign to “cease and desist” using, in their campaign materials, photographs of the mayor with APD Chief Raul Quezada and with uniformed Anaheim police officers. The APA also claimed that the use of these photos violates California Government Code Section 3206.

The story was a topic earlier today on the Bill Carroll Show on KFI-AM. Click here for a link to the segment to hear Carroll and KFI reporter Steve Gregory discuss the issue.

Later in the segment, Carroll has APA President Kerry Condon on the program to discuss the senseless, heartbreaking murder of innocent 9-year Ximena Meza in a gang crossfire.  The APA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Ximena’s murderer.

 

This came over the transom this morning from the Anaheim Police Association, in response to recent mailers from the Tat for Mayor campaign. The APA says the mailers use “photographs of Tom Tait with Anaheim Police Officers and Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada…without consent from these officers and violate California Government Code Section 3206” and criticizes the Tait campaign for “suggest[ing] that Mayor Tait has Anaheim Public Safety support” when the “Anaheim Police Association has strongly endorsed Lucille Kring against Mayor Tom Tait in the 2014 election.“:

Cease  Desist Tait 2014_Page_1

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Anaheim Insider here.

In a condescending, inaccurate mailer funded by the Tait Family Trust, Mayor Tait accuses council women Gail Eastman and Kris Murray of giving a “sweetheart” deal to the city’s public employee unions. The mailer is covered with feminine touches such as hearts, lipstick marks and pink-colored lettering. The Tait family’s mail consultant must have been in a hurry because the tea doilies and aprons were left out.

2nd CHA hit on Kris and Gail 10-16-14_Page_1

The Tait camp might want to consider that more than a few women voters are more likely to be offended by the mailer’s chauvinistic tone, which is quite out of place considering the reason Tait’s hand-picked candidate Doug Pettibone dropped out of the race (or rather, was thrown under the bus by the Mayor).

If Murray and Eastman were men, does anyone think the mailer would have looked like this?

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The Anaheim Police Association PAC has paid for a TV ad featuring APA President Kerry Condon chastizing Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait on public safety, particularly his long fight to establish a police oversight commission of the kind being pushed by anti-police activists (for example, the ACLU and the Freedom Socialist Party).

Entitled “Split Second,” the ad apparently began running this morning:

Here’s the ad script:

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The loss of individual privacy worldwide is a residue of technology. Almost nothing can be kept secret anymore—even information never intended for others to see or read. Because we leave digital footprints each time we use a computer or talk on a cell phone, our writings and speech are monitored, collected, and analyzed by the ubiquitous National Security Agency. Moreover, the data and information collected can be stored forever.

COP

Many Anaheim residents and visitors will soon contribute involuntarily to the city’s data archives: video recordings, collected by cameras worn by Anaheim police officers, their purchase and use recently approved by the Anaheim City Council. In previous postings, I questioned the need for cops with Kodaks and the validity of the Council’s rationale for its vote. The cameras purchased are expensive ($1,150,000), and no substantive evidence has yet been presented to support the effectiveness of this technology for the Council’s stated purposes: “Little is known about citizen attitudes toward body-worn cameras, most notably whether the technology increases trust, legitimacy, and transparency of the police” (White, 2014, p. 35). The cost and misunderstandings about the effectiveness of video recordings notwithstanding, privacy is the public’s biggest concern about their use.

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rojasYesenia Rojas, an SEIU-USWW organizer from Anna Drive who has become a de facto media spokesperson for that neighborhood and an active supporter of by-district council elections, as arrested this morning by Anaheim police. According to posts by her network of supporters and friends on Facebook, Rojas was brought in on an outstanding warrant for either interfering with the justice of the police, i.e. obstruction of justice.

Rojas was released on $10,000 bail at approximately 11:00 p.m.; the OC Labor Federation reportedly assisted with posting the bail. 

Council candidate and anti-police activist Donna Acevedo led the social media rally to get Rojas released. On Acevedo’s Facebook page, another anti-police activist, Zia Back, advised:

“Converge at the station. They will freak out and let her go.”

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Robert A. Naslund was a brilliant scholar and professor I respected highly during my years as a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California. An expert in curriculum and assessment, he expressed concern that persons with a vested interest in the outcome of teaching should never Naslundassess or evaluate instruction: “Teachers should never administer school achievement tests because they have a vested interest in the instructional outcome.” Since then, school testing has become known as high-stakes testing, teachers often dismissed because students record substandard scores on standardized and state tests, and fraudulent student test scores have too-often been discovered, major cheating scandals occurring in public schools in Atlanta, GA; El Paso, TX; and Washington, DC.

It is the violation of Naslund’s assessment principle that troubles me about the $1,100,000+ that the Anaheim City Council agreed to pay TASER for body-worn video cameras for Anaheim police officers. What result is expected if Abbott Laboratories, manufacturer of Vicodin, our nation’s most popular medication, were to conduct the research to establish its efficacy? Yet it is TASER (the same company that developed the electroshock gun during the 1960s) that has a vested financial interest by assessing the effectiveness of its body-worn video cameras. TASER sales are brisk and very lucrative these days: According to the Washington Post, sales during the past quarter exceeded $11,000,000—four times the sales TASER recorded during 2013. Anaheim subsequently contributed its $1+ million, and New York City is currently considering a proposal to equip its officers with cameras and increase TASER sales $32,000,000.

Whether cops should wear Kodaks is not the focus of this message. It is the untenable practice by city councils to spend millions of dollars to purchase a technology for which no substantive evidence exists for its effectiveness or for the stated purposes for which councils have purportedly bought it. Valid studies of body-worn video cameras have noted TASER’s role as the principal or collaborating researcher—and the absence of evaluation by independent investigators in the results.

In a study for the U.S. Air Force regarding making more informed decisions when buying new technologies, researchers concluded: “Various risks of committing to unvalidated technologies are much greater than any overall gain claimed for system performance.” Conducting a well-conceived pilot study of body-worn video cameras by police officers in Anaheim would have been a much smarter and far less costly option instead of immediately purchasing an untested, unvalidated technology. In this case, the Anaheim City Council trusted the fox.

Principal U.S. Studies of Police-Worn Video Cameras:

  1. La Vigne, N., Lowry, S., Markman, J., & Dwyer, A. (2013). Evaluating the use of public surveillance cameras for crime control and prevention. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/3p2jfv8
  2. Miller, L., Toliver,, & Police Executive Research Forum (2014). Implementing a body-worn camera program: recommendations and lessons learned. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/lxdg7ej
  3. Police Foundation. (2013). Self-awareness to being watched and socially-desirable behavior: A field experiment on the effect of body-worn cameras on police use-of-force. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/mb3of5a
  4. White, M. (2014). Police officer body-worn cameras: Assessing the evidence. Washington, DC: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/q87pdtu

In my blog of September 21, I explained why the upcoming use of video cameras by Anaheim police officers will not provide transparency. State laws and court decisions will prevent public disclosure of the video evidence police collect. I also noted several reasons for spending $1,100,000 cited by members of the city council to purchase these cameras: accountability, trust, alleviating uncertainty, and decreasing complaints. Contrary to Mayor Tait’s mantra, “little is known about citizen attitudes toward body-worn cameras, most notably whether the technology increases trust, legitimacy, and transparency of the police” (1).

As a writer, editor, and researcher, I am struck by the absence of evidence to support the purchase of body-worn video cameras—about which so little research has been completed. “Scant research exists documenting the decisions made to invest in public surveillance technology” (2). And the evidence for using body-worn video cameras is scanter. Read the rest of this entry »

During the meeting of the Anaheim City Council last week, Mayor Tait commented on its approval to spend $1,100,000 for cameras to videotape police activities, a technology whose effectiveness has not yet been firmly established. Tait referred to “developing transparency, accountability, and trust throughout the community.” I was reminded of words spoken by another governmental official.

“[I am] committed COPto creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government . . . to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.” To date, these predictions by President Obama as he began his first term remain spurious.

Reaction to the unanimous vote of council members was immediate: “Fabulous. We’re going to be even more effective. . . Anaheim at its best, at the forefront of new technology . . . One more step in alleviating uncertainty, and developing transparency, accountability, and trust throughout the community.” The hope for more transparency and the commitment to it, however, will soon disappoint. Cops with Kodaks cannot nullify California state laws and court decisions limiting—and sometimes prohibiting—public disclosure of a wide scope of information.

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AXON Body - FrontTomorrow night, the Anaheim City Council will consider spending $1.25 million over five years or the purchase, maintenance, etc. of 250 body-worn video cameras for Anaheim police officers.

There will doubtless be a parade of the usual “cops are racist murderers” types who will exploit this item during public comments tomorrow night, and media coverage tends to reinforce the perception of body-worn video cameras as a means to keep the police in check. For example, both the OC Register and Voice of OC quote the finding of a Rialto Police Department study that a dramatic drop in use-of-force incidents followed the adoption of body-worn video camera – the inference being that the cameras cause police officers to refrain from actions.

However, it is criminal suspects who are in primary subjects of these video cameras. They know they are being recorded and their behavior changes accordingly. Since body-worn camera recordings are evidence that can be used against them, criminal suspects are far more likely to clam up and be on their best behavior and less likely to provoke the use of force. Consequently, it follows there will be fewer occasions in which the use of force is necessary. 

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anarchists KKKcopsAnti-police activist Donna Acevedo filed her formal intention to run for city council back in March of this year.

She has now taken the next step by pulling nomination papers, which have to be returned completed with the requisite number of valid signatures by 5:00 p.m. on August 8.

That brings to five the number of candidates who have pulled papers to run for city council:

  • Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray
  • Councilwoman Gail Eastman
  • Jerry O’Keefe
  • Doug Pettibone
  • Donna Acevedo

James Vanderbilt (one half of the Tait Slate) has not yet pulled nomination papers.

 

faithful partner

Monuments will be similar to this one (photo courtesy of the OC Register)

Excerpted from the OC Register:

A pair of life-size, bronze German shepherd dogs standing in alert poses atop marble pedestals will serve as the official monuments dedicated to Anaheim’s police canines, designed by an artist renowned for her series of law enforcement dog sculptures across the country.

Susan Bahary was selected by the Anaheim Community Foundation, which has taken the lead in bringing the statues, for $40,000 each, to two new dog parks under construction in Anaheim.
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One thing about radicals is they love to photograph themselves “fighting the power,” and Saturday’s anti-police march/protest in Anaheim was no exception. As they marched from Stoddard Park to Disneyland, the gaggle of revolutionaries, anarchists in Guy Fawkes masks, socialists, ethnic militants and local anti-police radicals posted a photo-chronicle of themselves on various social media outlets – allowing us to see their aggressive efforts to “bring peace to the community.”

There are quite a few on the Twitter feed of the ACSA Collective, which  acts “in solidarity with Anarcho-Syndicalists, Anarcha-Feminists, Black Flag militants, Queer Anarchists, The IWW, and any other libertarian socialist movement” – and judging by their “acting in solidarity” with Saturday’s marchers, local anti-police activists could be included on that laundry list. Here are some representative photos:

acevedo march cops are bastards

acsc anarchy in disneyland

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Anaheim_PoliceHeader2On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council unanimously approved a request from Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray to adopt a policy to hire 10 additional police officers a year for the next for year, funds permitting. From the staff report:

Mayor Pro Tem Murray requested that staff prepare a policy for City Council consideration at the June 10, 2014 meeting to memorialize the City Council’s commitment to public safety by increasing the number of police officers back to pre-recessionary levels. The proposed Resolution adopts a policy to prioritize the funding, as part of the annual budget process, for 10 additional police officers each fiscal year for the next four years beginning with fiscal year 2014/15, should there be sufficient General Fund resources available to fund such positions.

Ensuring citizens are safe in their homes, neighborhoods, on the streets and in their businesses is the first duty of local government. While a tiny but vocal group that frequents city council meetings is possessed of the belief that the public’s safety is threatened by the police, the council acted from the responsible, traditional and common sense position that a police department of sufficient strength is a necessary condition for having a safe community. 

To be sure, reducing crime and ensuring public safety isn’t solely a function of hiring more police. The character of the community, the refusal of citizens to tolerate the presence of criminals and criminal activity in their neighborhoods is a key element, as well as parents doing everything they can to keep their children on the moral straight and narrow and away from gangs or other criminal involvement. But at the end of the day, a city needs good men and women with badges to keep out the bad guys. 

Few things undermine citizens confidence in free government more than that government’s inability to provide law and order. I’ll end with a quote I’ve posted here before from the 1964 acceptance speech of Barry Goldwater, hardly a friend of oppressive government:

“Security from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill that purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens. History shows us – demonstrates that nothing – nothing prepares the way for tyranny more than the failure of public officials to keep the streets from bullies and marauders.”

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray

Anaheim Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray published this op-ed in the Orange County Register:

As the mayor pro tem for the city of Anaheim, public safety is my top priority. There is nothing more important we can do as public servants than to ensure the security of our residents.

At a recent City Council meeting, I proposed a new budgetary initiative to restore the Anaheim Police Department to pre-recession levels. My proposal seeks to hire 40 additional officers over the next four years.

The city’s police officers place their lives on the line every day to serve Anaheim. Following the recent attack on an Anaheim family and officers, which resulted in the serious injury of Anaheim’s K-9 officer Bruno, our city came together to honor our men and women in uniform. We were so heartened when Bruno was able to return home to his family and handler, Officer R.J. Young. My fellow council members and I were honored to host Bruno for his official retirement ceremony on Tuesday at City Hall. Special thanks is owed to all the members of the community who have shown their support for Bruno and our officers.

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APD patchI haven’t posted anything in many, many months. Blogging wasn’t really in my wheelhouse.

However, a friend sent me this op-ed published by Mayor Tom Tait several days ago in the Orange County Register. It struck a nerve with me. Angered me, truth be told; and I feel it is an issue worth discussing.

Mayor Tom Tait write an opinion column touting public safety as his number one priority. However, it appeared his real purpose was re-packaging personal initiatives like “Hi Neighbor” as public safety programs. The mayor said relatively little about actual law enforcement and taking criminals off the street other than a boilerplate “I have been tremendously proud of our Anaheim Police Department in their efforts to meet the public safety needs of our growing, diverse and complex city,” offered in an almost check-the-box way.

The gap between those words and his actions as mayor disturbs me. How can Mayor Tait say he is proud of Anaheim police officers and at the same time embrace activists who routinely stand in front of him at council meetings to denounce those officers as thugs, racists and murderers? Tait doesn’t respond by telling these speakers of his pride in the Anaheim police department. On the contrary, at a recent council meeting marked by protesters saying “f— the police,”  Mayor Tait went out of his way to personally assure them the Anaheim police would not seek them out in retaliation for their hateful rants. How can Tom Tait tell Anaheim residents he’s proud of their police if he thinks it’s necessary to promise those same police won’t search out critics for pay-back? If I were one of the Anaheim police officers in the council chamber, I’d feel as though my mayor is tacitly agreeing with the protesters that I’m dangerous. 

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