Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Police Profiling / Oregon Statute HB2002; and my thoughts...

Police ‘profiling’ is the issue du jour in legal circles these days.  Oregon State’s Legislators, knowing little or nothing about the subject of ‘profiling’ – as it relates to the law enforcement mission – have decided a law is required – HB 2002.

We should understand that ‘profiling’ is something that each of us do, almost daily.  It’s a human trait.  You walk down the street.  You size up someone coming toward you, and adjust your behavior accordingly.  That’s ‘profiling.’  For police, ‘profiling’ can become an effective deterrent to crime – not to mention a survival skill that will carry them through their shift.

Now, our Oregon Legislators feel, in a vague sort of way, that ‘profiling’ is probably a naughty thing for police to be doing.  And, in some instances I agree that police can abuse it.  However, when those abuses do occur, they need to be corrected by administrators within the department.  If supervisory personnel are unable to correct the problem, they should be held accountable.

However, our Legislators feel they should codify the ‘profiling’ issue.  And, as they might opine in describing the urgency, ‘Something is better than nothing even if nothing is the result of our attempt at something.’  OK, yes, of course, why didn’t I think of that?

I don’t want your eyes to glaze over, but you really ought to read the following; and attempt to imagine explaining this recently enacted law (without smirking you understand) to a new recruit at the police academy.

This is how our legislators (in their infinite, superior wisdom and expensive, nonetheless questionable, legal training) define profiling and what our law enforcement officers are supposed to comply with:

“Profiling means that a law enforcement agency or a law enforcement officer:
 In conducting a routine or spontaneous investigatory activity or in determining the
scope, substance or duration of the routine or spontaneous investigatory activity, relies on
age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation,
religion, homelessness or mental disability to select an individual for or subject the
individual to the routine or spontaneous investigatory activity, except that using a specific
suspect description related to a criminal incident or suspected criminal activity is not profiling;
 In conducting an investigatory activity in connection with an investigation, relies on
age, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, language, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation,
religion, homelessness or mental disability as an identifying characteristic or circumstance
of an individual, unless credible information relevant to the locality or time frame
links the individual to an identified criminal incident or criminal activity.
Routine or spontaneous investigatory activity includes an interview, a detention, a
traffic stop, a pedestrian stop, a frisk or other type of bodily search and a search of personal
or real property.”

As you can see by the above wording, the Law does not clearly define what ‘profiling,’ actually is – only painting with a broad brush, hoping to impart the general gist of the idea.  Seems to me that a police officer won’t be able to talk to practically anyone while on duty – at least no one actually needing to be talked to.

In other words, as I read the law, a police officer interviewing an obviously mentally deranged individual, or a wandering homeless person, is involved in ‘profiling’ and should therefore be disciplined for this professional transgression.  Gee, and I always thought that used to be called good police work.

Oh, I suppose the law enforcement officer is free to chit chat with a passing young attractive woman, or in some instances a young attractive man, as long as the person is of an equivalent race and ethnic origin; and, of course, has the same sexual orientation as the officer - and providing said officer’s intentions are strictly social.

So, what does this all mean?  Well, basically, it means that any experienced, savvy cop will not be doing much of anything proactive to protect the public.  Why should they?

PS:  Oh yes, one other thing:  The Oregon Association Chiefs of Police (OACP) actually have endorsed and support the new law on ‘profiling.’  So, what am I to make of that?  Actually, I expect the Chiefs recognize the inanity of the new law – and consider it little more than ‘eye wash’ for the public.

True Nelson

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Donald Trump, Game of Thrones and the Wall

Well, Donald Trump seems to be gaining ground in the Presidential poles.  It’s unfortunate, but he does have a certain appeal for many.  What is it about him that attracts supporters?  It’s basic and understandable.  He is perceived as a ‘can do’ personality.

The issue of the day is his proposed ‘impenetrable wall’ between Mexico and the United States, to prevent the flood of illegal immigrants.  Many, including myself, agree with him that the illegal immigration problem is a significant issue that needs to be addressed.

The ‘wall’ sounds good – to some – but it wouldn’t work.  Or, let’s just say it isn't particularly practical and wouldn’t solve the problem.  Most of my career has involved security issues, security measures and facility protection.

Here is what would work:

  • Of course, the border needs to be clearly delineated; and there needs to be some significant fencing and warning signs along the entire border – which, I am almost certain currently exists.  There should be no possibility that someone could inadvertently wander across the border and claim ignorance.  This is just common sense.
  • But here is the real answer that politicians resist for their own stealth reasons.  It is time that this country issued National Identity Cards and developed a system for employers to easily check for citizenship or legal residence. Furthermore, those who employ non-legal residents would be subject to sizeable fines.  For major corporations and those entities who obviously should know better, the fines should be enough to really get their attention.
  • Mexico should be required to pay U.S. costs for the incarceration of ‘illegals’ who commit crimes within the U.S. and / or Mexico must accept and incarcerate the criminals themselves.
  • Other ‘illegals’ (non-criminals) found within the U.S. should be compassionately treated, the matter properly adjudicated, and necessary appropriate action taken – some allowed to stay under certain circumstances – some required to return to Mexico.

So, why won’t the above be enacted?  I will put it to you plain and simple.  Actually, I don’t really have to tell you, because most of you know this already.  Regarding our politicians:

Democrats want the ‘cheap’ votes.

Republicans want the ‘cheap’ labor.

True Nelson

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Confederate Battle Flag / Mass Murder, Mother of Emanuel Church, Charleston, SC / My Thoughts (Part 2)

Regarding my previous post on this subject, my opinion remains basically unchanged.

However, after hearing the recent speech by Governor Nikki Haley which was compelling, I do have one clarification to make.  I was not aware that the Confederate Flag is flown over the Capitol of South Carolina.

Governor Haley, in a very conciliatory manner to all those for and against the flag, stated that the flag would no longer be flown over the Capitol.  I agree with her statement and the reasons she provided.

My earlier comments, perhaps not entirely clear, were partially directed at the hip-shooters like Walmart and Amazon who immediately said they would discontinue the sale of the flag – which, of course, caused a huge bonanza of flag sales; and was a decision undoubtedly based on efforts to generate publicity for their respective companies.

However, my main objection was directed at New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who I referred to as a doofus (still hold that opinion), for his suggestion that the City tear down the statue of Robert E. Lee.  Mayor Landrieu must have felt the tragedy in Charleston was a perfect opportunity to get some much needed press time.

Well, that’s Louisiana’s problem.  So, I’ll leave it at that.

True Nelson