Saturday, January 28, 2017

Unplanned Growth and Inconvenient Truths

Haven't even had my second cup of coffee, and I already need to clarify some stuff.

In the past two days, a bunch of stuff has happened:
the FB page passed 10,000 likes, just one year in,
that's drawn a lot of new readers to the page,
I ticked off a bunch of sovereigns masquerading as " patriots" and shortly thereafter banned them,
had a millenial know it all condescend to me about what he thinks I don't understand about MJ regulations,
and now I'm getting scolded for 'fake news' about the silliness of New Mexico's laws that regulate sheriffs.

So, here's the thing:
I do this on my own time.
I don't have anything to sell.
I don't answer to any department head.

Add those things up:
I answer to 1. the truth and
2. my personal insights into those issues, in that order.

Before you pick a fight with me (which you won't win, btw--
I own the banhammer, and I don't like rants, trolls or drama), understand that I am a believer in fresh air and sunshine, even when it's inconvenient.

If you turn on the flock, you're not a sheepdog, you're a wolf.
I will call you on that.

If you tell me you'll walk into a firefight with the guy next to you, but you won't drive him to PT when he gets hurt and his wife is desperately trying to hold onto her job, or help remodel his kitchen so he can get his chair through the door, I'm going to call you on that.

If a county, city, legislator or department head is shortsighted, archaic or stupid, I will call them on that.
That's the cool part. I get to say that.
Take advantage of it, rather than getting mad at ME, and maybe we can get some stuff done.

Guess what?
The bad guys already KNOW you're short staffed, that laws have tied your hands, that some of your departments don't send you to the trainings they should, or issue you PPEs.

Let's tell the rest of the world, and maybe things can start to change. At the very least, you'll know you're not alone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rural Badge Problems #1

1.Google Maps does not know you exist.

2. The Google Earth car has never been here.

3. The attendance programs for the schools can't figure out your addresses, so it doesn't want staff to input students it thinks 'live outside your district'.

4. There are multiple addresses on the same house, from different systems over the years. No one wants to change the numbers, because friends know the address differently, depending how long they've lived in the area.

5. There's no such thing as home mail delivery. The PO Box IS the address.

6. There are both odd and even numbers on both sides of the road.

7. Sometimes the numbers start over randomly, or skip one, for no reason anyone ever explained.

8. 'General Delivery' still exists.

9. Garmin and Siri can't tell the difference between a Forest Service road and a paved one. And they can't tell you whether either one gets plowed on weekends.

10. 911 mostly works, but sometimes the cell tower sends it to the next county instead, for no reason anyone has ever figured out.

11. People still refer to roads by names that were used fifty years ago, before the state highway came through, and expect you to know where they mean.

12. "That hill where the horse is always standing by the road" or "where the green barn used to be before it burned down" is considered legitimate location description.

Monday, January 23, 2017

What I Want to See from the New Administration

Another police-oriented FB page asked what we would like to see for law enforcement , from the new administration .
I don't care about blue lights on the White House lawn, or who makes phone calls to bereaved families .
*photo by Ohio Going Blue*

I want across the board legislation , codifying medical care and retirement benefits for line of duty injuries.
I want the mission of Wounded Officers Initiative taken national.
I want to see an end to headlines about fallen Stanislaus County Deputy Wallace's past injuries still being fodder for courts.
I want it never to be okay again for a critically wounded officer like Deputy Hutchinson to be stripped of basic benefits.
I want wounded officers like Officer Crosby to never have to hope for a fundraiser big enough to help with the resources he needs, and deserves.

Some commenter who's not even involved in a blue family is mad at me ; he's arguing about letting those government bad guys get involved , saying I obviously have no idea what's at stake .

I say obviously he has no idea what wounded officers and their families face daily , in the uneven battle to claim what they have paid for , in blood , from a system designed only to minimize employer cost .

If he thinks it's okay for an officer with a career ending injury to duke it out alone in court , versus lawyers who do nothing else , he needs to strap up himself and throw the dice .

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When a Rural Badge Falls

I watched the press conference hosted by Rolette County Sheriff Medrud. Several things about it struck me as very specific to rural agencies; it is brutal when an officer goes down, but there are some multipliers that complicate matters for small departments.

First, like Modoc County Sheriff Poindexter last fall,
Sheriff Medrud was rolling toward the shootout himself when it all went sideways.

In a remote area, a working boss is a necessity--but it does make things harder when press conferences and press releases need to be organized, loved ones need to be located, there's no PIO, and now the boss is part of the incident.
Rolette County only has nine patrol deputies.

Deputy Allery fell to gunfire last night.
Three more are now on administrative leave.
Do the math: nearly half of that sheriff's patrol staff was placed out of action last night.
Other, nearby agencies are graciously covering as many of their calls as possible, but that can't go on forever.
Reporters asked the sheriff what sort of support will be provided for the surviving deputies. He tried his best to answer well, but the harsh reality of rural living is that counselors skilled in police stress are in short supply.
Eleven officers have been shot in the line of duty in the first three weeks of 2017.
By my definition, eight of those shootings were in rural areas.
One, last night, was fatal.
Two more--in Calvert, TX and in Tonopah, AZ--were clear ambushes, by any definition.
Wear your vest. Don't get complacent. Look out for each other.
Mayberry's a myth. This is real life.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

It's Better to Be Right, Than First

Quick note this morning about 'news' , and then I've got to do some real work:
Last night a truckload of hysteria was overtaking LE-oriented news pages, and getting endlessly repeated.
While a situation is ongoing, we HAVE to be the ones to step back, take a breath, and wait. First reports are nearly always wrong.

Further investigation nearly always turns up more stuff.
If you are to trust me as a source and as a writer, I have to be as accurate as possible.
If you want others to trust you, as LE or blue family, you too have an obligation to only pass on stuff that's verified.
The situation in Harris County got endlessly re-shared, even though it was being simultaneously reported as:
1. a gas station robbery
2. an active shooter (every shooting is not an active shooter situation, btw)
3. a home invasion and
4. even, eventually an OIS and then , worse, an officer down.

It is not possible for any one situation to be all of those things at the same time.
Therefore, step back, wait and don't repeat anything, at all, until stuff gets sorted out.
If you have to ask, do it by pm, rather than publicly. Get other eyeballs onboard.
Where's the harm in that?
Lately I've even seen 'please pray! Officer down! Firefighter shot!" posts that were months, sometimes YEARS old.
It scares people when that happens. And it erodes trust.

Check dates, please.
Use Google News. Search for things.
If a story can't be verified, wait.
If I share something and it turns out later to be different--
I'll share the real deal, and retract the first story.
So far I've only had to do that once.
I'd rather do it every day than have readers start regarding my page as a source of doubt.
And I'd always rather be right, than be first.