Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Definitive Show of Support!

     I have called for a show of support; we now have one.  A definitive one. 

     In an email to the City Manager from Councilman Barber;

On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 1:23 PM, Mike <Mikebarberlaw@aol.com> wrote:
Confirm you recd. tks!

Subject: Immediate need for increase in Police Salaries and Wages
Jim,
Based on a number of factors and concerns, I am formally requesting that you provide to council a budget and financial impact statement of a 6% to 10% increase to police department salaries.  I ask that this be provided by next Tuesday end of business.

I am aware that the impact is significant; However, I and others believe we are at a critical juncture in public safety.  I will outline a few of the many reasons this is needed immediately to maintain community safety:

-In past years, the disparity between the number of qualified recruits and open positions was far less.  Today, there is a disincentive to enter law enforcement, while the demand, according to experts, has increased exponentially.  This, coupled with the increase in violence and property crimes, makes it imperative that we act in the current budget.

-It has become far more difficult to find recruits that can get past the background check and physical fitness requirements-again, significantly impacting supply of potential officers to serve Greensboro.  As you know I made some inquiries and found that a significant and expensive recruiting campaign was undertaken which did not yield an expected number that could enter the academy.

-We must retain our existing force.

-There are many open positions in close proximity to Greensboro which provide an equivalent or greater pay package than we offer.  We are losing officers that were trained at our expense to these communities.  We are not protecting our investment.  

-A significant salary increase will show our commitment to our law enforcement officers, leadership, and employees, and show the community that we have not lost sight of the number one goal of every community-public safety.  It will positively impact a damaged morale, and mitigate the damage done by our inability to properly limit the harm done by a few who instigate and create factless and baseless issues.

Tonight shone a bright light on the need to reaffirm our commitment to the thousands of citizens that count on us to make Greensboro safe.

Please call tomorrow at your earliest convenience so that we can discuss.

Thanks for your continued leadership,
Mike B.

Mike Barber
Attorney
408 Hobbs Rd.
Greensboro NC 27403
     How did I come by this?  I was contacted by City Council member Mike Barber.  Let me say that again.
     Contact was initiated by City Councilman Mike Barber!  I didn't call and leave him a message.  I didn't write an email asking for him to contact me.  Mike Barber initiated contact asking for my support for his above proposal!
     Why is this important?  It is important because a member of our much maligned City Council has stepped forward and realized the crisis state that the City of Greensboro finds itself in.  I have documented in this blog the rapid and increasing rate of attrition that is currently under way in our police department.  I have documented the difficulty we have had in finding qualified recruits and our recent inability to fill and maintain recruit classes.  I have documented the lack of vocal support to equal the volume of those who are hellbent on tearing down the police department.  And I have documented the bottoming out of morale among our dedicated officers.
     As spelled out in the above email sent to the City Manager Jim Westmoreland, Councilman Barber gets it.  Allow me to provide Councilman Barber some ammunition.
     According to the website www1.salary.com/NC/police-officer-salary.html, these are the average field police officer salaries for the top paying municipalities in North Carolina as of April 27, 2017:

1.  Gastonia                $53,414
2.  Charlotte                $52,332
3.  High Point            $51,921
     Winston Salem     $51,921
5.  Cary                       $51,588
     Raleigh                  $51,588
7.  Salisbury                $51,541
8.  Kannapolis             $50,569
9.  Asheville                $50,477
10. Concord                $50,468
11. Greensboro          $49,627
12. Hickory                 $49,217
13. Durham                 $49,216
14. Chapel Hill            $48,384
15. Wilson                   $48,376
      Rocky Mount        $48,376

     That's right; the third largest city in North Carolina is 11th.  That number does not tell the entire story either.  Of these cities listed, only Charlotte, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount and Greensboro does not provide take home vehicles for their field officers.
     I spoke with a Durham Police Officer by phone while confirming this information.  He is retiring May 31st.  He advised that their current Chief of Police is working on salary and take home patrol vehicles as we speak.  They are in the infant stages of assigning cars and are close to having enough vehicles to accomplish that goal.  Durham has assigned 7 officers patrol vehicles and are working now to assign all patrol officers vehicles.  Take home vehicles are a huge selling point to recruits and officers due to the money it saves the officer in transportation costs.  With a huge push by local agencies such as High Point and Winston Salem to actively pursue lateral transfers with Greensboro officers being a main target, the need to take steps defensively to maintain our experience and numbers is at a critical point.  Greensboro is no where near being able to provide these vehicles.
     What to do?  Mr. City Manager I implore you to ask for the full 10%.  Our recruiters are being hamstrung to sell our department to the most qualified of applicants by salary and benefits.  If we cannot offer the "perk" of a take home vehicle you must provide our recruiters with something to distinguish the Greensboro Police Department from all the others.  Greensboro Police Officers and our department must have a distinction that they can call their own.  
     A 7% raise brings us to 3rd on this list.  With all of the political assaults and rancor being aimed at the Greensboro Police Department, all of the morale issues, all of the lack of trust in police administration that exists in our department, we need to be first on this list!  10% gets us there!
     I have known Mike Barber for over 30 years.  I haven't always agreed with his political positions but he has always listened and been able to discuss any differences of opinion.  I may disagree with him in the future.  He asked for my support on this issue and I emphasize Mike Barber initiated contact with me!  
     MR. BARBER YOU HAVE MY FULL SUPPORT ON THIS PROPOSAL!
     If you are an officer or a supporter of the police department he should also have yours.  He believes we have the money to do this.  It has become a necessity.  I implore each and everyone that supports our police officers to contact the City Manager's Office, the Mayor and your city council representatives in support of this proposal!  I also ask that regardless of political affiliation you show your support and gratitude to Councilman Barber for his action as it is very much a "step out on the ledge" in this current ridiculous political time of bashing for our department and officers.
     Those councilmen that step to the front to alleviate this state of crisis within our city will be noted, congratulated and documented in this blog.  Those who don't; likewise.
     WE MUST SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL FROM COUNCILMAN BARBER AS LOUDLY AND ARDENTLY AS THOSE PREDICTABLE FORCES THAT WILL OPPOSE IT.

     Mike Barber has stepped to the front for our police officers.  We must join and support him on that front and back his action to the fullest!
       

Monday, May 8, 2017

Transparency?

     Transparent:

     free from pretense or deceit; easily detected or seen through; readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information.
                                                                  -merriam-webster.com

     Transparency; the new political "buzz word" of Greensboro.  It is so popular to use that even a local activist group has embraced the word in its' name.  At the heart of the definition of the word is the" ability to see everything".  No where in any definition of transparency is the term "perception".  Yet our politicians and local opportunistic antagonists seem hellbent on adding "perception" or should I say "their perception" to the definition.  Or maybe interpretation based on their perception is a better way to put that.  Either way the term "transparency" rarely fits into a sentence or description regarding agenda.  
   
     Agenda:
   
     an underlying often ideological plan or program; a political agenda.
                                                                   
                                                                    -merriam-webster.com

     Interesting isn't it?  One word's definition begins with "free from deceit", the other "under lying".  In other words the definition of the two terms begin in opposite words.  One word suggests honesty; the other politics.  One suggests allowing each individual to observe and decide on their own; the other suggests fashioning the evidence to fit your message or plans.  Is there transparency in politics or activism?  In a word; NO!
     In the political and activist's world, transparency is nothing more than a catch phrase, a rallying cry or another way to gin up one's constituency.  In Greensboro, the use of the word has absolutely nothing to do with truth and often even less to do with another often used term "what is right"!
     The folks in Greensboro that would have you believe "transparency" is their goal have either lost their way or have succumbed to the folly of our most notorious opportunistic civil antagonist.  The actions of these "activists" in our City Council's business meeting on May 2nd were not only criminal but ridiculous.  Who did they impress?  Themselves?  Certainly not the vast majority of citizens in this city who regardless of political affiliation collectively shook their heads, not only of the actions of the activists but at the weak lack of action from the Mayor and council.  It seems that these young folks have been convinced that risking arrest is a way to bring attention to their concerns.  Did it work?  Again, they impressed themselves.  Did they change any one's mind who do not or did not  share their view prior to this ridiculously ineffective action?  Doubtful.
     Nelson Johnson and his lackeys have been allowed to effectively use a bully pulpit and have been aided and abetted by Nancy Vaughn and the remainder of the council.  Some of the council have provided aid by facilitating these outbursts.  Sharon Hightower has received leaked and confidential information which she has disseminated to these activists.  Jamal Fox has become more focused on race this term with little regard for truth.  Mayor Vaughn has refused to control meetings and constantly and consistently enabled out of order speakers (yellers) from the floor to interrupt any attempts to present evidence that would be contrary to their agendas.  Other council members have taken the position that providing consequences for their disorderly actions (i.e. arrests for criminal behavior) would be "giving them what they want".  We have chaos.  We have disorder.  We have ineffective and inefficient government.  W also have a "lack of transparency".  When one side refuses to allow the other side to respond and totally dictates the floor, that is not transparency.  
     It also accomplishes nothing!  What Nelson Johnson is orchestrating is nothing more than a money grab.  Think old Nelson isn't getting a cut?
     You see, the City of Greensboro is self insured.  For as long as I can remember, Greensboro's position is to "settle" when it costs less than possibly trying a case.  Right or wrong is not considered.  Before this current council, law suits were only tried if a settlement would set a dangerous precedent for future cases.  The past few years, Greensboro has been giving out money without a lawsuit even being filed!  Further, this Mayor and council have given away money without even waiting to see if the criminals are convicted in criminal court and insisting charges be dismissed.  This sets a bad precedent and good old Nelson has taken advantage of this weakness to the fullest.  Criminal convictions not only cut the legs out from under any grievances of police misconduct, but they force the criminals to find attorneys that will take their cases.  With a criminal conviction there aren't many attorneys that I know that are willing to begin such a case pro bono.
     Just where do our Mayor and City Council members allegiances lie?  They are supposed to represent the majority of citizens.  Giving away tax payers money like candy before a criminal action is even heard certainly is not in the city's best interest.  Being an elected official does not give you the right to serve your own interests first.  Participating in this type of money grab is no more than indirectly receiving contributions to your own campaign fund.  If dissenting elected officials are not  speaking out against it as loudly as the activists are speaking, they are complicit.  
     In the Dejuan Yourse case, these activists point to a portion of the video and completely ignore all other facts or parts of the videos.  Nelson Johnson enticed Yourse's mother to seek restitution.  Of course, our transparency folks want to ignore the video of Mom thanking the police for preventing her son from breaking in again!  They want to ignore the fact that none of the neighbors who called the police in the first place did not see anything so egregious that they came out of their homes and filmed it themselves.  They want to ignore the fact that Yourse had 50 prior felony charges on his resume.  They want to ignore the fact that he received a punch in the head because he was attempting to break a female police officer's arm while he was resisting a lawful arrest.  They want to ignore that given the facts as the officers knew at the time, they had the authority to handcuff Yourse immediately for investigative detention.  Guess what; had they done that, the fight with Yourse would have begun sooner.  DeJuan Yourse had absolutely zero intention of submitting to lawful authority that day.  After considering these facts, where is the transparency.
     So they gave him $95,000 of taxpayer money.  Was the council vote unanimous?  Did we see or hear loud and demonstrative dissent to this decision?
     The result is a false narrative against police officers that our local media, especially irresponsible columnists like Susan Ladd, are only too happy to enable.  The other results; 68 or more open positions in our police department, subversiveness in the police administration, inability to fill police recruit classes, inability to retain officers of every level of experience, disrupted council meetings and a crumbling city being crushed against the weight of this nonsense.  More importantly, absolutely zero effective dialogue is occurring between those who would and could help constructively address police/community relations.
     These activists love to hide behind the constitutional right of lawful, peaceful assembly or protest.  There is no constitutionally guaranteed right to take over a council business meeting and occupy a council chamber.  This "sit in" was planned and advertised at least a week in advance yet no response was organized or planned to alleviate it.  Enabling at its' finest.  Doing nothing just encourages these activists to go further.  How much longer until one of these illegal, unlawful actions results in violence?  There is a history there you know.
     It is time to GIVE them what they want!  Arrest their butts!
     I promise you that once the charges and more importantly the court costs and fines start mounting up, they will be much more reasonable.  Speak out of order; kick their butts out!  Refuse to leave peacefully; take them to jail!  They have had enough hollow warnings.  If these activists or transparency advocates are serious about improving the political environment in which we have allowed to be created here in Greensboro then make them come to the table with solutions and ideas.  Without consequences for these unlawful and disruptive actions they have no impetus whatsoever to deviate from Nelson Johnson's preferred plan of attack.  Stop dismissing criminal charges and allow the courts to rule.  The enabling and appeasement has to stop.  It does not work and will not work!
     Greensboro is under siege and the only way to separate those with genuine intentions from those who are in it for the money and notoriety is to restore order before Nelson Johnson gets what he really wants; another armed confrontation to exploit.
                          

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How much more?

     A gunshot victim lies in the street.  Two police officers locate him.  They have been looking for him and notify communications of their location.  His condition is critical.  He is probably going to succumb to his injuries.  According to Body Worn Camera footage, aid is not immediately rendered for 7 plus minutes.  The victim's father was there on the scene.  The gunshot victim dies.

     A very general description indeed of a circumstance that befell two young and relatively new Greensboro Police Officers recently.  The above account generates many questions and seemingly calls into question the qualifications of these two officers.  Most folks reading this account would want to know more details; why the aid came after 7 minutes, what was the officers thinking, were they not trained in first responder care?  Did they freeze?  Did they not want to help this poor victim?  There has got to be more, right?
     Of course there is.  However, our local opportunistic antagonists have presented this event precisely in the manner described above and are using this as yet another attempt to denigrate and criticize the working men and women of the Greensboro Police Department.  THIS account fits their narrative and once again weak government and administration within the city and the police department have aided and abetted this on going narrative.  More details you say?  Okay.
     Let's add in that the "poor victim" had just shot a police officer while resisting arrest which is why the officers had to look for him.  Instead of obeying the law and submitting to the officer's lawful authority to arrest this convicted felon, he instead chose to not only resist but to also feloniously assault the officer by shooting him with a weapon he was unlawfully carrying in an effort to escape arrest.  The officer returned fire as the law allows.  This fact is not in dispute!
     When the two young officers located this "fleeing felon" they informed police dispatch.  Before they could administer care, they had to deal with an irate father who was doing his best to infiltrate the crime scene.  Emotionally distraught and concerned for his son you say?  Maybe.  However, this "concerned and distraught" father cared so much for his son that he would not allow his son to remain in his house and made him leave and go back outside.  Why would he do this?  How do we know this is true?
     The blood trail for one.  You see, this "concerned and distraught" father did not shelter his son and call for medical attention or alert the police that his son had been shot as almost every other father would do because he did not want the police in his house.  Why?  The father did not want the police to find HIS drugs and guns.  How do we know this?  The search warrant conducted on the residence once the police learned it was also part of the crime scene, a crime scene generated because his son had shot a police officer.  Is the interference from the father on the Body Worn Camera footage.  Of course it is.  Was the father creating an officer safety hazard that the officers had to deal with immediately for their own safety?  Absolutely!  Did they make the comment when dealing with the "distraught and concerned" father that when you shoot an officer you might get shot?  Yes.
     Guess what?  When you shoot a police officer you probably run the risk of getting shot back!
     Do these extra little details change the perception for you, the readers and citizens, as to your first impression of the opening paragraph?  If not, you also have an agenda.  It does not matter if you are a citizen, council member, police administrator or city employee of any level.  Failure to recognize the hazards that these two young officers faced in determining whether or not they were complicit in this criminal's death is incompetent and self serving. Nothing that happened during this incident warrants the termination of these two officers.  Most of you have not been in this situation.  I have.
     A police involved shooting is a Signal Zero situation.  That means every available officer no matter his or her assignment should be heading to this scene to assist.  During a business hours situation like this, that includes administrators and supervisors.  Where was the assistance for 7 plus minutes.  Where were the supervisors (sans the corporal who responded to assist)?  Where were all of these Monday morning quarterback police administrators who are so quick these days to judge and terminate?  Why did it take 7 plus minutes to get assistance to these two officers to help deal with this "concerned and distraught" father?  Where was the Commanding Officer of the Field Bureau or one of his designates? 
     Over the course of writing this blog I have been as supportive of our police administration as I could possibly be.  I have even taken a bit of grief from some of my police readers as being too "soft" in my criticism or even my deflection of such, recognizing the pressure from our local politicians and civil agitators and their effects on decision making.  To a certain extent I can understand why they would believe that.  I have attempted to give the benefit of the doubt to most police administrators that they truly have the officer's best interest at heart and are caught between a rock and a hard place.  This incident makes that very hard to do now.  In fact, almost impossible.  It stops today.
     These two young officers were originally recommended for two weeks off for failing to render aid to this criminal that shot a police officer and whose personal safety was being threatened by an aggressive father who cared so deeply for his son that he would not allow him to stay in his home and rendered absolutely no aid himself.  Had the "concerned and distraught" father allowed his son to remain in his home would a search warrant even be necessary?  Obviously the "concerned and distraught" father did not give consent to process the scene.  Yet, we have a police administration once again giving into Comrade Nelson Johnson and his minions with barely a whimper.  We have an Assistant Chief of Police, James Hinson, once again over-ruling the findings of an internal investigation and insisting on termination and getting his way.  Does anyone find it ironic that James Hinson has become the most heavy handed disciplinarian that I can remember in my history with the Greensboro Police Department?
     We have council member Sharon Hightower supporting Comrade Johnson and his minions with not one shred of information she lawfully gained, instead completely relying on information leaked to her from someone inside the police department with not one investigation being conducted to find out who is unlawfully releasing it.  We now have a member of the farcical committee that calls itself the "Citizen's Review Board" giving confidential information to the most notorious reporter in the city for making stuff up, Susan Ladd.
     These actors in this chaotic, out of control city soap opera would have you believe this is all in the name of transparency.  They would have you believe that the depiction of this event happened entirely as I described in the opening paragraph.  The truth or totality of circumstances doesn't fit their narrative or agenda.  Time and time again in the name of votes our council has allowed the most notorious civil agitator in Greensboro's history and a failed attorney to dominate council meetings.  Every council member has neglected to ask these phonies one simple question when they rail on against the department and cite racism as the only reason these things occur.  How?  Just once I would love to hear a sitting city council member demand that these positions and claims of racism be supported with facts!
     They want transparency, right?  When will a city council member support the Greensboro Police Department and its' officers as loudly as they allow these outside forces to dominate council meetings?  When will this ridiculous and continuous bashing of police officers be taken to task, demanding all of the facts to come out?  Are the citizens of Greensboro so out of touch with the politics at play that they are willing to allow their police department to be devastated at the hands of a group that has hated police officers for years and done everything in their power since 1979 to destroy it?
     Is being the Mayor worth it?  Is that council seat worth allowing a communist brand of "transparency" to dominate a rapidly declining city?  How about being city manager?  Have you no conscience whatsoever?  How long can one ambitious police administrator with allegiances to this group with a distinct agenda be allowed to dominate police discipline?  Is this what these folks call transparency?
     The effects have been and will continue to be devastating.  When I joined the Greensboro Police Department in 1985, there were approximately 1000 applicants for 26 job openings.  As of this writing there are approximately 26 retirements, resignations and terminations currently pending with no adequate replacements in sight.  We have a police Captain who is leaving to go to Salisbury....Salisbury!!!  Veteran officers are leaving to take warehouse positions, lower paying Deputy positions in other counties and lateral transfers to traditionally lower paying departments that are matching Greensboro salaries.  What once was considered the best municipal police department this side of the Mississippi River is now one of the lowest paying departments in our state.  Our police administrator's, city manager's and city council's response; appease Comrade Johnson.  We now have at least 60 plus vacancies in our police department and expect it to go higher.
     Those who can afford to move and are paying attention to these actions are fleeing the city limits.  Those that can afford to move but are staying are surrounding themselves in a cocoon inside their elitist neighborhoods and continuing to vote for and pat our city council members on the back for a job well done.  Is there anyone in the city that has the guts to stand up and stop this horseshit?
     I have my doubts.                      
      

Friday, March 24, 2017

All is swell!

     Remember the movie "Animal House"?  In one of Kevin Bacon's earliest roles he plays a butt kissing pledge of a fraternity (Chip Diller) who is also a member of Neidermeyer's ROTC regiment.  In the climactic final scene he can be seen, in uniform, screaming at the top of his lungs "all is well" as he is getting trampled by the chaotic masses running hysterically through the downtown streets.  I hate to say it, but that scene reminds me of someone.
     I have been a supporter of Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott since his appointment after the disastrous tenure of Ken Miller.  Chief Scott walked into a situation that was bad before Miller arrived and was made worse by Miller allowing City Council, the City manager and virtually every opportunistic antagonist in Greensboro to gain further access and influence over the police.  Our City Council has a "few" folks that are supportive of our officers and department but have no one that has any clue what being a police officer entails.  They also aren't trying to educate themselves either.  When is the last time any one of them did a ride along?  Citizen's academy?  Even the Citizen's Academy, though a good way to learn some things about the job, doesn't fully describe the day to day turmoil that can occur in an officer's life.  The job can be and is often a roller coaster of emotions that takes a very special type of individual to navigate.  There is stress in that job.  In 29 years of police work I never fully understood what the amount of that stress was or its' impact on my life.  It wasn't until after retiring did I realize the amount of stress that was there from the job.  What I did realize was the amount of stress that came from a very real part of that job that civilians usually do not consider; bureaucracy.
     Over the past month I have heard from many of my former colleagues.  They are not happy.  They are counting the days, minutes, seconds to retirement.  They are looking for new jobs.  Some are stuck because they are too close to retirement to leave without negatively affecting their futures and families.  Many who are not close to retirement or relatively new in the profession are leaving.  The department is very short on personnel.  The recent police academies are not being filled and cannot keep up with the attrition.  What was once a shining star among national law enforcement agency recognition has now been reduced to one of the lowest paid agencies in the area, state and nation.  North Carolina currently ranks as the 8th lowest paying state for law enforcement.  30 years ago, Greensboro trailed only the State Highway Patrol in this category.  It is now the least favorable agency to work for in Guilford County.
     Yet, Chief Scott is telling us "all is well"; the attrition seems to be trampling him going out the door.
     Why?  Does Chief Scott really believe this?  His officers don't.  A significant portion of his administrators don't.  The retirees that communicate with their former colleagues don't.  I would even wager a city councilman or two don't.  When Chief Scott says it, does he really mean it?
     Or, is Chief Scott in full survival mode?  I have written about, observed and fully believe that Chief Scott was the target and victim of an attempted coup.  Nelson Johnson and his cronies which include certain city council members as well as certain departmental members attempted mightily to have him removed so that he could be replaced with their guy but failed.  They will try again.  Nelson Johnson has been adamant about it since the moment he found out he wasn't getting his way the second Chief Scott was chosen.  28 years of hard work and dedication would be out the window short of achieving a deserved retirement costing him thousands if not millions of earned retirement benefits.  Has this caused Chief Scott to reduce his role as a leader of the department in order to do what is best for his family?
     I believe the answer is somewhere between the two points.  Family comes first.  He has no advocates of significance speaking on his behalf publicly.  Maybe the ridiculously left wing media isn't reporting on those advocates?  More likely, what advocates he has have not been speaking up because it is the easy way out.  Elections will be held in November but I see absolutely zero help on the horizon for our Chief, our department or even our city in the way of candidates who will make a difference or citizens that are paying attention to what has been going on the past 15 years.
     Going into survival mode requires a person in a position like Chief Scott's to agree to things he has to know won't work and can't work.  Beards and green hair may be cute and well meaning but do not inspire confidence with police officers when he is not loudly supporting officers who are being bombarded with stupid and inane agendists that are constantly allowed to disrupt council business meetings for the purposes of blaming police officers for daring to arrest criminals.  A good example is the recent discovery of a young man that apparently got himself arrested during Fun Fourth that Nelson Johnson has located as his most recent "victim" that he wants paid.  He also wants to use this against Chief Scott and if you have any notion that his reasons for getting involved are honorable, you are an idiot!  His history tells you that.  Just so happens I am familiar with this particular "victim" and his mother.  I guarantee you there are other SRO's, school personnel and administrators that are as well.
     Survival mode for Chief Scott (and I am basing this on knowing and working with him for years) requires a bit of self-induced denial".  In other words, he has to convince himself to a certain extent that these actions and words do not defy common sense policing or it can drive the honorable man and police officer that I know him to be crazy and destroy him from inside.  Family comes first; no police officer that I know will dispute that.  However when you take that course there is virtually no way to balance that with maintaining officer morale or confidence with those under your command.  Under our current political and city administrative personnel and the climate they have created, no one else is capable of doing one bit better.
     Greensboro Officers not only have been subjected to idiotic statements from politicians, insane and short sighted apologies to criminals and city officials who lack any semblance of intelligence or common sense, they have had to sit back and watch criminals get paid ridiculous amounts of taxpayer monies without even allowing a court of law to decide guilt or innocence.  They have watched as our "supposed" leaders cower in the face of radical extremist views with nary a hint of verbal or written support.  In the meantime, other municipalities are trumpeting and the media is reporting double digit raises for police officers.  In a world where candidates are eschewing entering or remaining in the profession, better run cities are taking action.  Greensboro is crumbling.
     I like Wayne Scott.  I admire and respect Wayne Scott.  I understand the position he is in.  It SUCKS!  He is no different than anyone else that has been given the task of working for folks that care nothing about city employees and only their position in the Greensboro "elite".  Wayne Scott cannot make chicken salad when all the ingredients above him are chicken shit.  I'm sure he suffers.  I know the police officers, support personnel and other employees of the Greensboro Police Department are suffering as well.  I am not nor have I ever been in a position like his.  In many ways, I see him standing off to the side of the rampaging crowd lest he be trampled flat; like Kevin Bacon.  In one way, I cannot blame him; self and family preservation. He is chum in shark infested waters. In most ways, I feel bad for my officers for they are the ones being trampled beneath the feet of some very selfish and evil people.  
     Captain Al Stewart gave my rookie school (the fightin' 59th PBIC) an analogy I have never forgotten.  He said that in our society, there are 25% pro police citizens, 50% no nothings and 25% assholes who hate the police.  They are defined as 25% that love us for the job we do, 50% who have never encountered personally a police officer and 25% who are criminals and left wing extremists who do not like any authority.  Until that 50% wakes up in Greensboro, we will continue to be castigated for the amusement of antagonistic opportunists.
     Listen to the Mayor or read her Facebook posts.  Pay attention to the other left wing council members.  Do the research and see if you come to the conclusion that all is swell"!                      

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Appalled!

     Appalled-  greatly dismayed or horrified.  synonyms; horrified, shocked, dismayed, distressed, outraged, scandalized.
                                       -Google dictionary

     Nancy Vaughn was "appalled".  "It was ugly.  It was brutal.  It was completely unnecessary".  What manner of devastation was our Mayor describing?  It was the Body Worn Camera footage of a breaking and entering suspect who was resisting arrest.  It was a suspect that had been observed and reported by his mother's neighbors for using a shovel to pry open his mother's garage door to steal from her yet again because he no longer had a key and had been banned from her residence.  It was a career criminal that has an extensive  record of lying, deceiving, resisting and stealing.
     "It was ugly"?  How?  There was no blood, no use of force, no death and the only thing close to an injury was to one of the officers.
     "It was brutal"?  How?  No disfigurement.  No weapons used.  The guy resisted to the end and certainly was not helpless.
     "It was unnecessary"?  Is it not necessary to arrest suspects that are attempting to break into someone else's property?
     What it was Mayor Vaughn is a lot of emoting on your part to ingratiate yourself to the opportunistic antagonizers in this city so that you may continue your charade as an effective leader.  Over and over again your new found "liberal-ness" has trumped any semblance of common sense you may or may not possess simply because you love being an elected official.  Your very obvious political "left turn" the past 15 years has come at the expense of our city and all of the numbers in the most recent Development and Trend report confirms it.  But it's your willingness to throw law enforcement under the bus to appease and impress your buddies that you somehow perceive are necessary to placate to remain Mayor that has me "appalled".
     An officer was shot last week.  More than that, my friend Justin was shot last week.  Justin was doing his job.  The suspect was attempting to avoid Justin from detecting that he was feloniously breaking the law.  The suspect attempted to flee.  The suspect attempted to resist physically.  The suspect then shot my friend Justin.  Our Mayor offered a fairly generic statement;

  "On behalf of the City of Greensboro, our prayers and well wishes go out to the officers and their families for a full and speedy recovery".

Generic, impersonal, cold, emotionless.  She couldn't even call the officers by their last name.  It was almost as if she was a bit disappointed that she couldn't find a reason to somehow deflect blame from the suspect and had to live with the fact that the officer had a right to defend himself from being shot at.  Then, her tone changed as she continued;

  "In addition we would also like to recognize that another family is grieving and we send out our prayers and support to them as well'.

Make no mistake about it, there are people in Greensboro that are almost desperate for an officer involved shooting to occur in this city.  It throws a monkey wrench into their agenda though when the officer gets shot first.  At some point, one of our local opportunistic antagonists will try to portray this incident as being the officer's fault.  The Mayor will once again go out of her way to appease.
     Where is the condemnation of the felonious act of shooting a police officer?  Where is the outrage or "appalling" comments about a suspect who demonstrated every dangerous trait a criminal can possess?  Quite frankly, I am appalled that "sympathies" for a convicted felon that shoots an officer in an attempt to kill him is given equal billing by who is supposed to be the "leader" of the city.  There certainly is no such equal billing when she perceives the officer is wrong; only apologies and resolutions against officers.  My friend Justin did his job.  He was courageous in doing it.  He also has to live with it.  Statements from city leaders that give equal billing to a criminal that tried to kill him is not very encouraging.
     As for ugly, brutal and unnecessary I agree on "unnecessary".  It was unnecessary for Dejuan Yourse to try to break into his mother's house, again!  It was unnecessary for him to resist arrest.  However, make no mistake about it; the arrest was absolutely necessary.  Yourse completely controlled how the arrest went down.  There is also one indisputable fact.  Dejuan Yourse is 100% responsible for his interaction with Officers Cole and Jackson that day.  The officers did not put him at his mother's house and plant in him the intent to break in and steal from his mother.  The officers did not collaborate with his mother's neighbors and say "give Dejuan a shovel and call us when he gets to the garage".  Breaking into houses, refusing to get out of the road or choking a child; the police rarely get there before you do it.  Yet, our Mayor and majority of our council genuflect to the whims of antagonists and continue to enable excuse making and creating an environment where taking personal responsibility for criminal decisions goes without consequence.  
     I have been asked by folks on both sides of this issue what I might have done differently were I the responding officer.  Without actually being there and in the situation I can only speculate.  I believe that approaching Mr. Yourse, seeing the shovel and knowing the call details I would have handcuffed him almost immediately for an investigative detention.  Given what we know from the video and what we now know about his record, I believe that I would have been in a physical struggle with Yourse almost immediately.  From the beginning of that video, Yourse knew he was caught.  When he  perceived the conversation with the officers was about to end in his arrest he immediately started looking for an escape route.  Dejuan Yourse was going to fight ANY officer that tried to arrest him that day.  It just happened to be Officers Cole and Jackson.
     I am appalled too.  I'm appalled that this Mayor, City Council and City Manager have consistently and successfully succumbed to pressure for criminal charges to be dropped on these suspects before they are adjudicated.  None of them are qualified to make judgments on criminal violations or even to interpret what they are seeing on a police video.  They have very much assisted the media in enhancing the atmosphere regarding the mistrust of the police.
     I am appalled that Dejuan Yourse and Rufus Scales continue to be portrayed as innocent victims and Officer Travis Cole continues to be vilified even after he has left the Department.  Councilperson Sharon Hightower requested that "the charges on Yourse be "expunged" so that people won't see them in his criminal record".  No problem Sharon; he had over 50 felony arrests on his record before Officers Cole and Jackson responded to his criminal behavior and even more since.  We will hardly notice these wrongly dismissed charges between all of his convictions and recent felonious acts; like choking an infant child.  Those who continue to insist Officer Cole is somehow a "racist" because of his unfortunate luck of the draw with these two criminals do not like it when you point out the FACT that Officer Cole received a life saving award for assisting a person of color. He has a history of assisting citizens of all races even giving of his own time and money for projects such as repainting an elderly lady's mailbox after she was the victim of graffiti vandalism.  Not that it matters but yes she was African American.  Heaven forbid the Mayor, Council, Manager and media err on the side of "thoroughness" and report mitigating factors to go with their embellished aggravating ones.  I guess they believe the man lived despite Officer Cole's actions.  I suppose the break on a felony charge that Officer Cole gave Rufus Scales at the jail shouldn't count either.
     I am appalled that we have lost two good, young officers because our council chose to support and even pay two criminals with histories of deception, choosing to believe their portrayal and those second and third hand renditions of antagonists with agendas over two police officers with no criminal history.  Due to their actions and refusal to move on from this incident the media continues to attack these officers though they no longer work with the city.  News accounts of the recent arrests of both Yourse and Scales automatically and predictably contained references to Officers Cole and Jackson though neither officer had any involvement in their arrests.  Common denominator; Yourse and Scales.
     I am appalled that the Council and even the Police Department add fuel to the fire with ridiculous "resolutions" calling for the revoking of Officer Cole's certification.  These "resolutions" are a waste of time and amount to nothing more than political grandstanding.  The Council obviously does not know the required criteria for Training and Standards to revoke a law enforcement officer's certification.  The Police Department SHOULD and should have known that their "resolution" was weak, worthless and displayed to the working officers a loyalty to outside forces over their own.
     I am appalled that those who call for "transparency" only call for the BWC video that they want to see.  How about the video of Yourse's mother thanking officers for stopping her "son" from breaking into her house again!  Transparency is not a one way street.
     I am appalled that their is no investigation into the administrative leak that has fed confidential  information to Sharon Hightower and Lewis Pitts.  Pitts openly opines about "protecting his courageous whistle blower".  His source is obviously within the upper administration, is a coward with an agenda and hides behind the safe haven of anonymity.  If this "source" had information that was accurate and damning he should fear no reprisal from this council and Mayor as they have demonstrated a gutless determination above and beyond to bastardize the Police Department and its' officers and take the side of radicals and extremists.  Yet, no investigation and no information corroborating any of Pitts claims.  Is the Police Department and City Council afraid of the results of an investigation into how and who is involved in illegally releasing confidential employee information?
     Finally, Mayor Vaughn concluded her "appalled" comments this way;

  "This is not the city I want to be Mayor of".

Agreed.  I don't want you to be Mayor anymore either.  Your actions and allegiances the past few years have been "Appalling"!

             
   

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

     Rufus Scales got arrested again.  Should we be surprised by that?  You remember Rufus and his brother Devin don't you?  They are the two brothers that were GIVEN  $50,000 by our City Manager, Mayor and City Council because Nelson Johnson told them to or he would call us all racists.  Worse yet, the case against the brothers were dismissed at the behest of city officials instead of being tried in the courts even though the charges were determined to be lawful at the time of arrest by a judicial official trained in evaluating probable cause.  None of this stopped our biased local media and other opportunistic antagonists from continuing to lam bast Officer Travis Cole for making "false arrests" though every piece of legitimate evidence suggests otherwise.  It didn't stop those same forces from using this previous "un-tried" case against him to attempt to take his job and that of an assisting officer because they dared arrest a thief they had prevented from breaking into his mother's house...again!  What was his name again?  Oh yeah, Dejuan Yourse.  The guy our Mayor apologized to because Nelson Johnson and his band of antagonists from the land of embellishment insisted she do so; all those votes you know.  Now a group that uses the term "transparency" in their name wants videos and personnel files and who knows what else to keep this case in the public view even though Officer Cole and Officer Jackson have both moved on from GPD.  Fine by me; I love transparency.  Why don't we discuss that just a little bit further.
     First off, let me say for the record that not everyone in the group Greensboro Operation Transparency is unreasonable and insincere though the folks out front that speak for that group certainly seem to have their own agenda.  In fact I recently had coffee and a two and a half hour discussion with one of their members about each others concerns.  He requested that we meet because he wanted to get my impressions and input from a law enforcement perspective.  I in turn openly discussed a few folks that were involved with his group that I had "reservations about their motives".  Our conversation was very civil and I would do it again with this young man.  We agreed on much more than he ever believed we would.  I believe that this young man sincerely wants the same goal as I do; we just believe in different paths to achieve it.  This is a person that we can work with.  He is an asset.
     I was somewhat surprised that the News-Record actually printed a story about the Scales arrest.  They reported that he was charged with Felonious Breaking and Entering and Felonious Larceny.  Research says that is true and that his bond is $5,000.  The facts listed in the article sounded more like a burglary to me but until I actually ask a police officer and get the facts from a reliable source I will refrain from comment.  Why is this a big deal you ask, he is already charged with two felonies?  Because as recently as 1978, First Degree Burglary was a capital offense in North Carolina.  It is a more serious crime that comes with more serious consequences.  Of course the News-Record had to include the Cole incident in the write up as if that somehow mitigates this and all of his other crimes including a statement of the video showing Cole "throwing Scales to the ground".  I watched that video that was run on Fox8.  So did you.  Well, they have the reputation they have for a reason.
     Of course, Scales is the older story so "maybe" that is why they reported Scales Sunday arrest and conveniently overlooked the Friday arrest of Dejuan Yourse.  His arrest information would have been located in the same stack of papers that reporters have routinely checked for years to get these stories.  Of course, another arrest this recently after his publicized run in with Officers Cole and Jackson would certainly be a bit more damning of the ridiculously offered Mayoral apology and the efforts of GOT to retrieve more information on Cole.  It certainly more than defeats the characterization of a poor, innocent man just hanging around waiting on his momma....with a shovel....prying a garage door...to check for a dog....that is mean....and apparently doesn't bark.  Wonder if we paid Yourse yet?
     Transparency you say?  Okay; where is the Body Worn Camera video of Yourse's mother thanking the police for preventing her son from breaking into her house and stealing from her again?  Where are all the neighbor's cell phone recordings of the Cole/Jackson/Yourse incident?  Oh wait, the neighbors are the ones that called and reported that Yourse was breaking in!  Where is the internal investigation of just who in the police department is leaking confidential information to Sharon Hightower?  Nelson Johnson?  Lewis Pitts?  Pitts admits he is protecting sources "within the department".  Are these details being leaked by rank and file officers?  Or are they being leaked by the much more likely sources in upper police administration?
     It is my understanding that a video exists as evidence in the Friday Yourse arrest that shows a rather severe assault on a female committed by him.  Since the GTO seems to not want to wait to see videos even though they are evidence of a crime or investigation of any type, will there be a demand by certain councilmen (Fox, Hightower) to have this video publicly viewed?  Certainly demonstrating violent tendencies would influence the perception of the officer's stated observations that day they encountered Yourse?  After all, Mr. Yourse has become the face of GTO's demands for transparency.  Should we not know everything about their cause before making decisions about their demands?

     It seems to me that total transparency is only accomplished when ALL sides are revealed.

     One concern for me that pertains to the Greensboro Transparency Organization and its' efforts to obtain Officer Cole's personnel file (and I expressed it to the aforementioned GTO member) is the perception of many and a belief of mine that obtaining that file has absolutely nothing to do with Officer Cole.  GTO wants that file because they are desperate to find something, anything to use against Chief Wayne Scott in their continuing efforts to have him removed so Nelson Johnson's choice can be appointed.  The attempted coup that I wrote about was real.  It was put down.  The losing side refuses to accept it.  Publicizing Yourse's Friday arrest would not enhance their efforts; and the News-Record knows it.
     On September 26th, 2016 I submitted a PIRT request with the city for e-mails from specific personnel regarding the Cole case.  75 city working days later I finally received 413 "edited" e-mails with some very specific omissions on January 17th, 2017.  I am still reviewing those.
     Previously through the PIRT system, I requested information on any documentation of monies specifically paid to a Brian Watkins who is also a disciple of Nelson Johnson and is involved with GTO.  I received confirmation of a $10,000 payment and a copy of his filed lawsuit in which he ADMITS to breaking the law.  However, the city advised me that there was no known documentation of who authorized that payment.  $10,000 of tax payer money given to an admitted law breaker yet no one authorized it?
     Had these criminal cases been tried it is likely that convictions would have been gained.  There would have been no monies paid.  Taxpayers would be at least $60,000 better off.  There would be no grounds for crying about "false arrests".  Prosecuting these suspects would have cost the city nothing.  Convicting them would have allowed the City Council the ability not to be inundated with complaints, of course dependent on the Mayor to actually make an attempt to control a meeting.  If a Judge found grounds for an acquittal or dismissed the case then you can examine the case for false arrest.  Improper conduct by an officer does not excuse criminal action by a suspect. 
     Has Yourse been paid?  Or does GTO need him to keep waiting so that he can be used as leverage to gain Cole's file?  I am positive it has been discussed.  Either way, if the goal is transparency then let us accomplish it together without agenda and more importantly completely!    
        
     
     
       

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Will Greensboro Continue to Buy What the Council is Selling?

     Gso Growth and Developmental Trend Report https://t.co/PwxAIBC3YI @greensborocity #GoodforGreensboro #soGso.  Poverty down 4 pts.  Median income up $1K.  Developmental plans at pre-recession levels and much more!!
                                                         Posted on Facebook, January 3, 2017 at 3:13 p.m.
                                                         by Greensboro Mayor Nancy Barakat Vaughn

     I am sure that the last thing you want to be reminded of 5 days before the Presidential inauguration is that this, 2017, is an election year.  Quite frankly for the residents of Greensboro it is more important than the 2016 election.  Our local city elections are held during "off years" and more often than not appear to go unnoticed by the local electorate.  11.5% of registered Greensboro voters is all that bothered to show up to vote in our municipal election in 2015.  No new council members were elected as the 11.5% that showed up were those that for the most part were somehow satisfied with the status quo.  Greensboro of course is and always has been a "blue" city.  Even though the council positions are deemed to be "non-partisan", everybody knows who is who and are frequently reminded by those who are incumbents so voters that vote "party" instead of results won't screw up the club.
     North Carolina's economic numbers improved the past few years though it appeared to me that   Greensboro is being left behind, possibly in part to our Mayor and Council's on going pissing contest with the General Assembly.  Greensboro has ranked at or near the top of some economic categories that certainly are not indicators of governmental success the past several years.  So, when I read our Mayor's Facebook post (above) I interpreted it to mean that maybe Greensboro was actually starting to trend upward despite our Mayor and City Council's best efforts to continue with their failed and historically ineffective progressive philosophy.  And unlike virtually everyone that read that post, I decided not to just take the Mayor's word for it and actually read the report for myself.  The actual numbers did not support the Mayor's post; at least not if you read the entire report and actually investigated the numbers.
     One of the things I like about how this report is written is that it provides comparative numbers for similar size cities in North Carolina.  As you may know, lots of comparisons have been made with Durham recently as our council full of social elitists attempt to sell us on the idea that a Greensboro Performing Arts Center will enhance our community as it has Durham's and will be every bit as successful.  I have taken the position that Greensboro has far more needs than another elitist play toy and does not have some of the advantages that Durham enjoys that makes their PAC more viable.  The numbers in this report bares that out.
     Let's start with wages.  Those who have money will spend it on some form of entertainment.  According to the Developmental and Trend Report (DTR) referenced by the Mayor the average wages in Greensboro are up the past year $1,230 ($44,520 to $45,750).  On its' face that would look okay.  However, that figure places us last when compared to Durham, Winston-Salem and Raleigh.  Further, our average wage according to this same and similar reports on our city website states that our average wage in 1990 was $36, 628.  This would appear to be an increase of approximately $9K the past 25 years.  Appearances can be deceiving.  When factoring in inflation (converting 1990 dollars into 2015 dollars) our wages have fallen off significantly.  Using an inflation factoring website (in2013dollars.com) $36,628 in 1990 equates to $66,423 in 2015.  By reverse, the celebrated "$1K" increase to $45, 750 in 2015 equates to $25,228 in 1990. An argument can be made that average wages in Greensboro went down more than $10K the past 25 years and probably as much as $20K,
     What's that?  It's going on everywhere you say?  Okay, let's check Durham.  In 1990, average wage in Durham was $35,024 which equates to $$63,514 today.  This report documents Durham's current average wage as $66,042.  In reverse that number equates to $36,418.  Durham has virtually kept up in this department.  In my opinion there is nothing to celebrate in these figures on average wages in Greensboro.
     To put this in a little perspective, Police Officers, Firefighters, Teachers, Emergency Services personnel and the vast majority of city employees make much less on average than what the average wage "should" be.
     Unemployment rate is another category that Greensboro has led the state in the past several years.  As we know, these numbers have been the subject of suspicion based on the apparent manipulation by progressive governments.  The DTR lists Greensboro's unemployment rate as approximately 5.5%.  Several of my fellow local bloggers have opined the policies of this council and city government that are not only harmful to businesses staying open but also discouraging new businesses from coming here.  This council and city staff seem to rely entirely on retail and continuously concentrate on frills.  They are out of touch with citizens that have to and need to work for a living.  Of course if you look at the make up of our council, very few of them understand "work".  Do I believe that figure of 5.5%?
     The DTR lists Greensboro's population at 285,344.  School children make up 84,221 of that number; 72,196* in Guilford County Schools, 3,660** in 7 charter schools and 8.365*** in private schools.  Approximately 50% of those students live in Greensboro (42,110) with approximately another 16,000**** preschool age children.  Subtracting these numbers from the total population there are approximately 227,234 working age adults.  The DTR reports that 136,841 Greensboro residents are employed.  That leaves 90,393 unemployed citizens; 40% of the population that is NOT working.  Is that extra 33% all retired?  Disabled?  Or are we using the federal government's "voodoo" math to tell us that all is well?
     If you do not believe the accuracy of the unemployment rate number (and I don't) then how can we possibly believe the reported drop in poverty percentage when it appears that a large percentage of our population has been conveniently ignored?
     Even with these numbers, the DTR is reporting a 10% employment growth in Greensboro between 2010-2015.  The DTR reports Durham's employment growth as 27%.  While Durham's majority of growth in jobs are reported to be in the fields of technology, health services, professional and scientific services, Greensboro's largest increase was in the field of "other services", described as the fields similar to equipment repair, advocacy and pet services.  It is little wonder that Greensboro ranks poorly as a city that people can start a career in.
     Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting an African American young woman who is a recent graduate from North Carolina A&T with a four year degree in Economics.  She is originally from Minnesota and located here for her last couple of years of high school to establish residency that would help her with tuition.  For years this city enjoyed population growth from out of town or state college students who liked Greensboro so much they stayed after graduation.  I expressed to this young lady that it has become very unusual the past 20 years for graduates to stay here due to the lack of job opportunities. She politely informed me that she leaves in two weeks because of that very thing.
     This has become the norm; high school students leaving town for college no longer return.  College students no longer stay.  According to the DTR only 36.3% of Greensboro's population is between the ages of 20-44. down almost 5% since 2010.  Under the current conditions it will get worse.  Forbes refers us to the website wallethub.com where a panel of university employees in the field of job resources ranked the largest 150 cities in the United States as best to worst in ability to start a career in.  The results for 2016; Raleigh 6th, Charlotte 22nd, Durham 42nd, Greensboro 83rd, Winston-Salem 87th, Fayetteville 99th.
     They are no longer coming, they are no longer staying.  The city is becoming older, poorer and there is no changes being considered that will correct either.  Yet we believe this city can support frills like a performing arts center when our citizens make $21,000 less a year on average than the city they are trying to emulate; and we haven't even begun to discuss the surrounding areas like Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Cary and all the other supporting areas that make Durham's performing arts center a success.
     This city council needs direction and leadership.  This citizenry needs to lose its' apathy.  Stop letting elitists and social antagonists control our city.  Too many of our Greensboro residents are suffering financially and are being taken advantage of socially.  Our City Council in general and our Mayor in particular need to stop worrying about who the President is, what the General Assembly is doing and address the business of the City of Greensboro.  Stop emphasizing social issues in an effort to divert attention from our poor local economy.  Unfortunately, I have no confidence in your ability to do this.
     Change in these philosophies or improvement in leadership will not happen unless voters show up in less than 10 months to reconfigure and eliminate the mundane and ineffective make up of this council.  Greensboro needs leadership; badly.  Stop with the smokescreens and slight of hand and address Greensboro's problems.  If you are so void of ideas and unwilling to change your unsuccessful policies and practices ( and your record says that you are) step aside.  You are killing this city.



*      gcsnc.com
**    publicschoolreview.com
***  privateschoolreview.com

****  this figure is approximated by taking the average of students in each grade and multiplying that number by 5 (for ages 0-4) to estimate the number of preschool children in our population.