Need Help? Who Do You Call?
Each day across this country lives are saved because a dedicated 911 operator dispatched emergency personnel to help a panicked person. Every year there are some 240 million urgent calls made to this ‘one nation, one number’ system. The value of the 911 organization is beyond question.
But how many times have you heard a recording of a 911 call in which the operator seems bored, uninterested or downright rude?
The latest incident occurred when a 14- year-old called from the back seat of a car to report her father and his fiancé had been struck by a hit-and-run driver while changing a tire. Sitting alone on the Baltimore-Washington Beltway she and her little brother were scared to death. [click to continue…]
Sgt. Edward J. Burns as a Young NYPD Officer
Generally speaking law enforcement types are a quietly proud bunch. They are proud to put on the uniform every day, proud to catch the bad guys and proud to dedicate their lives to keeping the public safe.
There might be no prouder cop these days than Sgt. Edward J. Burns, the retired New York Police Department’s media liaison. Besides dedicating 27 years of his life to public service — much of it as the TV face representing the NYPD — Burns has much to brag about. A lovely wife named Molly and three beautiful children. His daughter, Mary, was celebrating her 28th wedding anniversary the day Burns and I last spoke. And, oh yeah, his two sons are famous.
The sons didn’t go into law enforcement but each has dedicated parts of their careers to cops in another way, telling captivating stories about the job to which their old man dedicated his life. [click to continue…]
U.S. Airstrike Against ISIS at Mosul Dam
Let’s not kid ourselves. We are back in the business of war again.
Oh, the politicians can call it whatever they want — like a counter-terrorism campaign — but when U.S. fighter plans are dropping bombs on ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria we are at war.
When we send Navy vessels out to sea to facilitate the fight we are at war.
When we are simultaneously attacking a secondary group of Muslim extremists calling themselves Khorasan we are, in fact, engaging in a multi-level war.
Washington might cling to the belief that absent battalions of boots-on-the-ground it isn’t really a war. But the fact is, we already have plenty of troops on ground in that region (left over from past conflicts) and what are called “advisers.” [click to continue…]
Taking A Tactical Cue From Rosa Parks
A notion struck me as I studied the continuing stream of news about the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. After his funeral I wondered, could we be witnessing the birth of another historic civil rights movement.
If you are white you may think that’s a ridiculous notion. A recent Pew Research Center Poll reveals that 80% of blacks believe the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that need to be discussed. But, only 37% of whites agreed. Even more troubling: 47% of white Americans think the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.
This signals a disturbing disconnect. When 80% of one group of people says there is a basic human rights problem in America the rest of us ought to be willing to listen and discuss. [click to continue…]
This Veteran Needs to Come Home
Okay, I’m going to propose something radical. I’m sure it doesn’t fit into the strict confines of how our U.S. State Department conducts foreign policy but here goes …
How about we ask Mexico to do us a favor for once? Not only has that sieve of a country sat back and watched as more than 100-thousand desperate Hondurans, Guatemalans and El Salvadorans streamed through on their northward search for a safer life, they have also taken decades of generous U.S. foreign assistance without so much as a what-can-we-do-for-you?
Well, here’s what they can do for us. They can expedite the judicial process for U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, held in Mexico since the last day of March, 2014. He is due back in court in Tijuana this coming Monday but without some high powered attention being applied it’s unlikely he will be quickly released. [click to continue…]
Are We Really Independent Thinkers?
Another 4th of July holiday has come and gone and every year I try to think past the BBQ’s and beer and ponder the origin of Independence Day.
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
That is, of course, the most famous line from the Declaration of Independence approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
We learned that quote as school kids but these days it seems out of touch with where we are as a nation, doesn’t it? [click to continue…]
PACT – A Commitment to Positive Change
Ten minutes on the phone with David Lockett and you realize this is a man of high integrity, compassion and vision. After a lengthy conversation with him I came away believing if there was ever a man we should follow in the fight against crime it is David Lockett.
Lockett’s business background is in the trucking industry. He also developed and has run a program for nearly 20 years which embraces society’s toughest, hard-core juvenile criminals and gives them the tools to turn their lives around. It’s called the PACT LifePlan and Coaching Program and its guiding principle is the idea that if we help young people avoid a lifetime of crime everybody wins. Spend a little time giving a kid some skills and a plan for his or her future and the country gets a law-abiding, contributing taxpayer in return.
In the long run, it’s a lot cheaper than paying for their trip (or trips) through the U.S. justice system. [click to continue…]
First Animal DNA Lab in the U.S.
As far as crime laboratories go it is not very impressive looking. And it is not very big, with a permanent staff of just three forensic scientists and a few interns. But the work product that comes out of the Veterinarian Forensic Lab at the University of California at Davis is important and it has changed the way crimes are investigated and prosecuted worldwide.
The lab has been called the “CSI of the four legged world” and it is the nation’s first laboratory dedicated to animal DNA profiling.
It’s accredited by the prestigious American Society of Crime Lab Directors because the VFL conducts animal-related forensic tests as rigorously as any lab dealing with human DNA. [click to continue…]