Tuesday, March 17, 2009

911 Dispatcher Jacque Stetler Charged with Misconduct

A 911 dispatcher was arrested on charges of misconduct stemming from an incident in 2008.

According to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, Jacque Stetler, 49, of Bath, allegedly used her position as a dispatcher to provide sensitive information to another.

Stetler will appear in Bath Town Court April 2.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Finally Being Investigated

You might not be familiar with Joe Arpaio. He is the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.

Joe gained fame for making inmates wear pink underwear. He literally brags about it.

QUOTE: [ The MCSO uniform is now black and white stripes for every inmate and of course our world famous pink boxer shorts....And of course most men, especially those in jail, do not like the color pink.]

Joe also brags about having the only all-female chain gang in history. Yeah, he brought back chain gangs.

Joe has crossed the line on quite a few occasions. Last year, a class action suit was initiated against Joe.

In July 2008, five individuals and Somos America, a Latino community-based coalition, sued Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and Maricopa County, claiming that they or their members were unlawfully stopped and mistreated by law enforcement agents because they were Latino.

The county, of course, asked the U.S. District Court in Arizona to dismiss the lawsuit. This past February, the ruling was handed down.

A federal judge denied a request by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to dismiss a lawsuit against him that alleges his deputies have racially profiled Hispanics.The ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Mary Murguia allows lawyers for the Hispanic civil rights group Somos America and other plaintiffs to continue pressing their allegations in court.

Now, the U.S. Justice Department is getting involved.

The U.S. Justice Department has launched a civil-rights investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office after months of mounting complaints that deputies are discriminating in their enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Officials from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division notified Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday that they had begun the investigation, which will focus on whether deputies are engaging in "patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures."

An expert said it is the department's first civil-rights probe related to immigration enforcement.

What's the big deal with Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

*Ole Joe has been ordering deputies to "scour" Latino neighborhoods looking for illegal immigrants based on skin color.*

Joe refuses to grant female inmates reproductive rights. Joe refuses to allow female inmates access to abortion clinics without a court order. Why? Joe claims he doesn't run a taxi service from jail to an abortion clinic and back.

Ambrett Spencer was nine months pregnant when she was serving her sentence for drunk driving. Unfortunately, she was in Joe's jail. Joe's sergeant on duty decided that Spencer was not top priority. The baby was born dead.

While Spencer is suing Joe, that is just one lawsuit of the more than 2,500 jail conditions lawsuits that have been filed against Arpaio in federal court alone.

Joe doesn't allow female inmates to see their babies after birth.

Joe has built a tent city to house his inmates. Temperatures can reach 138 degrees. Joe's response to complaints? "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths."

Believe me...those examples are merely samples. There is more. But not everyone thinks Joe is a dick.
Despite criticism from Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Arizona Ecumenical Council, and the Anti-Defamation League, The Fox Reality Channel offered Sheriff Arpaio a reality TV show entitled, "Smile, You're Under Arrest." The show centers around elaborate sting operations run by Sheriff Arpaio to capture people wanted on outstanding warrants.

Ah...family programming.While the U.S. Justice Department is investigating, a petition has been created to urge Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to suspend Arpaio’s 287g agreement that allows him to enforce Federal immigration laws.

Charges Dismissed Against Officer Robert Schmidt Arrested for Soliciting Sex from Undercover Officer

A D.C. police officer was arrested in a downtown hotel last month after he allegedly solicited sex from an undercover officer in an Internet sting run by the department's anti-prostitution unit, authorities said yesterday.

The misdemeanor charge against Officer Robert A. Schmidt was routinely dismissed last week after he completed a day-long education program called "john school," in which first-time offenders are instructed in the risks of prostitution, according to his lawyer, Harold D. Martin. He said neither he nor Schmidt would comment on the sting.

Authorities alleged that Schmidt arranged to meet a woman he thought was a prostitute after responding to an advertisement investigators placed on Craigslist, an online classified service.

His meeting with Officer Madeline Collado, who was posing as a prostitute, took place Feb. 20, just after 5 p.m., in a fifth-floor room at the Embassy Suites hotel near 10th and K streets NW, according to an affidavit filed by police in D.C. Superior Court. The document quotes their conversation in a room wired for sound and video.

"So, what do you do for a living?" Collado asked him, after the two had exchanged pleasantries.

"I work with the government," Schmidt said, to which Collado replied, "How cool is that!"

After they set an $80 price for a half-hour of sex, other officers entered the room and arrested Schmidt. He was released with a court summons, a standard procedure in such cases. Because he completed the john school, sponsored by the U.S. attorney's office, the charge of soliciting for prostitution was dismissed March 10 at his first court appearance.

Asked whether Schmidt faces departmental disciplinary action, police spokeswoman Traci Hughes would only say, "There's an administrative investigation underway."

Schmidt, an officer since 1994, worked for several years in a drug enforcement unit in the Narcotics and Special Investigations Division before leaving the division in 2007, said Inspector Brian Bray, head of the NSID. The sting that led to Schmidt's arrest was run by the division's prostitution enforcement unit, Bray said.

He said Schmidt was among eight men arrested in the sting that night.

"He was really one of the better officers in the department when he was working for me, a real hardworking guy," said Bray, who called Schmidt's arrest "sad."

At the time of the sting, Bray said, Schmidt was a youth crimes investigator, a job that often is a path to a promotion to detective. Yesterday, though, Schmidt was working in the 4th District, in the northern part of the city, assigned to a program in which officers walk foot beats to stay in close touch with residents, officials said.

Other Information:

Fairfax County Officers Accused of Cheating Scandal

Two Fairfax County police officers accused in a cheating scandal involving promotional exams have left the department, and two others have been placed on administrative duties with pay, according to police sources.

First Lt. Susan Lamar, 44, an assistant commander in the organized crime-narcotics unit, retired last week after 23 years with the department, sources said. Sgt. Keela M. Lowry, 39, the county's first black female police supervisor, resigned last month, they said.

The scandal erupted last month when Lamar was accused of offering questions from the police department's upcoming sergeant's exam to an officer studying for the exam. Instead of taking the questions, the officer turned in the lieutenant, prompting an internal investigation. Lowry, who was on the testing committee, has since been accused of leaking the questions to Lamar.

Two other sergeants -- Eric P. Leeds and Michael J. Guston -- have been placed on administrative leave with pay while the investigation continues, the sources said. Both declined to comment.

The police internal affairs unit is also investigating the 2006 sergeant's exam, on which Lowry did well and was soon promoted. The written test is given every three years, along with an oral "assessment center," and a promotional list for each rank is created based on the total performance on all test phases.

Mary Ann Jennings, a Fairfax police spokeswoman, confirmed that four people had been linked to the cheating allegations and that one had retired and one had resigned. An officer who retires is allowed to collect pension and benefits, but an officer who resigns cannot, Jennings said.

Meanwhile, a new test was quickly composed so that the promotional exam can still be given Saturday.

In 2008, Fairfax police officers were paid base salaries ranging from about $45,000 to $81,631 for the most experienced officers, county records show. Sergeants were paid a minimum base of about $74,000 and a maximum of $85,713, though some officers and sergeants earn more by working overtime.

Jennings said more than 30 officers were elevated to sergeant in the past three years based on their performance on the 2006 test. Some officers have said that if some of their colleagues were unfairly promoted after the 2006 test, then other officers were unfairly denied promotions and their accompanying pay raises. They asked how the department would rectify that and whether an outside agency should be brought in to investigate.

Jennings said: "The question remains, how does the police department make it right when we don't know who, if anyone, didn't get promoted because of what happened? We're still investigating to see how many people might have been involved. We're trying to be fair. But the bottom line is, it's time to replace that [promotional] list."

She also said there was no reason to ask an outside agency to investigate. The police internal affairs unit uncovered the current problems, and "given the scope and quality of investigations conducted by IA, we see no reason to change our practices," she said.


Other Information:
FAIRFAX COUNTY POLICE: Cheating Admission Raises More Doubts
Fairfax Probes Police Exam Cheating Case, Suspends Two

Officer Matthew Madson Resigns After Investigation of Shots Fired

AMES, Iowa

An Eagle Grove police officer resigned Tuesday from his job following an investigation into a chase in which he fired his weapon.

The chase involved a male juvenile who fled in his pickup truck when Officer Matthew Madson approached the vehicle.

Authorities said that during the chase Madson fired his weapon at one of the truck's tires.

City officials released the following statement on Tuesday in connection with the resignation:

“After reviewing the report and the city’s policy and procedures manual, city officials discussed this information with Officer Madson. The City chose to accept Madson’s resignation at that time. He resigned on March 17, 2009. The City will be looking to fill this position soon."

City officials said they wouldn't comment further about the resignation.

Previous Stories: March 9, 2009: Officer On Leave After Shooting At Truck
March 6, 2009: Neighbors Question Officer's Chase, Shooting

Two Peoria Officers Arrested After Video Tape Beating


Two Peoria police officers have been arrested in connection with the 2008 beating of a man who claims he was pepper sprayed, kicked, punched and shocked with a stun gun following a police chase that was videotaped by a squad car camera.

Officers Andrew Smith, 29, and Gerald Suelter, 39, were arrested Monday night on charges of official misconduct, aggravated battery, battery and mob action, according to the police department. They were jailed pending a Wednesday afternoon court appearance, Peoria County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Joe Needham said Tuesday.

Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons, who decided to pursue the case after seeing the videotape, said the recording shows Bryce Scott stopped running and cooperated before the officers allegedly beat him.

"You can tell that a person made a conscious decision to pull over," Lyons said. "When you for whatever reason, say 'I'm going to give myself up,' if this is what they are going to do to you ..."

A call to a Peoria telephone listing for an Andrew Smith was not returned. A number listed for a Gerald Suelter was not answered. It was not immediately clear if the men had attorneys.

Police spokesman Doug Burgess declined to comment on specifics of the case, saying only that the officers were on leave, which will be unpaid if they are charged with felonies.

Scott was beaten early May 3 after leading officers on the car chase, authorities said. In a January lawsuit filed against Smith, Suelter and four other unnamed officers, Scott said officers pursued him after his girlfriend's mother called them saying Scott was outside her home.

Scott says he got out of his car at officers' request but was then pepper sprayed, kicked, shocked with a stun gun and punched.

The squad car video shows Scott's SUV being chased, stopping at a stop sign and, after a shouted order from a police officer, the driver sticking his hands out the driver's side window.

An officer then opens the SUV's door and the driver steps out before quickly dropping to the ground and out of the frame. One officer kneels over the spot where the driver appears to be and screaming and moaning can be heard.

Lyons said he didn't pursue the case earlier because he didn't know about the incident until the lawsuit was filed and the videotape emerged. Police never forwarded information about Scott to him, he said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether charges were filed against Scott from the chase.

Scott's attorney in the civil lawsuit, Dan Cusack of Peoria, said that while much of the action his client alleges doesn't appear in the videotape, it's clear to him what happens just off camera.

"Bryce, you know, was in a high speed chase, but then he stopped," Cusack said. "He appears to me and a lot of other people ... to have been obeying commands when the aggressive part of the tape picks up."

Burgess wasn't sure how long either officer had been with the department, only that both had worked there fewer than seven years.

Former Deputy Ron Chris Crabtree Charged with Child Sexual Misconduct

Authorities with the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office arrested 35-year-old Ron Christopher “Chris” Crabtree, former Georgetown County Sheriff’s Deputy, this afternoon for Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree and Lewd Act on a Child.

The investigation began on February 2, 2009 when authorities in Ohio made contact with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office with sexual assault allegations against Deputy Crabtree. The allegations were received from Ohio authorities because the victim lives in Ohio and the incident allegedly occurred in Pawley’s Island.

Georgetown County Sheriff’s Investigators made a preliminary inquiry into the allegations with the authorities in Ohio and subsequent to the preliminary inquiry; Deputy Crabtree was placed on leave with pay.

Sheriff A. Lane Cribb requested that SLED assist in the investigation. During the course of the investigation, Deputy Crabtree’s employment was terminated.

Crabtree was arrested at the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office after turning himself in and transported to the Georgetown County Detention Center by SLED. Crabtree served with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office for 2.5 years.