Entries Tagged 'SFPD' ↓

The ‘Tuthill’ ghost and Events Center siding have a lot in common

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Just like that, the siding will be fixed, just as soon as you catch me!

Is it time the SFPD comes clean on the Tuthill shooting incident?

Maybe it is time they tell us ‘what’ or ‘if’ anything happened that night.

As I have mentioned in the past, the chief of police, Doug Barthel has said that certain types of evidence wouldn’t be released because he believed ‘it wouldn’t help solve the case.’

Guess what Doug, you haven’t solved it yet, maybe it is time to release the evidence?

Let me start by saying that I think the SFPD has been very successful over this past year solving crimes. Drug busts, murders, prostitution and robberies, within a few days. Heck, they even caught a graffiti artist (and those guys are sneaky :)

Where I am going with this? Doesn’t anyone think it is strange that the police department has been so successful solving many of these difficult crimes but they can’t find the Tuthill mystery person who was shot at on the night of New Year’s Day?

As I have said in the past, I do believe the officer saw ‘something’. But what we don’t know is ‘what’. There was an internal investigation (The county sheriff’s office and DCI did not investigate), NO audio was released to the public from his body audio recorder, a crime scene map has not been released to the public and a reward has been offered.

Ironically, this case is a lot like the Events Center siding issue, the public has only been given ‘tidbits’ but nothing concrete. Maybe the city could keep press conference costs down, they could tell us about the Tuthill cold case the same time they tell us what is going on with the siding.

Let’s face it, the EC siding issue is an embarrassment to the administration and the Tuthill shooting incident is an embarrassment to the police department. They will go away, quietly in the night, no pun intended.

Paramedic’s Plus (former) employee accused of stealing $44 from a dead lady

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WOW! I guess the ‘Cadillac’ most expensive ambulance service we just gave a contract to pays their EMT’s so well they have to allegdley steal petty cash from dead people;

While investigating the money’s disappearance, police found $44 in cash in one of the emergency responder’s backpack. Clemens says that was similar to the amount the officer first noticed by the wallet.

Yeah, but is it really a crime to steal from a dead person? Ask James Brown about time he stole shoes from a dead man.

Thumbs up to the police officer who caught the incident. Besides, they don’t have to steal petty cash from people, they already get free lunches.

The EMT, who has not been identified, was employed by Paramedics Plus. Company officials tell KSFY News that he no longer works for the company.

“What this is, this person just made a bad choice,” Clemens said. “It was his decision alone. It was not reflective of the agency he works for.”

Ah, yes it is. What kind of background checks is this company doing? What kind of wages are they paying that they are so desperate they have to take $44 from a dead person? What kind of ethics training are the EMT’s receiving? I think Paramedic’s Plus owes the public an explanation of how this happened.

UPDATE: But do SF Police Officers ‘Value’ their FREE lunches?

Apparently they value them so much, that they need to take up emergency parking spots to eat them;

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When you hear the mayor and our finance director talk about the ‘value’ of things when they are not given away for free (Pool and Bus passes) and our police receive a FREE meal card at one of our fine hospital industrial complexes, let’s talk priorities. I often see them parked in the ER parking lot and on the adjacent street around ‘meal time’ by Avera. While I guess I could care less if Avera wants to give away FREE food (while charging the sick and visiting family members) the least the officer could have done was assist the gentleman into the ER if he didn’t want to give up his parking spot.

A few years back, councilor Staggers questioned this program and the parking situation (he lives one block from Avera’s ER) of Chief Barthel. While it is against police force policy and city policy to receive ‘free’ meals, Barthel said he doesn’t actively enforce the policy, only telling Staggers he ‘discourages’ it. If this present incident actually happened, I think it is about time the FREE meal program ends at Avera, it’s evident that some officers don’t value the program enough to help a sick person (you know, the people that are actually funding your FREE meal program).

UPDATE: This was a response emailed to me from a former SFPO named ‘Thomas’

“I am throwing the B.S. flag on this! I want to make sure that the original accuser knows the difference between the uniform of Avera security and the SFPD.  Especially since the original accuser is from out of town and may not be as familiar with the city landscape as they think. Avera has a uniform that is very similar  to what the former SFPD uniform looks like. I hope that a mistake has not been made.
Also, Sioux Falls police officers do not enforce parking on private property.  Before any accusations fly you should make sure that you understand who you are accusing and not make a mistake. Please do not forget that many, many times during a shift, officers from all over the city, county, and other area agencies are routinely transporting involuntary psychiatric committal patients into the main Avera emergency room for admission. Just because an officer is parked in the lot does not mean that the officer is there for a free lunch. The cliche that people only see a badge is very true. We should be very careful to avoid a false accusation. Many area agencies use Avera. Just because you see a patrol car you should not assume that it is one specific agency.
 When I was employed by the SFPD,  we were not paid for our lunch breaks. Although, federal law says that if employees are not paid for their lunch break they have to take that lunch break away from their work station. At that time (and I’m sure as it is today),  officers do not have the luxury of taking their break away from their work area,  they are usually limited to how far away they can go out of their assigned area.  During their unpaid lunch breaks, they  routinely are subject to be called out or to have it people walk up and want to speak with them on official business.
Regarding discounts or free meals: if that’s what the business wants to do that business can do that.  It is no different  for a business to extend a discount or a free meal to an officer than it is for an officer to be invited to a neighborhood block party and be offered a meal at the block party. Both of these situations encourage visibility of officers among the public.  Using your logic, any award, accolade, or thank you, should not be bestowed upon any officer or public employee for the job that they do. This would include any officer appreciation dinner that is put on by any local area civic organizations or a citizen handing an officer a bottle of water or soda on a hot day. If this practice were to end,  it will only serve to distance the officers from the public and the citizens that they serve.
Also, and especially during certain times of the 24 hour day, there are very few places open late at night  for an officer to stop and get something to eat.  Because of this, it is possible that because you see a patrol car, that you may not be seeing the same car for hours on end or if you see several patrol cars you’ll see some officers coming into start their break as some others are leaving.
If you have any questions regarding the conduct of any officer you always have the option to speak with that officer’s supervisor. The city has made it very easy for anybody to inquire, complain, or comment on any officer. I am a big fan of this blog, I read it every day. There are very many things that go on in the city (that we should be aware of and are hidden from view of the public) and this blog does an excellent job of exposing that information. This item is not one of those things.
 I would have fully expected this blog to research this incident more throughly instead of just linking to an alleged or suspect incident. As A law-enforcement officer, I learned very early, that you have to have all the facts to make a proper decision in any incident and that until you have all the facts, no conclusions or opinions should be drawn.”
My RESPONSE:
As a person who has friends and aquaintences that work at both hospitals, I will say everything that Thomas is saying is true, BUT, I have also seen quite the opposite, and heard the opposite from hospital employees, that ‘some’ officers do use the emergency parking lot for ‘meal time’. To say it is one way or the other 100% of the time, is not the case. Just like any public employee, some are saints, some just go with the flow.
As for the FREE meals. As I understand it, it is against policy to accept free meals. And for good reason. Anytime a public employee gets a ‘freebee’ from someone, whether they are a police officer or a building inspector there could be an expectation from the giver to get something in return. The state has a long history with state government of ‘pay to play’. Obviously on a grander scale, but it is still there. Is it ethical for a public employee, who gets a salary, benefits and a pension to be accepting ‘gifts’ from business owners? It’s one thing to grab a plate of chicken at a crime watch picnic or at an appreciation night, it is a whole other ball of wax to be getting a free lunch everyday you work. If a police officer doesn’t believe he can afford to buy himself a lunch on what he makes, he best be talking to his union rep, because it is a sad day if we have to start handing out food stamps to police officers because they can’t afford to buy themselves food.

Mysterious Parking Ticket rampage at Gay Pride Festival?

I have been hearing from several folks that the SFPD street patrol division was out in full force Saturday at the Gay Pride Festival, ticketing cars parking around Terrace Park, mostly for parking to close to the intersection. One person told me he even questioned the ticket of the officer (who claimed he was parked less then 20 feet from the intersection), after the officer left a neighbor came out and measured, their car was parked 25 feet from the intersection.

So why the flurry of tickets at a festival that got a lot of publicity before the event on Saturday? Dare I say there was some veiled discrimination going on by the officers? How convenient to show up to a very popular event (The Mayor even spoke at it) and hand out parking tickets knowing many people will be in violation because there really isn’t any place to park around Terrace Park except on the street.

I often scratch my head when city officials say they need more officers, but all they have better to do on a Saturday afternoon is hand out parking tickets. Nice way to show the police force’s diversity tolerance by handing out tickets at a Pride Festival. Everything has a cost it seems in Sioux Falls anymore.

Who first proposed the use of tasers in Sioux Falls?

I believe back in 2009, councilor Staggers first proposed testing tasers for the SFPD. It seems, like snow gates, Dr. Staggers was ahead of his time. It often cracks me up when Kermit is labeled as an extreme conservative naysayer, when he is actually very progressive in his ideas. On the ‘Su Fu Stupid’ show the other day, Patrick Lalley determined that ‘Only 5 percent of the community agrees with Staggers’ but somehow gets mysteriously re-elected.

Gee, Pat, do you think there is a correlation there between support and being re-elected? Actually many people support him, just because a rubberstamp city council more concerned about developers and the chamber of commerce don’t always agree, doesn’t mean the public does not.

Remember, besides the snow gates victory, he also beat De Knudson when she spent 6x the money he did for an at-large seat, he also won the general election for mayor, only to lose to the well funded credit card salesman in the run-off.

Maybe Pat was saying only 5% of reporters agree with Staggers? Because when it comes to snow gates and tasers, it seems like Kermit has the best ideas.

When will investigators ever learn?

I have heard many stories from friends and including myself when I was arrested about how investigators/officers try to get around that pesky 5th Amendment;

Zell says Rasmussen did not have access to her lawyer, despite asking for one half-way through the interview.

It goes back to a lot of investigators NOT having criminal law or regular law degrees, just a piece of paper that says they went through the police academy or served in the military. While we are always focusing on the ‘number’ of officers in Sioux Falls, we should instead be focusing on the ‘quality’ of officers. Hire people that understand criminal justice, or at least the 5th Amendment.

I may be a ‘Hard Ass’ but at least I am not a ‘Dumb Ass’

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Nothing like being scolded for using the word ‘ass’ by the guy who is rumored to drop the F-Bomb quite frequently to whoever is in the room. As for a grammar reference, the term ‘Hard Ass’ refers to a stubborn mule, you know, the mascot of the party you belong to, Mike? The F-word refers to sex. So Mike, I think the people of Sioux Falls would appreciate you refrain from using the word from now on.

SF Police Chief at Democratic Forum

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Police chief Doug Barthel spoke at Democratic Forum yesterday (3/28/15). He gave a good introduction where he talked about more communication with the public, which is quite ironic (which we will get to in a moment). he also touched on the Tuthill incident in which he said, “the suspect pulled a gun and pointed it at the officer.”

Later on during the Q & A, an audience member asked Barthel what the policy was with releasing police video and audio to the public (Barthel supports the use of body cameras, dash cameras and tasers). Barthel concluded that according to State Law, he doesn’t have to release those files (but has the authority to do so – he, of course, didn’t mention that) but felt he didn’t need to, because it would open up the ‘flood gate’ of the media requesting footage.

Since he brought up Tuthill, I asked him why the SFPD hasn’t released the audio or a crime scene site map and why the DCI wasn’t allowed to investigate the shooting by the officer?

He felt that releasing a map or an audio file ‘wouldn’t benefit’ the case (Even though, I suspect it’s because they don’t want the public ‘speculating’ whether the officer performed his duties correctly, even though they already are.)

He also believes there truly was a suspect and a ‘threat’ and the officer had every right to fire.

He said that the DCI didn’t need to investigate because ‘the suspect wasn’t injured.’

I found that answer interesting because we ‘don’t know’ if the suspect was injured, they have not been found.

I still think if we released the audio file and had a ‘real’ external investigation of the incident, we would be a lot closer to finding the suspect. But that of course that would require the SFPD to ‘communicate’ and be ‘transparent’ with the public, and do we really want to open those floodgates?

City Ordinance Laugh of the Day

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I had to really laugh when I read this press release on the city website about the St. Patty’s day parade tomorrow in DTSF;

Spectators and attendees are reminded that drinking alcohol on public streets and sidewalks is illegal in Sioux Falls and includes the parade and other St. Patrick’s Day events. People who are drinking alcohol in public could receive a citation with a fine of $120.

The City Ordinance that prohibits public consumption of alcohol states: It shall be unlawful for any person to drink or consume or attempt to drink or consume any distilled spirits, wines and malt beverages, as defined by state laws, in or upon any public street, alley, highway, or public sidewalk.

Good luck with enforcing that ordinance :)

The irony of this is that the city sells bump-out permits to restaurants downtown to sell and consume food and alcohol on public property, outside. So I guess if you are standing on the bump-outs tomorrow drinking a green beer, you will be in compliance. That will be a fun argument to have with the coppers. Just don’t point your beer at them.

Even after reward offered no luck on finding Tuthill ghost

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I think if a suspect actually exists (which I believe there was SOMEONE or SOMETHING there) and they are offering a reward, why not give the public a few more clues, like releasing the audio recording of his body microphone, and also releasing a map of the crime scene? I think this would be helpful clues so the public can help apprehend the suspect.

But neither have been offered.

Secondly, I think using misleading statements when asking for the resident’s assistance in the matter, isn’t wise either. After the reward was offered, the detective on the case says the officer was ‘assaulted’. First off, what we have been told was the officer ‘thought’ the suspect had a firearm, that was never fired. He could have been pointing his finger. Not sure how pointing a finger or even a cellphone at an officer all of sudden has turned into assault.

My assumption all along was that this person didn’t have a gun and probably ran like a mofo after being fired at 8 times.

Good luck with your ghost hunt.