Entries Tagged 'SFPD' ↓

Does the SFPD profile, or is it more of a symptom of who is reporting?

I will admit, as a middle-aged white dude, I have no idea if the SFPD profiles. I have heard stories before, but just rumors. One of my Lakota friends used to tell me whenever he gets pulled over by the police it is for DWI. I said, “What?” He replied, “Driving While Indian.”

This past Sunday though I saw something that makes me suspect that the profiling is shared between who is reporting it, and how the officer reacts. Shortly I will tell you about an incident I saw on Sunday afternoon, but a short introduction first.

If you have ever been downtown you will notice a bike and pedestrian crosswalk on 6th street between Phillips Avenue and Raven. The sidewalk/bike trail continues South right in front of Raven’s front door, than goes past an open amphitheater and across a pedestrian bridge bought and paid for by taxpayers. The sidewalk in front of Raven’s, IMO, is quasi-public.

This Sunday after enjoying some brunch at my new favorite restaurant, The Blarney Stone, I rode my bike to Falls Park. It was packed, if I had to guess there was about 200 people down there. The water was high due to the snow melt and many adults and children were walking very close to the rushing water. As I have mentioned in the past, you can’t legislate ignorance, but what surprised me the most was there wasn’t one single person from the Parks Department, Fire Department or Police Department monitoring the visitors and reminding them to stay away from the water. There wasn’t even any temporary fencing.

But hey, I get it. The SFPD is short staffed and they have better things to do, or so I thought.

I proceeded to 6th street on the bike trail and crossed the bridge going towards Raven. As I was crossing the bridge I saw a cop car speed past and pull into Raven’s parking lot. As I started to ride past the entrance I saw a police officer talking to what appeared to me as a wedding party taking photos in front of the building. Mind you, it was obvious they were there to take pictures, the entire family, about a dozen of them and two photographers were dressed in their wedding best with the wedding party in tuxes. They also didn’t appear to be touching anything on the building, just standing in front using the quartzite walls as a backdrop. They were having an engaged conversation with the officer, who stood there and monitored the situation. Now most would wonder why a PO would have to monitor this. It occurred to me that someone at Raven must have saw them on a security camera and called it in. I know, probably still scratching your head why anyone would think a wedding party not disturbing the property taking photos would cause such an alarm. Than I wondered if it had anything to do with these very nicely dressed people (I don’t even have a wardrobe that nice) being African refugees (I could overhear them speaking in their native language).

First off, if makes you wonder if the person who called this in was profiling, but what disturbed me even more as I sat and watched this was the officer stayed there while they continued to snap photos. You could tell by the quite loud conversation that the wedding party seemed either confused or upset that an officer would respond to this situation.

So when I hear our officers are understaffed, all I have to point to is an officer monitoring an obvious photo session while hundreds of people are standing dangerously close to the falls and wonder if they really are understaffed or if they are profiling?

Not sure. But it didn’t look good.

Loetscher proposes SFPD uses precinct systems

While Jolene’s idea is a good one, I would go whole hog on it instead of baby steps.

Jolene proposes putting in 5 precincts at the community centers. As I understand it these centers are already to crowded with activities.

I would tweak the plan by putting the precincts at the Fire Stations and expand them to provide public ambulance service. You would kill two birds with one stone and you would put public safety under one roof instead of multiple roofs.

Is Sioux Falls city government bailing on changing Downtown noise ordinance?

A great view, of a nightclub roof.

After several citizens showed up last week to ask the city to AT LEAST do a study of decibel levels downtown, it seems not much is happening, except more complaints.

Common sense would tell you if you have mixed use with commercial (a nightclub) next to residential, the one producing more decibels would get precedent, NOPE. The quieter use is used instead of a fair balance between the two uses.

As we all know, ambient noise downtown alone is probably between 58-60 decibels. Wouldn’t a study by the PD and Health Department using the ‘L’ scale be worth it? The scale takes a 10 minute reading of the lows and highs of decibels and gives a 90% average reading. Makes sense.

I think 10-20 locations should be picked downtown to do the reading, and each location should take readings every 2-4 hours, Monday-Sunday. Once those readings come in, we could figure out an average at those different times for downtown.

I think the city just ‘telling us’ what is acceptable is unacceptable until we really know what is reality. Maybe 55 is a good place to be, but until we know what the averages are, we don’t know where the starting point is.

I also think some building codes and zoning needs to be changed for residential units. Even if we didn’t have a nightclub next door to a residential unit – traffic, trains, airplanes, etc., are probably louder than what current code is.

Let’s face it, if we are going to continue to develop housing downtown and other development like hotels and commercial we are going to have to come to grips with the fact we have turned downtown into a bustling entertainment district. We MUST make changes NOW while we are still growing, otherwise we are going to have a code enforcement nightmare down the road as downtown gets more dense.

City to spread their version of ‘Propaganda’ about Downtown noise ordinances

I got a reminder this weekend from a fellow city hall watcher that the city already had a discussion about noise ordinances . . . 10 years ago! I remember the discussion, it involved outdoor music at Stogeez and the time that music needs to stop.

Well, my response is that we need to revisit the topic, especially with the enormous growth of downtown over the past 10 years. I don’t think it is unreasonable to maintain a 70 decibel level during the day and 65 at night. Even without entertainment facilities downtown, the ambient noise downtown during the day hovers in that 68-70 area.

I can’t wait to hear the city’s argument on this;

One important fact the public should understand is that all of downtown is zoned to allow residential uses. The zoning for downtown also allows for commercial, retail, and a mix of other uses, which creates the unique atmosphere we all expect from a downtown environment. No changes have been made to zoning or the noise ordinance as a result of any new residential units in downtown.

If that is the case, how is a downtown nightclub able to operate for 6 years with NO intervention until residential units are built next door with an easement to hang patios over the roof of the nightclub?

It is no surprise to me that the city will fight any changes. Why? The building department once again screwed up and authorized something that should have NOT been authorized without a thorough discussion with the neighbors.

‘Crime’ was actually an issue in the last mayoral campaign

The problem was it was Greg Jamison ONLY vs. Huether and his entire administration, including a police chief who was in denial, then the governor appoints him to the legislature, go figure;

Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel says the same things that help the city attract positive attention, and a growing population, also attract crime.

“Over that time period we’ve seen our city grow by almost 20,000 people. We just know there’s a certain number of people who are going to want to commit crimes,” Barthel said.

It actually surprises me we are talking about this again 4 years later. But with excuses like ‘population growth’ over the past 4 years, what do you expect?

And without getting to deep into the current mayor ignoring many social issues over the past 8 years, I find it a little ironic that certain candidates are talking about ‘CRIME’ now?

The first issue that must be addressed is the proliferation of drugs and the resulting violent crime in our community.

Last year, I listened to Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead address a group of businesspeople about this issue. I started taking notes because what I heard caught me off guard.

“I have never been more concerned about the safety of our community than I am today,” he said in June. “The drugs coming in can change our community. People are breaking into your homes and businesses to feed their addiction.”

A little off guard? I love Jodi’s writing and talent, and her extensive resume in journalism. But I guess I’m taken a little off guard that she has just recently become aware of the issue.

There are many candidates talking about crime in the mayor’s race. Like I said, Jamison made it his #1 issue 4 years ago and has been monitoring it since, essentially seeing it deteriorate into what it is today.

So I ask the question of the other candidates (besides Jamison and Loetscher*) what have you done over the past 4 years to help fight crime in our community and state? Run right wing internet companies? Selling motorcycles? Or is this just another campaign issue that we will be talking about in 4 years again? Or will it be too late?

*As we know, Jolene has an outstanding record of fighting domestic abuse, sexual abuse and human trafficking and she did it without holding an elected position.

Is the SFPD misleading the public about the increase in crime?

Chief of police Matt Burns recently sent out this press release;

The crime rate over a five-year period remained flat, even with an increase in population.

That’s interesting because across the hall at the law enforcement center, our Sheriff said this in The Stehly Report;

“Felonies are up 100% from 5 years ago, and we have a record number of homicides.”

~ Mike Milstead, Minnehaha Co. Sheriff

Has the city and county doubled in population the past 5 years? Nope. So who do we trust the Chief or the Sheriff? It seems Chief Burns has left out a lot of important information when it comes to crime growth in our city. It seems he is continuing the Barthel tradition of ‘if we tell people it is ok, it’s ok’.


Did the Ghost of Tuthill officer move to the Twin Cities?

A South DaCola foot soldier sent me this link tonight;

A St. Catherine University security officer has been arrested after admitting that he accidentally shot himself in the shoulder Tuesday night and blamed it on a nonexistent assailant, St. Paul police say.

The story is funny, all on it’s own, but what makes it even more ironic is it was written by a former AL reporter, and I recently heard the officer that was involved with the Tuthill incident left Sioux Falls because of all the flack he got from incident.

SFPD promotes officer involved in deadly crash

The SFPD created a Diversity position today;

The Sioux Falls Police Department is creating a new position to build relationships in the community, particularly with the many diverse groups that exist in Sioux Falls. Officer Cynthia Holmquest was recently selected as the first Community Resource Officer and will begin her new duties on Monday, August 14, 2017.

The Community Resource Officer will become the primary contact for minority groups, religious organizations, the Multi-Cultural Center, the LGBTQ community, and numerous other organizations.

While I applaud the creation of the position, I’m wondering if this was taken into consideration;

Authorities say an off-duty Sioux Falls police officer cited for careless driving in a crash that killed a 17-year-old Badger girl will not face additional charges.

Kingsbury County State’s Attorney Gregg Gass said that the July 22 crash was “simply a matter of inadvertent careless driving.”

Gass said25-year-old Cynthia Holmquest was reaching for a pair of sunglasses in her vehicle when it struck Savannah Koistinen’s vehicle from behind, pushing it into the path of an oncoming school bus carrying students.

At the time of the incident, some questioned whether Holmquest (who was a new officer on the SFPD) should have been able to keep her patrol officer position or her job at all. Obviously it was a tragic accident, but one has to question Holmquest’s driving abilities during emergencies as an officer after the incident (she was off-duty at the time).

I guess I am ignorant how these decisions are made when an officer is charged with a traffic violation. But hey, we kept the city attorney in charge of the SFPD after he was charged with a DUI.

Will the SFPD get serious about fireworks violations this year?

I first want to clarify something, I’m NOT a fun hater. As a child growing up, fireworks at my grandparents farm was a BIG tradition. My uncle and grandpa would buy tons of fireworks. My grandparents acreage was about a mile out of town and we would NEVER shoot them in town. Fireworks are fun, if enjoyed properly.

I guess it’s not the noise that bothers me the most about people illegally shooting fireworks in city limits, its the fire hazard. I keep telling people, do we have to wait until an entire neighborhood burns down and several people die before we get serious about fireworks in town and the fire hazard they cause?

While we cry and complain about 8 inch grass, guess what, if that grass gets to be 9 inches, it won’t burn down your house.

The SFPD does have a good argument when it comes to cracking down on the problem; they have to catch them in the act, I get it. My suggestion to them and the city council last year was they used unmarked police cars and plain clothes officers to catch the offenders in the act when responding to complaints. When people see flashing lights coming down the street, the first thing they do is hide the fireworks. Duh.

I just find it extremely hypocritical calling people BAD NEIGHBORS because they have 9 inch grass, but if those same neighbors are creating a fire hazard in your neighborhood the police just say, ‘Oh Well.’

So please, don’t shoot off banned fireworks in city limits, and if you do, I hope the SFPD catches you and fines you accordingly.

Phantom Directors of Health and EMS quality talk Phantom Ambulances

It’s Alive! Sioux Falls Health Director, Bride of Franken

As if they caught the ghost of Tuthill Park, suddenly Jill and Julie decided to show up to a meeting and start splaining what an ambulance is, and what it does (Notice they are calling this the ‘101’ course on ambulance contracts with ParaPhantom Plus). As if our city council and public are so naive.

The public is ignorant because there has been ZERO information provided to them. It’s about that whole transparency thing I speak of, like if you are a SFPO and you accidentally shoot at a shadow in the dark, yah tell someone . . . wait.

It will be fun to listen to the Double J’s tell us what we already know; Greed is why Paramedics Plus has convinced Metro 911 to not call in mutual aid (there’s a couple of other reasons also).

Why does this all seem like an episode of ‘Scooby Doo’?