Archive for the ‘Police’ Category

Columbia, South Carolina state’s best city? NOT!

March 27, 2013

I found this rather interesting item in the news a few months back.  It was a determination of the United States best cities.  The survey was done by the Milken Institute and is rather informative.  If you’re not from the United States or even if you are you can check out your cities standings (if it’s listed ) at the following links.  This information is based on several factors and the determination is actually described by the institute’s site (first link).

http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org/
http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org/best-performing-cities-2012-large.html
http://bestcities.milkeninstitute.org/best-performing-cities-2012-small.html

The table below is just a standing for the cities listed from South Carolina.  It’s not the entire table at the links above.

2012 Rank

2011 Rank

Metropolitan Area

State

9

11

Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville

SC

35

114

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill

NC-SC

52

113

Greenville-Mauldin-Easley

SC

88

77

Augusta-Richmond County

GA-SC

108

181

Spartanburg

SC

129

115

Columbia

SC

165

128

Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway

SC

127

141

Anderson

SC

129

151

Florence

SC

131

155

Sumter

SC

I found it quite interesting that Columbia is one of three cities listed from South Carolina that actually fell from their previous years listing.  Of the cities listed it is in the bottom twenty percent and tied with Florence.  The worst city of course was Myrtle Beach/North Myrtle Beach/ Conway for obvious reasons.

Now as to why Columbia is failing to move up the listings.  There are several things that mark the decline of Columbia.  First and foremost is the number of jobs (jobs that pay significantly more than minimum wage) in this city.  The second and I feel should be the most important and will bring the first to this city is infrastructure.  Third is a friendly government.

Now let’s talk about infrastructure.  This should be a city’s first order of business since without a sound infrastructure jobs will NEVER come.  The city of Columbia is and has been in hot water with the Environmental Protection Agency over it’s sewage system.  Progress of repairing it has been slow at best and has cost the citizens of this city far more than they need it to cost.  Why you ask?  It’s because like all governments, the Columbia city council pools all the cities funds into one lump sum and spends it without regard to setting aside money for future needs nor repair of in use systems.  It’s why not only the cities sewage system is still in need of repair (even through not one but several water rate hikes in recent times) but the roads, parks and other things are in need of repair or proper maintenance.

Where is all this money going you ask?  Look around.  You see block parties (not necessarily for the general public (i.e. normal citizen), parades, and other nonsense things being supported by city council in order to draw people to a DEAD downtown.  Tourism isn’t happening in this city let alone this state because of several things that I need not mention.  Tourism is also a dead industry like manufacturing has become in the United States.

Roads are seeing very little repair outside that which the city spends from state and federal funds they receive.  One thing could help this issue other than further taxing an already burdened people.  Think before you make repairs of streets.  Two or three years ago, Columbia resurfaced several of their downtown streets instead of spreading the funds around the town on these projects.  What happened after the resurfacing?  Sure enough, not one month after the roads were resurfaced, the city started tearing up the NEW surface repairing stuff that could have been repaired before the resurfacing.  Now they’ll scramble for more state and federal funds to resurface the same streets they tore up again instead of fixing other more in need streets.  This isn’t new.  It happens in many a city.  Ill thought out maintenance and repair is killing things.

As to the parks, they aren’t getting but subsistence funding.  Meaning, they aren’t getting anything more than what they need for basic maintenance.  Water fountains in the parks aren’t being maintained where there are such.  Restrooms which need repair, maintenance, or just flat need replacing are not getting done to attract citizens to the parks.  The sad thing is I’ve talked to people who work these parks.  They request the necessary things needed but are denied what they need in order to make the parks a better place for citizens.

Now a word about public safety in the city.  Columbia has recently added several new police officers to their ranks.  However, they like other government employees don’t seem to be doing their job properly.  Granted ALL police officers are underpaid for what they do, but most here are NOT performing the basics and the police chief seems to be spineless in his dealings with city council.  What I mean by this is, the police chief’s officers are being redirected against the current homeless population by city council and not able or willing to perform the basic functions they are paid for (writing traffic citations to those that commit the simplest of crimes).  In other words if you are homeless in this city as other major cities have homelessness as well, don’t expect a police officer to help you.  If anything they’ll lock you up faster to get points with city council.  If you’re an automobile owner, you can do no wrong.  Run a red light, speed, wreck less driving, or hit a pedestrian, no problem.  It seems pedestrians as well as bicyclists have NO rights in this town.

For Columbia to succeed in moving upward, they need to first task their police for properly.  Secondly, think proper repair and maintenance of their infrastructure (funding for current and future).  And last, FIRE their current city council.  Then and only then will they have an efficient and well run city where government responds to their citizens instead of being self centered egotistical megalomaniacs  like most government officials are.  Maybe then and only then will the Columbia police force remove the tag for them as being nothing more than “Uniform Gang Members.”

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Why do they do this? Police brutality!

December 6, 2012

Not since Rodney King and the Los Angeles police department did I ever expect police officers to be as they are today.  There is just so much corruption, discrimination, and down right anger in the Fraternal Order of Police.  The problem is how they represent themselves to the public.  The other part is the quality of the officers they enlist for their employment/service.

One of the titles stated on the street for Columbia, South Carolina’s city police department is:

Uniformed Gang Members

In fact, they aren’t all that bad really.  It’s just like society.  They have their good and bad people.  It just seems they have far to many bad people of late.  With what they pay the CPD officers (Columbia Police Department), they seem to be getting the bottom of the barrel officers.  These officers come from a couple of different camps.  There are the type who are over aggressive and then there are those that are downright lazy in their enforcing the law.

Let’s first address the lazy type of officer.  These are unique in that they have been on the force for quite some time now ( I’d like to say 5 years or more experience).  I’m not going to go any deeper than that at the present time as there are some other issues with these particular officers.  Most notably, they are overweight.  Generally, these officers are much easier to deal with than the other attitude.

Most of the “lazy” officers tend to be easier going than the rookies.  They’d much rather do something else other than harass the homeless.  Here in Columbia we know that the police would much rather deal with real crime than cajole the homeless.  They give their show of force by doing what they have to in that they patrol the area they are assigned.  Some are quite nice.  They give the homeless man a warning in the first incident then after that they up the ante so to speak (harsher violations and more).

The largest issue with these officers is that they generally don’t put pressure on the real criminals.  They don’t stop crime where it starts (traffic citations).  They also have a tendency to be corrupted easily but not as easy as others.  A lot of times you’ll find these officers wasting time with others of their ilk.  In this case, they are at the local coffee and doughnut hole (Crispy Creme, Denny’s, IHOP, or even Waffle House.  Sometimes you can find them at mini conventions where you’ll see four or more patrol cars rolled up at the same location without any of them doing any law enforcement.

Now let me tell you a story of a different kind of police officer.  Generally they are rookies or ones with less than five years on the force (though it could be ones who have had this attitude since they were rookies and made rank).  Like children, they are easily swayed as well as much easier to corrupt than the later officers.  I call them “yes” men as they will broadly apply anything their supervisors or even city counsels tell them to do.

Let’s start off with my own experience in Orange Park, Florida while I was homeless down there.  With a friends help, I was able to set up a small CLEAN camp to live in.  At the time I did not know it was private property.  I later learned in a big and costly way.  Had I known now what I know today, a county police officer would have lost his job.

I’d went to work one day for Action Labor in Orange Park for several hours.  Once I returned to camp, I found what was left of my three man tent and all my belongings strewn all over the place and the tent literally cut to pieces.  The worst part of it was a note left by what was presumed to be a police officer of Duvall County Florida.  I was told in no uncertain terms to leave the property and the officer left his business card.  Now this could or could not have been the officer named on the business card.  It could have been an impersonator.  Stranger things have happened.

Needless to say, I moved in less than three days.  I chose so to avoid prosecution and also got permission to use company land of which belonged to the company I had hired on to from out of Action Labor.  It was much better than the sixteen mile one way trip by bicycle to work and then back.

I don’t believe this is the only time it’s happened.  I beat a ticket written out by an officer here in Columbia.  The following Sunday while I ate breakfast at a local church, I left my panniers on the bicycle.  They weren’t even three weeks old and I came to back to my bike (gone less than an hour) to find them knifed and stuff strewn over a twenty foot area.

I can’t prove anything as to who did the deed.  However, I have my suspicions that the officer who’s ticket I beat had something to do with it.  He’s one of those who probably has been on the police force less than five years and is doing just what city council wants just to earn his Sargent strips faster.  He’s a known harasser of homeless and has had more homeless before the local city magistrate (judge) than any other officer.

Now this brings me to yet another incident I found out about just the other day.  A homeless acquaintance of mine got the poles on his tent destroyed and it was witnessed by yet another homeless man.  The person who did the deed here was a member of you guessed it.  Columbia police department.  Now it’s likely they will not be able to do anything about this as the witness will likely not come forward because of reprisals.  Also, the acquaintance, was probably trespassing on private property for a while.  I don’t know the entire details about his camp nor did I want to know.  Safer for him and me.

These police officers are not only brutal in their willingness to make advancement but they will listen to just about anyone or do anything to get what they desire.  There are names a plenty for these types.  I’ll leave that to your discretion.  And police wonder why the homeless WON’T help them or even communicate with them.

This is not only happening here but in several cities around the United States.  There has been to my knowledge at least one death of a homeless man due to just such discrimination and hate.  It’s not about race or anything else but the fact that people are homeless.  It has to end here and now.  We as a people CAN NOT tolerate this.

Now I’d like to share with you something I read in the local Free Times newspaper which you can read at:

http://www.free-times.com

or follow them on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/freetimes

This was in a column called “Rant and Rave”:

“I have two rants I need to get off my chest today.  Columbia drivers need to stop running red lights.  You are not only putting yourself in danger but you are putting the safety of pedestrians and your fellow drivers at risk.  I see this every day.  People will blatantly run red lights and turn left on red lights.  Please stop!  I really don’t understand why our police will not give these selfish and careless drivers traffic tickets.  Something should be done.  I have seen two accidents due to  running red lights.  You know how Spain has the Running of the Bulls?  well, Columbia has the Running of the Red Lights.  And finally.  Don’t stop doing your job because a co-worker (according to you) won’t do theirs; worry about yourself.  What kind of logic is that anyway.  Oh, and if Halloween is a fall festival, then Christmas is a holiday.  A pagan one to be exact.”

The previous message exemplifies Columbia police department.  Due to orders from city council, they would much rather harass a homeless man than stop the most petty of crimes.  If they were to stop these petty crimes, then most wouldn’t graduate to felonious crimes to begin with, thus dropping our prison population and putting those tax dollars to use in better places like education.

Let me add that a recent bill which got canned in the U.S. Congress was about police being able to search your email, Facebook, and other electronic data without warrant.  The federal Fraternal Order of Police is still trying to get this passed not to mention attempting to stop you from photographing/filming them while they are on duty (within reason: must be out of the way of harm/a safe distance from any activity an officer is doing in the line of duty).  Feel free to do a search via your favorite search engine with the search of “videotaping police”.  You’ll find loads of info on it and more.

Final thought for this.  ARE WE BECOMING MORE AND MORE LIKE WHAT GEORGE ORWELL SHOWED US IN HIS BOOK ENTITLED “1984.”

Police state!

April 11, 2012

It’s George Orwell’s 1984 in South Carolina.  This reference is to the vast many of police forces withing South Carolina.  Being in Columbia, the states capitol, I’m reminded of it every day.  Only this morning did I witness yet another state government police force.  Is this what our country is becoming?  Wasn’t this part of what we fought to be rid of from the British?

It’s funny.  Every city in any state has it’s own police force.  Each state has it’s own “state” police force.  Yet South Carolina is the only state where I’ve lived where they think they have to have more than just the state police, county police or city police.  This doesn’t even count college police forces.  Below are some examples:

Department of Protective Services

Security and Employment Commission Police

South Carolina Education and Welfare Police

South Carolina Department of Transportation Police

South Carolina Housing Authority Police

Department of Protective Services

The list goes on and on and on.  Yes, I can see specialization.  But there is no need for all these petty fiefdoms.  Many of these so call police force jobs could and should be handled by the city, county, state police forces.  For instance, When does the Security and Employment commission need a police force for?  No other state have I seen this ever.

It’s truly interesting to see all this madness work.  It’s bad enough that this state is ranked 5th in the list of “most corrupt” governments.  This kind of madness breeds corruption from the lowest levels to the highest.  Sad thing is that with all these police forces, the crime rate remains the same.

I was born and raise in the state of Michigan.  Yes, I’m a “damned Yankee.”  The state of Michigan doesn’t have all this graft going on.  If a state agency needs police backup they contact the local city, county, or if necessary state police force.   With all the police the state of South Carolina has there is a greater likelihood of corruption.  And no my birth state isn’t any better than here.  They failed the last check at governmental transparency as well.  However, they do convict more people per capita than this state for corruption.

It all boils down to one statement:

“Who’s watching the watcher?”