Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brrr it's cold again & I need a vacation!

It's cold again here and I am in the mood for some better weather and a slower lifestyle. As Kenny Chesney says " Oh I wish I was there tonight, on Jost Van Dyke, sipping on some Foxy's firewater rum, or kickin back with Ivan and all friends down in the islands, it wouldn't take much for me to up and run. To another life, somewhere in the sun!

I think that living on a place like Jost Van Dyke is just what the doctor ordered to de-stress and decompress. The island is small enough that gas is not an issue because you can walk or ride your bike anywhere you want to. Yeah the occasional hurricane might be a problem. Of course getting me out of Foxy's everyday might be another story all together.

Check out Foxy's at http://www.foxysbar.com/home.html

Check out all of Jost (pronouced Yost) Van Dyke at http://www.jostvandyke.com/

Ooops Wrong Bar!

Who says Bikers are bad people!
Dude, I Think We Picked the Wrong Bar
The Associated Press
SYDNEY, Australia - An armed robber picked the wrong target when he raided an Australian bar where a biker gang was holding a meeting. He ended up hog-tied and in a hospital.

The man and an accomplice, wearing ski masks and waving machetes, stormed into a club in a western Sydney suburb shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday and yelled at patrons to lie down as they tried to rob the cash register, police said Thursday.

About 50 members of the Southern Cross Cruiser Club had just started a club meeting in another room, and the bikers jumped up to intervene.

One robber escaped by leaping over a balcony, while the other tried to flee through a service entrance, the club's president, who identified himself only as "Jester," told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"We caught him at the fence and crash-tackled him and hog-tied him to the ground and waited for the police to get there," Jester said.

Police confirmed that club patrons had subdued one of the robbers, who was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, but did not give further details. Police captured the other suspect nearby.

Jester said the robbers had walked past the bikers as they entered the bar but apparently failed to notice them, perhaps because the ski masks obscured their vision.

"I don't think he did his homework very well," Jester said of the ringleader. "He picked the wrong night."
 

Monday, February 18, 2008

17yo Tries to Murder a Housing Cop

Is this how messed up our society has become? A 17 year old thug tried to kill a housing cop in cold blood last night in Philly! The kid knocked on the door of the security booth and when the cop answered it he pulled out a rifle and shot the officer. Fortunatly the officer was only grazed and was able to slam the door shut before the punk fired 2 more rounds into the bullet proof glass. This was going to be a cold blooded execution of a law enforcement officer by a 17 year old thug! WTF is this world coming to?

Teen charged with shooting officer
By Dwight Ott and Barbara Boyer

INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS

A 17-year-old has been charged with attempted murder after the shooting of a Philadelphia Housing Authority officer gunned down in Germantown late last night.
The officer, Craig Kelley, 49, a 17-year authority veteran, remains in stable condition at Temple University Hospital after being shot in the side at point-blank range while manning a security booth in the Queen Lane Apartments, said homicide Capt. Mike Costello.

The suspect, Zahir Johnson of the 2300 block of Diamond Street in North Philadelphia, was picked up by patrol officer Robert Lee. He saw Johnson in the area, fitting a vague description that witnesses provided of the gunman, Costello said.

Costello said it is unclear what motivated the shooting, which occurred about 10:15 p.m. It does not appear the gunman said anything before firing, but authorities said they had only brief interviews with Kelley.

Lee said he was heading toward the shooting scene at 301 W. Queen Lane when he saw a male on a nearby dark street with partial lighting.

Police were looking for a male in a brown jacket, and Lee said Johnson was wearing a brown sweatshirt.

Police said they also found a backpack and rifle they believe was the weapon used during the assault.

Costello said Kelley was shot in left side after the gunman approached the booth, enclosed in bulletproof glass, and knocked on the door. Kelley opened the door and quickly retreated, and closed the door as the assailant pulled the rifle and shot.

The first shot entered the security booth while the door was open and hit Kelley at the bottom of his bulletproof vest, causing his most serious injury. Costello said the vest possibly saved the officer's life.

The gunman fired two more shots at the glass before he fled, Costello said. Authorities flooded the area looking for the suspect as Kelley was rushed to Temple.

Richard Zappile, chief of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, said Kelley was working an overtime shift and is "a good guy" and conscientious officer.

The security booth was the target of a robbery about two weeks ago and authorities are investigating whether the two crimes are related.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

15 Punished for 911 Call Response!

This is F'd up. Punished? People get Punished for showing up late too many times. For complete apathy and disregard for their job people should be fired if not held on criminal charges for being negilgent in their duties to the public. This is not really much different than a police officer driving by a robbery in progress and not stopping! The job is to answer the phone for 911 not to chat with your coworkers about who knows what! I think at the very least all 10 who sat by and did nothing along with the supervisor(s) who clearly had to have seen what was happening should be fired immediately!

Posted on Thu, Feb. 14, 2008

15 punished for 911 call response
Trapped in fire, woman dialed for help and was put on hold.
By Larry King
Inquirer Staff Writer
Brenda Orr of Doylestown was trapped in a burning bed, immobilized by multiple sclerosis, when she dialed 911 on Jan. 29.

Twenty-eight seconds passed before a Bucks County dispatcher answered Orr's call.
Then he put her on hold.
It took 26 more seconds for a second dispatcher to pick up.
"911. The bed is on fire," Orr, 53, yelled into her phone.
By then a minute had elapsed since Orr had first dialed. A half-minute later, she spoke her final words before the phone went dead.

"The bed is fully inflamed," she said.
Bucks County officials, acknowledging that Orr's call had been mishandled, announced yesterday that 11 dispatchers and four supervisors had been disciplined for their roles in dealing with it.

Orr died in the quick-moving house fire. While a faster response by the dispatchers would not have saved her, "mistakes were made, and for those mistakes we are truly sorry," said James F. Cawley, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners.

Under county regulations, the phone should have been answered within 10 seconds, and Orr should not have been placed on hold.

In a dispatch center where answering the phone is a basic duty, 10 unoccupied dispatchers sat by and let it ring. Orr's call finally was taken by a frustrated dispatcher who already was juggling an ambulance call.

"While the phone was ringing six times, there were 10 people on duty who were capable of answering the phone call who failed to do so," Cawley said. "That was wrong."

Had one of them answered, there would have been no need to put Orr on hold.
All 10 were disciplined, along with the dispatcher who, by taking the call, violated rules by trying to handle two calls at once.

"911. Can you hold one second please?" the dispatcher is heard saying to Orr on a recording of the call.
"I can't," Orr responds. "This is an emergency, 911 emergency. . . . Bed on fire."
The dispatcher then summoned another dispatcher, who did not get to the phone for 25 seconds. The second dispatcher, who had been occupied with receiving a fax, has not been disciplined.

Citing privacy concerns, Cawley would neither identify the disciplined workers nor specifically describe their punishments.

The first dispatcher had picked up the call "out of frustration," said Brent Wiggins, the county's director of emergency services. He said none of the 10 idle dispatchers could explain why the call was not answered right away.

"They were off-base. They weren't paying attention to their job. They were just not doing their job properly," Wiggins said. "That's the bottom line. . . . One or two said they thought someone else was going to pick up the phone."

Of four supervisors on duty, three had gone to a meeting - on training fire dispatchers. That left just one to monitor the room. And that supervisor was "working on reports," according to the county's investigative summary. "No supervisor was actively monitoring the dispatch floor at the time of the call."

All four supervisors were disciplined.
The county's findings came after Doylestown Borough police reviewed the 911 call as part of their investigation into the fire. Alerted by police, borough officials demanded an explanation from the county.

Det Ansinn, president of the Borough Council, yesterday applauded county officials for investigating.
"We're encouraged by it," Ansinn said. "Our folks have been looking for a response to the issues raised by how the call was handled."

Police and firefighters arrived at Orr's house in better-than-average time, Cawley said. The first rescuers were there less than four minutes after Orr's call, but by then the fire was too intense for them to reach her.

Long afflicted by multiple sclerosis, she died of smoke and soot inhalation. Fire officials said it was impossible to determine the cause of the fire, though careless smoking and a jumble of electrical devices in her bedroom are among the suspects.

Orr's mother, Martha Orr of Doylestown, declined to comment yesterday.
Cawley called the mistakes an aberration among the 900,000 calls handled annually by county dispatchers.
Still, every dispatcher has been required to sit with a supervisor, listen to the tape of Orr's call, and discuss what happened. They were also played a tape in which a dispatcher gave "exemplary service" to a caller, Wiggins said.

Department policy now requires at least two supervisors to monitor the dispatch floor at all times. And a policy that implied that 911 calls were never to be put on hold has now been made explicit, he said.

County dispatchers are expected to relocate this summer to a modernized facility in Ivyland. One improvement of that center will be a phone system that automatically routes an incoming call to the dispatcher who has been idle for the longest time.

"There will be no more 'Who's going to answer this call?' " Wiggins said.

911 Call From 340 Doyle St.
0:00 (sound of dialing, followed by series of rings)
0:23 (seventh ring)
0:28 Male dispatcher: "911. Can you hold one second, please?"
0:29 Brenda Orr: "I can't. This is an emergency, 911 emergency. Three four zero Doyle. Bed on fire."
0:54 Female dispatcher: "Thanks for holding. 911. Where's your emergency?"
0:56 Orr: "911."
0:58 FD: "Hello?"
0:59 Orr: "911. The bed is on fire. Three four zero Doyle. Three four zero Doyle."
1:05 FD: "What township or borough are you in?"
1:07 Orr: "Three forty Doyle."
1:09 FD: "What township or borough are you in?"
1:10 Orr: "The borough."
1:11 FD: "What borough?"
1:12 Orr: "Doylestown!"
1:17 FD: "Are you still in the house?"
1:19 Orr: "What?"
1:20 FD: "Are you still in the house?"
1:22 Orr: "Yes."
1:23 FD: "All right. Well, you want to get out of the house?"
1:24 Orr: "No. I'm disabled."
1:31 Orr: "The bed is fully inflamed."
1:37 FD: "Ma'am, you still there?" (sounds of typing)
1:43 FD: "Hello?"
1:59 FD: (speaking to a coworker) "She won't get out of the house. She says she's disabled . . ."
2:09: Doylestown and Plumsteadville Fire Companies dispatched to scene.
(Phone line remains open with no conversation)
2:46 FD: (to a coworker) "The line's open, but I can't hear anything. I can hang up and try calling her back, right? ... I don't know if I should hang up or stay here and see if she comes back to me. It sounds like she was trying to put the fire out in the bed."

3:42: (call ends)
SOURCE: Recording made by Bucks County Emergency Services.

Listen to the 911 tape and read reports on the case at http://go.philly.com/brendaorr

Contact staff writer Larry King
at 215-345-0446 or lking@phillynews.com.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Great Video

Another great fire video! Thanks Shaggy!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Reporters Learn about being cops.

This is a great article. I wish more reporters would take this step. Great job to Phila PD for taking the time to run the reporters through the FATS program. Hopefully it will give them some idea of what it's like to face danger like cops do every day.

Jill Porter: For cops, in life, shooting is real
Philadelphia Daily News
THE WOMAN is drunk. She comes out of the house holding a huge knife.
She has already slashed her boyfriend in the neck and now she's waving it at me.
"Drop the knife," I demand, as she screams about the indignities she has suffered. She's close enough to rush me and stab me before I can react.

"Drop it," I command.
To my relief, she flings the knife onto the lawn. Then she reaches into her back pocket.
For what?
Am I in mortal danger? Is she reaching for a gun?
I stand there, pointing my gun at her.
Should I shoot?

It wasn't real. It was a simulation, part of an exercise at the Police Academy staged for the media yesterday by the Philadelphia Police Department.

The point was to show "how much time you have to make a decision whether to pull your weapon or not," said Deputy Commissioner Charlotte Council.

The training exercise, mandatory for police recruits and every officer who fires his or her gun in the line of duty, involves a volatile scenario unfolding on a wall-sized video screen called a Firearms Training Simulator (FATS).

In my case, the incident involved a domestic dispute with the knife-wielding woman.
There are more than 200 scenarios - including an agitated man menacing police with a machete while holding a baby and a driver firing a shotgun with bystanders in the background.

The scene unfolds as you face the screen holding a department-issue 9 mm Glock modified into a laser gun. You have seconds to decide whether the confrontation requires deadly force.

"It tests marksmanship and judgmental abilities when faced with critical incidents," said Capt. Mark Fisher, head of the academy's firearms-training unit.

"Any mistake they make, it's better if they make it here than on the street."
The recruits are debriefed and evaluated at the end of the sessions about whether they made the correct choice. Some scenarios have different outcomes.

The Police Department has been widely criticized since officers shot and killed three civilians last month, including one on New Year's Eve when an officer fired into a crowded rowhouse.

Mayor Nutter has ordered Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey to lead a "complete review and analysis" of department policies on the use of deadly force.

But many police resent anyone who questions their split-second, life-or-death decisions from the safety and accuracy of hindsight. Recent columns I've written that were critical of the police have even incited some readers to call me a cop-hater. So I asked the department last week if I could do the FATS exercise. The department invited all the media to do so.


I stand in the darkened room, pointing the gun.
I make instant assessments of the woman who's reaching into her pocket.
Her ire is directed at her boyfriend, not me. The boyfriend, who'd run out of the house holding a towel to his bleeding neck, warned she had a knife. Surely he'd know if she had a gun.

Although she'd stabbed her boyfriend, he'd more than likely drop charges. Nothing suggests she'd shoot.
It took 5.2 seconds from the time she came out of the house until she reached into her pocket - although it seemed much longer.

I held fire.
She pulled a bottle of booze out of her pocket and took a long slug.
I'd made the right choice.
It occurred to me that police make those right choices day in and day out with no recognition. It's only when they make the wrong ones that they come to our attention.

The experience was enlightening. It gave me newfound respect, as it was intended to, for the judgments cops have to make in unstable moments.

But police are trained extensively in firearms and deadly force. I'm not a cop. I don't have what it takes, not an ounce of it.

And when a cop makes the wrong choice, there has to be accountability, no matter how much we understand the cop's dilemma.

To say so doesn't make you a cop-hater.
Firearms instructors Paul Coates and Robert Wagner ran the scenario again for me.
This time, the woman pulled a gun.
I fired. The first two shots missed. The second were nonfatal injuries.
But she'd already shot at me several times. I was no doubt wounded, if not dead. *

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Philly Get's 10 Million While MLS Gets 47 Million?


        In a city where violent crime is a serious problem and 392 people were murdered in 2007 our wonderful Governor is sending in reinforcements in the form of $10 million to hire more police officers. This is a great thing and maybe they can start taking back the streets. The sad thing though, is that the very same Governor is spending $47 million to help fund a Major League Soccer stadium in nearby Chester PA. A city which has seen blight and urban decay for many years. The hope is that along with Harrah's the new stadium will bring economic growth to this area and stimulate some sort of change in the way people see their city. Haa! Real funny. One has to only look farther east to the Jersey shore to see how this won't happen. Most of Atlantic City is a cesspool of crime, violence, and poverty. The big money the state sees from taxes on the casino's bypasses Atlantic City and goes straight to Trenton, the same way the money from Harrah's bypasses Chester and goes right to Harrisburg.

        This new stadium will not help the people who need it in Chester, sure there will be some construction jobs, but it won't be small operations who employ the locals it will be huge mega builders. They and their sub contractors will hire some of the locals for laborer positions and other non-skilled or semi-skilled positions but those positions won't last very long. Then once the stadium is open they might be able to get a job there. A one day a week in season job of some sorts, paying minimum wage. That won't help them get back on their feet for very long if at all. The stadium will only create full time jobs for a few fat cats with college degrees, and will only serve to funnel more money out of this already cash strapped city which by the way is putting their own $6 million into the deal as well.

        In my uneducated opinion, the money situation needs to be reversed, how about $47 million to Philadelphia to control crime and boost the quality of live and the longevity of it's residents and $10 million or less to Chester for a stadium that most of the locals will visit without punching a time clock. So Governor Ed, how about something to really help the state before you leave office?


Monday, February 04, 2008

Only in PA!

This could only happen in PA, what a mess we have made of our state. I guess they need this money to pay for the 45 Million the state will pay for the new soccer stadium!

Ronnie Polaneczky: Oh, brother!
A judge threatened a man with arrest if he didn't pay twin's 17-year-old traffic tix
Philadelphia Daily News
SINCE NOVEMBER, Edward Stanley Harris has been paying Philadelphia Traffic Court $100 per month on a bill of $1,811.50 for tickets issued 17 years ago - which the court has admitted aren't even his.

He's paying them off because, he says, a Traffic Court judge said he'd arrest him if he didn't.
Harris, a producer at CN8 Sports, has never been inside a prison cell, and he'd like to keep it that way. So he's writing those monthly checks to Traffic Court.

But he says it's not fair.
Gee, ya think?
This guy's story is one of the wackiest ones I've ever heard, with twists, turns, infuriating judges and - wait for it - a long-lost twin.

If this weren't Philly, you'd assume Harris made up his story.
Alas, this is Philly.

It all started on Aug. 8, 1967, when Edward Stanley Harris and his twin brother, Edwin Shelby Harris, were born. Some might question the wisdom of a mother giving her twin sons, who share the same birth date and home address, such similar names.

At least the kids weren't identical.
All was well until the period between October 1990 and May 1991, when Edwin received eight traffic tickets, on three separate occasions, for moving violations.

In September 1991, Edwin pleaded guilty in Traffic Court to the violations and was ordered to pay $1,501.
Edwin never paid. Over the next 17 years, he fell on hard times, drifted South and stayed in touch with Edward only sporadically.

In the fall of 1992, PennDOT's driver-licensing bureau notified Edward that his license would be suspended for nonpayment of tickets. Realizing that PennDOT had confused him with his twin, Edward went to Philadelphia Traffic Court to straighten things out. The court wrote PennDOT, confirming that the tickets belonged to Edwin, not Edward.

Thankfully, PennDOT withdrew the suspension threat.
Nonetheless, between November 1992 and June 2007, the routine repeated itself, like a scene from "Groundhog Day":
Every year or so, PennDOT re-discovered those same, unpaid tickets of Edwin's, decided they belonged to Edward, and threatened to suspend Edward's license. Each time, Edward returned to Traffic Court, and the suspension threat got lifted.

So Edward assumed the same annoying scenario would repeat itself last Nov. 21, when he took his latest license-suspension notice before Traffic Court Judge Willie Adams. According to Edward, Adams wouldn't listen to his saga or review the copious paperwork that Edward supplied to support his innocence.

Instead, Adams ordered Edward to pay off the tickets - the costs, with fees, had grown to $1,811.50 - at a rate of $100 a month. Edward filed a petition to appeal the decision but also started paying the monthly fee, since, he said, Adams threatened an arrest if he didn't.

Last Thursday, during Edward's appeal hearing at the Criminal Justice Center, the payment order against him was withdrawn. The sympathetic clerk there suggested that Edward go to Traffic Court to get his money back, as it's the only entity that can straighten things out.

And "Groundhog Day" began again.
OK, so it's understandable that PennDOT confused Edward and Edwin the first time. The guys share similar first names, and their middle initials, last name and birth dates are identical. They even shared the same address back in 1991, when they lived at home with their mom.

But there's no excuse for PennDOT's incompetence since then, nor Traffic Court's. As for Judge Adams, his actions are just baffling.

"I am very, very pissed," says Edward, now 40, who estimates that, over the last 17 years, he has made 20 trips to Traffic Court and has lost close to $3,000 in court fees and missed time from work.

"This could be solved if someone felt like fixing it," says Edward, who also has asked City Council members for help, to no avail. "I can't get anyone to care. My biggest fear is that I'll be pulled over for a broken taillight and someone will say my license is suspended and I'll lose my job," which routinely requires him to drive CN8 vehicles.

A staff person for Traffic Court's administrative judge, Bernice DeAngelis, said 10 days ago that the judge would look into Edward's plight. But despite my repeated calls to DeAngelis last week, only silence has come from her 8th and Spring Garden locale.

Nor could I reach Edward's brother, Edwin, at his last known phone number, to ask if he plans to pay off those old tickets any time soon. Y'know, given the nonsense they've caused his twin.

Then again, PennDOT and Philadelphia Traffic Court have had 17 years to fix this for Edward. Instead they keep going after him like he's his brother's keeper.

Or his brother's ATM.
"The people in Traffic Court do their best, but PennDOT is a bloodless bureaucracy, devoid of compassion," says Norristown lawyer and driver's-license expert Basil Beck III, whom I called for advice on Edward's behalf. "This guy needs a lawyer."

And a big, fat apology.
E-mail polaner@phillynews.com or call 215-854-2217. For recent columns:
http://go.philly.com/polaneczky