Yep, it's finally "out there" - EETREDSILEEIBII That's the acronym you get when you take the first letter of each of these brilliant crime fighting strategeries. I think it's pronounced like etreadsalibi. Politicians never cease to amaze me. They have an uncanny ability to focus everything on themselves, particularly when they think there is a possibility of government funding which can be used to push their names out in front of the public. If they can provide some menial jobs for a lot of people through these boondoggles, all the better. WREG noted how the general citizenry (you and me) were excluded from participating in this mind meld.
Even though citizens were excluded from participating in the planning and discussion, I believe actually fighting crime is a job best left to those who have done it before. The MPD is aggressively attacking crime and I applaud them for that. The problem is the other players, aren't on the same page. If crime is to be deterred in Shelby County, there must be an emphasis on behavior modification. There is nothing in this plan that speaks to that. Only touchy feely stuff, other than the MPD's aggressive enforcement approach. The Sheriff has gutted the Sheriff's Office so there aren't enough officers to do anything. This summer I reported that the gang unit only had 10 officers. I spoke with a buddy the other day who still works there and he said they now have six!
The DA wants more money and less work. Hmm, a smaller caseload? More courtrooms, more prosecutors, more, more, more. Kinda has a democrat ring to it, doesn't it. Sounds a lot like the County Commission. Heck, why not, let's add a black district attorney because the white one certainly can't identify with the majority of Memphis. While we're at it, the Shurf is a white guy too.
But I digress. . . back on point. If we want to change these thugs behavior, we have to condition them to not do wrong. The best way to do that is implement a program (without a fiscal note) that puts them into a progressive discipline matrix. You come to jail the first time, you pretty much just get to spend the night (shock effect). The second time you come to jail, we turn the heat up. A person who makes the third visit to jail should not be looking forward to the trip, because he shoals already know he will be working at the PENAL FARM (I didn't say correctional center because that doesn't really exist). The more times a person comes to jail, the more punishment gets doled out. We don't need expensive jails to make this work. It works in Phoenix and they use tent compounds. We can do the same.
I noticed that the judges and representatives from the TN Dept of Corrections weren't included in this soiree. That's unfortunate because they are the ones who are allowing these thugs back on the streets. Police can arrest all they want, but until there is a jail undercrowding committee, we'll have problems with criminals breaking into our homes. I've said it before but anytime you have a metro area with over 17,000 people who have been arrested 10 times or more each, you have a problem. Shelby County has a group of over 17,000 who have been arrested over 253,000 times. If we factor each event as costing us just $500.00, they will have cost us over 125 million dollars.
I don't hold out much hope for this plan because there is no emphasis on changing behavior, which is all "fighting crime" or "crime reduction" really amounts to. The goal is the cessation of criminal activity, but we reward our thugs with a get out of jail card as soon as they get there.
Here's the strategerie and my comments on each item.
1.Expand data-driven police deployment in Shelby County .
This is a good thing. Crime analysis, properly done, can even predict patterns of crime. Of course, some areas are already no-brainers to the street cops. More aggressive enforcement should follow.
2.Expand the Project Safe Neighborhood law enforcement partnership model in Shelby County
What is really being said is we need to be more aggressive. I concur.
3.Toughen state laws for gun crime
I’m for that, but that means the DA can’t plea bargain it down, or throw the charge out. How about the DA reviews each offender and concentrates on repeat, repeat, repeat offenders. More than tougher gun laws, tougher prosecution of these parasites would be much more effective.
4.Reduce the caseload per prosecutor in the D.A.’s office for more effective prosecution
5.Expand Drug Court Program so that it operates consistently and at full capacity
Duh, this is a no brainer.
6.Design and implement a comprehensive gang strategy
How many years have we had a “gang strategy”? I remember Jack Owens talking about gang problems when we implemented “Jump and Grab” in 1988. The SCSO doesn’t have a “gang” unit. They have a gang club. Luttrell has gutted the dept so that there are only 6 officers in the “club”. The MPD will have to deal with this issue alone.
7.Sustain and expand student safety initiatives in public school systems
This does nothing new.
8.Implement mentoring-based truancy reduction program
What does this mean? Can we be more abstract? How do you mentor someone into becoming a responsible citizen, when they go home to an apartment where they live with their grandmother, and their mother is selling crack or herself on the side? One major problem with crime in this county is the single “parent” family. Young boys need father figures and discipline. These kids don’t get it at “home.” I don’t have a ready answer on this issue. I admit it is a tough one. What do we do about this problem?
9.Launch the JustCare 180 degree program to “turnaround” youth charged with unruly
and delinquent offenses
I’m sorry. When I see things like this item, it bothers me. Show me this has worked before I will buy into it. Google shows this is another Federally funded program. In other words - same (show me tha money)
10.Expand juvenile offender re-entry programs
More of the same (show me tha money)
11.Expand and coordinate adult offender re-entry programs
More of the same (show me tha money)
12.Implement proactive, coordinated “problem properties” system
This is a good program. I first experienced other agencies doing this in 1988 when I attended a drug task force conference in Miami, FL . Other jurisdictions have been doing this for decades with great success. My partner and I wrote this up as a plan in 1988. I guess they just found the papers.
13.Build communication campaign that promotes tough consequences for crime
I think this means use federal funds to purchase billboards and run ads on television late at night telling people to play nice or else. I’m sorry, but I think word of mouth from the convicts is the best advertising. The word is out about gun crimes because the thugs understand. They understand because they’ve seen or heard that one of their buds is doing hard time because of it. You might say, “we don’t need no stinkin billboards”. I know the politicians want to be able to see their names on the billboards, so this is really number 1 in the plan.
14.Implement coordinated domestic violence initiative
How about some billboards and tv spots that say – Don’t hit other people! (this message brought to you by (rotate the politician’s name) because he/she really cares about you!
15.Implement “Operation Safe Surrender”
Haha, sorry I just can’t stop laughing at this one. Touchy-Feely again. This is a program that asks the felony fugitives to please turn themselves in “in a non threatening way”. I’m sorry, I just spent too many years chasing these thugs and I have a different perspective. Who thinks these folks can’t turn themselves in to the police, deputies, ministers, or anyone else right now? It happens all the time. I get calls all the time with people telling me they are going to turn someone in. They just want to know how much the bond is, or if there is going to be a bond. Yep, this is another one of those (show me tha money) programs.
Here's an excerpt from the US Marshall's website:
Fugitive Safe Surrender is a unique, creative, and highly successful, initiative that encourages persons wanted for non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes to voluntarily surrender to the law in a faith-based or other neutral setting. Managed by the United States Marshals Service as a community re-entry program for wanted non-violent offenders, Fugitive Safe Surrender offers individuals with felony and misdemeanor warrants the ability to turn themselves in to law enforcement and have their cases adjudicated in a safe and non-violent environment. The goal of Fugitive Safe Surrender is to reduce the risk to law enforcement officers who pursue fugitives, to the neighborhoods in which they hide, and to the fugitives themselves. Authorized by Congress in July 2006, Fugitive Safe Surrender is believed to be the first program of its kind in the nation.
I have some ideas that I plan to send to the MPD Police Director that I believe will help in the apprehension of these criminals, but we still have the problem of the judges and corrections letting these people out.