Thursday, December 14, 2006

Crime Fighter - Extra-Ordinary

Hmmm, as I recall our current Sheriff ran for office on a promise of employing functional consolidation. When he took office, there were already a batch of "metro" operations in place. Since that time things appear to have gone south. There was even talk of a "Metro Narcotics" unit being formed right after his initial win, and there was a lot of time and money spent on trying to make it happen. The end result was nothing. There was even talk of a Metro Fugitive operation, it too never happened. The MPD refused to throw-in with Mark.

Then there was the metro-gang unit. The MPD pulled out of that last year and put their officers on the street. Mark took his ten men and formed his own "unit". I'm told he has pared that large number down to six, so instead of calling it the gang unit, I think it would be much more appropriate to call it "our gang". You know like the "Little Rascals". Wonder who is playing Alfalfa? Welcome to the gang club.

The latest revelation is the breakup of the Metro DUI unit. MPD Director Godwin pulled the plug on that operation just yesterday. I guess he agrees with me that running beer stings is not the highest and best use of available manpower. But, then again, Godwin has actually made arrests. He understands crime fighting and since his trip to New York, he has had an epiphany. If anyone cares to do the research, they will see that I have been preaching the answer for the past two years - non stop, ZERO tolerance coupled with innovation. This was my plan from the outset and based on what I had seen from working in the streets and developing systems that are highly effective.

Note to Mark - Mark you cut the resources of the SCSO down to dangerous levels so you could look good to the taxpayers, and now "the chickens have come home to roost." Go back to the county commission and ask for money to hire more deputies, then consolidate your narcotics street club (less than 10), your "our gang club" (6 officers) and the Fugitive squad (less than 40). Ask for an additional 100 officers and forget about Glammer Slammer II. I know you just floated that out there to scare people into supporting your real agenda, which is to get CCA to take over the jail and corrections center. Next, stop answering law enforcement questions like you had risen through the ranks. Let Chief Oldham answer those, he's been there, done that. You can field the jail questions.

On another note, and while I'm still being instructive to the high shurf, I see you cleaned up your campaign finance operation to the point that the only convict I recognized was Bobby Lanier, and he's on everybody's list. I know you were saddened to see your long time friend and campaign contributor (Joe Cooper) get arrested recently. But, I guess you can look back on that picture you had taken with him at the car lot with fond memories. Now, don't get too down about this next revelation but, I'm also hearing some more of your friends/contributors are going to be staying at the Crossbar Hotel - and soon. (Oh well, easy come, easy go.) Back to the donations - I didn't even see the wives of convicts or underworld types names on this list. The only thing you've got left to fix is taking money from people who do business with the county, you know like people who run body shops and wrecker services and other such things. Of course, I also noted that you didn't take in nearly as much money this time either!

Now, back to my review of all things criminal in Shelby County. Under the current Sheriff, the county has experienced a blossoming crime problem. Violent crime in Memphis only grew by less than 3% in the first half of this year, yet in the county it grew by 17%. Why is that? Could it be because of failed policies? Isn't that what was said about Memphis and the reason it had gotten so bad? I believe it is. This is why it is dangerous to have a Sheriff who has never done the law enforcement side of the business. If he were merely the titular head, and he delegated the crime fighting to people who had a plan of attack, things might be different. But, the reality is that he is the Sheriff and he appears to think that because he won the race, he's a lawman. I say the facts don't support that assertion. He's now into his fifth year and things are not looking better, they are looking worse. Not only is crime getting worse in the county, the police chiefs in the other municipalities are shunning him. I believe it is because he "knows not" what he does.

Now, I know this posting will rankle many people. You'll say, we had no alternative but to vote for him. Well, that may be true. As a write-in candidate, I knew I had no chance, and the other alternative wasn't acceptable. So, I'm merely pointing out that this guy isn't getting it done. If you find anything I've said to be untrue, please let me know and I'll make the corrections and apologize. On the other hand, if you review the facts, I believe you have to agree. Sheriff Luttrell is failing the taxpayers of Shelby County.

In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, "are you better off today, than you were four years ago?" In terms of crime, I would say not.

13 comments:

Wintermute said...

Good tone on this post.

John Harvey said...

I believe you'll see nothing but facts in this posting. If that disturbs people, then it should.

Anonymous said...

As you well know, the Metro DUI Squad does more than just 'beer stings'. You are maligning good people when it isn't necessary to your point (which I happen to agree with in this case). In additon, I have not yet met any MPD officers who think the MPD "DUI Squad" is a good idea, and I've talked to a a bit more than a few.

John Harvey said...

You are maligning good people when it isn't necessary to your point (which I happen to agree with in this case).

I am maligning noone. I am simply pointing out that Luttrell doesn't know what he is doing and that his only thing has been "beer stings". He is basically clueless when it comes to law enforcement and I heard today the MPD pulled out of these metro organizations because Mark isn't a "team player". I thought that was poetic, because he said I am not a team player. He was right I don't play on teams that have criminals on them.

As I recall, "if the blind follow the blind, they shall surely fall into a ditch."

Anonymous said...

The MPD DUI squad will continue to respond to calls for a "whiskey van" to test a driver for being DUI - they will just not do it in the county any longer. It is really not much of a change other than they will be directly accountable to the MPD and Memphis and not the SCSO. They will also be subject to calls. This is a positive thing for the MPD - maybe not for the guys in the Metro DUI because their gravy train has come to a halt...

John Harvey said...

I know guys in both agencies who worked in the Metro DUI squad and they are good people. I hate that the unit is breaking up, but saw this coming a long time ago. Luttrell has all but gutted the SCSO and now is moving toward privitization of the jail and civil division. He also has taken money out of the pockets of the officers since he has been there. Lts no longer get overtime. Initially, they cut holiday pay for Captain and above, then they took it from Lts and now I hear he has taken it from Sgts. Welcome to How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Luttrell style. He is the worst Sheriff the men and women of the SCSO could have gotten.

Anonymous said...

I hear a lot of Deputies are jumping ship to the MPD... picking up applications last week at City HR.

John Harvey said...

It wouldn't surprise me. He has taken Lts out of the bargaining unit, and now I hear he's taking Sgts out too. Not much left and our union has never been nearly as strong as the MPDs.

There aren't many who are willing to stand up to the "high Sheriff", but some of us do.

The Truth Hurts said...

John, I don't think you meant to trash Metro DUI, but Anon 6:15 took it the same way I did. That aside, I have also talked to a few MPD officers about this and they aren't happy. Godwin's plan to have MPD DUI officers shag calls will simply mean they won't be available to answer DUI calls. A couple of MPD officers have indicated they won't call for a DUI car anymore because they don't expect them to be available. Of course, with the crime rate out of control in Memphis, maybe the MPD doesn't have time for drunks...they are too busy with gangfights and shootings. You also seem to be casting blame on the DUI split on Luttrell. He didn't make the decision. That was Godwin and his turf mentality. How Luttrell deals with it will be interesting, however. My opinion is that Luttrell should make Gang, Interstate, and DUI bigger and more proactive and ask the state for the funds to do it. I do NOT understand why Luttrell isn't snatching up the grants that MPD seems to be getting. A good grant writer could be all over that money for the good of ALL Shelby County citizens, not just those inside the city limits. I don't share your antipathy for Mark, but I do recognize a lot of the same shortcomings in his administration. Like it or not, he's the Sheriff for another 4 years so we should try to educate him, not trash him.

John Harvey said...

John, I don't think you meant to trash Metro DUI, but Anon 6:15 took it the same way I did.

Yeah, he did take it that way, but that wasn't my intent. I know a lot of the guys who work DUI and they are good officers. I was speaking to Luttrell's lack of leadership and experience in law enforcement; and his unwillingness to either defer to law enforcement officers or allow them to develop a strategic plan of attack for the SCSO.

You also seem to be casting blame on the DUI split on Luttrell.

That would be a correct interpretation of my assertions. I have been told that Luttrell isn't a "team player" by people who are fairly high up at the MPD and that coupled with his lack of insight into law enforcement is the reason the MPD pulled the plug. Luttrell's ignorance in law enforcement is the reason the MPD doesn't want to do business with the SCSO and it's the reason the other municipalities don't either.

Another thing that needs to be brought out is the fact that the media isn't helping. They have legitimized this guy by interviewing him on law enforcement issues as though he had risen through the ranks. He has never made an arrest. Then he steps to the microphone and makes totally asinine statements like:

What authority do we have to make arrests in Bartlett? (2005)

We don't have a big drug or gang problem in county schools. (2005)

I can't even remember all the stuff I've heard in compstats, but it is very evident, he is a fish out of water.

My opinion is that Luttrell should make Gang, Interstate, and DUI bigger and more proactive and ask the state for the funds to do it.
I've suggested a merging of the gang club, the narcotics club and fugitive, and an additional 100 officers. This unit could be used to do all three efforts and it would be better for communications between efforts. Luttrell just doesn't get it. He is all about himself and getting more. He cares nothing for the officers of the SCSO, else instead of taking money out of their pockets,(He cut the holiday pay for Capt and above right after he took office, then Lt, this is the last year Sgts will get that which amounts to over 1/2 month's pay - and it costs the county nothing) he would be fighting to get them more money. Since he is not one of "us", he doesn't have that soft spot we have for each other's problems. He was born into the network of good old boys (hence his father's name on a state institution) and he never had to worry about minor things like providing for his family.

I do NOT understand why Luttrell isn't snatching up the grants that MPD seems to be getting. A good grant writer could be all over that money for the good of ALL Shelby County citizens, not just those inside the city limits.

He doesn't listen to people who are capable, he fears them. We've raised this issue for years and you see where the department stands today.

I don't share your antipathy for Mark, but I do recognize a lot of the same shortcomings in his administration. Like it or not, he's the Sheriff for another 4 years so we should try to educate him, not trash him.

Try to educate him all you want, he is an egocentric person who doesn't tolerate constructive criticism. He views it as a threat. I feel that Mark doesn't have the SCSO's best interest at heart, and that he is only concerned with his "image".

Since Mark has taken the reins of the SCSO, crime has gone up in the county, all metro units have been disbanded, deputies have lost money. (I forgot to mention that Lts lost the right to get overtime and that Sgts will suffer the same fate soon, when he forces them out of the bargaining unit.) How can ANY deputy sheriff support him, when he has done this?

Some think I raise these issues because of sour grapes. I raise them because they are true and hurtful to the department. I defy anyone to point out any assertion I have made that isn't factually acurate.

If Mark Luttrell were trying to help deputies do a better job, to make more money instead of cutting them, if he had a vision for law enforcement and a realistic plan of attack, I would support him. The honest-to-God truth is he doesn't do any of these and doesn't plan to, and I plan to continue to let people see that the king has no clothes.

Now that I am retired, I am free to criticise to my heart's content. If my statements sting the King, then I'm doing a good job. I am working on trying to make positive changes in Shelby County, not just by, as you say, "trashing" Luttrell, but by shining the white, hot light of truth on inequities. I don't personally dislike Mark Luttrell, I don't know him well enough to hate. I do dislike his methods and I'm certainly not fond of the people he consorts with. There will be more on that in the near future.

Anonymous said...

TTH has a point though and his blog entry on this was thoughful. If we're stuck with Luttrell for 4 more years, how do we keep the SCSO from sinking? We need solutions, not talk.

John Harvey said...

TTH has a point though and his blog entry on this was thoughful. If we're stuck with Luttrell for 4 more years, how do we keep the SCSO from sinking? We need solutions, not talk.

I don't think you can do anything about it. Luttrell has an alliance with Wharton and Gibbons and is bent on destroying the SCSO. I went by the funeral home tonight for Ray Collier's wife's visitation and I spoke with several deputies. The word I'm getting is that Luttrell is embarking on a union busting move. I feel for the guys who are still there.

About the only thing I can think of to counter Luttrell is to get the commissioners to go against his plans, and to let the unions know what he is up to. Other than that, all we can do is let the public know what is going on, which is what I'm doing.

Anonymous said...

You speak the total truth.
I have a confirmed nepotism incident in the administrative ranks, as well as political snafus.
SCSO is sinking fast.

Regards,
an employee of SCSO, treading water for now.