Tag Archives: police

Stop and Frisk App

Most everyone carries a phone with video capabilities today so it is not surprising that when something happens in the community, the footage we see on the news is from someone who just happened to be passing by rather than a professional journalist.

Most all of the headline news video evidence against police wrongdoing over the past few years has been shot from bystanders who saw the encounter and pulled out their cellphones. These videos can not only help to get bad cops off the street but, it can also be used to protect the good ones who are often accused of negligence but later exonerated because of amateur video evidence.

The ACLU has developed an app called “Stop and Frisk App” or “Mobile Justice App” which was designed to serve this purpose, to both protect the rights of those suspected of malfeasance and the officer from those who foolishly resist their authority.

Here is how it works. You install the app on your phone and when you are pulled over or detained by the police, you trigger the app. It then sends out a message to nearby users where the police encounter is happening. Those community groups who monitor police activity can then go to the scene and record the interaction. The video is recorded live and also saved on the ACLU servers where it is inspected and preserved as evidence.

I have to repeat that this app is a great tool to both protect the police and protect the rights of those who are being detained by the police. It is also a message to Big Brother that Little Brother is watching, too.

Check it out at the ACLU website:

https://www.aclu.org/feature/aclu-apps-record-police-conduct

Three Uses For Your Cell Phone That You May Not Have Thought Of

If you have a forward facing camera on your smartphone, you can use it as a magnifying glass. If you are shopping and left your cheater glasses at home, just aim your phone’s camera at the tiny print label on the item you are interested in purchasing and you should be able to see it on your screen. If you still can’t make out the tiny print, use two fingers to zoom in on the image. Take a picture if you have to then zoom from there.

I volunteer for a cable access TV show each week and at least every other week someone asks me if we have a mirror so they can check their hair or makeup. I ask them if their phone has a backward facing camera for selfies, then tell them to just turn it on and look into it and you’ll see a “reflection” of yourself.

You can also use your phone as a police radar trap detector. There is a great little GPS mapping program called WAZE. The people who use it are called “Wazers.” The success and value of this program is based upon how many people use it and report events to it. It uses your camera as a means of communicating with the program or app. You just wave your hand in front of the phone and Waze will ask “How can I help you?” If you see a police car sitting on the side of the road waiting to catch speeders, you wave your hand and say “Report police radar trap.” That’s it. Waze will mark the map at the point of the wave with a little police icon. When other Wazers come after you, they will be notified about half a mile in advance that there is a radar trap up ahead. You can see other Wazers on the map, too. So, if you see Wazers in front of you, hopefully they are reporting road hazards and you will be better prepared for them.

Now some people will think that this is an immoral or illegal use of technology but it isn’t. The police set up radar traps to catch people speeding so they can punish them with a ticket so they won’t speed because – speeding causes accidents and can kill. If Waze and former Wazers notify you that there is a speed trap half a mile up the road, you will slow down, thus, preventing accidents and killing people. So, what is bad about that? Oh, police use tickets to “tax” people to fill the town coffers. Send a donation to your town if you feel guilty.

Waze can also be used to warn people of disabled vehicles, pot holes, construction, red light cameras, driving hazards, dead animals on the road, debris, detours, heavy traffic, black ice, etcetera. Try it, I assure you you will get hooked. Just purchase some kind of mount for you phone so you can glance at your screen without taking your eyes off the road. Again, the software is voice activated so there is no reason to take you hands and eyes off the road other than an initial wave at the phone to get Waze’s attention. You can also set it up so that you just tap the screen to activate it.

Waze is also an excellent GPS and mapping program and you can use it to find gas, directions, lodging, food or whatever your heart desires. Try it, it’s free but does come with minor ads once in a while. When I stop for stop lights, an ad for a local establishment might pop up but will disappear when I begin moving again. If you live in a community where there are not many Wazers then the protection this software can offer won’t be of much value to you. Try it though and get all your neighbors to try it. That way you will be protecting your community.

Why Would The Police Lie?

Three Florida cops have been suspended for allegedly giving Justin Bieber a police escort from the airport to a strip club.  They were suspended because they did not have authorization to provide taxpayer paid services to Mr. Bieber.

A few days later, Justin was arrested for drag racing and drunk driving.  The rental place where Justin got the car had GPS tracking devices on the vehicle and it showed that he was doing 27 mph at the time of the alleged racing.  Furthermore, despite testimony and official police reports about Justin “reeking of alcohol,” Justin’s actual blood alcohol level was .014 — next to nothing.  Legal intoxication is .08.  I can’t imagine why the Florida police would be gunning for Justin.  He didn’t force anyone to give him an escort to a strip club.

In Troy, NY, at the Kokopelli Bar, the police were called, apparently because someone smelled pot, and there was a melee resulting in several arrests.  Granted when 200 people are gathered in one place and several police officers come in wielding their authority there are going to be some smart mouthed jerks.  There were some scuffles and the media reported that several police officers were injured and had to go to the emergency room but were released.

C’mon media, isn’t that standard protocol?  First of all, for simple health reasons, second because of workers comp – the officers are going to want to document their bruises if any, and third, in case they can use the line that officers had to go to the ER for community sympathy and additional charges against the defendants.  Leave it to the media to spindle and cherry pick the facts in order to sway the public.

I was once going 45 mph up a hill and a drunk driver operating a large Ryder rental truck was coming down the hill at about 45 mph.  Suddenly he swerved into my lane and we hit head on.  The impact stopped my car dead in its tracks and pushed me off the road, the truck coasted through a few front yards before coming to a stop.  If I didn’t believe in guardian angels before, I did then.  I was somehow insulated from all force and impact.  I didn’t feel a thing.  I’ve felt greater G-forces coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.  I got out of my car and ran to the nearest home, banging on the door yelling for them to call the police.  As I ran down to the truck, there was no one in it.  The police said whoever was in the truck practically smashed through the windshield (this was in 1989 before airbags were standard).  We found out later that the driver was drunk because where would a drunk go?  He walked three miles to a bar (undetected by police) where he ordered a beer.  The bartender called the police because the man was caked in blood.  Three police officers tried very hard to convince me to let them call me an ambulance so I could be taken to the hospital to be checked out.  I told them I felt fine but they continued to insist for insurance and liability reasons that I should go.  I resolutely refused.  Being only a mile from my house I walked home.   The point is, it is generally standard policy to get things checked out even if you don’t think there is anything wrong.

The police don’t like to be talked back to and the law is on their side – as evident in this instance, the town supervisor and police chief are siding with the word of the officers at this point.  The community is up in arms and are demanding resignations and suspensions.  Surveillance video from the bar was posted to YouTube and shows a man being held against the bar by an officer in one instance and then falling to his knees while being hit in the back with a baton. Another police officer comes over to hold the man down as the first officer continues to hit the man.  Police opinion was he that the man was resisting arrest.  It has been tossed around that the only thing some of the patrons at the bar were guilty of was being in the wrong place at the wrong time – and being black.  Their crime was that their ancestors were abducted and sold as slaves from the port of Badagry in that N-word country.  I’m sure the cops are not racist but they should have shown a little restraint when busting into a crowded bar with with a cleintel who have good historical reason to be distrustful of the police.  Sometimes it is more wise to know what not to do.  Both parties are to blame but the police should be held to a higher standard of compassion, control, respect and restraint.  A police response doesn’t always have to result in an arrest or beating.  Maybe they should be trained to be peace keepers instead of police officers.   I met a cop once who said when he pulled someone over for drunk driving, instead of destroying their life by arresting them, he would drive them home, impound their car and pay them a visit the next day and if he had to humiliate them in front of his family, he would.  He said that he rarely pulled over the same guy twice.  Abraham Lincoln once said mercy bears greater fruit than strict justice.  It is time for our law enforcement officers to learn this. 

A friend of mine used to room with a cop.  The cop would often steal and collect weapons from criminals and from raids he conducted.  Apparently his wall was littered with an impressive array of illegal weaponry.  What is a criminal going to do, file a report that his illegal weapon was stolen?  Another cop once told me that she used to pad her arrests with peripheral charges just to make the “perp” look bad in court and nail him for everything she could (she is not longer a cop for some reason).  She said that if she told you to stand still in one spot and you shifted your weight or scratched your nose, she would see that as either an attempt to escape or a threat to an officer.  She would then subdue you with any force necessary and if you moved to protect yourself from her nightstick, she could get you on resisting arrest, disobeying an officer and a host of other charges.  She also said that if she couldn’t get a “perp” on something, she would at least plant drugs on the guy to get him in the system for “something.”  I met her at a church I was working in.  Another confessed to me that when he was a teenager, he used to throw pumpkins off of a highway overpass onto cars.  Ironically, when he became a cop, on Halloween night he was assigned to patrol that same bridge watching for those kids who throw things off the overpass.

“Isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think? 
A little too ironic. 
I really do think.”
-Alanis Morrisette.

I worked in a Roman Catholic Church where the priest told me he witnessed a DWI accident and someone was killed.  The drunk was a police officer and he was quickly taken care of and removed by his police friends.  There were no charges posted against him.  It was this priest’s mission to see this cop punished and he was going to go to the press with what he knew – until he got a call from his Bishop who said “You have three hours to pack up and move to a new parish and you are not permitted to return to that town.”  The priest took the hint.  He told me that everything eventually worked out as the police officer completed suicide several months later – “Justice is served.” he said.  This priest also gave the most wonderful homilies on grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness. 

“Isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think?”

Here is a fun website to peruse.  There are dozens like it:
Copwatch.org