Revenue enhancement strategy for Dayton Police Department

Today I saw a police car on U.S. 35 running a speed trap. This is called a “revenue enhancement strategy” by some police officers, bringing dollars into the government’s pockets from fines. The problem is, if you challenge the ticket and go to court, paying the police officer to come in to court, plus the court costs turn the whole mess into a negative revenue stream.

So much for speeding tickets.

The City of Dayton decided several years back to fine property owners for false alarm calls. The first two calls per year were free, after that, the fine kept going up. So instead of calling dispatch immediately. the alarm company calls me first. When my office was being broken into, I went across the street with my cell phone and flashlight to find the front door busted open and my office trashed. When the cops caught the criminals about 4 hours later – it turned out one of them had a gun. Good thing it took me a few minutes to find my keys that night.

Last week I got these stats from our neighborhood police officer about calls over the period from Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2012 to one house near me:

Total number of calls-  33.  This number reflects the calls made for police service as well as officers putting  themselves on an investigation at this location.

The calls were broken down into categories.

  • Wanted                                5
  • 911                                         4
  • Juvenile                               4
  • Family Trouble                  3
  • Miscellaneous                    3
  • Medical                               2
  • Alarm                                  1
  • Noise                                   1
  • Domestic Violence           1
  • Drugs                                  1
  • DWOC                                1
  • Burg                                    1
  • DWI                                    1
  • Transport                          1
  • Assault                               1
  • Intox                                   1
  • Fight                                   1
  • Suspicious                         1

There were 6 complaint reports and 1 memo report at this address.

There were 7 arrests at this location.

That’s one call every 22 days.

The house in question is behind on taxes. The taxes are only $744 a year due to buying the home out of foreclosure, and yet they owe $2,622.52. They not only don’t pay for police service, but they receive an unwarranted amount of it.

Their house is actually bigger than mine, yet, despite paying about the same to purchase mine in 1986 as they paid in 2009, their taxes are less than half of mine.

Instead of fining taxpaying citizens for false alarms, why aren’t we fining our criminal element for abuse of services? If we calculate the cost of a police call to a residence at a nominal $120 (2 officers, 1 hour each, $60 an hour) their 33 calls come out to $3,960. The costs could be levied against the property tax bill and either the house gets shut down until fines are paid, or the property gets seized as a nuisance and sold to pay the fines.

Former Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, once said: “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society” and uncivilized neighbors who can’t follow the rules cause my property values to drop, my quality of life to suffer and the cost of my government to rise. Instead of locking them up (which also costs us all) it’s time to place the costs of their criminal behavior back on the criminals.

What do you think? If you like this post, please consider donating to my campaign. Practical politicians don’t get elected for free.

Esrati is stoned, a VA supporter, a dog saver and stolen bike retrieval officer

Some of you may have noticed that the number of updates to Esrati.com has decreased in the last few weeks. One reason is that it took a bit of time to write the two big posts of late: The resignation of Dayton Daily News photo chief Larry Price– which went international, and the post about the competing efforts on regionalism (which to have been totally right would have taken a few solid days of calling for comment, etc., if I were paid to do this).

We’re also very busy at The Next Wave, opening a Miami FL office, launching our new web site, creating new brands, building web sites, making video, crafting advertising. The Huff-n-Puff hockey season also started.  Add in that I’ve also had to deal with the latest break in, adding late night walks on “security patrol” to my already stretched schedule.  The latest update on that in a bit, plus how I saved a dog’s life.

Then, to top it all off- I’ve got kidney stones. Not the first time, that was about 10 years ago- and the first time I had ever been given morphine. I had gone to Miami Valley Hospital, barely able to walk, and 15 minutes after the shot- I was ready to dance. Unfortunately, the next 36 hours- I was in bed- in and out of consciousness.  Won’t make that mistake again- this time, it’s only vicoden- which I’m on after a 9 p.m. trip to the VA emergency room last night.

I know that our local Congressman, Mike Turner, has made it a personal mission to vilify the entire institution over one dentist’s gross misconduct. But, as a Service Disabled Veteran, who gave up my private health insurance about 6 years ago and have only received my care from the VA- I would like to tell you that all your fears of “socialized medicine” would go away if the kind of care I’ve received was scalable to the entire country.

I see my General Practitioner twice a year. He typically spends between 30 and 45 minutes going over my health with me. He responds to e-mail about questions in my care program, his nurse- Mike, has become a good friend, and any test that’s needed, gets done, without question of cost. I recently had a CAT scan for my stones, no problem. All records are digital, including X-rays.

Pharmacy is all done by mail, with an online portal for renewals of regular medication. My eyes get checked annually, and glasses are available free from a choice of basic frames and for about $100 for “designer” frames. I’ve been wearing the $100 frames for a few years- and had many compliments.

My only complaint over the years is that I had forgotten some basic medication (not a narcotic)  when on a trip- tried to get a few pills for 2 days in St. Louis, where they wanted to go through a whole bunch of craziness including an ER visit, where if I’d had my prescription at Walgreens, it would have been walk in and sign.

You should be as lucky as me to have such an amazing team of people that took care of me last night. Thanks to Knickenbocker, Fat Pat (we’ll hit the road for a scoot soon), Amy, Heather, Doc D for taking amazing care of me.

If this seems like a ramble- it’s proof not to take drugs and write.

Scooby, a terrier lab mix, soon to be able to be adopted from SICSA

Scooby, our latest addition (possibly with ringworm)

We also began fostering a puppy for SICSA on Friday around 5. I think we’re going to fail our first foster- and end up with “Scooby” (a name we hate)- a 7-month-old terrier-lab mix, who weighs about 25 lbs.

It was yesterday morning when SICSA called and asked us to bring him in for a “vet check.” Turns out, he came in with 3 other puppies from a family that had him living in their yard. The house was foreclosed on, and the 4 came in. Before they checked all of them- we had the Scoobster. The girls introduced him to our two 10-year-old big dogs, with minimum fighting. And he started making friends, esp. with me (dogs tend to like me a lot more than people do). So, less than 20 hours after we have him- and all of us have been loving on the mutt, I get the news that the other three pups were destroyed- one had ringworm, and the other two were put down as a precaution. Do we want to keep Scooby, having to wait 2 weeks to see if the culture tests positive for ringworm- in which case, we’re looking at 4 additional weeks of fostering (by which time, I think I’d have a hard time giving him up). Or, hand him back, in which case, he wouldn’t live to  see 3 p.m. (it was 2:30 p.m.).

Ringworm isn’t a horrible disease, it’s easily cured with Lotramin AF, but the problem is it’s easily transmitted through microscopic spores that are only killed by lots of UV light, or bleach. We’d have to soak all three dogs with Sulfur Lime solution (we now have three rotten egg smelling dogs)- and keep Scooby semi-isolated.

Obviously- I brought him home. Odds are about 50/50 that he has ringworm- but, we won’t know till the end of the month.

The Bicycle Thief

The Bicycle Thief

On the way home, I stopped by Family Dollar on Clover St. at Wayne to pick up some Lotramin AF. As I was pulling out of the lot, I see three teens, in the middle of Theobald Lane- one of whom was on Teresa’s bike that was stolen. I pull the car over- taking pictures with my iPhone as I get out of the car. They start asking me what I’m doing taking pictures- I say “That bike was my Girlfriend’s until it was stolen last week” at which point- the kid starts pedaling as I start chasing. Note: keys are in car, Scooby is in the car, and there are three of them. The kid realizes he can’t get the bike going fast enough- as I’m running and about to grab him- so he dumps the bike and takes off running toward the Cricket Store. I stop- take more pix- and call 911.

Neighbor Rob Gonzalez, comes by in his jeep- asks what’s up- I give him description of punk kid, he goes looking for him. Note, Rob is  SFC Gonzalez, U.S. Army- and is a Military Police officer. Luckily for the punk kid- Rob doesn’t find him.

The other two talk trash as I take more photos and wait for the cops, who show up in about 15 minutes. The cop gives me a form for E-crew (Dayton’s Evidence Crew)- but says they won’t get prints off the bike, and tells me to take it home.

Turns out when I get it home- Teresa says it’s not her bike. Same style, same color- but slightly different. So now, I’ve “stolen” a stolen bike. I’ll explain to the cops when they show up. I’ve posted pictures to our neighborhood crime watch group on Facebook- to ID all three kids- to see what we can come up with. Our community based police officers also have all the pix.

Add in a few hours of work in the early morning at the office, a trip to the bank and the Second Street market (where I ran into Bubba Jones)- and you have a day in the life of David Esrati.

May your life not be like mine. I’m off to vicoden dreams.

However, I’m going to leave you with something I wrote in response to someone who didn’t like my language in describing the criminal element (and future criminal elements) in our neighborhood: “Pollyanna won’t save you. Buford Pusser will.”

Cheers.

Police hiring process as flawed as our charter

Before we go into any discussion about the hiring processes in place in the City of Dayton- one must ask how  a problem can last this long, with no resolution in sight. This has been an issue for twenty years (I had a position on the “consent decree” in my first literature when I ran for mayor against Clay Dixon).

The simple answer- is that our charter has a major failing, that it’s almost set in stone, covers things that have no business being in the charter, is impossible for the public to change, and the politicians who can, don’t because they might risk their precious seats for life. Even though parts of the charter- like the residency rule have been struck down as unconstitutional after years of expensive squabbling- it remains in the charter, ignored.

Without a regular scheduled charter review, the document is nothing but dead wood, helping kill off our city. It’s why I’m in the process of trying to get the parts about petitions thrown out.

But- on to the police issue- the latest chapter in the never-ending saga:

The city of Dayton plans to discard the test scores of the 748 people who passed its police recruit exam in November and will instead hire officers based only on a subjective oral interview — a change meant to improve the city’s ability to hire more minorities.

The announcement comes after the U.S. Department of Justice forced the city to lower its passing score to allow for more minorities into the hiring pool as part of a federal discrimination lawsuit the city settled in 2009.

Those scores are no longer relevant and all candidates are now on equal footing. The oral exam will consist of five situation-based questions asked by an expert panel and last 30 minutes per candidate.

Only those who passed the written exams are allowed to take the oral exam….

Dayton Police Union President Randy Beane called the change “outrageous.” He said it circumvents the city’s rule of one hiring practice where candidates must be hired one at a time based on a testing score from best to worst.

“There’s not going to be any objectiveness in the process,” he said. “We are checking with our attorney to see if this is legal.”…

The city began notifying the 748 who passed the exam by mail this week. Those moving on will have to pass a preliminary background check before participating in the oral interview.

The panel will then score the applicant’s answers and the process will be completed in early June.
Those who pass the oral exam must then pass a polygraph test and psychological and physical exams before being ranked on a hiring list.

Moore disagreed that the hiring change was meant to circumvent the city’s hiring rules mandated in its charter. But when asked if this creates more wiggle room to subjectively hire candidates, Moore said, “that might very well be the case. We are reacting to the consent decree which states that we are not to engage in a selection process that has a disparate impact on a certain race,” he said.

via Dayton throws out written police exam scores, will rely on oral interviews only.

As an employer, there is nothing harder than hiring the right people. They can make or break an organization. Considering these are people who will be armed, around criminals most of their working hours, putting their lives on the line makes the process even more difficult. It is not an easy job to find and hire the right people- especially since our stupid city refuses to hire experienced officers who have proven themselves in this line of work.

With layoffs in major metropolitan departments across the country- we could solve this problem quickly, by hiring already trained, experienced officers from Cleveland, Detroit MI, Trenton NJ etc- and probably increase our minority representation quickly. It would also help break the grip of the good old boy frat house atmosphere enjoyed by our local department. This isn’t to say our overworked officers aren’t professional- it’s just been such a private club for so long, we’ve forgotten how to play with others (sort of like our local political parties).

This new twist in hiring- the interview, will the candidates be behind a curtain? Will their voices be digitally altered so as to not be able to tell the hill-jacks from the Negroes? This whole concept of rule of one, race, test scores has so little to do with the actual proven ability to do the job- we may as well just have a lottery at this point. Do the oral  interviews of every possible candidate- rate them pass/fail- then take the passing people- put them in a lottery bucket and go.

That’s the only way we’ll be able to defend ourselves from the coming lawsuits when the process is again taken into court.

Of course, the quick, easy and right solution is to hire experienced professionals from other departments to get our racial quota and our strength up quickly. Then we can move on to the real issues- like why we still have Dean Lovelace on the commission who has caused 20 years of lawsuits without a solution in mind.

Dumb politicians prefer dumb cops

Since we get politicians for life, with no chance of recall or petitioning for the sake of changing our charter, we are also doomed to have stupid police officers in the name of integrating our security forces.

It’s also causing Dayton Ohio to become the laughing stock of the country.

From the Dayton Daily:

The city’s Civil Service Board and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed on a lower passing score for the police recruit exam after it was rejected because not enough blacks passed the exam.

The city lowered both written exams a combined 15 points that resulted in 258 more people passing the exam, according to a statement released Thursday by Civil Service officials. The agreement allows the city to immediately resume its plans to hire police and firefighters.

The original passing scores determined by Civil Service required candidates to answer 57 of 86 (66 percent) questions correctly on one portion and 73 of 102 (72 percent) on the other. The lowered benchmark requires candidates to answer 50 of 86 (58 percent) questions correctly and 64 of 102 (63 percent) of questions on the other.

A total of 748 people passed the exam under the new benchmarks. It is unclear the demographics of those who passed.

via City agrees to lower test scores for police exam.

We’ve been struggling with how to hire recruits that reflect our racial makeup for years. It has been a centerpiece of Dean Lovelace’s tenure on the City Commission. Lovelace has cost the city millions in fines from the Department of Justice and legal fees, yet, now the solution involves accepting candidates who score 58% correct- a solid F grade by any standard.

Maybe Dayton should start testing candidates instead of police recruits and at least require a C grade, between Lovelace and Matt Joseph you have two commissioners who haven’t accomplished anything of note in their multiple terms on the commission. Every piece of legislation that Lovelace has been credited for has been a huge failure – with the state stepping in on his predatory lending legislation, the living wage laws are toothless, his no vote on equal rights legislation – need I go on?

The simple solution is to allow the Dayton police and fire departments to hire from other departments- hiring trained, experienced officers.

Cleveland, Detroit, Newark NJ have all had mass layoffs of experience, diverse police officers over the last 3 years- giving us a much faster, more cost-efficient way to fill our vacancies and get a diverse department.

Unfortunately- our dumb politicians are unable to think outside of the very simple box.

Barber college gets scalped- City gets beheaded

And despite the efforts of the Dayton Downtown Partnership, one of the few remaining vintage businesses of Downtown is leaving:

The owner of a 51-year-old downtown business says it will close today and move to the Dayton Mall area.

Dayton Barber College owner Todd LeMaster says police constantly harassed students after a student’s arrest on suspected felony drug trafficking nearly two years ago.

“They ran my customers off,” he said. “At the end of the day the cops could have helped me rather than forced me from downtown.”

Dayton police deny LeMaster’s claims that the school was targeted.

The college will board up its 28 W. Fifth St. location and reopen Monday at 2741 Lyons Road in Miami Twp. LeMaster says the new facility underwent $300,000 in renovations.

Aside from the felony drug arrest on April 4, 2009, Dayton police Lt. Larry Faulkner said most arrests made of students were for minor marijuana charges and followed citizen complaints.

“We’d be happy for them to stay. It is not my job to run businesses off. I am here to encourage business,” he said. “None of this rose to the level that he seems to be taking it.”

Faulkner said there have been few problems at the college in recent months.

Police began working with the college and the Ohio Barber Board after complaints about suspected drug activity.

“It was a terrible perception having their students standing out front (of the school),” Faulkner said. “The businesses and citizens didn’t like it. They felt it looked bad and gave the wrong impression.”

LeMaster agreed that students wouldn’t be allowed to hang out front, but didn’t always keep that promise, Faulkner said. This prompted more complaints and investigations.

LeMaster, who has owned the college for 21 years, said he never formally complained about police to avoid trouble.

Students performed 400 hair cuts a week before problems with police began, LeMaster said.

The school gets about 200 clients a week now. Enrollment dropped from about 75 students to 45.

LeMaster appealed a public nuisance charge filed on April 15, 2009, by the city’s division of housing inspection brought on by the student’s arrest for suspected drug possession and trafficking charges.

The City of Dayton Nuisance Appeal Board upheld the charge and ruled that LeMaster could have known of the student’s criminal activity if reasonable care and diligence had been exercised.

LeMaster said he found the nuisance charge personally painful because he strived to maintain a quality business.

“We take pride in what we do and the service we provide,” LeMaster said of the college that offers haircuts for $7. “Now they can look at a boarded-up building.”

via Barber college owner says move prompted by police harassment.

Let me translate the above paragraph in bold italics for you: “It was a terrible perception having young black males standing on the public sidewalk,” Faulkner said. “The Spaghetti Warehouse, and The Dayton Chess Club and Tri-College Bookstore” and the one resident on E. Fifth Street didn’t like the cigarette butts on the sidewalk.

Had LeMaster put up a little wrought iron fence, and put cafe tables out- served latte – and had at least one white student- he’d still be there.

Despite the City being at least 50% African American, the reality is that the Monarchy of Montgomery County only tolerates enough African Americans to stay in power. We have no interest in strengthening and supporting black business- unless they are large supporters of the political machine or move in the correct circles.

The damage has been done, yet another business in Dayton closes up and moves to suburbia- and we can wait for the next art gallery, coffee shop or tax supported business to take the bait.

Best wishes to Mr. LeMaster. Sorry to see you go.

PART 2 (added 2 hours later)

It occurs to me that I should have supported my claim that political supporters, especially white ones- get a different treatment. Read this post about an “unnamed nightclub” in Downtown Dayton:Houses of ill repute vs. regulators of no respect. Now- look at this article that was published by the DDN this a.m.:

DAYTON — An unidentified man was shot four times early Friday morning during an argument at Hammerjax nightclub in downtown Dayton, police said.

The victim was taken to Miami Valley Hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

Police responding to reports of a disturbance heard gunshots shortly after they arrived at the nightclub at 111 East Fourth Street at about 2:30 a.m.

via Man shot at downtown Dayton nightclub.

The difference- one club owner hosts birthday parties for Rhine McLin and gives gifts of tile mosaic portraits.

LeMaster was cited and harassed-

“a public nuisance charge filed on April 15, 2009, by the city’s division of housing inspection brought on by the student’s arrest for suspected drug possession and trafficking charges.”

While shootings at nightclubs…. hmmm.