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David Griffith

David Griffith

David Griffith has been editor of POLICE Magazine since December 2001. He brings more than 25 years of experience on magazines and newspapers to POLICE. A Maggie award-winning journalist, his byline has appeared on hundreds of articles in POLICE and other national magazines.



Melanie Basich

Melanie Basich

Managing Editor Melanie Basich joined POLICE Magazine in 2000 (when her last name was still Hamilton). An award-winning journalist, she has covered such topics as agency budgets, officer suicide, emerging law enforcement technologies, and active shooter tactics. She writes and manages the product section of POLICE.
Editor's Notes

I Hope This Guy Isn’t a Crisis Negotiator

May 22, 2009  |  by - Also by this author

I Hope This Guy Isn't a Crisis Negotiator

Yesterday while I was searching around the Web for news to complete our Thursday "On Target" newsletter, I came across this item on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Website.

It seems the head of Atlanta's police union Sgt. Scott Kreher told the city council in an open meeting that he would like to beat Mayor Shirley Franklin "in the head with a baseball bat" when he thinks about problems disabled officers have getting workers' compensation claims approved.

Kreher is furious over what he see as the ATL city government's lack of compassion for officers wounded and injured in the line of duty. You see, about five years ago, the city turned management of these cases over to a third party, and the disabled officers have had a hard time ever since.

So Kreher has a righteous cause.

But maybe threatening to hit the mayor in the head with a baseball bat-he didn't specify metal or wood-is not the best way to convince city pols to effect a change.

Or maybe it is. Kreher's comment and his subsequent apology made the story a lot "sexier" to news editors than it would have if he had just argued his case. So he made sure that his argument was heard.

However this turns out, I hope the disabled officers benefit. And...I hope Sgt. Kreher does not command the APD's crisis negotiation team.

Jailhouse Conversions Can Be Dangerous

Since 9/11 numerous law enforcement officials and terrorism experts, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, have stated that America's next great threat will likely come from prison converts to radical Islam.

That's exactly what just happened, almost. The four men arrested by the FBI and the NYPD (who are deservedly being praised) Wednesday and charged with conspiring to bomb New York synagogues and attack military aircraft with Stinger missiles were all indoctrinated in radical Islam in an American prison.

Much of the politically correct media is pussyfooting around the fact that these guys are suspected of waging jihad but that was their plan. And they ain't from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or some other fundamentalist state. Although, one says his Daddy was from Afghanistan (a claim investigator now say was a lie to enhance his terror credentials).

James Cromitie, 55; James Williams, 28; and Onta Williams, 32, are all American citizens. The fourth man charged in the incident is Laguerre Payen, 27, an illegal immigrant from Haiti. All four of these guys reportedly became radical Muslims in prison where they served time for a wide variety of felonies.

According to federal prosecutors, this quartet of idiots formed a terrorist cell on the porch of a home in Newburgh, N.Y., where they liked to drink beer and brandy and smoke a little grass now and then. It seems the men who now called themselves Abdul Rahman (Cromitie), Daoud (David Williams), Hamza (Onta Williams), and Amin (Payen) didn't realize that alcohol is "haram" (forbidden) for Muslims.

Still, despite their poor understanding of Muslim tenets, these guys wanted to martyr themselves. So they reportedly met with FBI informants who claimed to be affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammed (a Pakistani group affiliated with al-Qaeda), and they told the informants that they wanted bombs to blowup synagogues in the Bronx and Stinger missiles to knock down military cargo aircraft flying out of a nearby Air National Guard base.

Fortunately, the informants gave these guys "bombs" built by FBI bomb techs that contained no explosives and a fake Stinger. So they weren't able to execute their heinous plans, but step back a minute and imagine if they had. Imagine how horrible it would have been if these self-appointed jihadis had found real bomb makers and gun runners. Their attacks would have been devastating. "It's hard to envision a more chilling plot," assistant U.S. attorney Eric Snyder said. "These are extremely violent men."

Actually, they are morons. But morons can be really dangerous. It takes a certain level of stupidity to end up in prison in the first place. And these guys have made a career of it. The only one who doesn't have a long rap sheet is the illegal immigrant Payere. He was convicted of assault in 2002 for shooting people with a BB gun. He's also a purse snatcher. Oh, and he's certifiably mentally ill.

The fourth man, Laguerre Payen, 27, had served 15 months for assault and was supposed to be deported to Haiti. But an immigration judge stayed the order because Payen, a paranoid schizophrenic, was judged insane.

All of these guys were radicalized in the joint. Which brings me back to my key point. It's critical that prison converts to Islam are not converted to Osama Bin Laden's brand of Islam. We need to make damn sure that any Muslim clergyman working in our corrections facilities is vetted to the fullest extent of the law.

Chief, What Other Federal Laws Are You Not Willing to Enforce?

Yesterday the Houston Chronicle ran a report that local police chief Harold Hurtt spent Wednesday in Washington telling Congress that he didn't want his cops to do street-level enforcement of immigration law.

From nearly eight years of experience as editor of this magazine and Website and from hundreds maybe thousands of conversations with cops, I can say the following with little reservation. Most Houston cops probably are very willing to enforce immigration laws on their streets.

Think about it: If you guys could enforce immigration laws in America's major cities, there would be a lot fewer gang members. All a cop would have to do is use suspicion of immigration violation as PC to roust any gang member. Would that be profiling? Absolutely. Would some American citizens get hassled? Surely. Would there be a lot less violent crime in our cities if we deported many gang members who are probably illegal aliens? You tell me.

This is just one example of how political correctness is killing a lot of Americans.

And yes, I've heard all of the arguments against having police enforce immigration laws. I've heard how it might prevent illegal immigrants from reporting crimes. I've heard how it might be profiling.

But I have to ask: What is our priority? Do we want to make Americans safer? Or do we want illegal aliens to report crimes?

Also, I have to ask: Do we want to be a nation governed by law? If not, can we pick and choose which laws that we want to obey?

That's my question to every chief in America who buys into this PC argument that being an illegal immigrant is not a criminal act: What other federal crimes can I get away with in your jurisdiction? Maybe you should post a list under the city limits sign that says: which crimes will be prosecuted and which won't. After all, the public has a right to know.

Random Notes

  • I'm reading a great book: "The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour" by Andrei Cherny. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in this period of history. And I have to say on this Memorial Day weekend that this book is a real tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces and what they can accomplish in both war and peace.
  • Love the new "Star Trek" movie. The plot is largely forgettable, but the characterizations of the Enterprise officers are spot-on. It's a fun ride. But I have the following quibble:

(spoiler alert)

In what command structure is a kid who was being cashiered from a service academy the best choice for commanding a ship full of veteran officers and enlisted personnel? Starfleet has some very interesting organizational charts.

  • Finally, this is Memorial Day weekend, and I'd like to say that It's not enough to say "thanks" to you who are veterans or that we "honor your service." As Tom Hanks' character Capt. John Miller said at the end of "Saving Private Ryan," we have to earn your sacrifice every day.

We live in the greatest country on Earth because of your service. No mere words can express our gratitude.

Tags: Houston PD, Military-related, Books for Cops, Illegal Immigration, Islamist Terrorists


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