Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Liquidate Your Local Police: An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Updated, August 26)

 Mary Lee Cook, an 84-year-old resident of Oak Hill, Florida, didn't seem like the kind of person who would secretly cultivate marijuana behind her home. Yet on June 6, deputies assigned to the East Volusia County Narcotics Task Force materialized on her doorstep. 

 Diane Young, Chief of the Oak Hill Police Department, supposedly responding to an anonymous tip, had already visited the scene. Without notifying Cook or presenting a search warrant, Young had climbed a fence and taken photographs of the offending plants.

The deputies searched Cook's backyard
and found a half-dozen desiccated pot plants. Although under what is advertised as the "law," this was sufficient evidence to justify arresting the octogenarian and seizing her property. In this case, however, the deputies destroyed the plants and dropped the charges. 

It was her considerable good fortune that Cook was the mayor of Oak Hill, a town of about 1,500 people. She had inherited that position just a few weeks earlier when her immediate predecessor, Darla Lauer, resigned in disgust and frustration. The proximate cause of Lauer's dismay was Chief Young -- the same officer who had supposedly received the "tip" about Cook's secret marijuana garden, and had used illegal means to take photographs of the contraband.

Young was appointed Oak Hill Police Chief in 2010 by a 3-2 vote by the Town Commission; Cook (at the time a Commissioner) and then-Mayor Darla Lauer cast the two negative votes. Prior to being selected as chief, Young was the city's code enforcement officer -- that is, she was a uniformed pest issuing petty extortion demands (also called "citations") against local property and business owners. Young discovered her vocation for law enforcement relatively late in life, getting an associate's degree in law enforcement and attending the academy at the age of 48. 

In her application to the Oak Hill Police Force in 2002, Young admitted to an extensive history of drug use, which included marijuana, cocaine, and quaaludes. None of those substances should be prohibited, of course, and Young was never arrested or prosecuted for her drug use. She insists that she was not addicted to drugs or alcohol, but the scope of her admitted activity suggests otherwise. That behavior should have disqualified Young for a position on the force -- and certainly should have been a deal-breaker for her appointment as chief. However, three members of the Town Commission were close personal friends of Young and were willing to approve her candidacy -- and to misplace her personnel file. 

Once ensconced as Chief, Young immediately vindicated her critics. She certified one newly hired officer, Brandy Sutherlin, as "fit for duty" -- even though he failed a drug test immediately before being sworn in. Shortly thereafter, Sutherlin -- who was off-duty at the time -- got involved in a "road rage" incident in which he pursued another motorist on I-95 at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour while firing several shots at the fleeing vehicle. 

At the time, Sutherlin's three young children were in the car with him, a fact that prompted a 9-11 dispatcher to demand repeatedly that he stand down. 

Young stubbornly defended Sutherlin's actions until Henry Frederick, an independent journalist who runs the blog NSBNews.com, publicized the 9-11 recording. This prompted Sutherlin to resign -- and then-Mayor Lauer to start pressing for Young's resignation. 

Last February, Young narrowly escaped being removed as Chief when a motion placed before the Town Commission resulted in a deadlock, with Lauer and Cook voting to remove the Chief. Describing herself as "fed up with the corruption under the command of an inept chief," Lauer resigned and prepared to relocate to Alaska, where her husband had found work as an air traffic controller. Cook succeeded Lauer as Oak Hill Mayor just as the police department split open at the seams like a bloated carcass.

In late June -- shortly after Young apparently tried to set up Cook for a phony drug arrest --
Sgt. Manny Perez filed an affidavit accusing Young of ticket-fixing, sexual and ethnic harassment (such as grabbing him in intimate fashion and referring to him by such demeaning nicknames as "Mexican jumping bean"), and official corruption. Perez also claimed that after he expressed misgivings about Young's performance to a member of the City Commission, the Chief "initiated two (2) Internal Affairs investigations" against him. 

Perez was accused of stealing gasoline and suspended from the force. The charge was later dismissed as "unfounded." However, as a condition of being reinstated, he was compelled to sign a waiver promising not to pursue legal action against Young and the city government. In an interview with NSBNNews.net, Perez described Young as a Machiavellian operator who “pits officer against officer and … gets them to do her bidding.” 

Young, Perez insists, should “never have been promoted as chief or even hired as an officer in the first place since she has admitted to more than a hundred felonies” – meaning one hundred separate instances of cocaine use. The Oak Hill PD was a “sinking ship,” Perez lamented, with officers being driven out by a “coke-snorting police chief.” 

On August 1, Mayor Cook finally obtained the long-pursued third vote to remove Young as Police Chief -- and as an added bonus, the Commission simply liquidated the town's entire six-member police force

Even if we accept the unwarranted assumption that police help deter crime, we're still left with this question: Why did Oak Hill, a minuscule town in which violent crime is practically non-existent, have a police force? 

While Manny Perez appears to be a conscientious individual who would make a good hire for a private security company, the department itself seemed to exist only to provide patronage jobs for the likes of Diane Young and "Gypsy Cops" such as Brandy Sutherlin -- who has been forced to leave three police departments since 2006 -- and  Mike Inhken, who was hired by Oak Hill after being cashiered by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office amid charges of theft. 

Almost exactly a year before Oak Hill disbanded its corruption-plagued police department, the municipal government of Maywood, California was dissolved after repeated lawsuits against its incurably thuggish police department bankrupted the city. Other small towns across the country -- such as Kilbruck, Pennsylvania; Columbus, New Mexico; Hoschton, Georgia; and Pewaukee, Wisconsin -- have dismissed their police forces, usually as an austerity measure.

Police forces -- like practically everything else -- were extravagantly over-built during the late economic bubble. Liquidation is a vital part of every economic correction, and dismantling the local affiliate of the Homeland Security State is a splendid way to begin that process. This is why everyone blessed to live in a small town should take the opportunity to share the Oak Hill story with the city council, coupled with this admonition: Go ye, therefore, and do likewise. 

Video Extra: The Sunriver Story Struggles to the Surface
Nobody in the "respectable" media appears willing to pick up the story of Robert Foster, the long-time resident of Sunriver, Oregon who has been accused of "stalking" the police in that tiny resort town. In fact, he is being stalked by the police, who are engaged in a conspiracy to deprive him of his constitutionally protected rights and, if possible, imprison him or at least exile him from the town. Foster's only "offense" has been to call for the abolition of the police force, which cannot justify their existence in a "town" that is little more than an overgrown housing development.

Despite the fact that literally hundreds of pages of documents -- most of them sworn depositions by police and the other principals in the controversy -- are easily obtained, neither the Bend Bulletin nor the local television station, KTVZ, is inclined to follow up on this bizarre and eminently newsworthy subject.

"I find it difficult to believe that anybody with a scintilla of journalistic instinct would pass up this story," I wrote to one of the local media gatekeepers in an e-mail challenging him to pursue the matter. "If there are shortcomings in the way I have dealt with this story, please -- by all means -- show me and the rest of the world how actual professional journalists would handle it differently."

His reply demonstrates the depth of sycophantic deference to "authority" that typifies establishment journalism even at local level:

"I have been a journalist for 30 years and have done pretty well at it, and had best just leave it at that. Anything more could land me in trouble with my supervisors, and rightly so."
The heroic Bill Meyer, host of a morning program for Medford, Oregon's KMED-AM, has given the Robert Foster case some coverage. As the video below demonstrates, the story is leaking out by way of samizdat as well. 

(Note: The original version of this essay incorrectly named Waukesha, Wisconsin -- rather than Pewaukee -- as a town that had abolished its local police force. "Sorry to say, we still have a police force in Waukesha and it's a stinker," wrote a local resident, who tipped me to the story linked above. I apologize for the error, and offer my sincere apologies to the afflicted residents of Waukesha.)

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Dum spiro, pugno!


liberranter said...

Allow me to be one of the first, William, to thank you for publishing this upbeat, heartwarming story. Given the blood pressure-elevating nature of most of your (superb) works published here, this one was a very pleasant departure.

Of course there is a very dark cloud enveloped by this silver lining. The fact is that these “cashiered” cops are now free to assume “gypsy” status and migrate elsewhere to commit murder and mayhem against innocent citizens in other localities. Worse still is the possibility that, with other towns, in ever greater numbers, hopefully following the lead of Oak Hill, Maywood, and the others you cite, these cops will be forced to search for HONEST AND PRODUCTIVE GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT in the ever-shrinking private sector. Given that almost none of them are even remotely qualified for such work (which is why they became cops in the first place), once their backs are up against the wall and they become desperate and cornered, we will see a violent “blue crime wave” the likes of which is without precedent in Amerika, one that might even get sympathetic support from the blue-clad gangsters still on the official welfare roles.

zach said...

Yeah, I'm going to have to speak at my city council, also a very small town in Florida, and lobby to get the force dissolved. All they do is write tickets to out of towners and go to the gym, sometimes leaving their Dodge Chargers running with the AC on while they're in the gym

Anonymous said...

And out of Utah, we have this example of a double standard for police officers:


mark edward marchiafava said...

Living in Baton Rouge,deep in the POICE STATE OF LOUISIANA, it would take a miracle of biblical proportions to even get such a measure before the city council. One can only dream.

rhofulster said...

Sounds like New Rome (population 60), Ohio in the nineties.

MamaLiberty said...

I used to live in a remote desert community. It was unincorporated, so looked to the county sheriff for "law enforcement." Not much to do out there, so it never got a regular patrol by anything but the CHP going through on the state highway. The sheriff's department did send someone out once a month to process anybody on probation. That was about it, though of course most of that was bogus crap too.

Folks in town talked about incorporating sometimes, but it never came to anything.

Anonymous said...

Pig season is open all year long where I am.

J.C. Simpson said...

Will, you would be pleased to hear that the small town where my parents reside (Winslow, AR, pop approx 300) just recently turned down someone volunteering to work as an officer for free for two years. The mayor's exact words were 'We like things just the way they are.' So they only have state troopers out on the interstate and the ever rare sheriff's deputy. My dad says it's the most free place he's ever been.

the memory hole said...

Threw some seeds down in the spring and a couple cannabis plants grew off the back porch through the summer. Cut em down with at least 8 weeks left in the growth cycle because it was too nerve racking worrying about some donut vacuum drug whoriors (warriors my ass) raiding our humble abode. It is fun living in a freedom filled socialist utopia is it not comrade? Note to drug whoriors I'm on a proxy and smoked all the ill gotten gains of the evil cannabis plants so go have some more donuts and tell yourself you're a rough and tumble drug warrior.

liberranter said...

"I have been a journalist for 30 years and have done pretty well at it, and had best just leave it at that. Anything more could land me in trouble with my supervisors, and rightly so."

The phrase "pitiful, cuckolded castrato bitch" is inadequate in its offensiveness for describing this so-called "journalist." The same descriptive phrase applies to anyone who reads, listens to, and absorbs as truth anything that such a creature spews forth, out of whatever orifice.

Lee said...

They are not all bad.


Anonymous said...

Emissary, that is not the point. Too many of them are, just because you found one doesn't mean anything. Did it take you awhile to even find that one "hero" cop? No matter, one or two "good cops" does NOT in any way mitigate the damage or rage that has been done to thousands of innocent people. Maybe you should go suck up to cop.org

Anonymous said...

Excellent journalism! Sad to say, this solution wouldn't exactly fly in Chicago and environs.

However, nearly 18 years ago, an Illinois political magazine printed a letter to the editor pointing out that some municipalities deserved to be liquidated. (The article was in response to the longstanding call of government consolidators in IL to get rid of townships, and consolidate them into the counties.) Here's the full piece.


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