More than ever, it seems as if readers and professional writers that follow the Notebook most enjoy learning about the nuts and bolts of crime as well as the crime fighters that take care of the bad guys. It was fun to see that two of our (always taste-tested) recipes made the list this year as well.
Here are the Top Ten Fan Favorites for 2017, listed in reverse order. Click on the links to re-read the articles (or enjoy them for the first time) and let us know in the comments whether your faves made the list. Happy sleuthing, one and all. 🙂
And the most read new post of 2017?
1. “200 ways to die an unnatural death.” https://bit.ly/2jmDIeE
Take a look at “Kerrian’s Notebook, Volume 2: Fun, facts, and a few dead bodies,” just released. Download to your e-reader and enjoy! 🙂
Happy New Year, everyone!
I feel lousy. If I didn’t have to get out of bed to eat, I wouldn’t move. The body aches remind me of what it felt like to be back doing the physical part of basic training at the Police Academy. Everything hurts. Everywhere. Between the coughing, the sneezing, and the sweating, my days are filled with junk. And not the good kind.
I am buried under a pile of tissues.
Sheila has disappeared again. She brings me chicken soup, drops off a new box of tissues and leaves. She’s sleeping in the guest room and has Hammett with her, so it’s pretty quiet in here. I miss them both. Yeah, I know they’re just in the next room, but it’s not the same.
Hammett growled when he heard me honking the first day, so I’m pretty sure he’s away for the duration. I don’t want Sheila to catch this, so she should stay away. Still. A hug and a woof would be good. I admit it. I’m a wimp.
At least I’m well enough to read a little and work on the Notebook. Seriously, it’s been four days since I got dizzy and almost fell off a ladder outside. Who knew that 102 fever would knock out a big guy like me? If I was on active duty, I wouldn’t have the strength to hold a gun steady, and it wouldn’t be safe to put me out on the streets. Can you imagine sneezing in the middle of taking a shot? EVERYONE would run for cover. I might shoot myself in the foot if I ever actually had the strength to pull the trigger. I definitely wouldn’t be fit for roll call until the coughing and sneezing stopped.
It got me to thinking about the Blue Flu – the pretend flu we hear about every once in a while. The kind of flu that gets rumored about when a contract negotiation hits a snag over in NYC or in one of the other larger communities in the country.
Here’s a little history.
It all started in Boston, back in 1919. A full 80 percent of Boston police went off the job, leaving the city unprotected for several days. Unions were on the rise and the cops decided that there was no other way to get the boss’ attention. They wanted better working conditions and more pay. But, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge disagreed with the concept of unions in general and the right in particular of police officers to strike. He called out the militia, and famously declared, “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, anytime.” Coolidge used this get-tough policy to leverage a spot as Vice-President on the ticket to the White House in the following election.
Instead of viewing the police as helpers of the community, for a while at least, Boston cops and unions in general were in disfavor. It became illegal for law enforcement officers anywhere to strike.
It wasn’t until fifty years later that big city police officers were back in the news for a job action. In the early 1970s, the NYC Police Department was under scrutiny for corruption, and at first, the 19th precinct was targeted more than the others by the Knapp Commission. The Police Commissioner at the time, Patrick Murphy, sought to clean house before the investigations went any further and started transferring officers as well as demoting some. But the PBA (the Police Benevolent Association) was upset at the way they thought Knapp was attacking the entire force with what the PBA called “unfounded accusations.” More than 60 of the 90 day-shift officers in that precinct sat down on the job for four hours and would not go out on patrol. First strike ever in the history of the NYC police department. My boss told me that both good and bad fallout rippled across the country.
Then, just a few months later, while parts of the NYC Police Department were still under investigation, salaries were up for review. Officers faced a tough reception on the streets and any shift could be deadly. While never an easy job, the level of violence toward cops had gone up a notch and cops wanted to be compensated for that danger. 20,000 officers of the NYC police department called in sick for six days in a row. The mayor at the time, John Lindsay, threatened to fire the entire police force if they didn’t get back to work. Public outcry was fierce, with many in support of the theory of pay raises, but taxes were already high and new money would burst the budget. The union leadership got the patrolmen back on the job, but it took years for goodwill between the public and cops and the mayor to be restored.
Cops, firefighters, and hospital workers are sometimes faced with horrendous working conditions in metropolitan settings and while they know what they signed up for, buying the groceries and paying the rent gets in the way of that warm and fuzzy feeling towards management. Full-on Blue Flu sickouts are discouraged when tensions run high, so some unions prefer the work slowdown method. The idea behind it is that the resulting traffic stops and mountains of paperwork will convince the other side to come up with solutions to the issues at hand. It isn’t always about the $$$.
Blue Flu has been a last resort job action. Many would say that it should never be used at all.
If you’d like to read more about the history behind the “Blue Flu,” click on the links below. 🙂
Check out a more recent use of Blue Flu as a job action, in September, 2016: http://www.fox10tv.com/story/33261705/blue-flu-hits-prichard-police-department
Thinking of moving to Ireland?
And you think joining the Garda might be a good idea?
And you think you’re in great physical shape?
Consider this: before any candidate can be included in the final group of applicants, he/she must pass a test for physical endurance, known as The Physical Competence Test, in addition to the Shuttle Test. As I mentioned in the previous article, “An Garda Siochana, the Irish National Police,” there were recently over 60,000 applicants, so competition is tough. To give you an idea of the requirements, the Garda website provides this chart for the Shuttle (also called Beep test) so that you can compare your capabilities to the expected norms:
MINIMUM Standards for the Shuttle Test (running back and forth in a gym – 20 meters (about 65 feet) in each direction – the levels indicating how many round trips you should make within a set time)
|18-25yrs||Level 8.8||Level 7.6|
|26-35yrs||Level 8.1||Level 6.6|
MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Sit Up’ Test (one minute)
MINIMUM Standards for the ‘Push Up’ Test (no time restriction)
Physical Competence Tests –
This part of the physical test demonstrates whether the candidate is capable of chasing after a suspect, and then, once the suspect is caught, struggle with him/her in order to make the arrest. Because, trust me, if you can’t do this part of the test, you won’t make it as a street cop.
Part 1 – the Obstacle Course
You have three minutes and 20 seconds to get around the course three times. Go!
After a running start,
Slower than 3:20? You fail.
Part 2 – the Push-Pull Machine Test
What’s the maximum force you can muster? This test indicates how strong you are when you’re battling against a suspect who doesn’t want to be caught – after you’ve chased him/her for several minutes through the alleys.
A video detailing the Physical Competence Test can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXo3roYoCUw&feature=youtu.be
Get past this pre-screening stage and there are a number of tests to eliminate the possibility of the unqualified becoming a Garda Trainee. If you pass each of the interviews, psych evaluations, personality questionnaire, language proficiency assessment, report writing tasks, written tests, medical exam, and physical tests, (and anything else the powers-that-be deem necessary) and rank high enough on the list of qualified applicants, you might become a Garda trainee. If so, you would attend the Garda college to complete the first 34 weeks of your training. After that, you will have both supervised and unsupervised field training, with periodic rigorous testing along the way. It will take about two years to finish, but at the end, you will attain a BA in Applied Policing.
The Garda College is the national center for police training, development and education within the Irish State. The coursework is divided into two major sections, Operational Training and Crime Training.
Operational Training consists partly of:
Candidates learn to drive the official vehicles and based on operation needs, may also learn to drive vans, 4×4 vehicles, motorcycles, and H.G.V.s
After initial firearms training, if hired, the candidates permitted to carry firearms must take refresher firearms training three times a year. They are checked for Range Safety, Weapon Safety and accuracy. They also receive tactical training, as well as how to use non-lethal weapons such a tasers.
Constitutional, Human Rights & Diversity Office
Candidates become familiar with the proper way to handle incidents that may involve human rights, diversity as well as any possible constitutional violations.
Communications and Information Technology Training
A.F.I.S. (Automated Fingerprint Identification System)
A.V.P.L.S. Automatic Vehicle Personnel Location System)
C.A.D. (Computer Aided Dispatch)
I.C.C.S. (Integrated Communications Control System)
MOS computer Program skills
Rannóg na Gaeilge
If needed, candidates learn and become proficient in the Irish language.
Crime Training consists of:
Students learn in small groups with realistic policing re-enactments and must use the group discussions to solve the problems, just as would be done in actual policing.
During this basic training, candidates would:
Develop skills needed for traffic issues (checkpoints, drink/drug driving etc.)
Crime Training used to be known as the Detective Training School. These days it incorporates the Garda Technical Bureau, the Forensic Science Laboratory, and even some outside agencies. Also studied: Basic Fire and Arson, Money Laundering, Financial Crime, and Drug Awareness.
Additional course work or refresher courses are available for the police after they have served in the field for three years (or if the local station has a need for it) in: Fingerprints, Photography, Forensics, Ballistics, Documents, Mapping, and Forensic Law.
Special Investigative Training is handled here for Family Liaison Officers as well as for the Road Security Criminal Interdiction Awareness Program.
The Garda Síochana Interview Model has four different levels, ranging from basic questions of witnesses, to serious and complex investigations, including those involving sex crimes.
After a fairly rigorous combination of classwork, supervised and unsupervised field work, along with continuous testing during the two years, graduating candidates are able to work in Community Policing, Traffic Control, Public Order, Detective Duties, investigating Organized Crime, Fraud and Drugs Offenses.
“Crime prevention is everybody’s business,” a quote from the Garda site, is a motto they promote to all the candidates, as well as the community at large.
How does this training compare with that of your local law enforcement agency?
*All photos from www.garda.ie