Friday, September 12, 2008

Story in the works

If members of the local news media can report about my blog, can I blog about their reports? I think so.

When I started writing The Chief's Corner, one of my goals was to provide readers (if any) with some information that they wouldn't normally find in the news: stuff that was too long, too boring, or too opinionated. But an interesting thing happened: reporters started using my blog for story leads and even quotes. I suppose that's OK with me, but they spend 30-45 minutes every morning at our daily media briefing, and they call all day long, so it's not like they don't have plenty of access to pick my brain in person. I've been telling other police chiefs who ask me about my blog that it's almost like having your own news channel--you can blather on at length about whatever you want, and nobody but you is going to select the sound bites.

So, one Jeremy Buckley, associate editor and the Daily Nebraskan, emailed me last night. He tells me that a colleague steered him to this post, and to the sentencing order linked there:

"A co-worker recently sent me a link to a post from your blog where Judge Gale Pokorny issued a judgement against an individual for assault on someone at a house at the 1000 block of Charleston St. last May 1. While the report was shocking, it fostered a discussion as to how aware students are that events like the one discussed transpire. We'd like to try and work on a news story discussing the perils of hosting house parties that have the capability of attracting unwanted company.

My reason for emailing you is to ask if you can think of any other similar situations where students attracted unwanted attention that led to unfortunate outcomes such as the curb stomping described in the court ruling for the Phipps case.

I want to stress that my goal isn't to sensationalize, rather, I'd like to tastefully explain some extreme circumstances that can arise from seemingly harmless house parties or gatherings. I've made a phone call to Judge Pokorny's office to see if the judge will speak with me about his/her (?, not sure with Gale) opinions on the subject, but I'd also like to be able to bring up other cases as well as get some thoughts from law enforcement officials and students who live in the area and might host such parties."

I encouraged his story idea, and sent him a few links to other posts on The Chief's Corner where other cases and incidents of a similar vein are either described or linked. Many young people seem to be oblivious to some of the risks involved in hosting or attending a loosely-controlled house party, and the disturbance is not the most serious risk by any means. We've had plenty of serious crime that has occurred in and around high-risk drinking parties in residential settings--thefts, assaults, robberies, rapes, and a murder.

I'll be interested to see what results from Mr. Buckley's efforts.


Anonymous said...

Considering this is a "College Town" I think any story that tells the facts of what these parties can potentially do is a good story. It isn't only dangerous to the people throwing the party, it is dangerous for the officers who have to respond to the call when things go awry. I hope you publish his story on your blog. I would like to see it myself.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

How to tell your party has gone bad.

Anonymous said...

Is there any sort of printed summary of that daily media briefing, and if so, is there any chance that it could be posted for the public to read every day in toto, rather than having it selectively editorially-censored by the media?

Tom Casady said...


No, not really. Essentially, our Public Information Officer gives them the short details on 3-4 overnight cases of interest, and they look over the printout of the past 24 hours--which is identical to the incident summaries, posted on our public web site. They may have a few questions about some of these cases, we may have a story idea to pitch ourselves (usually prevention-related), and that's about it. It's a very informal briefing.

Anonymous said...

Well, they don't seem to grab incident summaries by the horns and ask LPD about then on the weekends, though I'd wager that they can always call a Captain or Sergeant on duty if they wanted to get a head start on a story. I get a little steamed when you give them complete descriptions of at-large violent felony suspects, but then the newspaper curiously doesn't give their readers the complete descriptions, probably because they don't want them caught. The TV stations don't filter the stories like the paper does, and kudos to them for that.

Another thing that burns me about both the paper and the TV stations is that they don't take known suspects that have been arrested for felonies or serious misdemeanors, and their public some of the bigger highlights of their criminal careers. Jimmy Vinson is a great contemporary example of a frequent flyer - but you wouldn't know that from reading the LJS story. You'd have to go dig for his arrest for strangulation and terroristic threats earlier this year, as well as his slew of prior offenses. The strangulation charge and terroristic threats charges were dismissed without prejudice, which I understand can happen when a victim or witness suddenly develops a bad memory, and you hope they'll get their memory back before the statute of limitations runs out so you can re-file the charges.

I encourage everyone to go look Vinson up here. You'll see why the protection order was useless (they usually are, since only the law-abiding respect court orders anyway), as he has a documented history of using violence to approach his problems. He's a lot like Eli Miller in that way. Miller also beat the stuffing out of a woman that he had previously been arrested for strangling, and his strangulation charge was also dismissed without prejudice. He showed his gratitude by trying to kill her again.

Anonymous said...

I went to UNL in 1992. We lived in a party neighborhood. Honestly, we had keg parties at least a couple times a month. We'd have a lot of people over. At these parties, we had lots of fun, but lots of trouble too. Small house parties weren't so bad, but if the party got big the main trouble would come from random people in the hood that would just wander in.

I remember:
1. A manager from a local liquor store lost his gun in our house.

2. Untold amounts of things stolen. From food, to stereos/CDs, a bike, watches, etc.

3. Not leting people in our house so they attacked the house with bottles and rocks.

4. Some people would not leave.

5. My car was broken in to 3 times in a year.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am getting older, too.
This city has been wonderful, and that would not be possible without LPD over the years. Tom, if you are listening... lets go fishing. I will bring the condiments.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking. Lincoln has not had any homicide cases as of late. I think that for a city our size we are about "due"?
We were talking about this today and the last time I had a dream it was days. Psychic?
It is like a spiritual encounter while sleeping that I have on occasion over the years. This is a good way to document it I guess. Crazy/ I do not think so. Some big police depts have people they consult about unsolved cases that have the this predictive phenomina.

Anonymous said...

@ jim j

Let me know if you have a dream about where I left my keys.

Zen said...

Wasn't that soccer player being shot the result of person's at the party that were not invited?

Tom Casady said...